Department of Religious Studies

Hina Azam


Ph.D., 2007, Duke University, Department of Religion

Associate Professor, Islamic Studies, Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Hina Azam

Contact

  • Phone: 475-8393 (no voicemail - please call department to leave a message)
  • Office: CAL 506
  • Office Hours: For Fall 2020: MW 4:30-5:30 or F 2:00-3:00. All hours by Zoom. Mon: https://utexas.zoom.us/j/97166726687. Wed: https://utexas.zoom.us/j/93408475909. Fri: https://utexas.zoom.us/j/99863899203.
  • Campus Mail Code: F9400

Interests


Islamic jurisprudence, theology, exegesis, hadith studies; Women/sexuality and Islam; Sexual Violence in Islamic Law

Biography


Dr. Hina Azam teaches courses in Islamic Studies such as Islamic theology, Islamic law, the Qur'an, Qur'an interpretation, and Islamic feminism, as well as a course on comparative religions of the Middle East. Her research focuses on women/gender/sexuality in Islam, ethics, and pedagogy.  She supervises or serves as reader for undergraduate and graduate theses and dissertations across the University. She is currently the Graduate Advisor for the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and also serves on the Graduate Assembly, the Curriculum and Design Committee for the College of Liberal Arts, and the Steering Committee for the Jefferson Center for Core Texts and Ideas. Dr. Azam is a faculty affiliate/GSC member with the Department of Religious Studies and the Center for Women and Gender Studies. She is a Provost Teaching Fellow, currently working on a project entitled "Teaching the University." Her book, Sexual Violation in Islamic Law, won the American Historical Association's 2016 James Henry Breasted award for pre-modern history. In 2019, the Alcalde named Dr. Azam as one of the TexasTen, in recognition of her outstanding teaching. Dr. Azam oversees the Islamic Studies Reading Group, the Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (ISMES) Colloquium, and the undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Islamic Studies housed in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies. 

Courses


R S 310R • Intro To Middle East Religions

43160 • Spring 2021
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WEL 1.308
Hybrid/Blended
(also listed as ISL 310R, J S 310R, MES 310R)

Course Description

It is impossible to understand the Middle East, either historically or today, without understanding its religious landscape.  At the same time, it is impossible to understand the three major Abrahamic religions without understanding the Middle Eastern context in which they arose.  This lecture-based foundational course for the Middle Eastern Studies (MES) major introduces students to the religious terrain of the Middle East, including the various expressions of Eastern Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, as well as Zoroastrianism. Time permitting, instructors may also examine a selection of other Middle Eastern religions, usch as the Baha’i, Druze, or Yazidi religions.  This course will focus on situating each religion’s beliefs, ritual practices, sacred history, religious texts, and moral principles within the historical and geographical context of the region. This course will also familiarize students with themes and concepts in the comparative and historical study of religions, more broadly.

 

 

Course Requirements (tentative)

 

Attendance & Participation                                              = 20%

Geography/History Quiz                                                    = 10%

Five Unit Tests                                                                          = 35% (7% each)

Midterm Exam or Project                                                  = 20%

Final Exam or Project                                                           = 25%

 

Textbooks (tentative)

  • For Zoroastrianism: Mary Boyce, Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices. Routledge, 2001. ISBN# 0415239036.
  • For Islam: Carole Hillenbrand, Introduction to Islam: Beliefs and Practices in Historical Perspective (Illustrated Edition, 2015).
  • For Middle Eastern Christianity: Selections from Ken Parry, ed.,The Blackwell Companion to Eastern Christianity (Wiley, 2007).
  • For Middle Eastern Judaism: Selections from Kenneth Seeskin and Judith R. Baskin, ed., The Cambridge Guide to Jewish, History, and Culture (Cambridge, 2010).

                                                                                                          

R S 390T • Islamic Feminism-Wb

43345 • Spring 2021
Meets T 3:00PM-6:00PM
Internet
(also listed as AMS 390, MES 386, WGS 393)

Description

Islam and feminism are often considered to be contradictory in their essences and objectives. Nevertheless, we now find more than a century of writing by Muslim women (and men) who draw their inspiration from their religion, and who seek to reconcile Islam’s scriptures and traditions with principles of gender equality and justice.  This course explores the idea of Islamic feminism, and surveys its history and key writings.  Students will be introduced to some of the practices, doctrines, and texts of Islam that have been considered most problematic from a women/gender perspective, and will read and discuss the ideas of several critical figures from the 20th and 21st centuries. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to reflect on the idea of, and varying definitions of, “Islamic feminism,” as well as to develop their own definitions of the term. All required readings will be in English. 

In addition to carrying the expected MES, RS and WGS crosslistings, this course also carries an American Studies (AMS) crosslisting, for two reasons: First, much critical work in Islamic feminism is being carried out by U.S.-based scholars, writers,  and activists, and study of that work receives significant attention in this course.  Second, this course seeks to interrogate the dichotomy not only between “Islam” and “feminism,” but also between “Islam” and “the West.” Studying the discourses of Muslim American feminists leads us to imagine different ways of being Muslim, feminist, and American.

 

Course Requirements/Grading

Attendance                                                    20%

Class Participation                                      20%

5 Reading Responses – 8% each               40%

Term Paper in 4 parts                                  35%

-- Part A) Proposal                                 5%

-- Part B) Annotated Bibliography         10%

-- Part C) Outline wIntro & Thesis         5%

-- Part D) Paper                                  15%

 

Course Readings:

Textbooks (tentative list):

  • Margot Badran. Feminism in Islam: Secular and Religious Convergences. 2009.
  • Barbara Stowasser. Women in the Qur’an, Traditions, and Interpretation. 1994.
  • Lamia Shehadeh, The Idea of Women Under Fundamentalist Islam. 2007.
  • Qasim Amin. The Liberation of Woman, and The New Woman. 1900.
  • Fatima Mernissi. The Veil and the Male Elite (Le harem politique – Le Prophète et les femmes). Tr. Mary Jo Lakeland.1987.
  • Amina Wadud. Qur’an and Woman. 1992.
  • Gisela Webb, ed. Windows of Faith. 2000.
  • Aysha Hidayatullah. Feminist Edges of the Qur’an. 2014.
  • Kecia Ali. Sexual Ethics and Islam. 2006.
  • Zaynab Ghazali, Days from my life (Ayyām min ḥayātī). Tr. A. R. Kidwai. 1978.
  • Bint al-Shāṭi’ (‘A’isha bt. ‘Abd al-Raḥmān), Wives of the Prophet (Nisā’ al-Nabī). Tr. Matti Moosa. 1973.

Additional readings (articles, essays, and book chapters) will be available in PDF format on Canvas. 

Arabic primary text reading supplementation: If enough students are interested, an optional session to read primary texts in Arabic can be arranged.

 

ARA 130D • Arabic Across Disciplines

39860 • Fall 2020
Meets M 3:00PM-4:00PM PHR 2.116
Hybrid/Blended

 

Arabic Grammar III

 

Course Description

This 1-hour course aims to maintain and enhance students’ understanding of Modern Standard Arabic (fuṣḥa) grammar, while also building vocabulary and improving reading/writing skills. Homework will include textbook readings, grammatical analysis, translation between English and Arabic, sentence composition, and glossary-building.  Assessments will include weekly quizzes.

Major grammatical topics *reviewed* in this course are the following: sentence structure, nouns and cases, plural forms, attached/detached pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, idafa, verb moods (indicative, subjunctive, jussive, imperative), past and present tense verbs, and how to use the Hans Wehr dictionary.

Major grammatical topics *introduced* in this course are the following: forms I-XV of triliteral verbs, doubled verbs, hamza-verbs, weak and hollow verbs. Several minor topics will be covered as well.

Prerequisites for this course are completion of 3rd semester Arabic or equivalent. The term will begin with a multi-week review period and testing on grammatical concepts and vocabulary from Arabic Grammar I and II. Students who enroll in this course without having taken Arabic Grammar I and II are strongly encouraged to begin study of those chapters prior to the start of the term.

This course is open to graduate student auditors, with permission of instructor.

