By Hamka Rosli
Islamic studies is popular among students who attended religious school or sekolah pondok. Some of them even further their studies in the area either at local institutions or abroad. Here in IIUM, theology studies or better known as Islamic Revealed Knowledge (IRK), is among the prominent majoring course. This is because of its wide syllabus which is up to the international level and also because it has many students under the major.
Some may say that Islamic studies is a good deal because you can learn the knowledge of this worldly, hereafter, and so on. However, some think that Islamic studies is nothing because the field is not popular as compared to other fields of study in a real job life. Hence, people are afraid that they will be unable to find suitable jobs once they graduated.
Islamic studies is good for those who really have the passion in it. But the question is, will this major help students to get them into the real job once they graduated? With the advancement of today’s world and global interaction where science and technology are ahead of us, will students majoring in theology survive in the outside world? The answer lies either in the student’s capability and competence or in the opportunity set by the real world, or both, could be the answer.
Students are the group of people who possess the advantage to create a better world. They are in the process of learning. Thus anything that they learned will be used to the greatest benefit. Not to mention that Islamic studies also has its own benefit for the society.
As stated by one student from Singapore, the knowledge where the students attain from Islamic studies is beneficial and it can contribute to the ummah in many ways.
“Looking at the world today, we need more people who are religiously intellectual to prevent us from any society’s damage,” said Nurul Ain Nabilah, a third year IRK student.
Indeed, the world today may need more people who have both intellectual and religious knowledge to help the society from damaging itself. However, could it be the guaranteed by having such people, the world will be in harmony?
Nurul Ain believed that this world will be at peace if everyone is equipped with Islamic knowledge. Consequently, it is hardly to see that Islamic studies not valuable enough to be a major field that can contribute to society, just like science and technology.
Despite the evidence that Islamic studies is a worth major, there are still some with a mind-set that this major will not give much opportunity for the real job. The most stereotypical job for them is to become a religious teacher in some schools. That could be the ongoing stereotype or perception to those who are majoring in Islamic studies. Although some may say that Islamic studies or religious studies has no future, there is a wide opening and opportunities for students who study in the area.
Dr. Noor Amali Mohd Daud, a lecturer in the Department of Islamic Revealed Knowledge, believed that based on his experiences engaging with all kinds of programmes, he could see many opportunities for those who are in the field. For example, they will have a chance to work with Tabung Haji, work in da’wah agencies at many places. The important things, he said, is the need to have the skills and to make oneself different and unique from others and also to market oneself.
All students, he thought, have the potential to be in some places. The only thing that stops the way is the students themselves. When they succeed, they are not only promoting themselves but the university as well. Therefore, the opportunity for students with a major in Islamic studies is wide open once they graduated.
The future of Islamic studies is dim as believed by some people, but that’s not the views held by Muhammad Izzat Marzuki. He believed that the future of Islamic studies is extremely bright because many sectors of employment have a department or a section that deal with that area. It can surely provide vast opportunities for graduates in Islamic studies.
Muhammad Izzat Marzuki, who is currently in his senior year of IRK, said: “In recent years, many companies or organisations have been open and wanted graduates from Islamic studies to work with them. Without any disclaimer, it has been a trend for today’s employment market which required candidates with background of Islamic studies.”
The future of Islamic studies is not uncertain as it is needed as a way of life. There are some parts of this world that need to be changed, and that changes need people who deeply understand religious matters, mainly Islam. Thus, it is irrelevant to say Islamic studies as one of the major with no future because it could be the only area that benefits both, the worldly and the hereafter.
The questions and doubts about Islamic studies should be clear by now. Whether it is worth spending years studying in the major, or the queries of how far will the major takes the graduates, is all an outdated concern.
The society must realise that the modern world also needs to be equipped with religiosity for a balanced and harmonious community. The golden age of Islam has proved that religion can take a civilisation into advancement.
But the world has changed today, and maybe that is the sign for people to start looking back at how previous civilisations can be achieved with so many great things built and created without putting aside the religion. Hence, Islamic studies can provide graduates with a vast opportunity to survive in this world and help society to be better.***
Photo credited to Getty Images