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The Vocabulary of Islamic Studies  FOUN 105

When: Every Monday, 4 pm – 6 pm EST; Starting April 12
Location:  ONLINE ONLY



This course provides students with a firm grasp of the principal Arabic terms and concepts needed for a sound and profound reading of the Islamic primary sources and engagement with Muslim and interfaith communities. Students will study the nomenclature and linguistic subtleties that comprise the Islamic lingua franca. By the end of the course, they will have gained the ability to engage with the primary sources of various Islamic disciplines and will be able to effectively convey the meanings of key Islamic terms and concepts to an English-speaking audience.



  • Improve the performance of Muslim religious leadership in American society. 
  • Develop the next generation of leaders who are well-grounded in Islamic knowledge and character.
  • Familiarize students with the core Islamic terms that a chaplain, Imam, counselor, or educator will encounter and use in their research and service to the community.
  • Demonstrate the need for proper understanding of core terms in the Islamic sciences for which there is not a common standard across disciplines or translators.
  • Preparing students who are interested in pursuing the full-time religious leadership program.

Participant Learning Outcomes: 

  • Interpret and apply the core terms relevant to Islamic religious leadership that impact the views and perceptions of Muslim and interfaith communities.
  • Prepare students to engage in writing, speaking, and interacting with their communities using the core vocabulary of Islamic religious leadership.
  • Clarify misunderstandings of common terms and explain their proper meaning.


  • Required for: 
    • All students applying to the three-year Master in Islamic Leadership program (except those who pass the placement test or demonstrate previous training)  
    • All Muslims who have not formally studied the personally obligatory knowledge of belief, practice, and spirituality
  • Recommended for: parents, teachers, imams, chaplains, and interfaith workers.


Dr. Harun Spevack specializes in Islamic Intellectual History, with an emphasis on 13th-19th-century law, theology, and Sufism and their reception in contemporary Muslim communities. He has published two books and a number of articles on Islamic intellectual history including The Archetypal Sunni Scholar: Law, Theology, and Mysticism in the Synthesis of al-Bajuri (SUNY, 2014.) He is also a Visiting Scholar in Harvard’s Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and teaches courses on Islam, Islamic Finance, and World Religions in Harvard’s Division of Continuing Education. Previously, he has been a visiting researcher in Harvard Law School’s Program in Islamic Law where he worked on Talfiq (legal patch-working) in Inheritance, Divorce, and Islamic Finance.
Dr. Harun also serves as Muslim Chaplain and as a Senior Research Associate at Brandeis University where he heads a three-year research project on Islamic Philosophy; included in this project is the founding of the American Society of Islamic Philosophy and Theology. He serves as Editor in Chief of the Journal of Islamic Philosophy and has published a number of books and articles on topics in Islamic law, theology, logic, and Sufism. Prior to his academic career he taught Music Theory at Ai New England Institute of Art, Arabic at Boston University, and private musical instrumental and ensemble lessons at Music Maker Studios (Brighton, MA) and Buckingham, Brown, and Nichols high school (Cambridge, MA.) He is also a founder and director of Boston’s Bukhari Institute, which, since 2001, has offered educational programs on the arts and sciences of the Islamic world.


General admission: $150 per one course. Then, $100 for each additional course.

Students: $100 per one for all students (including BIS students). Then, $50 for each additional course. Financial aid is also available for all courses. Please scroll down to find out more.


The Boston Islamic Seminary is committed to providing quality instruction to all, regardless of financial circumstances, through a generous financial aid program.

Please note that financial aid is offered on a first come, first served basis until available funds are exhausted. Please apply as early as possible to increase your chances of being awarded.

Boston Islamic Seminary admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

You can learn more about our financial aid policy here.

If you have any questions, please write to info@bostonislamicseminary.org.