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UIM is a continuation of Kolej Islam Malaya (KIM) or better known as “Muslim College” established on 8th April 1955. Kolej Islam Malaya was the first tertiary institution set up in this country by the royal consent of the Council of Malay Rulers. It was borne from the reformist movement brought by Sheikh Tahir bin Jalaluddin, Syed Alwi bin Syed Sheikh al Hadi and the renowned Egyptian scholars, Sheikh Jamaluddin al-Afghani and Sheikh Muhammad Abduh. This movement was at the forefront against the backwardness caused by colonialism. The Reformist Movement which was triggered became more active after World War II, when the British re-entered Malaya. As a result of relentless discussions in 1948, the Muslim leaders of Johore and Singapore had sparked the idea to establish a tertiary institution in this region to oppose backwardness, simultaneously opposing colonial influence in this country. The aspiration to establish KIM was well-received by the Malays in this country. Each state then had set up a committee to collect donations for this purpose. Donations poured in when a days’ hunger strike enabled each Muslim to donate as much as it cost him to eat on that day of hunger strike.
The result of consultations between Almarhum Sultan Abu Bakar Ri’ayatuddin Almuadzam Shah, Sultan of Pahang Darul Makmur and Almarhum Sultan Selangor Darul Ehsan had encouraged the Council of Malay Rulers to make this historic decision to establish KIM. Following this, Baginda DYMM almarhum Tuanku Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah had given His royal consent to endow His palace at Jalan Kampung Jawa as the first campus of Kolej Islam Malaya.
On Friday the 8th of April 1955, KIM was officially opened by the DYMM Almarhum Tuanku Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah in a ceremony attended by several other Malay Rulers, state dignitaries and representative of the British Queen, muftis, leaders and VIPs. In the year 1963, Al-Azhar University had accorded recognition to degrees awarded by KIM as equivalent to first degrees awarded by Al-Azhar University and eligible to read further for master and doctoral degrees at that university and Cairo University.
In the year 1966, it was decided to move KIM to a new campus at Jalan Universiti, Petaling Jaya. The former campus of Kolej Islam at Kampong Jawa was leased to the Ministry of Education as the first Fully Residential Religious Secondary School in this country. In the year 1968, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra al-Haj as Prime Minister then, had announced in Parliament that Kolej Islam Malaya would be upgraded as the first Islamic university in South-east Asia. However, this aspiration was postponed to give way to the establishment of a national university, namely, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in the year 1970 after which KIM would be absorbed into UKM as Faculty of Islamic Studies.
However, based on a special report submitted to the 222nd Conference of Malay Rulers, KIM has been given royal consent to proceed with the name Universiti Islam Malaysia (UIM). UIM is currently operating in Cyberjaya with the blessings and approval of the Ministry of Education. The first study sessions for Master and PhD programs will commence in September 2015.