Postgraduate Module Descriptor

ARAM102: Islam in Practice

This module descriptor refers to the 2017/8 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

  • Week 1The Sacred Sources of Islam: the Prophet Muhammad and the Qur’anSubjects covered include: Scope and Purpose of this Class. The Relationship between Knowledge, Faith and Practice in Islam. The Prophet Muhammad, the Qur’an and the Sacred Sources of Islam.
  • Week 2Pillars and Rites of Islam: Classical Theory and Contemporary PracticeSubjects covered include: The Meaning of Ihsan. The Five Pillars of Islam in Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy. The Inner Meaning of the Islamic Rites.
  • Week 3Anthropological Theories of Islam. Islam in Religious StudiesSubjects covered include: Survey of the History of Anthropological Study of Islam. Key Anthropological Theories, Theorists and Concepts Used in Islamic Studies. Loeffler’s Islam in Practice. Islam, Orientalism and Religious Studies.
  • Week 4The Philosophy and Practice of Prayer in IslamSubjects covered include: Varieties of Prayer, Supplication and Meditation Practices in Islam. Ritual prayer (Salat) and Prayer of the Heart (Dhikr). The Outer Rites and Inner Meaning of Prayer.
  • Week 5The Theology of Fasting, Ethics of Eating and Practise of PilgrimageSubjects covered include: Exoteric and Esoteric Aspects of the Etiquette of Eating and Rules of Fasting. The Rite of Pilgrimage and its Formalities and Inner Meanings
  • Week 6Islam’s Public and Private Sacred Spaces: Mosque and KhanaqahSubjects covered include: The Concept of Sacred Space. The Structure, Use and Symbolism of the Mosque. History and Purpose of the Khanaqah Institution in Islam. The Rules and Manners of the Khanaqah
  • Week 7Charity and Almsgiving in the Qur’an and Classical SufismSubjects covered include: Charity in the Semitic Religious Tradition vs. Secular Modernity. Qur’anic and Prophetic Ideals of Charity, Almsgiving (zakat)and Generosity(sadaqa = caritas). The Meaning of the Virtue of Charity in Sufism and the Spiritual Life.
  • Week 8An Overview of Islamic Philosophical Ethics, Religious and Sufi Ethics. The Chief Moral Philosophers of Islam (Al-Kindi, Al-Razi, Al-Farabi, Ibn Sina, Nasir al-Din Ṭusi, Al-Dawwani, etc.). Sufi ethics from ‘Ali Ibn Abi talib to al-Ghazali. Al-Ghazali’s Theory of the Virtues. On the Saying: “Sufism is all Good Character…” Suluk and the Scale of Virtues in Sufism.
  • Week 9Principles and Teachings of Spiritual Chivalry (Futuwwat)Subjects covered include: Chivalry (futuwwat – javanmardi) and Sufism. It’s Affiliation with Islamic ‘High’ Culture and Humanistic Studies. The Writings of Shihab al-Din Suhrawardi (d. 1234) on Chivalry. Chivalry’s Ethics and Practical Spirituality.
  • Week 10Classical Adab in Islam and Sufism. Classical Definitions of AdabSubjects covered include: The Various Meaning ofAdab in the Western Study of Islam (Makdisi, Lapidus, Böwering…). Adab in Muslim Education and its Qur’anic Ethics. Adab as a Code of Conduct in Ghazali and Sulami
  • Week 11Islamic Musical Devotional Practices: Sama‘ in SufismSubjects covered include: The History and Meaning of Sama‘ in Islam. