UC appoints scholar to Islamic Studies visiting assistant professorship

Endowed chair intended to help build college, community collaboration

By Rebecca Schweitzer

Islamic scholar and author Muhammad Faruque has been appointed as visiting assistant professor in Islamic Studies at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Arts and Sciences. 

The Inavat and Ishrat Malik Professorship endowed chair is intended to foster a greater relationship between UC and Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati. Additionally, it is hoped that this position will build relationships with local interfaith and cultural groups, says Thérèse Migraine-George, head of Romance and Arabic Languages and Literatures at A&S and search committee lead.

According to Migraine-George, Faruque is ideal  for the position due to his international renown in the field of Islamic Studies. 

“We were looking for someone who is thoroughly knowledgeable in the Islamic intellectual tradition and in Qur’anic Studies and with a strong scholarly record, but also with a record in community engagement and an interdisciplinary background,” says Migraine-George. “Faruque fits all these criteria and brings outstanding experience and expertise to UC.

“He earned his PhD in Islamic Studies from Berkeley and his groundbreaking book ‘Sculpting the Self: Islam, Selfhood and Human Flourishing’ will be published by the University of Michigan Press in 2021.” 

UC visiting assistant professor of Islamic Studies Muhammad Faruque

UC visiting assistant professor of Islamic Studies Muhammad Faruque

Faruque earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of London in 2011, a master’s in Islamic philosophy and mysticism from the University of Tehran, Iran in 2014, and a PhD in Islamic Studies in 2018 from the University of California, Berkeley. 

He has taught courses as a primary instructor at Berkley and Fordham University. Faruque has published articles in numerous peer-reviewed journals, invited chapters and collected journals, as well as presented at multiple conferences and talks. In 2019, Faruque won Best Dissertation of the Year on a Topic in Iranian Studies from the Foundation for Iranian Studies. 

“Islamic Studies is a broad and interdisciplinary field of study that potentially encompasses many areas and disciplines across the humanities and social sciences,” says Migraine-George. “Having Faruque in this position will therefore allow us to develop community engagement and to promote interdisciplinarity in A&S and beyond.”

Collaborative future

“As Inayat & Ishrat Malik Visiting Assistant Professor, I will collaborate with the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati on several of their educational programs such as Community Conversations on contemporary issues and Adult Education,” says Faruque of his goals for the role. “Further, I have already been in communication with the Islamic Center about the possibility of creating a new educational program in Islamic Psychotherapy and Spiritual Healing.”

Inayat Malik, emeritus board chair for the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, who with his wife Ishrat endowed the chair, says, “It is indeed a very gratifying moment for myself and my wife Ishrat to witness the inaugural professorship appointment in Islamic Studies at the University of Cincinnati. We are very pleased with the selection of Dr, Faruque and are confident that he will ably fill a longstanding need for UC students and faculty in an area of increasing importance.

“I am certain that he will also prove to be a valuable resource for the local Muslim community and strengthen the emerging relationship between the University and the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati. We would like to assure Dr. Faruque of our full support and will do everything possible to make him feel welcome here.”

Growing curricular opportunities

While there is not an Islamic Studies Department or program at UC, there are multiple faculty members whose expertise is in, or intersects with, Islamic Studies. This allows for a major, minor, and certificate in Islamic Studies and Culture to be offered, as well as a certificate in Middle Eastern Studies. A certificate in Religious Studies is also offered through the department of Judaic Studies. Faruque’s position is a joint appointment between Religious Studies and Romance and Arabic Languages and Literatures, and he described this position as an ideal situation to pursue work through both. 

According to Migraine-George, the professorship is a two-year position, but may be renewed and holds potential for a tenure track. Faruque began the position fall semester, and has been focusing on community outreach and research. 

In spring semester, Faruque will teach ‘Religion, Climate Change and the Environment’ and ‘Intro to the Study of Religion.’ During the 2021-2022 academic year, he plans to teach ‘Culture of Contemporary Arab Society’ and ‘Sufism: Mysticism from Arabia to California,’ a new class that he plans to add to the curriculum.

Featured image at top: University of Cincinnati's College of Arts and Sciences.

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