History of Nur-Mubarak University

Nur-Mubarak University of Islamic Culture of Egypt is a unique university in the Republic of Kazakhstan, which trains highly educated imams, specialists in Islamic studies, religion, theology, two foreign languages (Arabic-English, English-Arabic). Nur-Mubarak is a golden milestone in the life of independent Kazakhstan, which is moving towards world civilization.

For the Republic of Kazakhstan, which gained independence in 1991, there was a choice of a new direction, a new political orientation, a new position. Protecting the country from external threats and internal disintegration has become the core of the policy of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the foundation of a secular society that protects the rights of not only the the nation, but also every citizen. Underlying the separation between state and religion, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of the country the 70 % population of which follow the Hanafi  decided to open an Islamic university in Kazakhstan in 1993 during a visit to Egypt with the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt. In Almaty, 6 hectares of land were allocated for the construction of a complex of Islamic universities. This bold decision in the first stages of independence was a concrete step towards the unity and future of the country. On June 16, 1993, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and the Minister of Endowments of the UAE Muhammad al-Mahjub laid the foundation stone of the university campus.

The foundation of University was founded on September 1, 2001, when the first students were admitted and taught.

The agreement of the two heads of state was ratified by the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan and entered into force by Nazarbayev’s charter.

In accordance with the laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the agreement of the governments of the two countries on the university and its charter, a Board of Trustees was established to manage the university and coordinate its bilateral activities. The competence of the Council included issues of financial, cultural and educational policy:

From Republic of Kazakhstan:

Minister of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Co-Chairman;

Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan – member;

Chairman of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Kazakhstan, Chief Mufti-member;

Mayor of Almaty city – member;

Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Arab Republic of Egypt;

Minister – Minister of Religious Affairs and Civil Society of the Republic of Kazakhstan;

Rector of Al-Farabi Kazakh National University – member;

Rector of the University of International Relations and World Languages named after Abylaikhan – member;

From Arab Republic of Egypt:

Minister of Endowments of the ARE – Co-Chair;

Mufti of the ARE – member;

Rector of Al-Azhar University – Member;

Al-Azhar’s representative is a member;

Rector of Cairo University – Member;

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Republic of Kazakhstan – Member;

Under the auspices of the Minister of Education of the UAE, three prominent public figures – members.

The Board of Trustees approved the charter of the university, and the rector of the university is a citizen of the Republic of South Africa, the vice-rector is a citizen of the Republic of Kazakhstan. By the decision of the Board,  Academician, Professor Mahmud Fahmi Hijazi was appointed as Rector and Doctor of Philology, Professor Shamshadin Tursunovich Kerim was appointed the first Vice- rector of the university.

By the decision of the Board of Trustees in 2014, Dr. Juda Abdulghani Basuni, Professor of Al-Azhar University was appointed as the Rector of Nur Mubarak University. J.A. Basyuni, who defended his doctoral dissertation on Hanafi jurisprudence, was the head of the Department of Fiqh and Dean of the Faculty of Sharia and Law of Al-Azhar. The name of the Shariah scholar is known not only in his country, but also in the international Islamic circles.

Since the founding of the University, the Board of Trustees has strengthened the base of the university, received a state license, entered the list of state classifiers in the field of Islamic studies under the code «5B050600-Islamic Studies», opened master’s and doctoral departments, established state research centers and re-appointed Vice-Rector for the third time, assessing the qualifications of Dr. Kerim Shamsseddin.

Teachers of the two countries began to teach in the specialties 5B050600 – Islamic Studies, 5B011900 – Foreign Language (two foreign languages), 5B020600 – Religious Studies. Initially, the lectures were given by specialists in Arabic literature, doctors of pedagogy and theology, but today the lectures are given by scholars of ‘aqeedah and jurisprudence, covering a wide range of Shari’a. In addition to scholars in the field of religion, Islamic studies, humanities, Egypt doctoral scholars teach in the field of faith, jurisprudence, the Koran.

 On September 29, 2010, the state license for the right to conduct educational activities in the field of higher and postgraduate professional education was issued for an indefinite period №0137466. In 2011, after the approval of the state standard for the specialty «Islamic Studies», the grant began to be allocated. In 2011, 100 grants, in 2012, 100 grants, and since 2013, the state has supported the training of future imams for 150 places.

In the first 10 years, the university trained more than 500 Islamic scholars, theologians, linguists, including more than 300 highly educated imams. Today, the university annually trains more than two hundred specialists.

The master’s program was opened in 2008 in all specialties of the university, and in 2012 the doctoral program was opened by the state order.

Currently, the university has 76 teachers, 18 PhDs, 7 professors, 8 associate professors, 7 candidates of science.

Rector of the University Juda Abdulghani Basuni said that it is planned to bring the diploma of Nur-Mubarak University to the level of Al-Azhar in the future. Under the leadership of Dr. Juda Basuni, 11 doctors and professors from Kazakhstan, who work in Kazakhstan every 3 years on a rotating basis, have been carefully selected to teach the Abu Hanifa Madhhab in accordance with the principles of the Muslims of Kazakhstan. Egyptian teachers include world-renowned scholars on the basics of jurisprudence, world-class «doctoral» in hadith and its teachings, and «first-class honors.»

