Islam and Muslim Societies Studies (IMSS)

The Department of Islam and Muslim Societies Research (MSRT) works on studying the common interests and shared vulnerabilities of the Muslim World. This department focuses on three levels. The first level explores the conceptual and intellectual ground of what binds the Muslim World together as a unit of analysis. The second level pinpoints institutional structures and social practices within Muslim societies which form the transnational and interregional basis of fulfilling a viable site of Islamic values. The third level identifies fault lines and obstacles facing the proper development, strength and stability of Muslim societies. On a conceptual level, MSRT will map the values, concepts and purposes required to make the Muslim World a beneficial and sustainable method of analysis for policy and critique. Here, experts will investigate the legal, political, social and economic concepts essential to Islamic political thought. For example, teams may research the evolution of the concept of the Muslim Ummah, the role of Shariah in modern societies, the idea of sovereignty from an Islamic perspective, the idea of Jihad, or economic principles of Islamic thought. At an institutional level, researchers will take on the idea of waqf, hisba and zakat. By matching theory to practice, and locating exact sites of implementation of Muslim ideals in good governance and economic development, the last challenge is to identify faultlines within Muslim societies which form obstacles for prosperity and justice. Here our focus is on enduring challenges such as sectarianism, multiculturalism, secularism and civil-military relations.