In April 2007 the Islamic Online University (IOU) reopened its doors after a five-year interlude with the Da’wah Training Course. To enhance the students’ leaning experience the server and the LMS of the IOU have been upgraded as a result of which, among other features, the courses now has audios and Flash videos enabling easy viewing of the videos online for all types of internet connections.
The IOU was originally a product of Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips's teaching courses in Islamic Studies at the American University in Dubai for seven years after Islamizing the complete curriculums of study for the college of education of the Sharif Kabunsuan College in Cotabato City, Mindanao, Philippines in the early nineties. One year after the IOU’s establishment in 2001 the program ran into technical difficulties and had to shut down, however, the material developed for its courses was used to establish a department of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Preston University – Ajman, UAE and three years later the department had its first batch of BA graduates.
After running the Islamic Studies department at Preston for one year as its dean, Dr Bilal moved to Doha, Qatar, and in the beginning of 2007 established another BA in Islamic Studies (BAIS) program in Doha, approved by Omdurman Islamic University in Sudan for accreditation, under the title of the Islaamic Studies Academy.
The BA & MA programs of the IOU represent the online version of the Islamic Studies Academy’s accredited BAIS & MAIS programs, which are the only accredited BAIS & MAIS programs of studies available on the internet.
IOU’s current programs are of three types:
1. FREE COURSES: A series of free courses arranged into an organized program of study wherein students who follow the recommended sequence will embark on a study program guided by Dr Bilal Philips himself. The program provides an introduction to the basic Islamic sciences and insight into the manhaj or way of the Prophet (pbuh) as embodied in the Qur'aan and authentic Sunnah in accordance with the understanding of the first generation. Some of the courses will be on topics of immediate and practical relevance to the students. The free course of study will also introduce students who wish to pursue an accredited BA or MA in Islamic Studies to the methodology of the BAIS program.
2. BA and MA COURSES: The other facet will be the full-fledged formally accredited Islamic Studies (Usool Ad-Deen) Degree Program in English (BAIS). Course Material will consist of written material of the basic text being taught plus Audio and Video Lectures of classes conducted in the ISA-Doha, or elsewhere.
3. DIPLOMAS & CERTIFICATES: Diplomas will be granted for the completion of all the courses offered in a given subject of the BAIS program. Certificates will be given for each of the free courses and a diploma for those who complete all of the free courses.
The free course component of the IOU is currently open for enrollment. Those interested will first have to create a site account and then enroll for the courses of their choice. For details on how to create an account and enroll for a course click on the 'How do I enroll?' link on the left panel.
The primary aim of IOU is to reintroduce Islaam in its pristine purity to Muslims and non-Muslims. Islaam as it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and understood by his companions. For it is only this Islaam in which salvation exists. Such a goal involves purifying the sources of Islaamic learning and developing the Islaamic personality on the basis of that learning. Consequently, IOU was established to provide a means for individuals, employed or un-employed, with or without high school diplomas, to harmonize their personal and professional lives with their religious commitment to true Islaam so that this educational experience will be of lasting benefit as a source of personal and communal growth, and spiritual guidance. It is essentially geared towards enabling Muslims to fulfill the prophetic command:
"Seeking knowledge is compulsory for every Muslim"
and achieve the prophetic promise:
"Allaah will make the path to paradise easy for whoever sets out on a path seeking knowledge."