As the mainstay of Islam is the Holy Quran, students are taught Arabic from the first year. And Arabic has been recognized as the language of science for centuries. Therefore, a new curriculum for teachers of Kazakh and Arabic languages ​​has been developed, and students have the opportunity to study in Arabic from native Egyptian doctors. From the Egyptian side, doctors of science in the field of the Holy Quran, hadith, jurisprudence, preaching and linguistics from the universities of Al-Azhar, Cairo, Ain Shams, Alexandria, Al-Miniya systematically teach NMU students. Also, the best students from the second year are sent to Al-Azhar, Alexandria, Al-Miniya, Cairo universities in Egypt for short-term internships. After the summer session of the II-III year of the curriculum, he conducts internships in mosques of the country.

For the first time in the country, the university is training imam-khatib specialists, and among the students are trained qari-hafiz who memorize the Koran. Under the leadership of Dr. Yasir al-Suradi, the Center for the Reading of the Elders is open on a regular basis, and opportunities for students to participate in Quran competitions around the world will be considered. The center organized various courses for teachers of universities and schools of the Republic on religion, Islamic studies, Arabic language.

The university has its own mosque that meets all the requirements of the state certification of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Nur-Mubarak Mosque is not limited to practical training of students in preaching. University organizes meetings with prominent religious figures and opens his doors to the public on Fridays and during the holy months and during Kurban Ait and Ramadan. A new educational building was opened in Nur-Mubarak in 2011. It has a library and a reading room with 118,515 books. There is a large collection of fiction, textbooks, works of Kazakh and Arabic scholars, scientific and educational literature, religious books in Kazakh, Russian and Arabic languages. In addition to books, a mini-disk collection has been created in order to increase the level of knowledge of students, to open the way for them to quickly learn the Arabic language. The conference hall, auditoriums, computer laboratory, language classrooms in the building are used for educational purposes. In 2014, a new dormitory building for 610 beds was commissioned, and now the construction of a modern sports complex has begun.

Nur-Mubarak Egyptian University of Islamic Culture is becoming not only the only Islamic higher education institution in Kazakhstan, but also the center of Islamic scientific education. On December 7, 2011 by the order of the rector of the university (№ 662 order) the research center named after Abu Hanifa was opened. The main purpose of the Center is to develop educational and methodical literature for all levels of religious education of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Kazakhstan, translation of foreign literature on the basics and values ​​of Islam, preparation of dictionaries of various levels, organization and conduct of research, as well as Kazakh and foreign religions. collection, research and publication of works of specialists. Based on the choice of policies and areas of research, it sets important goals such as improving the scientific level and literacy of religious specialists in the country, religious integrity, inter-religious harmony and the harmonization of traditional Islamic culture and national traditions. The selection of basic and applied research topics, priorities and development and implementation of research work is constantly monitored by the Academic Council of the University.

Research plans are developed on the basis of regulations and documents of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the University. Department of «University Humanities» «Implementation of the principle of unity of teaching and education through education», Department of «Arabic language and literature» «Comparative-historical, typological and comparative linguistics», «Literary theory, rhetoric», «Methods of teaching foreign languages» ,the departments of «Religious Studies» and «Islamic Studies» work within the Hanafi Madhhab.

At present, Nur-Mubarak University has 667 undergraduate students in 3 specialties, 62 master’s students in 3 specialties, 14 doctoral students in 3 different fields and 35 part-time students. Undergraduates and doctoral students have the opportunity to study in depth at foreign universities.

Long-term contacts have been established with leading universities of the CIS and foreign countries within the framework of cooperation agreements and memorandums for the purpose of academic exchange and mutual training and internship of students. As a result, in addition to master’s and doctoral mentors, scholars from leading universities in Turkey, Russia and Malaysia will give lectures. Every year, professors from Cairo University in the category of 500 universities selected by the academic rankings of world universities are specially invited to hold a two-week lecture-seminar for master’s and doctoral students. Due to the agreement with one university and 4 research and educational centers abroad, in the last 3 years, 11 scientists have been specially invited to give lectures at Nur-Mubarak University. The university has bilateral cooperation agreements with Al-Miniya, Cairo, Alexandria, Ain Shams and Unisza universities in Malaysia.

Nur-Mubarak University, which is home to 9 nationalities, has become a unique research university, providing in-depth study of Islamic science not only in the CIS, but also in Central Asia. Of course, this is 15 years from now, but the main roots of history go back many centuries. After all, our ancestors, who from the very beginning adhered to the school of Imam Aqzam Abu Hanifa, not only developed Islamic civilization and formed a rich heritage, but also left their signatures in the libraries of faraway Arab countries. One of the goals of the scientists of Nur-Mubarak University is to study the ancient manuscripts and use them for the benefit of the fatherland.

Proving that Islam is the source of knowledge and science, Nur-Mubarak University has begun to curb the blind faith that is gaining ground in the country by training educated professionals. This is evidenced by the growing number of students who want to study at the university, and even the desire of graduates of other fundamental universities in the country to study for a fee, the comprehensive and qualified activities of graduates of Islamic studies in all parts of the country. In 2017, 6 PhD degrees (4 Islamic studies, 2 religious studies) in «Islamic Studies» and «Religious Studies» have defended their dissertations.

Graduates from Religious Studies work for the benefit of the country in various public places, analyzing the directions of various religious movements in the country. Although the Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of Kazakhstan is an independent non-governmental association, the contribution of professionals working in mosques under the auspices of the Muftiate to the unity and solidarity of the country is enormous. In addition to the increase in the number of grant places allocated annually by the state, the full support of Nur-Mubarak University is a guarantee of a strong step into the future.