Course Materials

• Select chapters from J. A. Haywood and H. M. Nahmad, A New Arabic Grammar of the Written Language. Serious students of Arabic are encouraged to purchase this textbook, if possible, although excerpts for this course will be available on Canvas.

• The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, ed. J. M. Cowan, any edition (including online or electronic formats). This dictionary is required for class, as it is arranged by root. Online translators are not acceptable.

Grading Rubric

Attendance                                                      = 12%

Weekly Submitted Homework (11 x 3%)            = 33%

Glossary-Building                                             = 10%

Review Tests (2 x 6%)                                      = 12%

Quizzes (11 x 3%)                                            = 33%

MEL 301 • Gateway To The Middle East

40160 • Fall 2020
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM BUR 130
Hybrid/Blended
GC

Course Description

Gateway to the Middle East is a discussion-based survey course aimed to familiarize students with major topics and themes in Middle Eastern Studies, as well as to the UT faculty who teach courses in the field.  Using the lens of geography, students gain a solid foundation to the geography and peoples of the Middle East. Physical geographical study of the Middle East introduces students to the region’s lands, waterways, natural resources, and climate. Cultural geographical study of the Middle East introduces students to the region’s ancient civilizations, its ethnic and religious groups, its languages and scripts, and its modern social and political patterns.  Students regularly read Middle Eastern current events, and are taught fundamentals of news analysis as well of academic reading more generally. During the semester, guest faculty will present lectures on a range of topics on which they teach and conduct research. This course carries the Global Cultures flag.

Course Format: Hybrid

 

UGS 303 • Stories From The Muslim West

61855-61865 • Fall 2020
Meets MW 11:00AM-12:00PM JES A121A
Hybrid/Blended
ID

Description

Muslims make up nearly a quarter of the world's population, and although Muslims make up only about 1% of the U.S., Islam and Muslims are the focal point of much current attention. A college-educated person should have a basic understanding of Islam and Muslim societies.  This interdisciplinary reading-centered course offers students a fun and lively way to learn about Muslim history, cultures, and beliefs, and so become better equipped to handle real-world encounters and discussions on these topics, and to contribute meaningfully to society-wide debates on the interrelationship of Islam and the West.

We will read fictional works by Muslim authors situated in the West and writing primarily in English. The objectives of the course are to familiarize students with this emerging area of literary production, and through reading these stories, to learn about Muslim history, cultures, and societies, as well as about Islam as a religion.  Titles will draw from three genres of fiction – historical, contemporary, and fantasy/science fiction.  The following overarching questions drawing from the fields of Islamic and religious studies will guide the course: What does Islam/being Muslim look like in these works? What does Western Islam/being Muslim look like in these works?  How is the relationship between Islam/Muslimness and the West portrayed in these works?  What are the moral visions being forwarded in these works? Other topics that we will explore through this course are those of women and gender in Islam, Muslims in history, and methods of storytelling and oral history.

            Assignments for this course will include the following: 1) reading responses in the form of online journal entries; 2) interviewing, collecting, and narrating one’s own “Muslim story from the West”; 3) researching and writing about a historical moment or event depicted in a literary work; and 4) performing a dramatic reading from a work, submitted as an audio recording.  The research project will engage one of the University’s gems, either the Briscoe Center or the University libraries. A guest lecturer will present a lesson in elocution to strengthen oral communication and storytelling skills. Students will also be required to attend the University Lecture Series that semester. 

 

Assignments and Grading

4 Journal Entries (6% each) w/Annotations (3% each)     36% total

Oral History Project & Briscoe task sheet                         20%

Dramatic Reading (oral)                                                  8%

Attendance                                                                   10%

Participation                                                                  10%

Pop Quizzes                                                                  10%

Quiz on University Lecture                                               6%

 

ARA 130D • Arabic Across Disciplines

40490 • Spring 2020
Meets W 1:00PM-2:00PM CAL 419

Course Description

This 1-hour course aims to maintain and enhance students’ understanding of Modern Standard Arabic (fuṣḥa) grammar, while also building vocabulary and improving reading/writing skills. Homework will include textbook readings, grammatical analysis, translation between English and Arabic, sentence composition, and glossary-building.  Assessments will include weekly quizzes.

Major grammatical topics covered in this course are the following: the imperfect verb in indicative, subjunctive, jussive, and imperative moods; negation of perfect and imperfect verbs; passive verbs; derived verb forms I through X; and doubled verbs. Several minor topics will be covered as well.

Prerequisites for this course are 3rd semester Arabic or equivalent. Arabic Grammar I is strongly recommended. The term will begin with a two-week review period and testing on grammatical concepts and vocabulary from Chapters 2 through 13 of the textbook, which were covered in Arabic Grammar I. Students who enroll in this course without having taken Arabic Grammar I are strongly encouraged to begin study of those chapters prior to the start of the term.

This course is open to graduate student auditors, with permission of instructor.

Course Materials

• Select chapters from J. A. Haywood and H. M. Nahmad, A New Arabic Grammar of the Written Language. Serious students of Arabic are encouraged to purchase this textbook, if possible, although excerpts for this course will be available on Canvas.

• The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, ed. J. M. Cowan, any edition (including online or electronic formats). This dictionary is required for class, as it is arranged by root. Online translators are not acceptable.

Grading Rubric

Attendance                                                      = 12%

Weekly Submitted Homework (11 x 3%)  = 33%

Glossary-Building                                             = 10%

Review Tests (2 x 6%)                                      = 12%

Quizzes (11 x 3%)                                            = 33%

MEL 323 • Engaging The Middle East

40750 • Spring 2020
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM BEN 1.122
IIWr

Please check back for updates.

R S 319 • Introduction To Islam

42395 • Spring 2020
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM RLP 1.106
GC (also listed as ANS 301M, HIS 306N, ISL 310)

 

Description

In today’s world, a functional knowledge of Islam– in terms of religion, history, and culture – is crucial. Muslims comprise approximately ¼ of the world’s population, with an estimated global population of 1.9 billion. Islam is the majority religion of 51 countries in the world; in 33 of these countries, Muslims make up 90% or more of the population. And while many people associate Middle Eastern languages such as Arabic, Persian, and Turkish with Islam, millions of Muslims also speak a range of other languages as their native tongues: Urdu-Hindi, Bengali, Indonesian/Malay, Pashto, Hausa, French, and many others. Over the course of its long history and geographical spread, Islam has branched into a spectrum of theological sects, schools of law, mystical orders, and ideological movements.  At the same time, Muslims are bound together by a shared tradition anchored in the scripture of the Qur’an, the exemplary practice of the Prophet Muhammad, and a 1400-year-old historical experience.

This lower-division course aims to give students a foundational understanding of Islam as a religion, with attention to beliefs (cosmology, theology, mysticism), practices (ritual, rites of passage), and morality (ethics, moral doctrines). It also introduces students to key moments in Islamic historyas well as key aspects of Muslimsocieties and cultures, both past and present.  Finally, this course will develop skills in news analysis and content knowledge is current affairs pertaining to Muslims. This course is designed for students with no prior knowledge of Islam and has no prerequisites.

Textbooks (available at the Co-Op)

William Shepard, Introducing Islam, 2nd edition

Todd Green, The Fear of Islam, 2nd edition

Other materials available on Canvas or online.

Grading Rubric

Attendance                                                        13%
7 biweekly Current Affairs Synopses (3% each)    21%         
12 weekly Homework Quizzes (3% each)             36%        
Final Exam                                                        30%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARA 130D • Arabic Across Disciplines

40140 • Fall 2019
Meets M 3:00PM-4:00PM CAL 323

Students read and discuss Arabic language materials related to the subject matter of another designated course.     

MEL 301 • Gateway To The Middle East

40375 • Fall 2019
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM MEZ 1.120
GC

Description

This course is a lecture-based, survey course aimed to introduce students to major topics and themes in Middle Eastern Studies, and to the UT faculty who teach courses in the field. During the semester, guest faculty will present lectures on a range of topics on which they teach and conduct research. Guest lectures will normally occur on Wednesdays.  The third meeting of the week (Fridays) will be dedicated to discussing the lectures as well as an assigned reading, viewing, or listening material. Mondays will normally be used to discuss textbook readings on the physical and cultural geography of the Middle East.

