AAPTIS 262 - Introduction to Islam
Section: 101
Term: SP 2010
Subject: Arabic, Armenian, Persian, Turkish, and Islamic Studies (AAPTIS)
Department: LSA Near Eastern Studies
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Other Course Info:
May not be repeated for credit.
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This introductory course is designed to examine Islam as an ideological system, in which religious, social, political and cultural issues are intertwined in a very distinct manner. The main goal of the course is to give a comprehensible picture of this fascinating system as well as to show its development over time. Yet in order to convey the complexity and diversity of major concepts and notions, they will be presented in historical perspective. The course will be comprised of three major units:

  1. The first unit deals with the rise and development of Islam in religious and political terms. Here we will also deal with Islamic concepts of leadership and differences between them which lead to the split of Islam into three major factions: the Sunnites, Shi'ites and Kharijites. This unit will also provide a general overview of political history of Islam covering major Islamic dynasties, how they argued their legitimacy in religious terms and what they contributed to the Islamic civilization;
  2. The second unit covers the main elements of Islam as a religious system: the pillars of the faith (arkan al-islam); the principal sources of Islam (the Qur'an and Sunna); Islamic law (Shari'a and Fiqh) and its major concepts; Islamic mysticism (Sufism) and its major concepts and institutions; Islamic theology and philosophy. This unit will also address most crucial debates among Muslim scholars and central religious institutions (mosque, madrasa, 'ufi brotherhoods, etc.).
  3. The third unit addresses the impact of modernity on the Muslim world. In particular, how the introduction of modern institutions (for example, mass education and mass media) changed the interpretation of Islamic teaching. Certain hotly-debated contemporary issues and stereotypes — like the status of women and violence in the name of faith (jihad) — will be addressed as well.

Required readings:

  • The Koran Interpreted, Translation by A.J. Arberry, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1999; A number of different translations (including Arberry’s) together with translations of several major commentaries are available at www.altafsir.com.
  • Alexander Knysh, Islam in Historical Perspective, Pearson, custom edition, 2009 (henceforth Knysh, Islam).
  • Optional readings will be posted on CTools.
  • The main references for this course can be found online at http://www.brillonline.nl.proxy.lib.umich.edu/ (authentication required):
    They are (mainly Encyclopaedia of Islam):
    • Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd & 3rd eds
    • Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an
    • Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics
    • Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures

Format: This course meets two times a week and each meeting will start with a discussion of a previously covered material and then followed by a lecture on a new material.

Please feel free to contact the instructor at romanov@umich.edu.

AAPTIS 262 - Introduction to Islam
Schedule Listing
101 (LEC)
TuTh 3:00PM - 6:00PM
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