Theology 295 Introduction to Islam

This course constitutes an introduction to the religion of Islam through the study of major religious ideas, movements, and figures prominent in the historical development of the tradition up to the present time.  The course will move through three major phases: basic teachings of Islam (including the Qur’an and the role and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad), the articulation of the classical tradition (including Islamic law and mysticism/Sufism), and contemporary developments.  Discussion of major issues such as unity and diversity within Islam, the role of women, Islamic movements in the contemporary world, and Muslims in America will also be featured.

Theology 280  The South Asian Muslim Experience

This experimental course will cover both cultural and religious aspects of the South Asian (Indian and Pakistani) Muslim heritage. Topics considered will include major religious movements and thinkers, for example, Ahmad Sirhindi and Shah Wali Allah, and poets such as Ghalib and Iqbal. The course will provide an overview of the history and contribution of Muslims in South Asia and more recently in the South Asian diaspora. In addition to academic writings, literature, music, and film will be used to provide a broader sense of this experience.

Theo 350 Encountering Islam through Film and Literature

This course will use international feature films, stories, and poetry to present aspects of the Islamic religious tradition. Class materials will provide an introduction to Islam as well as more detailed and nuanced discussions of themes such as gender, Islamic movements, and diversity across Muslim cultures.

Theology 364: Islamic Mysticism

 This course will explore multiple dimensions of Islamic mysticism (Sufism) in both traditional and contemporary manifestations.  After a brief introduction to the study of mysticism and the basics of the Islamic religion, we will consider topics including mystical interpretations of the Qur’an and the figure of the Prophet Muhammad as well as the “inner dimensions” of Islamic ritual practices.  In addition, we will read original writings (in translation) of prominent Muslim mystics such as al-Ghazzali, Ibn Arabi, and Rumi and encounter expressions of Islamic mysticism (tasawwuf or Sufism) as it develops over time in diverse contexts.