This course carries the Global Cultures flag. Global Cultures courses are designed to increase students’ familiarity with cultural groups outside the United States.

 

Grading Rubric

Attendance (12%)                                     

Preparedness & Participation (12%)

Current Events Synopses (14, 2% each, 28% total)    

Lecture Summaries/Reponses (28% total)                                                    

Final Exam (20%)

Course Texts

National Geographic, Atlas of the Middle East (2ndedition, 2008)

Colbert C. Held and John T. Cummings,Middle East Patterns: Places, People, and Politics (6thedition, 2013)    

 

R S 358 • Islamic Theology

42155 • Fall 2019
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM RLP 0.118
GCWr (also listed as CTI 375, ISL 340, MEL 321, MES 342)

Islamic Theology may be understood as that branch of knowledge that comprises the way that Muslims have conceived the natures of God, humanity and the natural world, as well as the relationships between these three.  Muslim contemplation of these subjects has given rise to a number of debates and doctrines.  Some of these have had to do with issues such as the relationship between human will and the divine will, or the origins of sin.  Other disputes have had to do with the nature of governance and the role of the ruler in effecting salvation.  These disputes led to the formation of the various theological-political sects, such as Sunnism and Shi‘ism.  Yet another area of questioning has had to do with the limits of rational knowledge and possibility of meta-cognitive experience of God, or what is known as Sufism. These three classical areas of inquiry – that is, political theory (including sectarian differences), systematic theology (kalam) and mystical theology (Sufism) – will form the main areas of focus in this course.  This is an upper-division discussion- and writing- based course that assumes a prior understanding of Islam. Thus, a major portion of the grade will be based on class participation and the quality of written work. 

Course Requirements and Grading

1 Initial writing exercise, 2%                                            5 Short papers, 14% each, 70% total                                                                 Attendance, 14%                                                               Preparedness & participation, 14%                                          

Course Textbooks

Patricia Crone, God's Rule -- Government and Islam

Majid Fakhry, Islamic Philosophy (Beginner's Guides)

John Renard, The Knowledge of God in Classical Sufism

Additional readings will be available through Canvas.

ARA 130D • Arabic Across Disciplines

40914 • Spring 2019
Meets TH 2:00PM-3:00PM CAL 515

This course aims to maintain and improve students' competence in literary Arabic, both classical (fuṣḥā) and modern (MSA). During the course, students will read and analyze select passages from the Qur’an, do grammar and vocabulary building exercises, and work to improve their pronunciation of Arabic.  Homework will include parsing, translation, oral recitation, dictionary work, and root/form identification.  Prerequisites: 3rd semester Arabic or equivalent proficiency.

Course Materials

  • Q: Qur’an in Arabic, any edition.
  • HN: Select chapters from J. A. Haywood and H. M. Nahmad, A New Arabic Grammar of the Written Language. Serious students of Arabic are encouraged to purchase this textbook, if possible, although excerpts for this course will be available on Canvas.
  • HW: The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, ed. J. M. Cowan, any edition (including online or electronic formats). This dictionary is required for class, as it is arranged by root.  Online translators are not acceptable.

 

Grading Rubric

Preparedness and participation                                                        15%

(WG) Weekly written grammar homework:

  1. A) Parsing of Arabic sentences                                              15%
  2.           B) Translation of Exercises 15%

(OG) Weekly oral grammar homework                                           15%

(WQ) Weekly written Qur’an homework                                        15%

(O Q) Weekly oral Qur’an homework (recitation)                         15%

Recitation Test                                                                                      10%

R S 325G • The Qur'An

42945 • Spring 2019
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 1
EGC (also listed as C L 323, CTI 375, ISL 340, MEL 321, MES 342)

In this course, we will study the religion of Islam through its core text, the Qur’an. In our studies, we will focus on the following religious themes of the Qur’an: cosmology (e.g. God, human nature, Satan, and the afterlife), theology, ethics, ritual, and law. We will also examine some of the prominent symbols, images and rhetorical structures of the Qur’an, and we will learn to navigate the text.  Through reading the prophetic narratives, we will compare Qur’anic and biblical accounts of the major prophets shared by Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The role of the Qur’an in Muslim devotion and as a medium for artistic expression will be explored as well.  We will study the context in which the Qur’an was composed, as well as how the text has been interpreted over time.  Prior knowledge of Islam and/or Arabic is helpful but not required for this course.

This course emphasizes themes of language and literature, global cultures, women and gender, and ethics and leadership, in conformity with those cross-listings and flags: We will look at female figures in the scripture and in Muḥammad’s life, as well as give special attention to Qur’anic prescriptions related to gender relations.  We will study the language, terminology, rhetorical structures, and narrative passages of the text.  The text will be approached through the soci0-historical context of late antique Arabia and its interpretation in medieval Islam and modern encounters with the West. 

In fulfillment of the Ethics and Leadership flag,  this course will give sustained attention to the ethical content of the Qur’an as well as to how Muslims interpret this content. Students will acquire knowledge about the Qur’an’s ethical content by reading assigned passages from the text and discussing these in class.  Students will have opportunity to reflect on these passages and their contemporary relevance both in class and through journal exercises.

 

Course Texts                                                     

  • Qur'an.  You are not required to purchase a copy of the whole Qur’an.  Required readings will be available on Canvas. For those who are interested in having access to the whole text, here are some recommended resources:

The Qur’an, tr. M. A. S. Abdel Haleem. (Oxford U Press, 2005)

- To consult the Arabic text or hear recitation, see online editions at http://tanzil.net, http://www.quranwow.com, and http://quran.com

  • Bible. Not all required Bible readings will be provided on Canvas, so you will need to use your own editions. Searchable online versions found at www.biblegateway.com.
  • Toshihiko Izutsu, Ethico-Religious Concepts in the Qur’an (2002)
  • Abdullah Saeed, The Qur’an: An Introduction (2008)
  • Readings available in pdf on Canvas:

- Excerpts from Muhammad Abdel Haleem, Understanding the Qur’an: Themes and Style (1999)

- Excerpts from The Qur’an, tr. Muhammad Abdel Haleem (2005)

- Excerpts from Barbara F. Stowasser, Women in the Qur’an, Traditions and Interpretations. (Oxford U Press, 1996)

- Islamophobia selections

 

Grading

NOTE: The instructor reserves the right to adjust course requirements during the term. Students will be notified of any such adjustments either in class or via email.

Course grades will be based on a combination of exams, journal entries, and attendance, as follows:

1 Initial writing exercise                                   = 2%   

1 Midterm exam                                               = 20%

5 Journal entries, 6% each                               = 30%

Final exam                                                       = 30%

Attendance                                                      = 18%

                                                                        = 100% total

R S 358 • Islamic Law

43004 • Spring 2019
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM CBA 4.330
GCWr (also listed as ISL 340, MEL 321, MES 342)

From the beginnings of Islam in the 7th century until today, observant Muslims have sought to live their lives in accordance with Islamic moral law, or shari‘a.  This upper-division writing-flag course is designed to give students a foundation in the substantive doctrines of the shari‘a, which comprises not only what we normally think of as law, but also ethics and etiquette.  Specific topics include the following: ritual worship, family law, criminal law, contract law, warfare, and rules of evidence and procedure.  The course will cover history of Islamic law, legal theory, substantive law, and modern trends.  This course will assume a basic working knowledge of Islam and though all readings are in English, key Arabic terms will be taught.  As a writing flag, this course will also emphasize academic writing.

 

If it is possible to put up more syllabus information, like some other faculty do, that would be great:

 

Course Requirements                           ** There is no final exam for this course.

