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Today, approximately 24% of the world’s population is Muslim. What is Islam, and how does it shape our world: historically, culturally, economically, and politically? What binds nearly 2 billion Muslims together: how are Muslims ‘Muslim’, but differently?
This subject introduces students to the religion of Islam and explores its major beliefs, sacred texts, and diverse cultural manifestations, and considers how these influence the lives of Muslims, Muslim societies, and the world today. Focusing on the diversity that exists within Islam, and among Muslims, each lecture begins with a question or challenge that is relevant today. Examples of topics covered include the emergence of Islam, Prophet Muhammad, the Qur’an, Sharia and law, Sunnis and Shia, Sufis and spirituality, money and charity, gender and equality, relations with people of other faiths, and jihad. The subject also considers both Muslim-majority and Muslim-minority contexts and examines the lessons they hold for a world grappling with cultural diversity.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- Demonstrate familiarity with the beliefs, practices, traditions, and schools of thought in Islam
- Demonstrate an understanding of the role that Islam has played historically
- Demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the diversity that exists among Muslims around the world in their thinking and practices
- Demonstrate familiarity of how Islam's foundational texts influence diverse forms of Muslim thinking and practice today
- Demonstrate an ability to research issues related to Islam and society
- Communicate an argument using evidence to support a point of view.
Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
- Acquire the ability to understand the main themes of Islamic thought
- Work effectively both independently and in groups to analyse these themes and develop the research skills in examining them
- Develop skills and ability to critically examine and analyse the themes discussed in Islamic thought, and
- Apply a number of research methodologies adequately to produce independently scholarly arguments in oral and written communication skills.
Last updated: 5 December 2023