Social sciences like psychology, sociology, and anthropology are often mistakenly regarded as less worthy because they are not as lucrative and do not afford elite status in our community. In reality, the social sciences play a critical role in modern society and constitute key priorities for American Muslims. They serve the community's essential interests in areas such as mental health, social welfare, and cultural development. Our ability to function effectively as Muslims in modern society requires a nuanced understanding of modernity. Such an understanding falls squarely within the competence of the social sciences. It is a primary societal obligation for American Muslims to develop sufficient cadres of well-trained social scientists whose research is not only of use to the Muslim community but is valuable to the greater society at large.
Specializations in the humanities like history, modern thought, philosophy, and literature are widely considered in our community as marginal, but they too are necessary and meet essential societal obligations similar to those of the social sciences. They impart a wider view of the world; how its past relates to its present and future; and the seminal ideas of our times. They give direct access to effective cross-cultural understanding and intellectual development and enable the community to take interpretive control of itself and its religion in a contemporary context.
-Dr. Umar F. Abd-Allah in his Nawawi paper called "Living Islam with Purpose"