Founder of IOU

> Biography of Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips


ABU AMEENAH BILAL PHILIPS is a Jamaican – Canadian Islamic Scholar who converted to Islam in 1972. He completed a BA from the Islamic University of Medina, an M.A. from King Saud University in Riyadh, and a Ph.D. in Islamic Theology from the University of Wales, UK (1994).

Dr. Bilal spent ten (10) years teaching Islamic studies in an Islamic high school in Riyadh, and another eighteen (18) years lecturing in Arabic and Islamic studies in the American University in Dubai, UAE, the Islamic Studies Academy in Doha, Qatar, Knowledge International University of Riyadh, and Preston International College, Chennai, India.

But perhaps his greatest achievement, and the one for which he was listed in the Jordanian publication among “The 500 Most Influential Muslims”, is his historic founding of the mega-university, the International Open University, which has in only seven (7) years since its inception, over 270,000 students registered from 228 different countries around the world!


Dr. Bilal has written, translated, and commented on over 50 published books on various Islamic topics, as well as edited and published the 56-book Eemaan reading series for children. He has also presented Islamic programs for many years on Riyadh Channel 2TV, Sharjah TV, Peace TV, Huda TV, Islam Channel, UK, and the Deen Show, Chicago, USA, and GuideUS TV, from Washington USA.

1980 – 1990: Taught Arabic and Islamic Studies at Manaret Riyadh Secondary School in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

1986: Began the first translation of the Friday Sermon into English in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at the Mosque of Dr. Abdur Rahman Al-Luwaihiq.

1988: Participated in the establishment of the first Islamic Center in Bat’ha, Riyadh, and his book “The True Religion of God”, was among the first books used to propagate Islam among foreign workers.

1989: Published first books: Polygamy in Islam, The Devils Deception, The Mirage in Iran, Khomeini: Moderate or Fanatical Shi’ite

1990: Published Islamic Studies Book 1, The Fundamentals of Tawheed, and The Evolution of Fiqh.

1991-2: Led a team of Islamic propagators that converted over 3,000 American soldiers in Khobar, Saudia Arabia, after the 1st Gulf War.

1993 – 2003: Taught Arabic and Islamic Studies at the American University in Dubai.

1993 – 2003: Set up and ran the first Islamic Center in the UAE for Dar al – Birr Charity, in Dubai.

2001: Established the first Friday sermon (Khutbah) in English in the UAE, at Qasbah Mosque, Sharjah, UAE.

1993 – 2002: Set up and ran the English Department of Dar al Fatah Islamic Press, in Sharjah, UAE. Published more than 80 books.

2001 – 2004: Dr. Bilal established and headed the faculty of Islamic Studies at Preston University Ajman, UAE, and lectured at the University of Ajman.

2003 – 2010: Consulted for and lectured at the Qatar Guest Center of Sh Eid Al Thani Charity, Doha, Qatar

2007 – Present: Launched and headed the International Open University (IOU) Free Islamic Studies Diploma, online from Doha, Qatar.

2007 – 2011: Established and was Dean of the Islamic Studies Academy, affiliated with Omdurman Islamic University, Omdurman, Sudan.

2008 – 2009: Established and lectured in the English Islamic Studies section of Knowledge International University founded by Sh. Dr. Sa’d Al Shithri.

2009 – 2010: Director of PERF, and as Supervising Director he founded the first Islamic University in India “Preston International College (” and along with it, Al-Fajr International School (, in Chennai, India.

2010 – Present: Launched the BAIS (Bachelors of Arts in Islamic Studies) online. Affiliated IOU with Wishes University, Davao, Philippines.

2011: Affiliated IOU with Muhamadiyyah University, Sukabumi, Indonesia.

2012: Established the first office of IOU in Hargeisa, Somaliland, and obtained accreditation for IOU from the Ministry of Education of Somaliland. Ranked among the 500 most influential Muslims in the world

2013: Established the first learning Center for IOU in the Gambia and launched the IEC (Intensive English Course) for madrasah graduates as a bridge to IOU’s BAIS.

2014: Obtained accreditation for IOU from the Ministry of Education of Somalia, Mogadeshu.

2014 – Present: Launched the Bachelor of Arts in Education and Islamic Banking and Finance, and the Bachelor of Science in Psychology at IOU.

2015 – Present: Launched a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Information Technology. Also launched the Masters of Arts in Islamic Studies (MAIS). Obtained degree recognition and a license for operation for IOU in the Gambia. Launched the IEC in Somaliland in collaboration with the government. Established an IOU Learning Center in Sierra Leone.

2016: Established the official headquarters on the ground for IOU in Banjul, Gambia. Established an IOU a Learning Center and obtained provisional accreditation from the NCHE of Malawi, East Africa. Established an IOU Learning Center in Luzon, Philippines.

2017: Established an IOU Learning Center in Marawi City, Mindanao, Philippines.