1 Initial writing exercise                                                                   2%

5 papers, 14% each                                                                           70%

Attendance                                                                                        14%

Preparedness & participation                                                          14%

 

Readings

Textbooks at the C0-Op:

  • The Origins and Evolution of Islamic Law, by Wael Hallaq
  • A History of Islamic Legal Theories, by Wael Hallaq
  • SharÄ«‘a, by Wael Hallaq

 

Additional readings on Canvas from:

  • Islam and Colonialism, Rudolph Peters
  • Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam, Rudolph Peters
  • Women in Muslim Family Law, John Esposito

WGS 340 • The Qur'An

45650 • Spring 2019
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM
EGC

In this course, we will study the religion of Islam through its core text, the Qur’an. In our studies, we will focus on the following religious themes of the Qur’an: cosmology (e.g. God, human nature, Satan, and the afterlife), theology, ethics, ritual, and law. We will also examine some of the prominent symbols, images and rhetorical structures of the Qur’an, and we will learn to navigate the text.  Through reading the prophetic narratives, we will compare Qur’anic and biblical accounts of the major prophets shared by Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The role of the Qur’an in Muslim devotion and as a medium for artistic expression will be explored as well.  We will study the context in which the Qur’an was composed, as well as how the text has been interpreted over time.  Prior knowledge of Islam and/or Arabic is helpful but not required for this course.

This course emphasizes themes of language and literature, global cultures, women and gender, and ethics and leadership, in conformity with those cross-listings and flags: We will look at female figures in the scripture and in Muḥammad’s life, as well as give special attention to Qur’anic prescriptions related to gender relations.  We will study the language, terminology, rhetorical structures, and narrative passages of the text.  The text will be approached through the soci0-historical context of late antique Arabia and its interpretation in medieval Islam and modern encounters with the West. 

In fulfillment of the Ethics and Leadership flag,  this course will give sustained attention to the ethical content of the Qur’an as well as to how Muslims interpret this content. Students will acquire knowledge about the Qur’an’s ethical content by reading assigned passages from the text and discussing these in class.  Students will have opportunity to reflect on these passages and their contemporary relevance both in class and through journal exercises.

 

Course Texts                                                     

  • Qur'an.  You are not required to purchase a copy of the whole Qur’an.  Required readings will be available on Canvas. For those who are interested in having access to the whole text, here are some recommended resources:

The Qur’an, tr. M. A. S. Abdel Haleem. (Oxford U Press, 2005)

- To consult the Arabic text or hear recitation, see online editions at http://tanzil.net, http://www.quranwow.com, and http://quran.com

  • Bible. Not all required Bible readings will be provided on Canvas, so you will need to use your own editions. Searchable online versions found at www.biblegateway.com.
  • Toshihiko Izutsu, Ethico-Religious Concepts in the Qur’an (2002)
  • Abdullah Saeed, The Qur’an: An Introduction (2008)
  • Readings available in pdf on Canvas:

- Excerpts from Muhammad Abdel Haleem, Understanding the Qur’an: Themes and Style (1999)

- Excerpts from The Qur’an, tr. Muhammad Abdel Haleem (2005)

- Excerpts from Barbara F. Stowasser, Women in the Qur’an, Traditions and Interpretations. (Oxford U Press, 1996)

- Islamophobia selections

 

Grading

NOTE: The instructor reserves the right to adjust course requirements during the term. Students will be notified of any such adjustments either in class or via email.

Course grades will be based on a combination of exams, journal entries, and attendance, as follows:

1 Initial writing exercise                                   = 2%   

1 Midterm exam                                               = 20%

5 Journal entries, 6% each                               = 30%

Final exam                                                       = 30%

Attendance                                                      = 18%

                                                                        = 100% total

R S 358 • Religions Of Middle East

43310 • Fall 2018
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM UTC 3.122
GC (also listed as ISL 340, MEL 321, MES 342)

How is Christianity in Egypt different from Christianity in the U.S.?  What is Zoroastrianism?  Is there a relationship between Islam and the Baha’i religion?  These are the types of questions that this course is intended to answer.  The course will provide an overview of the religious landscape of the Middle East, with units on Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Eastern Christianity, Islam, and the Baha’i religion.  Using a history of religions approach, we will examine the cosmological doctrines, founding narratives, scriptures, moral principles, and ritual practices of each of these traditions.

R S 390T • Islamic Feminism

43395 • Fall 2018
Meets TH 3:30PM-6:30PM CAL 422
(also listed as MES 386, WGS 393)

 Islam and feminism are often considered to be contradictory in their essences and objectives.  Nevertheless, we now find more than a century of writing by Muslim women who draw their inspiration from their religion, and who seek to reconcile Islam’s scriptures and traditions with modern ideals of gender equality and justice.  This course explores the idea of Islamic feminism, and surveys its history and key writings.  Students will be introduced to some of the practices, doctrines, and texts of Islam that have been considered most problematic from a women/gender perspective, and will read and discuss the writings of several critical figures from the 20th and 21st centuries. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to reflect on the idea of, and varying definitions of, “Islamic feminism,” as well as to develop their own definitions of the term. Required readings will be in English.

R S 325G • The Qur'An

43170 • Spring 2018
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM PAR 1
EGC (also listed as ISL 340, MEL 321, MES 342, WGS 340)

Please check back for updates.

R S 358 • Islamic Theology

43245 • Spring 2018
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 310
GCWr (also listed as ISL 340, MEL 321, MES 342)

Please check back for updates.

R S 319 • Introduction To Islam

43670 • Spring 2017
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM MEZ B0.306
GC (also listed as ANS 301M, HIS 306N, ISL 310)

Please check back for updates.

R S 358 • Islamic Theology

43754 • Spring 2017
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM CPE 2.216
GC (also listed as ISL 340, MES 342)

Course Description

Islamic Theology may be understood as that branch of knowledge that comprises the way that Muslims have conceived the natures of God, humanity and the natural world, as well as the relationships between these three.  Muslim contemplation of these subjects has given rise to a number of debates and doctrines.  Some of these have had to do with issues such as the relationship between human will and the divine will, or the origins of sinfulness.  Other disputes have had to do with the nature of governance and the role of the ruler in effecting salvation.  Yet another area of questioning has had to do with the limits of rational knowledge and possibility of meta-cognitive experience of God.  These three classical areas of inquiry – that is, political theory, systematic theology (dogmatics) and mystical theology (sufi theosophy) – will form the main areas of focus in this upper division course.  This is a reading, discussion, and writing-intensive course that assumes a prior understanding of Islam.

Texts

• God’s Rule – Government and Islam: Six Centuries of Medieval Islamic Political Thought, by Patricia Crone
• The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology, ed. Tim Winter
• The Knowledge of God in Classical Sufism, by John Renard

Grading

5 essays 14% each 70% total
Attendance 15% 15% total
Participation 15% 15% total

 

 

R S 358 • Religions Of Middle East

43695 • Fall 2016
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 208
GC (also listed as ISL 340, MEL 321, MES 342)

How is Christianity in Egypt different from Christianity in the U.S.? What do Zoroastrians believe? Is there a relationship between Islam and the Baha’i religion? These are the types of questions that this course is intended to answer. The course will include a basic overview of Zoroastrianism, Judaism in the Middle East, Eastern Christianity, Islam, and the Baha’i religion, with a focus on the manifestations of these religions in the Middle East. Focus will primarily be on cosmological doctrines, scriptures, moral principles, sacred history and geography, and liturgical practices, although historical and cultural developments within these traditions will be covered as necessary. Students may have opportunities to read primary texts as well, schedule permitting.

Texts

Tentative List - May Change: Mary Boyce, Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices Hayim Halevy Donin, To Be a Jew Betty Jane Bailey and J. Martin Bailey, Who are the Christians of the Middle East? David Waines, An Introduction to Islam Peter Smith, The Babi and Baha'i Religions

Grading

3 unit tests, 15% each = 45% Final exam = 45% Attendance = 10%

R S 390T • Islamic Feminism

43773 • Fall 2016
Meets W 12:00PM-3:00PM GAR 2.124
(also listed as MES 386)

This course explores the idea of Islamic Feminism, and surveys key writings in the field. Islam and feminism are often considered to be contradictory in their essences and objectives. Nevertheless, we now find more than a century of writing by Muslim women who draw their inspiration from their religion, and who seek to reconcile Islam’s scriptures and traditions with modern ideals of gender equality and justice. Our exploration of Islamic feminism in this course will include a survey of those practices, doctrines, and texts of Islam that have been considered most problematic from a gender perspective. The course will begin with a reflection on the idea of “feminism,” after which students will construct their own definitions of the term. These definitions will serve as bases for critical evaluation both of patriarchal elements (texts, doctrines, practices) of classical Islam, and of contemporary Islamic feminist arguments. Readings may include excerpts by Fatima Mernissi, Leila Ahmed, Amina Wadud, Kecia Ali, Ayesha Chaudhry, Asma Barlas, among others. Required readings will be in English. However, final course papers will require research in a second language as well, one that is appropriate to the student’s area of study, and with instructor approval.

