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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ARAB2320 The Qur'an: History, Text and Interpretation

20 creditsClass Size: 70

Module manager: Dr Tajul Islam

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The Qur'an is believed by Muslims to be the third volume of a trilogy that includes the Old and New Testament. It is with this in mind that the module surveys the Qur'an's core theological themes; explores the historical context of its development as a scripture; highlights the debates surrounding the nature of revelation and historicism of the text; examines the notion of abrogation (naskh) and interpretation (tafsir); and sets the Qur'anic text within its Judeo-Christian and Biblical context.


This module will equip students with an ability to thematically navigate through the contents of the Qur'an and understand the historical development of the Qur'anic text. It will provide students with a broad acquaintance with Qur'anic sciences ('ulum al-qur'an) and the interpretation of the text. Students will explore the Qur'an as the first authoritative source in the Muslim tradition, and its significant interplay with Islamic theology, law and other disciplines. They will engage with the views of Western scholarship on the issue in addition to classical and modern Muslim scholarship.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should have acquired a solid grounding in the literature on the Qur'an as a text, and have an in-depth understanding of the historical subtext of the scripture and critically reflect upon the development of the script and contents of the Qur'an. In addition to the discipline knowledge, by the end of the course students should have acquired various transferrable skills, including communication, essay writing, time management and presentation skills.


The topics covered in the module include:

Theme I: Leitmotifs
- Qur'anic leitmotifs
Theme II: History
- Evaluating the documentation of the Qur'anic text with reference to the historical method of source criticism
- Survey of Qur'anic compilation and codices
Theme III: Epistemology
- The Qur'an and revelation (wahy)
- The notion of Qur'anic abrogation (naskh)
Theme IV: Content
- The Qur'anic parables and their biblical subtext
- Legal Injunctions
Theme V: Hermeneutics
- Interpretation: clarity v. ambiguity of the Qur'anic text.
- Qur'anic style and translation
- Qur'anic exegesis

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours168.00
Total Contact hours32.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

200 hours including the contact hours and also hours spent on student preparation for one essay, seminar presentations, and lectures.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored using the following methods:
- Written / oral assignments
- Designated feedback sessions (one per semester)
- Student questionnaires
- Student presentations
- Personal tutee appointments
- Tutor office hours

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3000 word essay60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)60.00

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

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment48 hr 00 mins40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)40.00

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: 29/04/2024 16:10:18


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