Gain Insight and Understanding into the Islamic Religion and Muslim Culture
Myths and stereotypes abound about the Islamic religion and Muslim culture.
Supporting and promoting the examination of Islam as an important and contemporary voice are in line with the identify and mission of Catholic/Jesuit universities. in addition, the need for greater understanding of religious influences in our contemporary world is critical for our self understanding and our understanding of our neighbors.
The Islamic Studies minor is designed to be both multicultural and interdisciplinary, and critically examines the place of Islam and Muslims in society locally, nationally and globally. Students of Islamic Studies will become familiar with major historical events and figures, cultural processes, patterns, ideas and values that have shaped Muslim traditions and Islamic cultural and intellectual contributions. Whatever your academic major and whatever your particular faith tradition, students in the Islamic Studies minor will be challenged to better comprehend their own commitments, presuppositions, aspirations and fears while coming to understand those of their neighbors, thus promoting greater intrafaith, interfaith and intercultural dialogue, understanding and appreciation.
The program's continued support and growth come from an endowment raised by individual donors and institutions in the Muslim community, and those who want to help promote peace and understanding.
Minor - Islamic StudiesThe 18-credit-hour minor in Islamic Studies at University of Detroit Mercy will examine principle beliefs, core values, practices and cultural expressions of the Islamic religion and the Muslim culture.
Students receive introductory as well as critical, in-depth analyses of key themes employing the five Cs for foreign faith learning (communication, cultures, communities, comparisons and connections). Students will also broaden their perspectives of the insider and outsider views of Islam, creatively engage in communications about cross-disciplinary topics, connect Islam with the sciences, identify commonalities and distinct viewpoints, occasionally compare Islam with other monotheistic as well as monistic traditions and participate in diverse communities that are multi-ethnic, multi-vocal, multi-linguistic and transnational. Courses will examine creative Islam, controversial Islam, classical Islam and contemporary Islam.
Two-minute audio testimonial from a student taking the online course.
When I registered for this course I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had very little knowledge about Islam and the Islamic culture; I only knew what I heard on television and what I’ve read in history books. With America being a melting pot and being home to a variety of individuals that practice many different religions and have many different beliefs, I hoped this course would give me a better understanding as to what Islam is and what the Muslim culture is all about. To this point in the course, that’s exactly what’s happening. I’ve gained more knowledge about Islam and the culture than I could have imagined and have had the multiple myths [dispelled], I believed to be true, cleared up and was shown the truth.
Overall, I’m glad I signed up and took this course. I enjoyed being shown a different side of things that have happened here in the United States, like 9/11 and the Boston Marathon Bombing. I was able to take a step back and see that everything isn’t always what it seems and we are easily fooled by the media. I was able to see first-hand the hardships many American Muslims are forced to face because of the poor choices of others that choose to partake in a terrorist attack or attempt. I also enjoyed being given the opportunity to learn about the different stereotypes of Islam and Muslims and how many of them are formed without any real truth. Although this course contained a very high workload I’m glad that none of the assignments handed to us were “busywork.” Each assignment had a point and allowed us to learn and gain knowledge about the point or situation being studied.
I knew very little about Islam before I took this class. Dr. Salie’s class, Intro to Islam, really gave me a new perspective on the religion and I learned quite a bit of information on Muslims and Islam. I am Catholic and grew up with the traditions and beliefs of the religion. I found it fascinating to look and examine Islam and learn about all of their traditions and beliefs. I was given many opportunities to discover and experience Islamic culture. This class was very interesting and eye-opening. I learned a lot from this course, especially when I came into it knowing very little. I enjoyed the online aspect of it because it gave me the freedom to do the assignments at my own pace and allowed me to get ahead, not to mention giving me the time to experience Islam outside of the classroom.
I have had the pleasure of being a part of Dr. Salie’s introductory course this semester and can say with ease that I have learned a great deal about Islam and Muslims around the world. I believe that it is important for everyone to be aware of different religions and cultures that are different from ours to be culturally competent. The heavy workload was difficult with my program but it kept me focused and I was constantly learning because of it. I am happy to say that I have enjoyed this class immensely. I came into the class knowing little on Islam, only having taken a Comparative Religions course the year before. We must give ourselves the opportunity to learn about other religions, especially Islam since it is consistently being discussed in the news and on social media. I just want to thank Dr. Salie for passing on his knowledge and thoughts on Islam.
I would like to convey my overwhelming appreciation and respect for Dr. Imam Achmat Salie. It has been an honor and pleasure to be a part of this class.
