Religious Studies | Introduction to Islam
R257 | 1521 | Alexander

R257 Introduction to Islam (3 Cr.) 1:10-2:25 D SY 001 *Carries COAS
Culture Studies and AHTI Credit  (Alexander)

Once when asked, "What is Islam?"  an eminent scholar gave a response that
could have been given had the question been asked of any religion.  His
response was simply, "Islam is a way of being human."  In more specific
terms, what this scholar meant was that Islam--like other religions--is
both a way of making sense out of life and a way of living according to
this "sense"; is a way of creating and living in a world of meaning.

The aim of this course is to introduce students to some of the salient
features of the Islamic "world of meaning."  We will begin with a brief
discussion of what we try to do when we study religion in the academy and
the practical value of this study for the thinking person.  From there we
will go on to look at the Arabian milieu before Muhammad's prophetic call.
This course will then continue to sketch some of the major developments in
Muslim thought and practice as it evolved over the subsequent fourteen
centuries of the Islamic era.  Topics of focus will include the career of
the prophet and his function in Muslim piety; Qur'an and hadith; Islam
ritual and the "pillars" of Muslim Praxis; Islamic legal and theological
traditions; the Sunna/Shi'i division within the Muslim community; and
mysticism and devotional piety.  We will conclude with an examination of
the origins and nature of modern Muslim reform and revitalist movements.
Texts: A.J. Arberry, The Koran Interpreted; Frederick Denny, An
Introduction to Islam; R257 Reader.  Requirements: regular quizzes,
attendance, and participation in class discussions; two mid-terms; and a
final exam.