Muslim Religious Scholars


Education and Training Requirements

High School

In high school, you can prepare for a lifetime of study and critical-thinking by taking classes in religion, philosophy, history, social studies, business, science, mathematics, and speech. You’ll, of course, want to become skilled at reading, writing, and speaking Arabic, but keep in mind that Muslims come from many different countries and speak many different languages. Being able to communicate in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Persian, and other languages will increase your value as a scholar.

Postsecondary Education

Educational requirements vary for Muslim religious scholars depending on what country they live in, their employer, and other criteria.

In the United States, a Muslim religious scholar would need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, but, preferably, a master’s degree in Islamic studies. Those who plan to work as college professors need a doctorate. Some scholars have divinity degrees. Many U.S. colleges and universities offer degrees or concentrations in Islamic studies. Some noteworthy schools include:

  • American Islamic College (Chicago, Illinois,, which offers bachelor’s, master’s, and graduate master’s divinity degrees in Islamic studies
  • Bayan Claremont at Claremont School of Theology (Claremont, California,, which offers master’s degrees and certificates in Islamic studies and leadership, Islamic education, and Islamic chaplaincy
  • Hartford Seminary (Hartford, Connecticut,, which offers a graduate Islamic chaplaincy program, a Ph.D. in Islamic studies and Christian-Muslim relations, a master of arts in transformative leadership and spirituality, and various leadership degrees and certificates
  • Mishkah University (Wesley Chapel, Florida,, which offers associate and bachelor’s degrees (taught in English) in Islamic studies, and master’s and doctorate degrees (in Arabic) in Islamic law, fundamentals of religion, and Islamic studies with a concentration in Arabic 
  • Zaytuna College (Berkeley, California,, which offers a bachelor’s degree in Islamic law and theology

Other Education or Training

Muslim religious scholars continue to learn throughout their careers by attending educational conferences that are offered by organizations such as the North American Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies and the International Institute of Islamic Thought; taking classes at colleges and universities; and traveling to Islamic centers of learning to meet with more experienced Islamic scholars.


Undergraduate and graduate certificates are available in a wide range of areas, including Islamic studies, Arabic and other foreign languages, and the history of a particular region, such as the Middle East. 

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There are no certification or licensing requirements for religious scholars.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

It takes many years of hard work and study to become a respected Muslim religious scholar. Previous teaching experience (student teaching, etc.) is necessary to become a college teacher; it will take several years at the minimum to gain tenure and advance to the rank of professor.

Muslim religious scholars need excellent critical-thinking, analytical, and research skills. They should have strong communication skills—both written and verbal—in order to effectively explain their ideas and findings to a wide range of people. Scholars who work as educators need good teaching and leadership skills and the ability explain complex concepts to young people.