Texts / Readings:

Excerpts from the following:

  • Fatima Mernissi, The Veil and the Male Elite
  • Leila Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam
  • Barbara Stowasser. Women in the Qur’an, traditions and interpretation
  • Kecia Ali, Sexual Ethics in Islam
  • Amina Wadud, Qur'an and Woman
  • Asma Barlas, Believing Women in Islam
  • Omid Safi, Progressive Muslims
  • Ayesha Chaudhry, Domestic Violence and the Islamic Tradition
  • Asma Sayeed, Women and the Transmission of Knowledge in Islam
  • Marcia Hermansen and Ednan Aslan, eds., Muslima Theology: The Voices of Muslim Women Theologians
  • Aysha Hidayatullah, Feminist Edges of the Qur'an
  • Hina Azam, Sexual Violation in Islamic Law

Relevant academic articles will also be assigned as well as online lectures and videos. Articles may include:

  • Mubarak, Hadia, "Breaking the Interpretive Monopoly: A Re-Examination of Verse 4:34," HAWWA, v.2, n.3 (2004), 261-289.
  • Umar, Nasaruddin, "Gender Biases in Qur'anic Exegesis: A Study of Scriptural Interpretation from a Gender Perspective," HAWWA, v.2, n.3 (2004), 337-363.
  • Jeena, Islamic Feminist Hermeneutics
  • Shah, Women's Human Rights in the Qur'an
  • Valentine M. Moghadam, “Islamic Feminism and Its Discontents”
  • Margot Badran, “Between secular and Islamic feminism/s”

Grading Policy:

  • 15% Attendance
  • 15% Participation
  • 25% Presentations on readings
  • 35% Term paper, due in stages:  5% for proposal; 5% for introduction/outline with bibliography; 25% for final paper
  • 10% Presentation on final research paper

R S 319 • Introduction To Islam

42766-42769 • Spring 2016
Meets W 2:00PM-4:00PM
Two-way Interactive Video
GC (also listed as ANS 301M, HIS 306N, ISL 310)

Please check back for updates.

R S 325G • The Qur'An

42745 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM MEZ B0.306
GC (also listed as C L 323, CTI 375, ISL 340, MEL 321, MES 342, WGS 340)

In this course, we will study the religion of Islam through its sacred text, the Qur’an. To this end, this course will entail extensive reading of the Qur’an itself, as well as of other texts. In our studies, we will focus on the following themes of the Qur’an: cosmology and theology, ethical principles, ritual prescriptions, and legal injunctions. We will also examine some of the prominent symbols, images and rhetorical structures of the Qur’an. Through reading the prophetic narratives, we will have an opportunity to compare Qur’anic and Biblical accounts of the major prophets shared by Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The syllabus also includes an inquiry into role of the Qur’an in Muslim devotion and as a medium for artistic expression. We will also discuss the tradition of interpretation (or “exegesis”), especially as it pertains to those verses that engender the most debate today: those surrounding politics, intercommunal (i.e. interreligious) relations, and women/gender. Prior knowledge of Islam is helpful but not required for this course.

Texts

  • William E. Shepard, Introducing Islam (2nd edition, Routledge, 2014)
  • John A. Williams, The Word of Islam (1st edition, University of Texas Press, 1994)

Additional readings will be selected from the following authors/works:

  • Fazlur Rahman, Major Themes of the Qur’an
  • Imam al-Ghazali (d.1111), Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship (The Islamic Foundation)

Grading Policy

  • Final exam – 30%
  • 2 Tests – 25% each (50%)
  • Class attendance 20%

R S 358 • Classical Islamic Studies

42830 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 103
GCWr (also listed as ISL 340, MEL 321, MES 342)

Course Description

This writing-intensive, upper-division course will provide an overview of the core religious disciplines of classical Islam, as well as a foundation in the methodologies of each discipline for those students interested in further study of any one of them. In this course, we will focus on the following four religious disciplines: Qur'anic exegesis ("tafsir"); critique of the Prophetic reports ("hadith"); theology ("kalam"); and law ("fiqh"). Readings will be in both secondary and primary texts (all in translation). Writing components will include short weekly essays and a final project. This course will assume a basic knowledge of Islam, such as is provided by the Introduction to Islam course (NOTE: This course carries a writing flag).

 

Texts

An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'an Hadith Literature: Its Origin, Development and Special Features The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology A History of Islamic Legal Theories

 

Grading and Requirements

Attendance 14%

Class participation 14%

6 response papers 12% each

MEL 380 • Islamic Stds: Discpln Intro

40845 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM CAL 422
(also listed as MES 386)

This graduate seminar is designed to acquaint students with the academic study of Islam within the broader discipline of religious studies, in part to prepare students for possible doctoral work in Islamic studies. We will begin with an overview of the discipline of religious studies, with an eye to how Islam has been approached therein. Next we will explore the field of Islamic studies - its history and major contributors, salient theories and debates, methods and sources. A further objective of the course is to provide students with a rudimentary knowledge of major subfields within Islamic Studies, such as those pertaining to the Qur'an and its exegesis, to the life and legacy of Muhammad, to law and legal theory, and to theology and mysticism. A final area of attention will be pedagogy in Islamic studies, the objective here being to help prepare students to teach courses on Islam. Students with Arabic language ability can expect to do work in Arabic primary texts.

Texts

In addition to a number of books in various subfields of Islamic Studies, of which different students read different ones, all students read a series of important articles in the field of Islamic Studies: • Jacques Waardenburg, “Islamic Studies and the History of Religions.” In Mapping Islamic Studies, ed. Azim Nanji. 181-219. • Hermansen, M. K. “Trends in Islamic studies in the United States and Canada since the 1970s.” American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences. 10:1 (1993): 96-118. • Mahmoud Ayoub, “The Speaking Qur’an and the Silent Qur’an: … Imami Shii tafsir.” • Bruce Fudge, “Qur’anic Exegesis in Medieval Islam and Modern Orientalism.” • Andrew Rippin, “Tafsir.” • Angelika Neuwirth, “Qur’an and History – a Disputed Relationship …” • Mustansir Mir, “The Qur’an as Literature.” • Sebastian Günther, “Mu?ammad, the Illiterate Prophet” • Leah Kinberg, “Mu?kam?t and Mutash?bih?t (Koran 3/7): … Medieval Exegesis” • David Powers, “The exegetical genre nasikh al-Qur’an wa mansukhuhu” • Roberto Totolli, “Origin and use of the term Isra`iliyyat in Muslim literature.” • Kevin Reinhart, “Juynbolliana, Gradualism, the Big Bang, and ?ad?th Study in the 21st Century” • Adis Duderija, “Evolution in the Canonical Sunni ?adith Body of Literature” • Robert Gleave, “Between ?adith and Fiqh: the Canonical Imami Collections of Akhbar” • Sebastian Gunther, “Assessing the Sources of Classical Arabic Compilations” • R. Marston Speight, “Narrative Structures in the ?ad?th” • Marston Speight, “A Look at Variant Readings in ?ad?th” • G. H. A. Juynboll, “(Re)appraisal of some technical terms in ?adith science” • Wael Hallaq, “The Authenticity of Prophetic ?ad?th: A Pseudo-Problem” • Harald Motzki, “The Mu?annaf of `Abd al-Razz?q al-San`ani as a Source of Authentic A??d?th of the First Century AH” • Christopher Melchert, “Traditionist-Jurisprudents and the framing of Islamic law.” • Scott Lucas, “Where are the Legal ?adith? A Study of the Mu?annaf of Ibn Ab? Shayba.” • Yasin Dutton, “`Amal vs. ?ad?th in Islamic law: the case of sadl al-yadayn.” • Said Amir Arjomand, “The consolation of theology: the absence of the Imam …” • Norman Calder, “Doubt and prerogative: the emergence of an Imami Shi`i theory of ijtihad.” • Wilferd Madelung, “The sources of Isma`ili law.” • Christopher Melchert, “How Hanafism came to Originate in Kufa and Traditionalism in Madina.” • Mohammad H. Kamali, “Qawa`id al-Fiqh: The Legal Maxims of Islamic Law.” • David Johnston, “A turn in the epistemology and hermeneutics of 20th c usul al-fiqh” • Ebrahim Moosa, “Contrapuntal Readings in Muslim Thought.” • Asma Barlas, “The Qur’an and Hermeneutics: Reading the Qur’an’s opposition to patriarchy” • Manuela Marín, “Disciplining Wives: A Historical Reading of Qur'ân 4:34” • Joseph Witztum, “Q 4:24 revisited” • Asma Sayeed, “Women and ?ad?th transmission” • Sa`diyya Shaikh, “Knowledge, women and gender in the ?ad?th” • Scott Lucas, “Perhaps you only kissed her?” • Mohammad Fadel, “Two women, one man” • Valentine M. Moghadam, “Islamic Feminism and Its Discontents” • Margot Badran, “Between secular and Islamic feminism/s”