I am writing this to convey my overwhelming appreciation and gratitude for the amount of knowledge I have gained through this class. I am not a Muslim. I have, however, had the good fortune to have lived and visited cities and countries that are predominantly Muslim. Because of this opportunity, I believed I possessed fair knowledge of Islam simply because of my proximity to the religion and culture. I was wrong.
It was by taking this class that my eyes were opened to an entire new view (one that wasn’t foreign per se) but enlightening a pre-existing knowledge. I have learned that the things we all should and hope to strive for are by sheer definition the root of Islam. These include characteristics such as gratitude, compassion, kindness, and forgiveness. Islam is not defined by fear, hate, or anti-sentiment. It is a religion and culture that has given birth and rise to some of the greatest scientific philosophic minds in history. It is comprised of millennia of nobility and most often peace with the outside. As of today, I believe pluralism and inclusivism are terms of its foundation. I have learned that whether one is Jewish or Christian that the Muslims are our brothers and sisters and strive to honor and respect others and themselves just as others should extend that same common courtesy.
This class has challenged many deeply held beliefs as well as cemented new ones. As a science major originally studying physics and then biology, I believed that an Islamic religion class would possess very little to allow me the opportunity to fully analyze and think outside the stereotypical box. However, much to my surprise it has not only afforded me the opportunity to do just that, it has also helped me to cultivate new ideas and beliefs while dispelling old ones. I have been a college student for four years with graduate and post-graduate educations in my future. Although, I love the sciences, I have discovered that this class has proven to be the most personally enriching class of my college career. I also believe it to be an embellishment to the studies of my profession as the coursework is extensive, thought provoking, and at times difficult.
It is with great acclaim and without hesitation that I would recommend this class. It has been an astonishing and gratifying class. If all professors showed such love and affection coupled with the true devotion and appreciation to their field, today’s college students' education would be unparalleled.
Introduction to Islam is the wrong name for this class. It should be called, Introduction to Yourself. Where better to figure out who you are as a student, a citizen, and as a thinking human being than when faced with one of the most important factors at play in the world today? How do we ever know who we are if we never learn about anyone else? How can we prepare for the future without understanding the world we will be working in?
This is the kind of class I have always wanted but never found until now. It is a supportive forum for sharpening reasoning and writing skills but also a safe place to not know the answers. There is a lot of learning involved but the challenge to think for ourselves is what sets the class apart. We are allowed to explore the subject on our own terms, at our own starting level of understanding and interest, but guided by Dr. Salie’s knowledge and coached along the way by a treasure trove of teachers, philosophers and researchers that the assignments introduce us to.
I didn't expect to be so interested in an introduction class, but now I plan to incorporate Islamic Studies into my degree program and it has definitely solidified my desire to continue to law school, focusing on diplomacy and international relations. I had honestly given up on feeling “inspired” as a student, I was simply doing my duties and then forgetting all about the class once it was over. However, this class is so much different. We are not asked to learn a set of information, we are asked to respond to it. The learning is drawn out of the student, not pounded in.
I highly recommend this class to students who love to learn and who are ready to challenge themselves to a truly higher level of education. What is learned here is so far beyond the religion requirement, it is an education necessary to being an informed global citizen.
Jesse Johnson, Jr.
I really enjoyed learning about Islam and how stereotypes and terrorists have really taken over most people’s perspective on Muslims. I involved my three sons Nicholas age 9, Jayden age 6 and Rylan age 3 in some of the assignments/field trips. I don’t want my sons to judge people from their stereotypes; I want them to experience them for themselves.
The heavy course load for this class was difficult for me because my wife had surgery and I couldn’t devote the time I would have liked to but I still learned a lot. I really enjoyed the DIA Islam exhibit and the restaurant visit. I think America is a melting pot and it is important to know about the different cultures we are surrounded by. Thank you, Professor Salie.
Introduction to Islam has been one of my favorite classes of my college career. Even though at times I thought that writing pages of work was a bit excessive, I also have realized that if I was more disciplined as structured throughout the course I would have been more efficient and received better grades. The things that I enjoyed most about the class was watching the YouTube videos that were debates To me the debates brought up a lot of questions that I had myself. Having very accredited and intelligent people explain definitions I couldn’t quite understand before, such as the difference between extremists and terrorists, was very satisfying for me. Also, in one video they explained that there is not a difference between Islam and Muslims, just that Muslim is the name of the people who study and practice Islam.
I appreciated that document that was provided that was a graph that explained the differences between Muslims, Christians, and Jews. I was able to read and visually connect with the three religions. Also during that module, I was with my Arab friend and my Jewish roommate and I am Catholic, so we were all able to put our own thoughts out in the open. Islam has reopened my eyes to what religion is. This class has helped me understand that Muslims have the same values that I have and some values that I want to actively practice as an adult. The reflective journal helped me to come to this conclusion. This journal made you think of what you thought Islam meant.
Overall I have enjoyed this class and I now look forward to taking a Christian class to compare and contrast the things I learned as a child and to see how I still feel about Christianity today as a young adult. I now have some knowledge of Islam to be able to connect the two.
Thank you, Professor.
Over the last few months of the summer I had the opportunity to learn a great deal about the Islamic faith and culture. Before starting the class I was unsure of how the class would be taught, what I was going to learn about, and the difficulty of the class. Although I found the class challenging at times, I didn’t mind doing the work because I usually found the topic that we were focusing on interesting. I feel that the class was taught well because it was never prejudiced to one side of the argument.
I have always found topics concerning other parts of the world interesting and I especially found the opening discussions about the Muslim brotherhood to be thought-provoking. During the class I was also able to kind of get a hands-on understanding of what it is to be a person celebrating the Islamic culture. This in the sense that I was able to try some of their traditional Muslim dishes, as well as attend a Museum that focused on their history worldwide over the centuries. It was also very helpful how quickly the Professor was able to answer my questions in the class; making it much easier for me to do my assignments properly and get the most out of my writing and reading in the class. Overall I really enjoyed this course and I would recommend it to anyone who is considering taking a religion course, or that just wants to get a better idea of what it is to be a part of the Islamic faith and better understand their history.
I was very pleased that I took this class over the summer. I was very skeptical about taking the class because I thought that it would be a course just like every other religion class and learning the core things and having a closed mind to others, but it was completely different than that. As a Muslim, I learned more things that I ever knew about Islam. It really opened my eyes to things like feminism and the many stereotypes that occur to people every day. It was very interesting to learn about the different faiths in a different way and how this class didn’t attack any one faith. I was really pleased with assignments that this class had to offer because it opened my mind to different topics about the world. I enjoyed visiting the Arab American Museum because it was something I have always wanted to go to and never had a chance, and I am really glad I had the opportunity to learn about the Arab American culture and the history of it all.
I was also pleased by the different types of dishes that I got to try over the course of the course. Whenever I researched or went on field visits I stopped by any restaurant and tried all the different types of food that shape Dearborn. This class I can say taught me a lot about my religion and it was just in type for the Holy month, Ramadan. With Ramadan almost coming to an end, I can say that this class was very beneficial to me learning a lot about what my religion has to offer and how to face many of the problems that have been occurring lately around the world. Thank you for having me in your class; it was a pleasure to have taken this course.
This class was a pleasure to take this semester. I was first very skeptical and curious what I was going to learn while this class was online. I thought taking a religious course online was going to be hard to take because studying a religion can be a struggle especially when there is so much to learn. With the given modules throughout the class it made the class very interesting with all the information and research done to complete the assignments in the module. With my family coming from the Middle East, and already knowing a little bit about the Islamic culture from having Muslim friends I thought this class would be a great class to take so that I can show off my knowledge about this culture to my fellow Muslim friends.
When I told my Muslim friends that I was taking this class they were very happy about it because from all the years that I’ve known them I’ve always guessed what the religion was really about and they always had to correct me. This class not only taught me some much about the religion, I now have experiences too with attending a museum and going to places in Dearborn, Michigan. Even though this class was a lot of time consuming and work with the finish piece at the end of this course as a student I feel accomplished in this class. With having a great professor who was available at any given time to answer questions and is very helpful it made this course very comprehending. I am glad I took this class because of everything I picked up on in class. Thanks for having me, Professor Salie!
Before starting this course, I had very little knowledge about Islam. One of my objectives by taking this class was getting to have a pretty solid knowledge about a religion that is practiced by 1.2 billion people. And I can satisfactorily say that I have accomplished my objective. This class was very challenging at times. It was much harder than I would’ve expected. I thought we would stick to the basic understanding of a religion (just like other religion classes I’ve taken before), but it wasn’t like that. We really got in depth into this religion and I really enjoyed that. Although it was harder than I expected, I don’t regret at any moment taking this class. I learned so much, more than I would’ve ever expected. So far, this is one of the most interesting and helpful classes I have taken in my college career. I would definitely recommend this class to anybody.
Dr. Salie, please allow me to take this time to extend my gratitude to you; for your time, your insight, your wisdom and most of all, for being objective and understanding. Oh yeah, and thank you for your great instructions in your “Intro to Islamic Studies” class…lol.
Because of your instruction, I have a better understanding of Islam and what it means to be a Muslim. You have cleared up A LOT of misconceptions that I have gained from the Media and Politicians who may have a hidden agenda when they cast false images of Muslims. Most of all, your class has caused me to take a deeper look at my faith, my principles and my beliefs.
I must admit, you did give us an abundance of work, sometimes it was a lot, really a lot…lol But I do understand your method and like with religious beliefs, you have to faith and just believe that your professor will give you exactly what you need.
Thank you so much Dr. Salie. Your class was tough but the insight and wealth of information is priceless. Your wisdom and candor has set a standard that I will look for in all of my professors.
Over the summer, I have had the privilege of taking the ISLM 2050 course at the University of Detroit Mercy. The class was taught online, but I felt that there was great communication between the students and the professor, Achmat Salie, throughout the course. The class began by having students take a pretest, which highlighted how little an understanding I actually had of the Islamic faith. The course involved an extensive amount of writing, and research, as well as hands on participation by visiting restaurants, museums, as well as interviewing someone of the Islamic faith. Although some of the reading I found challenging to understand at first, the assignments that we were required to do put the information in a perspective and greatly benefited me in my understanding of the Islamic faith.
Before I took this class, I had a poor understanding of what the true beliefs of Islam were, and it is now to my understanding that the core values are almost identical to what I believe. The readings that the Professor provided were on a wide variety of subjects from Muslim philosophers to the history of the Muslim faith, and up where the Muslim faith is today, and where it is heading. Overall, I think that this is a great class that I would recommend to anyone. Of all of the classes that I have taken throughout my college career I feel that the information that I learned in this course is information that I will retain throughout my life, and has greatly widened my perspective on the Muslim faith.
For the Winter semester of 2014 I declared my minor to be Islamic studies and enrolled in two Islamic classes, Intro to Islam and Contemporary Islam. These two classes have expanded my knowledge on Islam and has allowed me to embrace Islam as if it was my own religion.
Intro to Islam taught me the basics of Islam and the fundamentals that make up the faith and spirituality. It was great to learn the basics as a transitional path towards Contemporary Islam.
Contemporary Islam takes an interdisciplinary approach that benefits from a cross-cultural perspective. We explored the relationship between Islam and its contemporary cultural, material, gender, economic, political, and religious expressions from different socio-scientific perspectives.
The material received from both classes really helped and Dr. Salie answered every question I had. I would recommend to everybody to make Islamic Studies their minor, and I even hope it progresses to become a major at University of Detroit Mercy.
When I first took this course, I had two reasons behind why: 1st was that it was required for my Major, and second was that I heard a rumor that online classes were supposed to be easy. Boy did I feel stupid thinking that I was going to get an easy A in this course! In general the course is not hard, but it is a challenge. Learning a religion should not come off easy just because you are the same religion, and that’s why I understood from this course. It’s true that the assignments are tedious, but they are actually informative, and it helps out at the end because it opens up a lot of doors that were closed due to ignorance (in my case especially). To be honest, I don’t have a problem with the course, but rather I have trouble managing my time (18 courses this semester and a 40-hour a week job is suicide!). I always tend to turn my assignments in a bit late for this course, but I am glad that the professor is understandable and quite tolerant. He could actually give me a zero and not accept late work at all, but I am happy he just deduct points off (I’ll take that over a zero ANYDAY). Back to the point, the purpose of this course was mentioned in the syllabus: to challenge yourself and fully understand the teachings of Islam. If it was suppose to be an easy A class, then no one would take it seriously, and the purpose of the course will be diminished.
Overall, if you are dedicated and want to go beyond what is expected, then take this course. If you know you are lazy and have lack of time or effort to do the work, don’t take it and blame it on the teachers or whoever when you fail (it’s your fault for not doing what was expected in the first place.) It is a challenge, but you will feel good when you pass (hopefully). Plus the professor is pretty helpful so you wouldn’t feel like you are by yourself. Just learn from my mistakes and DO NOT think this class is a pushover or overwhelm yourself with too many classes. Trust me because in the long run, you will actually benefit from the work and effort you put through in this course.
Introduction to Islam was the first online course I took aside from a few 1 credit nursing co-op courses. This online class was very different than what I was expecting. It truly engaged the students, more so than any traditional lecture class. Rather than sitting in the class listening to someone lecture from a PowerPoint, we made quizzes, listened to various lectures and interviews, created a PowerPoint presentation, and went on field visits. In addition, the flexibility of online delivery was optimal for me, especially with the early unexpected birth of my beautiful daughter within the last three weeks of the course. This course was very intellectually challenging because it was about something I did not know much about, but I have learned more in this class than I have in any of my other classes this year. As a nurse I am very glad to have learned more about Islam, because being a nurse you must be culturally considerate of those you care for. Thanks to this course I can do so.
