Spring 2018 Courses

  • Hadith with Professor Giovanni Herran – Tuesdays, 2-5 pm

This course is designed as a comprehensive introduction to the study of the prophetic traditions as a significant branch of Islamic studies. The course begins with a survey of the history of the development of the canonical collections of hadith literature, with an eye both to traditional Muslim understandings of this process as well as to Western approaches. Special attention is given to the methodologies of classical Muslim hadith criticism for the purposes of authentication and the concomitant “sciences of hadith” developed for these purposes and to how these methods compare and contrast with contemporary approaches to hadith criticism. The course then proceeds to explore the function of hadith in Muslim religious scholarship, especially jurisprudence, Qur’anic exegesis, theology, and spirituality before moving on to cover the major trends in contemporary Muslim hadith criticism. Throughout the course, students are introduced to the major tools of hadith studies in order to facilitate further study and research in this area.

  • Arabic II: Foundations of Qur’anic Arabic – Grammar with Prof. Halim Calis – Tuesdays, 2-5 pm

This course is the second part of a two-semester sequence and focuses on naḥw (grammar or the study of the sentence). Through this course, the students will learn functions of words in a sentence and will be able to analyze grammatical structures. The students will also peruse Arabic texts written on various subjects in different Islamic sciences under the tutelage of the instructor. Assigned texts will strengthen their knowledge of morphology that they learned in Arabic I and enrich their vocabulary. The course then will give them the opportunity of putting their theoretical knowledge into practice.

  • Islam and Global Politics with Dr. Zara Khan – Tuesdays, 6-9 pm

“Islam and Global Politics” is a political theoretical investigation into the features of our fully automated political age.  Students will learn to identify the following phenomena and discourses: global capitalism; human rights; democracy; state sovereignty; and the morally autonomous self.  Where and how does Islam configure points of entry into this setup?  What does ‘religion’ mean in the world today, and how are competing Muslim authorities navigating this assignment?  We will look at traditional scholars, Sufi orders, and revivalist movements in diverse settings involving social change, ethnic conflict, and economic development for indications of what and how Islam is doing within the ebb and flow of global politics today.  Postcolonial conditions, Muslims’ relationship to and responsibility toward the global underclass, and the concept of political theology will be historically situated and discussed.

  • The Qur’an and Its Interpretation with Professor Halim Calis – Thursdays, 6-9 pm

This course is designed to introduce students to the Qur’an, both as Islamic revelation par excellence and as a richly complex and multi-layered text which has invited a variety of different hermeneutical approaches, both from within and outside of Muslim faith contexts. The course proceeds with a dual focus. The first focus involves familiarizing students with the content of Qur’anic teaching by direct engagement with the “major themes” of the Qur’an. The second focus involves familiarizing students with both classical Muslim exegetical and hermeneutical approaches to the Qur’an (especially the “sciences” of intra-textual interpretation, abrogation, and context-of-revelation criticism) as well as modern and post-modern secular approaches to questions regarding the provenance, nature, compilation, canonization, and interpretation of the Qur’an. Specific attention will be given throughout to introducing students to the major textual resources available for Qur’an study, including the classical and contemporary Muslim commentary literature.

  • Skills for Islamic Ministry with Shaykh Anwar Muhaimin (*Hybrid Course – Primarily online with three in-person classes Mar 15, 16, 17 & 18 from 2-7 pm. *Full schedule available in Populi.)

The first aim of this course is to provide students with basic skills centered on community care necessary for the ministry of Islamic religious leadership in a North American context. The second aim of the course is to make the students have essential skills that deal with religious education and outreach into the wider community. The course seeks to introduce students to the habitus of these skills: i.e., what they entail, how critical they are, and how vital it is to be committed to their lifelong cultivation.

  • Key Contemporary Issues and Muslims with Dr. Muhammed Cetin – Thursdays, 2-5 pm

The course aims to develop interdisciplinary thinking so that students can examine issues from multiple perspectives and integrate insights from across disciplines. Fusing insights from other disciplines will lead to a deeper understanding of the complex issues. It will help students to form a more inclusive means of responding to questions, to foster a richer, more productive, discourse and culture. Examples of issues that will be covered include the causes and consequences of backwardness, corruption, discrimination, woman and gender issues, diversity, altruism, plurality, freedom of speech, social movements, authoritarianism, political instability, democratization, Islam and the West, Islamophobia, deviance and control, extremism, and violence. Without discounting Islam’s traditional sources and with reference to universal shared values and ethics, the course will encourage students to integrate perspectives and help solve contemporary issues that know no disciplinary boundary.

  • The Left-Out Books: Soundings in Old and New Testament Apocryphal Writings with Islamic Echoes with Dr. Walter Wagner – Mondays, 6-9 pm

This course examines the writings that were left out of the Jewish and Christian scriptural canons, yet which have been and still are influential among Jews, Christians, the general society and later religious communities such as Islam, the Church of the Latter-Day Saints of Jesus Christ. Some of these writings have emerged as important for spirituality and alternate views of religion. Among the writings to be considered are a sampling of the “Old Testament Apocrypha (e.g., Judith, Tobit, Susannah and Wisdom of Solomon and the Maccabees); Jewish Inter-testamental works (e.g., Enoch, Jubilees, Testament of the XII Patriarchs); selected Apocryphal Gospels (e.g. Proto-Evangelium of James, Infancy Gospels, Nag Hammadi and Related Works (e.g., Thomas centered materials, Apocryphon of John, Gospel of Truth, Dialogue of the Savior, etc.), popular Acts of various apostles and related figures (e.g., Paul, Thecla, Nicodemus, Pilate, Andrew, Joseph of Arimathea, Lentulus). During the course, we will consider issues of inspiration, canonicity, authority, “orthodoxy and heresy” and the continuing influence and validity of these works in art, popular and academic culture, literature and film.