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Background and Objectives

The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) is dedicated to initiating, fostering, and supporting research in various areas of Islamic thought, with the aims of promoting reform of Islamic thought and integrating diverse approaches in Islamic epistemologies with contemporary humanities and social sciences. IIIT supports the development of original ideas and methodologies that will advance the cause of reforming Islamic thought. The Institute encourages scholars to integrate Islamic value framework with their analyses of various socio-religious phenomena, and to query how their findings will advance human civilization. Through its Council of Scholars and other academic networks, the IIIT seeks to initiate collaborative approaches in research that are essential for the advancement of human knowledge. Islam-based normativity and epistemological integration are at the core of the Institute’s intellectual agenda.


IIIT invites grant applications from faculty, scholars, and researchers in the areas of Islamic studies and thought, arts and humanities, legal studies, and social sciences. The proposed projects should be creative and aligned with the intellectual orientation and objectives of the Institute.

Grant applicants should fulfill the following criteria:

  •   PhD/SJD/JDS holders in Islamic studies, law, arts, humanities, and/or social sciences
  •   Based in the US or Canada
  •   Excellent record of scholarly contributions
  •   Active participation in academic/scholarly communities and life

If you do not fulfill the above criteria, please do not apply for a grant. No exceptions will be made.

Expectations and outcomes

IIIT expects the grant holders to produce a tangible outcome: a book, book chapter, publishable paper etc. Grant holders will be offered the opportunity to publish with the IIIT. In some cases, grant award may be contingent on the applicant’s agreement to publish research outcome with IIIT. Since 1981, the Institute has published more than 700 books in more than 20 languages. The Institute’s publications are distributed world-wide in many markets and are available at major online retailers. IIIT also publishes a peer-reviewed English-language journal, the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences (AJISS), which is indexed in several major indices. For more information, see Publications section at IIIT’s website.

Research areas and priorities

While the IIIT supports research in all areas of Islamic thought, the Institute has a special interest in following themes:

  • Reform of Islamic Thought – Studies that examine integration of Islamic epistemologies with epistemologies in contemporary humanities/social sciences; case studies showcasing epistemological integration; critique of various approaches to integration of knowledge; placing IIIT’s legacy of epistemological integration into a wider context of knowledge production and dissemination; situating attempts at epistemological integration within broader field of reform of Islamic thought; showcasing epistemological biases in contemporary humanities and social sciences.
  • Reform of education – theoretical works, case studies, ‘success’ stories, and other issues related to reform of all levels of education in Muslim states and societies. Case studies on lessons learned from reform of education in non-Muslim states and societies are also welcome. For more on the IIIT’s initiative in the field of reform of education, please see
  • Social science studies – priority is given to studies that integrate Islamic epistemologies with contemporary social sciences, or social studies that improve our understanding of various issues related to Muslim communities in the US and abroad.
  • Maqasid al-Shari‘ah – emphasis is on linking the maqasid discourse to ethics and ethical considerations, such as in applied ethics, governance, and social sciences. You may consult publication section on IIIT website to learn more about IIIT’s efforts in research and publication on maqasid al-Shari‘ah.
  • Fiqh al-Aqalliyyat (Jurisprudence for Muslim minorities) – special consideration is given to the studies of ‘urf and ‘adah (customary practices) within the North American context. In other words, what is the meaning of ‘custom’ in the American setting and how does (or should) it influence fiqh and ahkam? How, if at all, should this be linked to the discourse on jurisprudence for Muslim minorities? Research that problematizes the field of fiqh al-aqalliyyat and its terminology are welcome.

Evaluation criteria

Grant applications are evaluated internally by IIIT Research Grant Committee and by external reviewers who are experts in areas in which grant applications are made. Main evaluation criteria include the following:

  • the proposal’s academic strength, integrity, originality, and creativity
  • use of appropriate and relevant methodologies and methods
  • the applicant’s qualification to address the proposed topic
  • the potential for generating excellent research
  • the proposal’s relevance to the Institute’s aims and objectives
  • competitive strength of the proposal in relation to other submitted proposals
  • the applicant’s potential to contribute to collaborative work and projects.

Types of grants

IIIT awards several types of grants: residential fellowships, long-term grants (6-12 months, or longer in exceptional cases), short-term grants (2-4 months), collaborative grants, and doctoral research grants. Not all grants may be available at all times. Unsolicited grant applications will not be considered. Please refer to open call for grant applications to learn which grants are available at any given time. Grant application announcements are usually made three times a year: in Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters.

Equipment, books, audio-visuals, and other scholarly aids

By accepting grant award from the IIIT, the grant holder agrees that the IIIT owns all permanent equipment, books, audio-visuals, and other scholarly aids purchased by grant money during the course of research.

Human subjects.

IIIT is committed to ethical principles for the protection of human subjects in research. If proposed research involves human subjects, the applicant is strongly recommended to obtain IRB (Institutional Review Board) approval from the home institution. IIIT will not be held liable for any misconduct or unethical treatment of human subjects by grant holders.

Intellectual property and copyright

By accepting grant award, the recipient acknowledges that, in case of a fully funded research, the IIIT owns all rights to publication of same. Written permission is needed to publish the results of research outside the IIIT. In the case where research is partially funded by the IIIT, the applicant needs to get permission from the Institute before publishing research elsewhere. Such permission will not be withheld unreasonably.

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