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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

THEO1015 Introduction to the Study of Islam

10 creditsClass Size: 45

Module manager: Professor Sean McLoughlin

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

- How have Western studies of Islam changed since the Middle Ages? - How much do we know about the life of Prophet Muhammad and how do we know it? - What is the place of the Qur'an in the daily life of Muslims? - Why is religious law so important for Muslims today? This module seeks to answer these and other questions that arise in the study of Islam and of Muslims' religious life in the past and present. Your studies will include the origins of Islam in seventh-century Arabia, the Qur'an and the Prophet, differing sectarian views of the faith, spiritual life, law and major rituals such as the pilgrimage to Mecca. You will also reflect on the challenges facing Muslims in the modern world and their various responses.


To introduce the emergence and spread of the religion of Islam, its salvation history and different traditions.
To locate the academic study of Islam in terms of some of its different disciplinary contexts and methodologies, e.g. textual and historical, as well as social and cultural, studies.
To provide a broad base from which students might progress to more specialised modules at Levels 2 & 3.

Skills outcomes
Listening, reading, evaluating, note-taking, discussion in small groups, speaking publicly, writing under time-limited conditions.


After a brief consideration of the key contexts relating to academic the study of Islam, the module focuses first on an understanding of the formative period of Islamic salvation history, most especially in terms of sources for the life of the Prophet Muhammad and the text and themes of the Qur'an. At this point there is also an examination of what the Prophet and the Qur'an mean to ordinary Muslims.

The module continues with an analysis of the consolidation of the dominant Sunni tradition in Islam, in terms of its historical context, intellectual discourses (classical theology and law) and main ritual practices (the five pillars of Islam).

By way of conclusion, some links are suggested between the formative, classical and modern periods of Islamic history, with particular reference to the themes of revival and reform.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours84.00
Total Contact hours16.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

You should spend on average 4 hours each week in lecture and seminar preparation (44 hours total) including related gathering of resources/reading/thinking/note-taking/generating questions.

Approximately 40 hours of essay preparation (e.g. 5 topics x 8 hours) is also recommended. This builds upon lectures, private study and related support in seminars.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Attendance, feedback in lectures, informal conversations, email enquiries / exchanges, 'test' and optional tutorials

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1000 words50.00
Essay1000 words50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/08/2020 08:44:12


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