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 International Islamic University, Malaysia

The International Islamic University Malaysia (Malay: Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia), also known as IIUM or UIAM, is one of the Public Institutions of Higher Education in Malaysia. Its main campus is located in Gombak, Selangor with its Centre for Foundation Studies ( situated in Petaling Jaya and its medical-centric branch in KuantanPahang. The university is sponsored by eight governments from the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). It is distinct from the International Islamic University Islamabad, Pakistan and International Islamic University in Chittagong, Bangladesh.

The university was established on 23 May 1983, founded on Islamic principles. Islamic values are inculcated into all disciplines. The university offers bachelormaster’s degree and PhD courses at its 13 faculties, also known as kulliyyah.

Since 1987, there have been 60,785 graduates and postgraduates who have successfully completed their studies at the IIUM. Out of this, 53,241 were from Malaysia while 7,530 were International students.


The idea of an international Islamic education institution was conceived in 1982 by the fourth Prime Minister of MalaysiaMahathir Mohamad during a meeting between OIC leaders to establish an international institution for tertiary education based on Islamic principles, known as the Islamization of knowledge. It was then shared with the then Minister of Education, Dato’ Amar Dr. Sulaiman Daud; the Director-General of Education, Tan Sri Dato’ Hj Murad bin Mohd. Nor and two other persons. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kamal bin Hassan, then of the National University of Malaysia, a senior academic official who attended the meeting, produced the first working paper on the concept of the university.

IIUM was officially established on 23 May 1983 when the University received its ‘Establishment Order’ from His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah, after an exchange of Diplomatic Notes of co-sponsorship between the Government of Malaysia and a number of Muslim Governments as well as the OIC. On 1 July 1983, Ahmad Shah was appointed as the first Constitutional Head of the IIUM.

The university’s language of instruction was to be English and Arabic, and many of its students would come from overseas. As Malaysian law did not allow for this, IIUM was incorporated under the Companies Act of 1965. Thus it became the first international university and the first university in Malaysia to use English as the medium of instruction and administration.

It was officially opened at Petaling Jaya, with the Allahyarham Tun Hussein Onn elected as the first president. The university operates under the direction of a Board of Governors with representatives of the OIC as well as eight sponsoring governments, namely; Malaysia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Libya, Maldives, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The Constitutional Head, President and Rector of this international university are all Malaysians.

A batch of 153 students from Malaysia and abroad were enrolled for the first academic session, which started on 8 July 1983. Courses were conducted under the Faculty of Economics, the Faculty of Laws, the Center for Fundamental Knowledge and the Center for Languages. These first batch received their degrees and diplomas during the First Convocation held on 10 October 1987. 68 graduates were conferred Bachelor of Economics (B.Econ) degrees, 56 Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degrees, and 29 Qadis were conferred Diploma in Law and Administration of Islamic Judiciary.