Grading

Tentative: In-class presentations on readings (approx. 5-6) 48% Term paper (20%) 20% Syllabus project (20%) 20% General preparedness & participation (12%) 12%

R S 358 • Religions Of The Middle Eas

43240 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM MEZ 1.306
GC (also listed as ISL 340, MEL 321, MES 342)

How is Christianity in Egypt different from Christianity in the U.S.? What do Zoroastrians believe? Is there a relationship between Islam and the Baha’i religion? These are the types of questions that this course is intended to answer. The course will include a basic overview of Zoroastrianism, Judaism in the Middle East, Eastern Christianity, Islam, and the Baha’i religion, with a focus on the manifestations of these religions in the Middle East. Focus will primarily be on cosmological doctrines, scriptures, moral principles, sacred history and geography, and liturgical practices, although historical and cultural developments within these traditions will be covered as necessary. Students may have opportunities to read primary texts as well, schedule permitting.

Texts

Tentative List - May Change: Mary Boyce, Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices Hayim Halevy Donin, To Be a Jew Betty Jane Bailey and J. Martin Bailey, Who are the Christians of the Middle East? David Waines, An Introduction to Islam Peter Smith, The Babi and Baha'i Religions

Grading

3 unit tests, 15% each = 45% Final exam = 45% Attendance = 10%

R S 319 • Introduction To Islam

44170 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM MEZ 1.306
GC (also listed as ANS 301M, HIS 306N, ISL 310)

The objective of this course is to give students an understanding of what it means to be Muslim, in terms of beliefs (cosmology and theology), practices (rituals and moral teachings), and culture. In order to achieve this three-part objective, we will read materials from various perspectives and of different genres. We will devote some time to the history of the foundations and civilization of Islam, for even if a religion is conceived in terms of universals and ideals, its actual manifestation is always tempered by historical, cultural and social context. We will explore the meaning of Islam as a worldview and a moral system through examining its doctrinal, ritual, philosophical, ethical and spiritual dimensions. This course is designed for students with no prior knowledge of Islam.

Texts

To be provided by instructor. 

Grading

Final exam, Midterm exam, Quizzes, Class attendance

R S 358 • Islamic Law

44255 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM CAL 200
GCWr (also listed as ISL 340, MEL 321, MES 342, WGS 340)

From the beginnings of Islam in the 7th century until today, observant Muslims have sought to live their lives in accordance with Islamic moral law, or shari‘a. This upper-division course is designed to give students a foundation in the substantive teachings of the shari‘a, which comprises not only what we normally think of as law, but also ethics and etiquette. Specific areas of coverage include the following: rules of ritual worship, ethical principles, etiquette, family and personal status law, criminal law, economic and contract law, constitutional and international law. Although the bulk of the course will concern classical Islamic law, we will take time out to discuss issues of contemporary concern as well, such as gender equity, human rights, medical ethics, and warfare. Readings will be in both secondary literature and primary texts (in translation). This course will assume a basic working knowledge of Islam. This course carries a writing flag and global cultures flag.

Texts

Tentative: The Origins and Evolution of Islamic Law, by Wael Hallaq The Spirit of Islamic Law, by Bernard Weiss Religion of Islam, by Muhammad Ali Supplementary readings (articles, book chapters)

Grading

5 Essays, Attendance, Preparedness & Participation

MES 386 • Qur'Anic Exegesis

42635 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM MEZ 1.104

The Qur’an has served the Muslim community from its initial proclamation by Muhammad until today as a source of spiritual insight, ethico-legal guidance, sacred narratives, and theology principles. In addition, Muslims have held it to contain truths about history, the natural world, and human psychology. Believed by Muslims to comprise the exact words of God and therefore an infallible indicator of the divine mind, its interpreters have hung complex doctrines on its precise wording and turns of phrase. As the Islamic scholarly disciplines gradually took on lives of their own, becoming traditions somewhat independent of and removed from this first source of religion, the Qur’an remained the ultimate point of reference and arbiter of truth: A doctrine or argument that was regarded (or portrayed) as antithetical to the Qur’an could never hope to thrive among practitioners. In this graduate seminar, we will progress along dual trajectories: One trajectory will center on the academic study of Qur’anic interpretation and commentary, known as tafsir. In this vein, we will read scholarly literature, in English, on the genre, nature and history of tafsir. Our second trajectory will involve reading from primary tafsir texts in Arabic. Reading selections will be taken from a variety of exegetical subgenres, such as rationalist and traditionalist, Sunni and Shii, mystical and legalist, classical and modern.

Texts/readings:

English readings will include sections from the following works: • Walid Saleh, The Formation of the Classical Tafsir Tradition: The Qur'an Commentary of al-Tha`labi • Andrew Rippin, ed. The Qur'an: Formative Interpretation. • Andrew Rippin, ed. Approaches to the History of the Interpretation of the Qur'an. • Andrew Rippin. The Qur'an and Its Interpretive Tradition. • Meir Bar-Asher. Scripture and Exegesis in Early Imami-Shi`ism. Other supplementary articles may also be added. Arabic/primary text readings will include sections from the following exegeses: • Qurtubi. al-Jami` li Ahkam. (medieval, Sunni/legal) • Tha`labi. al-Kashf wa al-Bayan. (medieval Sunni) • Ibn Kathir. Tafsir Ibn Kathir. (medieval Sunni) • Tabari. Jami` al-Bayan. (medieval Sunni) • Suyuti. al-Itqan fi `Ulum al-Qur'an and Tafsir al-Jalalayn. (medieval Sunni) • Razi. Mafatih al-Ghayb. (medieval Sunni/Ash`ari) • Kashani. al-Safi. (medieval Shii) • Tabarsi. Majma` al-Bayan. (medieval Imami Shii) • Tusi. al-Tibyan al-Jami`. (medieval Imami Shii) • A`qam. Tafsir al-A`qam. (medieval Zaydi Shii) • Zamakhshari. al-Kashshaf. (medieval Mu`tazili) • Qushayri. Lata'if al-Isharat. (medieval Sufi/Sunni) • Ibn `Arabi. Tafsir al-Qur'an. (medieval Sufi/Sunni) • Alusi. Ruh al-Ma`ani. (modern Sunni) • Qutb. Fi Zilal al-Qur'an. (modern Sunni/salafi) • Mawdudi. Tafhim al-Qur'an, English translation from Urdu. (modern Sunni/salafi) • Shirazi. Taqrib al-Qur'an. (modern Shii) • Tabataba'i. al-Mizan. (modern Shii)

Grading requirements:

Presence, preparedness and participation = 35%, Term paper, due in stages (proposal, bibliography, introduction/outline, and final paper) = 45%, Presentation on research paper = 20%

R S 358 • Islamic Law

44601 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 206
Wr (also listed as ISL 340, MEL 321, MES 342, WGS 340)

Please check back for updates.

