Vocabulary of  Islam

with Dr. Aaron Spevack 

Sundays, 5pm – 7pm; Starting January 25 – April 25, 2020

Location: 41 Quint Ave, Allston, MA 02134



This course provides students with a firm grasp of the principal Arabic terms and concepts, derived from the Qur’an and Sunna, that are necessary for building a sound and profound understanding of the Islamic worldview and for engaging effectively with Muslim and interfaith communities. Students will study the nomenclature and linguistic subtleties that comprise the Islamic lingua franca. By the end of the program, students will have a clear understanding of the fundamental components of reality—physical, metaphysical, theological, moral, and spiritual—as revealed in the Qur’an and Sunna and will be able to effectively convey the meanings of key Islamic terms and concepts to an English-speaking audience.


  • Improving the performance of Muslim religious leadership in American society
  • Developing the next generation of leaders who are well grounded in Islamic knowledge and character
  • Familiarizing 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
  • Demonstrating 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

Who should apply?

  • Required for: 
    • 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.


A successful application will include a meeting with an academic advisor.


Dr. Aaron Spevack is a professor of Islamic Studies. His teaching specialties include topics in Islamic studies—law, theology, Sufism, history, and culture. His research interests include Islamic intellectual history (law, theology, Sufism, logic) especially with regard to the 13th to 19th century legal and theological commentary traditions, as well as contemporary issues in Islam. He has taught at Harvard University’s Summer School (2010-present), Colgate University (2012-present), Loyola University New Orleans (2010-2012), and was a post-doctoral teaching and research fellow in the Humanities at Hamilton College (2008-2010). Prior to that 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 offers educational programs on the arts and sciences of the Islamic world. He has taught courses in Islamic Theology and Middle Eastern Hand-drumming.


The Boston Islamic Seminary offers competitive tuition rates when considered against other non-degree academic programs offered by a variety of institutions throughout Greater Boston. Standard tuition is $400 per program.

Fees $400


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 the financial aid application deadline is one week before the start-date of any given course. Financial aid is offered on a first-come, first-serve 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.