Religious Studies | Introduction to Islam
R257 | 3872 | Jaques

R257 Introduction to Islam

The class will examine the Islamic Tradition from the perspective of
the History of Religions. This means that the class will serve the
dual purpose of examining the external history of Islamic institutions
and society and how Muslims and Islamic scholars have internally
understood their tradition, and the faith, over time.  In doing so we
will attempt to represent the range of attitudes and ideas that have
been current in the tradition from the seventh century to the present.
The course will begin by examining Islam in the "core areas" of the
Islamic World, primarily the Middle East, North Africa, and Central
Asia.  However, as we move through the course we will begin to look at
Islam "on the periphery," primarily in Indonesia (the world's largest
Muslim Country) and the United States.  We will particularly focus on
those elements in Islamic history that continue to have importance for
how contemporary Muslims understand their tradition and how they (in
all of their plurality) hope to see Islam develop in the future.  To
do this we will be in dialog with Muslim thinkers, both past
and present, and with Muslims in the Bloomington area.

Readings: Qur'an, any version will do;  The Arabs in History, Bernard
Lewis; Islam : A Short Introduction : Signs, Symbols and Values,
Abdulkader Tayob; and a course packet of selected readings.

Requirements: There will be three exams, a book review, and several
short reviews of readings. There will also be one role playing
assignment in which the student will represent an individual from
Islamic history and represent him or her in a debate Regular
attendance and participation are also required.