Aliya Mamodaly, France
“The MA in Muslim
Cultures is unique as its approach is both theoretical and practical. It
enables students to gain a greater understanding of the intricacies and
dynamics at play and allows one to take a holistic approach. Not only is this
programme academically fulfilling, it is personally enriching.”
holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences with honours in International
Development and Globalisation from the University of Ottawa. During her
undergraduate degree, Aliya had the opportunity to volunteer her time
with Youth Challenge International (YCI) in Nicaragua, Mataglapa
assisting with various development projects. For two years she worked as
research assistant at The Muki Baum Treatment Centre for individuals
with physical and emotional disabilities. Aliya has also been involved
in various volunteer activities, facilitating religious education for
young people, working with autistic children and assisting in women's
development activities in her local community.
Razi Allah Lone, Pakistan
nature of the MA programme at AKU-ISMC, coupled with the great diversity of
both the student cohort and London, makes the whole experience intellectually
engaging and culturally enriching. It not only opens up new ways of thinking,
but develops an appreciation for differing points of view.”
has Masters degree in Information Systems from the University of Texas
at Arlington and a Master of Business Administration from the Lahore
School of Economics. Razi hopes that the rigorous MA Programme will
define his doctoral ambitions in the areas of Islamic law, in general,
and Hadith studies, in particular. He has contributed to the
Encyclopaedia of Islamic Economics, read a paper on Riba (interest) at a
conference in Kuala Lumpur, and served in the Islamic banking
research-wing of an investment bank in Pakistan. Most recently, he was
working as an Assistant Professor in the department of Management
Sciences at the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences,
Omar Kasmani, Pakistan
will always be home. It is here that I made my first transitions from
architecture to the social sciences, acquired the academic tools to
read, write and imagine in new and plural ways, and in the process
discovered, more importantly, the coordinates that situate me in
relation to experiences of my own history and society. Being embedded in
the urban and cultural fabric of London added to the richness of it
all. In these and so many other ways, my time at ISMC has shaped and
will continue to inform my trajectories, academic and otherwise.”
is a Doctoral Candidate in Social and Cultural Anthropology at Berlin
Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, Free University of
Megan Wang, USA
“I liked the diversity
of AKU-ISMC. Having the opportunity to live and study alongside students from
all over the world was an amazing learning experience. Even though we may have
come from vastly different intellectual and cultural backgrounds we all seemed
to possess a similar spirit; a spirit that not only genuinely respected our
'differences' but celebrated them.
MA in Muslim Cultures taught me how to ask better questions, questions
whose answers matter, whose answers tell us more about the world we live
Islam incompatible with modernity? The question is flawed. Whose Islam?
What exactly do I mean here when I use the term modernity? A better
question to ask would be why and under what conditions is Islam thought
to be incompatible with modernity.
would whole-heartedly recommend this MA to anyone with a passion for
Middle Eastern/Islamic studies and an adventurous, respectfully curious
disposition. It's a gruelling two years but by the end of it you'll have
grown immensely. More importantly, you will have noticed this same
growth in your classmates and you will know that you were part of
something beautiful and powerful, something real.”
her Bachelor of Arts from New York University, completing a double
major in both International Relations and Middle Eastern & Islamic
“The rich diversity of Muslim cultures within wider cultures of the globe is reflected very well in every aspect of the unique intellectual experience at AKU-ISMC.”
Firas completed his Bachelor of Arts in Arabic English Translation from Albaath University, Syria. Prior to this he volunteered for a United Nations human rights organisation. Firas has various academic interests including politics, cultures and religious studies; he is attracted to explore the term "differentiation" and its further implications, particularly, in these fields. Firas speaks Arabic and English. His hobbies range from running and cycling to listening to classical music.
Fatemeh Shams Esmaeili
“ISMC has been one of the most unforgettable phases of my life. I made life-long friends here, and read some of the best books. Encountering scholars from many parts of the world and taking part in various events “greatly changed my life, my direction, my vision, my future.”
Fatemeh recently completed a PhD in the field of Oriental Studies, with specific focus on Iranian Studies and Persian literature, at the University of Oxford.
Samira Rakhimova, Tajikistan, Class of 2012
"I hope that MA in Muslim Cultures will equip me with practical and theoretical knowledge of approaching and researching problems in Muslim communities. Also, I'm keen to study religion from the standpoint of the humanities and social sciences. The MA in Muslim Cultures will enable me to narrow down my particular research area in the sphere of tradition and culture and prepare a basis for pedagogical potential of universities in Tajikistan".
Samira completed a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the Russian Tajik Slavonic University (Tajikistan) and a Master of Arts in the Theory and Practice of Human Rights from the University of Essex (UK). Since 2006, she has been teaching in the Aga Khan Humanities Project/University of Central Asia and previously worked in the fields of child protection and human rights in international organizations and NGOs in Tajikistan. Samira has published an article entitled, "Survey on Employment Practices and Labor Laws Affecting Children" (IOM Publication) and co-authored and published a book, "The Language of Human Rights" (OSI). She also participated in drafting of the guideline and training module for journalists on children with disabilities (NGO "Zdorovie") and in preparing a manual for teaching a course for the Aga Khan Humanities Project entitled, Identifying Civil Society.
Mehr J Aga Canada/Pakistan, Class of 2010
"I am enthralled to be a member of the AKU-ISMC family. I am also keen on studying in such a culturally and academically rich institute, where everyone works together amiably and productively. The staff and administration compassionately welcome and treat you like a family member."
Mehr completed her undergraduate degree in applied psychology and is also primarily interested in sociological and anthropological studies. She is interested in interacting with diverse social circles, particularly within a multicultural domain. She speaks English, Urdu and Punjabi, and is now learning Arabic to facilitate her understanding of the dynamics of Muslim cultures.
Yudi Faisal, Indonesia, Class of 2012
"The MA in Muslim Cultures at AKU-ISMC provides a holistic programme for those who want to study intrinsic values that enhanced Muslim civilisations throughout history in many areas including economy. I am honoured to be a part in this programme that provides an outstanding academic atmosphere to strengthen my academic career."
Yudi completed his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Udayana and his Postgraduate Diploma in Islamic Banking and Finance from the IIBF-International Islamic University Malaysia. Since 2008, he has been teaching at several universities in Indonesia.
Hamza Tebai, Tunisia, Class of 2012
"I once read that the aim of AKU-ISMC is to develop leaders in social and cultural realms so they contribute to building a new image about Muslim societies and save the most precious heritage they have. With all that the Institute is providing for its MA students, I can hardly think that there is another place on earth that is as promising as AKU-ISMC with such a finely woven programme that ensures what the Institute promises."
Hamza acquired his Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature from the University 7th November in Carthage, Higher Institute of Languages, Tunis. In 2003 he completed his national degree in Arabic music and obtained a diploma of Arabic music. Since then, he has taught piano and music theory in several conservatories across Tunisia; most notably, the school of modern music Django Reinhardt.
Nazim Aman, Pakistan, Class of 2010
''AKU-ISMC is one of the best institutions in the world that promote scholarship on Muslim societies and cultures, exploring their relevance, commonalities, and differences to other world cultures and civilizations. It is an excellent platform which promises to help actualise student's intellectual potential, and an institution which is committed to facilitate intellectual discussion and debate."
Nazim has previously worked as Assistant Manager, Human Resources, Establishment Division within the National Space Agency of Pakistan (Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission). He has also worked as a visiting faculty member at the University of Karachi for two years, and has taught a course on Development Strategies at the Department of Public Administration.
Lindsey Stephenson, USA, Class of 2012
MA in Muslim Cultures is unlike any other Masters programme I have
found. It appreciates the transnational and trans-regional cultures of
Muslims and encourages us to explore the junctures at which sociology,
anthropology, history and art converge.”
Lindsey is currently completing a PhD in Near East Studies at Princeton University, USA. She
is a graduate of Georgia State University with Bachelor of Arts in
Middle Eastern Studies. She studied abroad in Jordan and Syria and
completed a Fulbright research fellowship in Kuwait on the evolution of
Kuwaiti diwaniyyas (social gatherings). Lindsey has taught colloquial
Levantine Arabic at the high school level and was the Assistant Director
of Human Resources for the Fawakih Arabic and Islamic Studies
Kamran Bashir, Pakistan
"The MA in Muslim Cultures at AKU-ISMC offers a perfect
coursework and research agenda for anybody who aims to pursue doctoral
research in the field of 'Islamic studies' and allied disciplines which is
my ultimate goal. There seem to be limitless opportunities to hone your
academic skills in arts and humanities." -
Kamran earned his Master in Business Administration from the
University of the Punjab, Lahore. He worked as a marketing and sales
professional in one of the leading industrial companies of Pakistan, also
undertaking additional professional coursework at the Lahore University of
Management Sciences. He holds a diploma in Arabic from the Oriental College
of the University of Punjab.
Yamama Dayoub, Syria
"The MA in Muslim Cultures will enrich my own experience by
studying different Muslim cultures and lifestyles along with their
literature and history; I am very keen about this. The more I gain
knowledge in this field, the more enthusiastic I become to know more. I am
also eager to learn a new language which will widen my horizons and enable
me to understand new ways of thinking. This knowledge becomes addictive and
I think this programme will satisfy this addiction."
Yamama completed her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from
Damascus University in 2007. She worked as an English language teacher in
public schools from 2006 to 2008. She also worked as a translator in the
billing system for GFA in Damascus in 2010.
Rahina Muazu, Nigeria
lack the right words to describe my experiences at ISMC. It was there
that I learned to think about ideas foreign to me, at ISMC I discovered
the variety of Muslim cultures and societies and learned to appreciate
the formation of Islam from various cultures and traditions. I learned
to read and write academic papers and appreciate other approaches to the
study of Islam and Muslim societies. The diversity of my cohort made it
much more interesting. I would recommend the MA to anyone interested in
the study of Muslim cultures especially those from a traditional
Islamic studies background like me because the MA will definitely offer
them various approaches, they will have insight on how Islam and Muslims
are studied from historical, anthropological and sociological
perspectives, even more importantly, they will familiarise themselves
with critical and controversial debates and discourses that are only
available in Western academia. I must confess, it was very challenging
for me, but at the end of it, I came out a much better person.''
Rahina is from Nigeria. She received her
Bachelor of Arts in Islamic Studies from the University of Jos, Nigeria.
Rahina has a great passion for African women and
children. She speaks three languages: Hausa, English and Arabic. Rahina is currently pursuing a PhD at Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies (BGSMCS), Free University of Berlin.
Ladan Heravi, Iran
"The reason I have decided to switch my
disciplinary emphasis in graduate school from Physics to Muslim cultures is
related to both my personal interest and a sense of responsibility to my
society. The MA in Muslim Culture gives me an opportunity to see Islam in
its social background. It also provides me with a modern and multifaceted
approach to the study of Muslim societies. Moreover, the study of Arabic,
which is the language of the early Islamic scriptures, undoubtedly provides
a unique opportunity for me to understand Islam in its historical
Zohaib Zuby, Pakistan, Class of 2012
"I think the only way one can bring any
useful input into the society is through quality education, and this
programme is a rare opportunity to learn about development, history and
culture geared particularly for Muslim societies."
Zohaib completed his degree in Architecture
from the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi. Keen to
find newer avenues for enrichment, he began teaching 'A' Levels in English.
His interest in social reconstruction coupled with his interest in
encouraging young people to participate in civil society endeavours, led
him to start a 'youth movement' by the name of Uraan (Flight). As the
founder of Uraan, he has been active in the design and publishing of
t-shirts and posters expressing ideas of social reform and also runs the
movement's website and blog. Zohaib
has also previously acted as the Deputy Convener of the 'Movement for Child
Protection and Welfare' - a body involved in pushing the government to
ratify a bill that addresses the issue child rights in Pakistan."