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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Undergraduate Course: Introduction to Islam (IMES08050)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course offers an introduction to the religion of Islam. It explores the key texts, central beliefs and rituals, as well as the main branches and traditions of religious thought and practice, which developed over the centuries following the rise of Islam up to the modern period. The course also provides an introduction to the most important resources and scholarly tools for studying Islam.
Course description The course aims to enable students to understand key texts, beliefs, practices and concepts of the religion of Islam as well as their significance for Muslims throughout history. At the same time, it aims to provide students with the means to investigate questions relating to the religion of Islam on their own and to pursue research projects within this field. In order to achieve this, the course explores the historical contexts in which key elements of Islam emerged, highlights how they have developed and changed over the course of time and illustrates their role and significance for Muslims up to the modern period.

Outline of the content: The course will cover central elements and concepts of the religion of Islam. These will include the central texts of Islam, the Qur'an and Hadith, as well as the role and significance of the prophet Muhammad, the central beliefs and the major ritual duties. The course will also explore the main divisions of Islam and various aspects of Islamic thought, such as law, theology, Sufism and political thought.

Learning experience: The course has a programme of one two-hour session and one one-hour session per week. The two-hour sessions will consist of a combination of lectures and interactive elements, such as group work and in-class exercises. The majority of the one-hour sessions will be taught in tutorial groups, in which the focus will be on the discussion of central primary sources (in translation) or secondary literature. Each student will be required to submit a short written assignment in preparation for each tutorial. Students will also compile an annotated bibliography on a set topic in order to get used to some of the major resources and scholarly tools for the study of Islam.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  50
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 6, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 164 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 55 %, Coursework 45 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Seminar contribution (5%)
Midsemester Test (10%)
2000-word commentated bibliography (30%)
Written Exam (55%)

Coursework 45%; Written Exam 55%
Feedback Students will be given short written feedback on their assignments for the tutorials and the Midsemester test. They will be given detailed written feedback on their biographical assignments.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Outline key terms, texts, beliefs, rituals, and concepts of Islam in their historical context and how they affect the life of Muslims individually and in society.
  2. Recognise and explain diversity within the Islamic tradition, its background and its significance for Muslims and for the religion of Islam.
  3. Identify and use the most relevant sources and literature relating to aspects of the religion of Islam.
  4. Critically assess secondary literature on aspects of the religion of Islam.
  5. Present well-structured and informed arguments on issues related to aspects of Islam and successfully communicate them in writing.
Reading List
Any of the texts below may serve as an introduction to the course:

Brown, D. A New Introduction to Islam, second edition, Chichester, 2010.
Calder, Norman et el. (ed. and trans.). Classical Islam: A sourcebook of religious literature, London, 2003.
Denny, F. M. An Introduction to Islam, Boulder, 1985.
Endress, G. An Introduction to Islam, Edinburgh, 1988.
Hodgson, Marshall. The venture of Islam, Chicago 1974.
Murata, S. and Chittick, W. The Vision of Islam, London, 1995.
Rippin, Andrew. Muslims: their beliefs and practices, London, 2001.
Robinson, Neal. Islam: A Concise Introduction, London, 1999.
Saeed, Abdullah. Islamic Thought: An Introduction, London, 2006.
Shepard, William, Introducing Islam, London and New York, 2009.
Waines, David. An Introduction to Islam, Cambridge, 1996.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills A. Research and Enquiry: Students will acquire new knowledge through lectures, independent reading and reflection, and independent research.
B. Personal and Intellectual Autonomy: Students will learn how to find and critically assess literature relating to all aspects of the religion of Islam, which will allow them to independently find answers to questions relating to the religion of Islam.
C. Communication: Students will develop relevant skills in the tutorials as well as through group work.
D. Personal effectiveness: Students will learn to contextualise primary texts from a different cultural and religious background and learn about the underlying concepts.
Course organiserDr Andreas Goerke
Tel: (0131 6)50 4177
Course secretaryMrs Anne Budo
Tel: (0131 6)50 4161
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