The idea to establish the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) was mooted on 12 January 1982 by Dato' Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, at a meeting 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 University Kebangsaan Malaysia (National University of Malaysia), a senior academic official who attended the meeting, was entrusted with preparing the first working paper on the concept of the university which the Hon. Prime Minister had in mind. The university was meant to be a comprehensive institution of higher learning offering degree programmes in the sciences, engineering, medicine, social sciences and arts. Islamic values would, however, be integrated into all the disciplines.
IIUM was officially established on 20 May 1983 when the University received its 'Establishment Order' from His Majesty the Yang Dipertua Agong, HRH Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta'in Billah ibni AlMarhum Sultan Abu Bakar Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mu'adzam Shah, after an exchange of Diplomatic Notes of co-sponsorship between the Government of Malaysia and a number of Muslim Governments as well as the Organization Islamic Conference (OIC). This was a necessary condition for the establishment of an international university in Malaysia.
The university's language of instruction was to be English and Arabic, and many of its students would have to come from overseas. As the 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 public university in Malaysia to use English as the medium of instruction and administration.
On 1 July 1983, HRH Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta'in Billah ibni AlMarhum Sultan Abu Bakar Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mu'adzam Shah was appointed as the first Constitutional Head of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) by assent of His Majesty the Yang DiPertuan Agong.
The University operates under the direction of a Board of Governors consisting of representatives from the sponsoring governments and organizations, namely : Malaysia (host country), Bangladesh, Egypt, Libya, Maldives, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
The first 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, Faculty of Laws, Centre for Fundamental Knowledge and the Centre for Languages.
The first batch of 153 graduates 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.
Before the commencement of the First Convocation, HRH Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta'in Billah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abu Bakar Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mu'adzam Shah was officially installed as the Constitutional Head of IIUM.
sources from: http://www.iiu.edu.my