Muslim Religious Scholars


Employment Prospects


Religious scholars are employed by colleges and universities, Islamic think tanks, mosques, Islamic schools of law, and Islamic cultural and community centers. There are more than 2,100 mosques, Muslim schools, and Islamic centers in the United States.

Starting Out

A young scholar who has just completed his or her university training might help a more experienced scholar conduct research before obtaining enough experience to work on his or her own.

Religious scholars who plan to work as professors can learn about jobs in Islamic studies or Arabic studies departments by contacting colleges and universities directly or by visiting the Chronicle of Higher Education’s employment Web site,

Advancement Prospects

Religious scholars advance by becoming well-known for their ideas, publishing books, and giving presentations at major Islamic research conferences. Some become leaders of Islamic associations or think tanks. Scholars who work as college teachers move through the normal pattern of advancement—from instructor to assistant professor, to associate professor, to full professor. A few become college or university presidents or other types of administrators. A scholar who also works as an imam might eventually become a member of the mosque’s executive committee or board. The most learned religious scholars are known as muftis. They issue rulings on Islamic law.

Tips for Entry

Read the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences ( to learn more about the field. 

Attend the International Institute of Islamic Thought’s Summer Institute (, an annual meeting for both senior and young scholars with a particular interest or expertise in Quranic and Sunna studies.

Attend the Islamic Society of North America’s annual conference ( to grow your faith and network.