R S 325G • The Qur'An

44180 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CLA 0.128
GC (also listed as C L 323, CTI 375, ISL 340, MEL 321, MES 342, WGS 340)

In this course, we will study the religion of Islam through its sacred text, the Qur’an. To this end, this course will entail extensive reading of the Qur’an itself, as well as of other texts. In our studies, we will focus on the following themes of the Qur’an: cosmology and theology, ethical principles, ritual prescriptions, and legal injunctions. We will also examine some of the prominent symbols, images and rhetorical structures of the Qur’an. Through reading the prophetic narratives, we will have an opportunity to compare Qur’anic and Biblical accounts of the major prophets shared by Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The syllabus also includes an inquiry into role of the Qur’an in Muslim devotion and as a medium for artistic expression. We will also discuss the tradition of interpretation (or “exegesis”), especially as it pertains to those verses that engender the most debate today: those surrounding politics, intercommunal (i.e. interreligious) relations, and women/gender. Prior knowledge of Islam is helpful but not required for this course.

R S 358 • Islamic Theology

44295 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WEL 3.402
GC (also listed as CTI 375, ISL 340, MEL 321, MES 342)

Islamic Theology may be understood as that branch of knowledge that comprises the way that Muslims have conceived the natures of God, humanity and the natural world, as well as the relationships between these three.  Muslim contemplation of these subjects has given rise to a number of debates and doctrines.  Some of these have had to do with issues such as the relationship between human will and the divine will, or the origins of sinfulness.  Other disputes have had to do with the nature of governance and the role of the ruler in effecting salvation.  Yet another area of questioning has had to do with the limits of rational knowledge and possibility of meta-cognitive experience of God.  These three classical areas of inquiry – that is, political theory, systematic theology (dogmatics) and mystical theology (sufi theosophy) – will form the main areas of focus in this upper division course.

R S 319 • Introduction To Islam

43850 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM GEA 105
GC (also listed as HIS 306N, ISL 310)

The objective of this course is to give students an understanding of what it means to be Muslim, in terms of beliefs (cosmology and theology), practices (rituals and moral teachings), and culture. In order to achieve this three-part objective, we will read materials from various perspectives and of different genres. We will devote some time to the history of the foundations and civilization of Islam, for even if a religion is conceived in terms of universals and ideals, its actual manifestation is always tempered by history, culture and social realities. We will explore the meaning of Islam as a worldview and a moral system through examining its doctrinal, ritual, philosophical, moral and spiritual dimensions. This course is designed for students with no prior knowledge of Islam.

Texts/readings:

• David Waines, An Introduction to Islam (tentative) • Asma Afsaruddin, The First Muslims

• Eric Geoffroy, Introduction to Sufism: The Inner Path of Islam

• Excerpts from the following: -The Qur’an and the Bible, any translation - Imam Nawawi, Riyadh al-Salihin - Imam Ghazali, Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship - John A. Williams, The Word of Islam - Omid Safi, Memories of Muhammad - John Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, 4th edition

Grading requirements:

Four Unit Tests, 10% each (40% total), One Midterm Exam, 20%, One Final Exam, 25%, Class Attendance, 15%

R S 390T • Qur'Anic Exegesis

43990 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM MEZ 1.104
(also listed as MEL 380, MES 386)

The Qur’an has served the Muslim community from its initial proclamation by Muhammad until today as a source of spiritual insight, ethico-legal guidance, sacred narratives, and theology principles. In addition, Muslims have held it to contain truths about history, the natural world, and human psychology. Believed by Muslims to comprise the exact words of God and therefore an infallible indicator of the divine mind, its interpreters have hung complex doctrines on its precise wording and turns of phrase. As the Islamic scholarly disciplines gradually took on lives of their own, becoming traditions somewhat independent of and removed from this first source of religion, the Qur’an remained the ultimate point of reference and arbiter of truth: A doctrine or argument that was regarded (or portrayed) as antithetical to the Qur’an could never hope to thrive among practitioners. In this graduate seminar, we will progress along dual trajectories: One trajectory will center on the academic study of Qur’anic interpretation and commentary, known as tafsir. In this vein, we will read scholarly literature, in English, on the genre, nature and history of tafsir. Our second trajectory will involve reading from primary tafsir texts in Arabic. Reading selections will be taken from a variety of exegetical subgenres, such as rationalist and traditionalist, Sunni and Shii, mystical and legalist, classical and modern.

Texts/readings:

English readings will include sections from the following works: • Walid Saleh, The Formation of the Classical Tafsir Tradition: The Qur'an Commentary of al-Tha`labi • Andrew Rippin, ed. The Qur'an: Formative Interpretation. • Andrew Rippin, ed. Approaches to the History of the Interpretation of the Qur'an. • Andrew Rippin. The Qur'an and Its Interpretive Tradition. • Meir Bar-Asher. Scripture and Exegesis in Early Imami-Shi`ism. Other supplementary articles may also be added. Arabic/primary text readings will include sections from the following exegeses: • Qurtubi. al-Jami` li Ahkam. (medieval, Sunni/legal) • Tha`labi. al-Kashf wa al-Bayan. (medieval Sunni) • Ibn Kathir. Tafsir Ibn Kathir. (medieval Sunni) • Tabari. Jami` al-Bayan. (medieval Sunni) • Suyuti. al-Itqan fi `Ulum al-Qur'an and Tafsir al-Jalalayn. (medieval Sunni) • Razi. Mafatih al-Ghayb. (medieval Sunni/Ash`ari) • Kashani. al-Safi. (medieval Shii) • Tabarsi. Majma` al-Bayan. (medieval Imami Shii) • Tusi. al-Tibyan al-Jami`. (medieval Imami Shii) • A`qam. Tafsir al-A`qam. (medieval Zaydi Shii) • Zamakhshari. al-Kashshaf. (medieval Mu`tazili) • Qushayri. Lata'if al-Isharat. (medieval Sufi/Sunni) • Ibn `Arabi. Tafsir al-Qur'an. (medieval Sufi/Sunni) • Alusi. Ruh al-Ma`ani. (modern Sunni) • Qutb. Fi Zilal al-Qur'an. (modern Sunni/salafi) • Mawdudi. Tafhim al-Qur'an, English translation from Urdu. (modern Sunni/salafi) • Shirazi. Taqrib al-Qur'an. (modern Shii) • Tabataba'i. al-Mizan. (modern Shii)

 

Grading requirements:

Presence, preparedness and participation = 35%, Term paper, due in stages (proposal, bibliography, introduction/outline, and final paper) = 45%, Presentation on research paper = 20%

R S 325G • The Qur'An

43710 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM MEZ 1.306
GC (also listed as C L 323, ISL 340, MEL 321, MES 342, WGS 340)

In this course, we will study the religion of Islam through its sacred text, the Qur’an. To this end, this course will entail extensive reading of the Qur’an itself, as well as of other texts. In our studies, we will focus on the following themes of the Qur’an: cosmology and theology, ethical principles, ritual prescriptions, and legal injunctions. We will also examine some of the prominent symbols, images and rhetorical structures of the Qur’an. Through reading the prophetic narratives, we will have an opportunity to compare Qur’anic and Biblical accounts of the major prophets shared by Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The syllabus also includes an inquiry into role of the Qur’an in Muslim devotion and as a medium for artistic expression. We will also discuss the tradition of interpretation (or “exegesis”), especially as it pertains to those verses that engender the most debate today: those surrounding politics, intercommunal (i.e. interreligious) relations, and women/gender. Prior knowledge of Islam is helpful but not required for this course.

R S 358 • Islamic Theology

43780 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BEN 1.122
(also listed as CTI 375, ISL 340, MES 342)

Islamic Theology may be understood as that branch of knowledge that comprises the way that Muslims have conceived the natures of God, humanity and the natural world, as well as the relationships between these three.  Muslim contemplation of these subjects has given rise to a number of debates and doctrines.  Some of these have had to do with issues such as the relationship between human will and the divine will, or the origins of sinfulness.  Other disputes have had to do with the nature of governance and the role of the ruler in effecting salvation.  Yet another area of questioning has had to do with the limits of rational knowledge and possibility of meta-cognitive experience of God.  These three classical areas of inquiry – that is, political theory, systematic theology (dogmatics) and mystical theology (sufi theosophy) – will form the main areas of focus in this upper division course. 