Due to this being my very last semester as an undergraduate student, I will not be taking any more classes until I attend graduate school. However, with as much as I have learned in this class, I almost definitely see myself pursuing another one of Dr. Salie’s courses when I return for graduate school. Dr. Salie truly engaged the students and used resources I didn’t even know about, such as Quizlet and the Prezi website. He truly knows how to take advantage of the resources we have today with the various advances in technology. I wish I would have taken this class sooner because those resources would have helped me tremendously in the past.
Contemporary Islam course encompasses a wide view of the Islamic religion and Muslims. It is a great class for all majors and interests. Whether you enjoy history, philosophy, arts, music, culture or religion you’ll find something to enjoy and learn. Most importantly it will teach and expand your own field of vision and allow you to not only learn but experience outside of your own experiences. It also allows your own self-reflection as to see something from another’s perspective. Or possibility, deepen your own faith in Islam. I recommend this course for persons of all faiths.
The Islamic Studies program at the University of Detroit Mercy is a well- diversified program that offers students the chance to study one of the largest religions in the world. Prior to taking these courses at Detroit Mercy I knew very little about Islam. Through two courses I have learned about the life of the prophet Muhammad, traditions in Islam, the foundational beginnings of the religion, and its impact today throughout the world. The courses at [Detroit Mercy] offer students the chance to really engage themselves in the study of Islam. Students will quickly come to find out that Islam is a peaceful religion with beautiful prayer and spiritual traditions as well as incredible contributions made to the world through the academic pursuits of science, philosophy, history, mathematics, and the artistic pursuits of music, art, film, and literature. These courses are unique to [Detroit Mercy] in the area and with our close distance to Dearborn, students at [Detroit Mercy] have the opportunity to expand their knowledge and become free thinkers in the world today.
Fridays, around 1:15 p.m., Islamic Prayer Room, Reno Hall, room 048B.
Muslim Student Associations
Muslim Student Organization (MSO)
Muslim Dental Students' Association: This group is organized for the purpose of uniting Muslim students on campus and to offer services to better their experiences during their dental education. Furthermore, the group will work to strengthen the bonds and awareness with all students on campus.
Muslim Law Students Association (MLSA): This group is also on Facebook.
2014 Keynote Address at Celebrate Spirit
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Ph.D., from the Roshan institute Center for Persian Studies and the University of Maryland
Fundraising and Donations
The Islamic Studies program at University of Detroit Mercy is supported by an endowment raised from individual donors and institutions in the Muslim community and beyond. Thanks to all of our supporters!
Please read the 2015 Ramadan Islamic Studies Report to learn why your Ramadan Zakah and Sadaqaat would be doubly rewarding.
You can contribute through our secure donation website. Please follow the instructions below to make sure your donation goes directly to the Islamic Studies program.
How to donate to the Islamic Studies program
Please print and use the forms below for gifts of $10,000, $5,000 , $2,000 or $1,000
Making a recurring gift is an easy way to support the Islamic Studies program. Through smaller, monthly installments, you can build to a significant contribution.
- $200/month = $2,400/year
- $500/month = $6,000/year
- $800/month = $9,600
Please write "Islamic Studies Program" next to 'other' to identify where you would like your contribution allocated.
Making a one-time gift is also a convenient way to support the Islamic Studies Program. Your contribution can significantly impact the growth and development of our students.
Please be sure to indicate "Islamic Studies Program" in the 'restricted to' box on the form to ensure your contribution goes to support our program.
Gifts of Other Amounts
1. Go to the secure donation page at https://community.udmercy.edu/donate.
2. Fill out the donation form as follows:
- Select or enter your donation amount
- In the "Designation" box, select "College of Liberal Arts and Education"
- In the "Comments" box, enter the phrase "Islamic Studies Program"
- Lastly, click the "Continue" button and follow the site's instructions to complete your donation. Thank you!
About the Creator of the Islamic Studies Program
Imam Achmat Salie, Ph.D., is the creator of the Islamic Studies Program at the University of Detroit Mercy. His continuing mission is to grow the program and secure continued funding through an established endowment.
Salie has extensive experience in Islamic Studies, both in South Africa and the United States, and has created an Islamic Studies program at another university. He is also active in inter-faith efforts in the United States and abroad.
His academic preparation includes a Bachelor of Arts in Arabic and Islamic Studies, six years of intensive seminary studies in Islamic Jurisprudence and a Master of Business Administration and Doctorate in Business Leadership. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Islamic Studies.