This message is from a long-time supporter of the Islamic American University, someone who has worked there many times over the years after completing an IAU Associates’ Degree. The intention is to offer information about the past, present and future of IAU. It is being reorganized and placed under the broad umbrella of the Southfield Muslim Community Center. SMCC also includes a public mosque, Masjid Noor as well as meeting and community spaces.
We owe a great debt of gratitude to the early U.S. Muslim immigrant communities, from the indentured and enslaved to those with or seeking higher education, all of whom brought and contributed to this deen being firmly established in the U.S, by the mercy of Allah.
These foundational Muslims established and grew prayer spaces that matured into Islamic Centers and schools, non-profit agencies, social, relief and advocacy groups.
The Islamic American University (IAU) was founded by immigrants from Muslim majority countries via the Muslim American Society (MAS). MAS utilized its national member base, scholarly resources and fundraising abilities to establish IAU. Although we are not a MAS organization, we are a separate entity that owes a great deal to them. Due mainly to their members’ sincere desire to spread Islamic knowledge and generous financial support, the building is debt-free.
IAU’s mission to spread authentic Islamic knowledge was realized through online and direct degrees for the Islamic Sciences and Arabic Language. Please note that the majority of classes were offered to students as scholarships (nominal to no fee) because of donor support, mashaAllah. As Internet technology improved, students increasingly chose online courses, including the Al Azhar degree offering, which had great appeal to first and second-generation Arabic-speaking Muslims.
Twenty years ago, IAU was one of a few online Islamic degree programs. Now, by the mercy of Allah and the sincerity of Muslim youth and donors, there are countless online options like Kiflayn (formerly SunniPath), Al-Magrib, eAlim.org, Bayyinah Institute, Rabata.org and Seekers Guidance. Seekers may be the most sincere effort out there as they do not charge fees for courses or for their degree streams, and they support scholars all around the world, mashaAllah. (Note: There are many more institutions online but the writer has personal experience with classes and lectures from those mentioned above.)
Another path IAU took to grow authentic Islamic knowledge was providing full scholarships to hand-picked study abroad students for traditional Arabic Language learning and full-time Islamic Studies in the Muslim majority world. This path also imparts the humble, gracious and beautiful personalities of traditional scholars into the hearts of western students of knowledge. Upon graduation, these new scholars agree to serve the U.S. Muslim community for a number of years, after which they are free to pursue additional opportunities. Due to political instability, the program was temporarily suspended, but a new opening to study in the Muslim majority world, by the mercy of Allah, has been identified for 2020.
A few short years back, IAU’s building in Southfield, Michigan, was a hub of activity. Scholars, students, staff, volunteers, community groups all kept the building alive and functioning. As political turmoil and strife in the Muslim majority world steadily increased, many of our major donors understandably turned to fund overseas relief efforts. While this is absolutely necessary and beneficial, we humbly remind ourselves first that domestic efforts to learn and share Islam is critical to the Ummah-at-large as well.
With all of the above, IAU was destined to re-organize and reconfigure itself, it’s mission and vision. Our intention is to continue delivering authentic Islamic knowledge, but no longer online. We hope to return to the roots of sharing Islam by engaging individuals and communities one-by-one through our brick-and-mortar programming, inshaAllah. To reflect this updated intention, our new name is Southfield Muslim Community Center, the umbrella organization sheltering IAU’s Study Abroad program, an English and Arabic reading library, community offices, meeting spaces and Masjid Noor.
Now that we are ready in November 2019 to re-open our doors, our HVAC system failed in half of the building. Of course, this is a test of our sincerity, but it is concerning due to Michigan’s long and pipe-freezing cold winter season. We are asking the community-at-large to help us raise enough money to replace the entire system at the cost of $65,000.00. This will replace all aging 9 heating and air conditioning units as well as 9 condensers. Please note that 3 of the units and all 9 condensers are located on the roof of this 2-story building. A crane must be rented to reach, remove and replace these units.
Finally–and thank you for reading thus far–we want community involvement with SMCC programming. We encourage ideas, constructive feedback and topics for lectures from you, especially if you are a convert/revert or returning Muslim. Please feel free to contact us through the office number or staff email (located on the Contact Us page).
Thank you for your interest in SMCC. Please keep us in your mubarak dua’s, and please share our story and requests with others. May Allah, Mighty and Majestic, reward your time and interest in this project, which is dedicated solely to Him.