MES 386 • Islamic Stds: Discpln Intro

41820 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CAL 22

Course Descriptions

This graduate seminar is designed to acquaint students with the academic study of Islam within the broader discipline of religious studies, in part to prepare students for possible doctoral work in Islamic studies.  We will begin with an overview of the discipline of religious studies, with an eye to how Islam has been approached therein.  Next we will explore the field of Islamic studies - its history and major contributors, salient theories and debates, methods and sources.  A further objective of the course is to provide students with a rudimentary knowledge of major subfields within Islamic Studies, such as those pertaining to the Qur'an and its exegesis, to the life and legacy of Muhammad, to law and legal theory, and to theology and mysticism.  A final area of attention will be pedagogy in Islamic studies, the objective here being to help prepare students to teach courses on Islam.  Students with Arabic language ability can expect to do work in Arabic primary texts.

 

Texts

These are all required texts for the course. The first three are available for sale at the University Co-Op. The last will be held on reserve at PCL.

• Richard Martin, ed. Approaches to Islam in Religious Studies (pbk). 1985. Oxford: Oneworld. 

• Aaron Hughes. Situating Islam: The Past and Future of an Academic Discipline (pbk). 2007. London: Equinox. 

• Brannon Wheeler, ed. Teaching Islam. 2003. New York: Oxford U Press.

• Azim Nanji, ed. Mapping Islamic Studies: Genealogy, Continuity & Change. 1997. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

 

Grading & Requirements

In-class presentations on select readings (12 x 4% each) 48%

Review essay / survey of the field (20%) 20%

Syllabus project (20%) 20%

Preparedness & participation (12%) 12%

 

 

R S 358 • Religions Of The Middle East

43771 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM MEZ 1.306
GC (also listed as ISL 340, MES 322K)

Course Description

How is Christianity in Egypt different from Christianity in the U.S.?  What do Zoroastrians believe?  Is there a relationship between Islam and the Baha’i religion?  These are the types of questions that this course is intended to answer.  The course will include a basic overview of Zoroastrianism, Judaism in the Middle East, Eastern Christianity, Islam, and the Baha’i religion, with a focus on the manifestations of these religions in the Middle East.  Focus will primarily be on cosmological doctrines, scriptures, moral principles, sacred history and geography, and liturgical practices, although historical and cultural developments within these traditions will be covered as necessary.  Students may have opportunities to read primary texts as well, schedule permitting.

Texts

Islam in the Middle East: A Living Tradition, by G.P. Makris

An Introduction to Shi'i Islam, by Moojan Momen

Who are the Christians of the Middle East?, by B.J. Bailey and J.M. Bailey

Course supplement including excerpts from Marshall Hodgson, The Venture of Islam, and The Jews of Arab Lands, Norman Stillman.

 

Grading & Requirements

4 reading response papers: 15% each

1 field trip report: 10%

attendance: 15%

class participation: 15%

R S 319 • Introduction To Islam

43605 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM MEZ 1.306
(also listed as HIS 306N, ISL 310)

Please check back for updates.

R S 358 • Islamic Law

43640 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM BEN 1.122
Wr (also listed as ARA 372, ISL 340, MES 328, WGS 340)

From the beginnings of Islam in the 7th century until today, observant Muslims have sought to live their lives in accordance with God's law, or shariah. This writing-intensive, upper-division course is designed to give students a foundation in the substantive teachings of the shariah, which comprises not only what we normally think of as law, but also ethics and etiquette. Specific areas of coverage include the following: rules of ritual worship, ethical principles, etiquette, family and personal status law, criminal law, economic and contract law, constitutional and international law. Although bulk of the course will concern classical Islamic law, we will take time out to discuss issues of contemporary concern as well, such as gender equity, human rights, medical ethics, and warfare. Readings will be in both secondary literature and primary texts (in translation). This course has no prerequisites, but will assume a basic working knowledge of Islam.

Flags: Writing

 

Texts

To be provided by instructor. 

 

Grading

To be provided by instructor. 

R S 358 • Classical Islamic Studies

44325 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GAR 3.116
Wr C2 (also listed as ARA 372, C L 323, ISL 340, MES 321K)

Course Description

This writing-intensive, upper-division course will provide an overview of the core religious disciplines of classical Islam, as well as a foundation in the methodologies of each discipline for those students interested in further study of any one of them. In this course, we will focus on the following four religious disciplines: Qur'anic exegesis ("tafsir"); critique of the Prophetic reports ("hadith"); theology ("kalam"); and law ("fiqh"). Readings will be in both secondary and primary texts (all in translation). Writing components will include short weekly essays and a final project. This course will assume a basic knowledge of Islam, such as is provided by the Introduction to Islam course (NOTE: This course carries a writing flag).

 

Texts

An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'an Hadith Literature: Its Origin, Development and Special Features The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology A History of Islamic Legal Theories

 

Grading and Requirements

Attendance 14%

Class participation 14%

6 response papers 12% each

R S 358 • Religions Of The Middle East

44330 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WAG 101
GC (also listed as ISL 340, MES 322K)

What are the differences between Sunni and Shii Muslims?  How is Christianity in Egypt different from Christianity in the U.S.?  How is Judaism practiced in Morocco?  Who are the Druze, and what do Zoroastrians believe?  This course seeks to answer some of these questions.  We will study the many and diverse religious communities of the contemporary Middle East, focusing on cosmology and mythology, doctrines and beliefs, liturgy and devotional practices, moral law and ethics, and scriptural tradition.  We will also study history and culture insofar as these inform and/or reflect religious beliefs and values. A key objective of the course will be to utilize comparative and anthropological approaches in order to explore the particularities of religion in the Middle Eastern context.

 

Texts:

Islam in the Middle East: A Living Tradition, by G. P. Makris;

An Introduction to Shi`i Islam, by Moojan Momen

Who are the Christians of the Middle East?, by B. J. Bailey and J. M. Bailey

Course supplement including excerpts from Marshall Hodgson, The Venture of Islam, and The Jews of Arab Lands, Norman Stillman.

 

Grading:

4 reading response papers (15% each), 1 field trip report (10%), attendance (15%) and class participation (15%)

R S 325G • The Qur'An

44375 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WEL 2.304
(also listed as ISL 340, WGS 340)

Please check back for updates.

R S 358 • Classical Islamic Studies-W

44510 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM MEZ 1.206
C2 (also listed as ISL 340)

Please check back for updates.

R S 319 • Introduction To Islam

44635 • Fall 2008
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM SZB 370
(also listed as HIS 306N, ISL 310, MES 310)

Please check back for updates.

R S 358 • Islamic Theology-W

44705 • Fall 2008
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM JES A217A
C2 (also listed as ISL 340)

Please check back for updates.

R S 358 • Religions Of The Middle East

44706 • Fall 2008
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM JGB 2.102
(also listed as ISL 372)

Please check back for updates.

R S 358 • Islamic Theology-W

44555 • Spring 2008
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 302
C2 (also listed as ISL 340, PHL 354)

Please check back for updates.

R S 319 • Introduction To Islam

45550 • Fall 2007
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 112
(also listed as HIS 306N, ISL 310, MES 310)

Please check back for updates.

R S 358 • Islamic Law

45608 • Fall 2007
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM RAS 211B
(also listed as ISL 340, WGS 340)

Please check back for updates.

R S 319 • Introduction To Islam

44165 • Spring 2007
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 1
(also listed as HIS 306N, ISL 310, MES 310)

Please check back for updates.

R S 358 • Islamic Law

44277 • Spring 2007
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM PAR 203
(also listed as ISL 340, WGS 340)

Please check back for updates.

R S 325G • The Qur'An

45315 • Fall 2006
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 203
(also listed as ISL 340, WGS 340)

Please check back for updates.

R S 358 • Classical Islamic Studies-W

45405 • Fall 2006
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM PAR 210
C2 (also listed as ISL 340)

Please check back for updates.

R S 325G • The Qur'An

43470 • Spring 2006
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM BUR 134
(also listed as ISL 340, WGS 340)

Please check back for updates.

R S 358 • Classical Islamic Studies-W

43535 • Spring 2006
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 302
C2 (also listed as ISL 340)

Please check back for updates.