Master of Arts in Islamic Studies major in Islamic Thought and Civilization

Islamic Studies is, in general, a rich field of knowledge about Islam and the Muslim world. It encompasses the understanding of Islamic thought and its various expressions on people’s culture and tradition. More importantly, Islam exhibits influence on many facets of knowledge with emphasis on ideas and experience about society, religion, civilization, law, philosophy, science, politics, diplomacy, arts, architecture, and literature, and few others. The range of time when Islam exhibits such an unimaginably vast influence cuts across a longue duree of history (e.g., classic, medieval, and modern). While the impact of Islam has shown faithful reception, awe, and vibrancy on the ummah (Islamic community), it has also left deep-seated questioning and perturbation on many peoples. Recently, as Islam and the Muslim peoples continue to tread and thrust their presence in world stage amid such vociferation and unique dialectic of history, there is a need to develop a broader and overarching Islamic Studies embracing both its “roots and branches” with its strong affinity to Muslim knowledge tradition, Oriental Studies, and Social Sciences.

The MAIS Major in Islamic Thought and Civilization (ITC) endeavors to capture both general and specific fields of Islamic Studies. The general aspects constitute the foundational and traditional knowledge schema of Islamic Thought including the “breadth” or framing dimensions of Islamic Studies (e.g., IS214, IS262, IS263). The specific aspects of ITC are courses that are not treated with “depth” in traditional disciplines of Islamic Studies including the other proposed majors herein but which constitute as equally important parts of Islamic Studies (e.g., IS261, IS265). The latter constitutes mostly the new courses proposed under ITC. With ten (10) courses that are included as major (4), elective (4), core (1), and seminar (1), ITC could well stand with its role in providing a more vibrant and comprehensive Islamic Studies.

Master of Arts in Islamic Studies major in International Relations (Siyar) of the Ummah

It is well known that the sources of International Relations (IR) conspicuously fail to correspond to the global distribution of its subjects and that there is the necessity to improve IR –and in particular theoretical questions and debates in the discipline– by using the experience and intellectual history of non-Western regions and intellectual traditions (in our case the Islamic and Islamicate civilization) to both build and locate gaps within existing IR literature, in particular its theories and paradigms. The proposed major courses identify patterns and experiences that differ from those of Europe and North America and can enrich the field of IR and help explain – or at least better understand – events and phenomena on the local, regional and civilizational setting. From the perspective of application-level theorizing, the proposed area/major of specialization proves the worthiness of using the local knowledge, i.e. Muslim contexts as a ground for testing existing theoretical approaches and, in some respects, go beyond this by implying the possibility to elaborate Islamic paradigms of IR.

Master of Arts in Islamic Studies major in History and Society of Muslims in the Philippines

This major area addresses the need of students to understand Moro History and Society in order to make engagement with Moros more dynamic and culturally sensitive. Discussion on Moro arts and literary traditions allow students to bridge the gaps in appreciating the similarities of themes and values inherent in Filipino culture. In addition, it is also important for Filipinos to come to terms with the historical injustices suffered by the Moros and that this acceptance will lead to unity and equality.

Master of Arts in Islamic Studies Major in Islamic Law (Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines)

The UP Institute of Islamic Studies aims to offer a Major Program in Islamic Law (Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines) which is responsive to the needs of the Muslims in the Philippines. Beginning in 2014, the IIS registered an increasing number of enrollees taking up IS courses related to Shari’a, thereby creating a demand for a major program in Shari’a aimed to produce experts in the field. The program will also strengthen Shari’a practice in the Philippines and render the Shari’a Courts more functional. The establishment of Shari’a Courts in the country under the mandate of Presidential Decree No. 1083, otherwise known as Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines affirms the pluralistic legal system in the country. The 1973 and 1986 Philippine Constitution provides the basis of this recognition. Under this legal system, Non-Muslims are governed by the Family Code whereas P.D. 1083 is the governing rule on personal and family matters for the Muslims. One of the most glaring examples of the differences between the two systems is the recognition of divorce and polygyny under P.D. 1083 while under the Family Code divorce and polygyny are not recognized. Evidently, the Shari’a Courts in the country have limited jurisdictions that cover strictly Muslim personal laws and status in marriage, divorce, custody, guardianship, succession and other family concerns.

Moreover, P.D. 1083 provides the establishment of five (5) Shari’a Judicial Districts. The first and second Shari’a District Courts are located in the Provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, respectively. The third comprises the provinces of Basilan, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur, and the cities of Dipolog, Pagadian and Zamboanga. The fourth Shari’a District Court covers the Provinces of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur and the cities of Iligan and Marawi. The last Shari’a Judicial District covers the provinces of Maguindanao, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and the City of Cotabato. There are 52 Shari’a Circuit Courts distributed under the five Shari’a District Courts. Of the 52 Shari’a Circuit Courts only 16 are operational. The Shari’a Courts cater to the legal needs of the growing Muslim population in the Country pegged at 11 Million or 11.0% of the entire population. There is also a growing number of Balik Islam (Muslim Converts) in the country who after conversion to Islam opted to be governed by P.D. 1083 on matters pertaining to family laws. P.D. 1083 is also relevant and invoked by Muslim women who are married to Muslim foreigners in and outside the country.  It is applicable to all Muslim Filipinos wherever they may be. Hence, the current importance of this program in the curriculum of the Institute of Islamic Studies.

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