The IOK Seminary was established in 2010 with the goal of educating and training the next generation of Muslim American leaders, Imāms, chaplains, teachers, and scholars to serve the religious and spiritual needs of their communities. It is a unique program that offers a one-year certificate, a two-year Associate’s degree, a four-year Bachelor’s degree in Islamic and Arabic studies, and a Master’s program which includes an Ijāzah (Authorization) in teaching and transmitting hadīth. One of the notable aspects of the IOK Seminary is the diversity of its faculty, which consists of scholars who were trained in the traditional Islamic Sciences from institutions of higher learning throughout the world, including Madinah University, Al-Azhar, and Dār Al-‘Ulūm. This diversity creates a rich academic environment, exposing students to different approaches, perspectives, and understandings of the Islamic tradition.
MISSION & VISION
The IOK Seminary aims to educate and train the next generation of Islamic thought leaders and scholars by combining a classical understanding of Islam with contemporary scholarship. We strive to foster a healthy understanding of our sacred tradition and its application in modern day society that will help our graduates morally and ethically serve their communities as leaders through public and civic service.
THE SEMINARY’S HISTORY & TODAY’S CONTEXT
Institute of Knowledge (IOK) is a 501(c)3 non-profit religious organization founded by Shaykh Nomaan Baig to provide educational services and spiritual support for the Muslim youth. IOK started in 1998 as an afterschool Quran and academic tutoring program with approximately ten students. Upon incorporation in 2001, IOK began collaborating with various homeschool and independent study programs for students who were serious about memorizing the Quran full-time.
In 2005, IOK began to offer a more structured program in Quran Memorization, Arabic Language, and Islamic Studies Curriculum known as the IOK Islamic Sciences Program (ISP). The IOK-ISP eventually evolved into the IOK Seminary. This program was also open to students enrolled in the independent study programs (CHEP Independent Study programs for grades KG8-th and Pacific Coast High School for grades 9 and 10). After 10th grade, students were given the opportunity to take the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE), continue their studies at local community colleges, and then transfer to regional UC and Cal State universities.
In 2010, we formally became the IOK Seminary and began offering certificates to Muslims who wanted access to higher education in Islamic Studies but were only finding those opportunities overseas. In 2015 the IOK Seminary was granted a religious exemption certificate from the Bureau of Postsecondary and Private Education allowing for us to grant degrees from the state of California. We graduated our first cohorts with AA and BA degrees that same year. In 2018, we began to offer an MA, the Ijazah, and the Chaplaincy certificate.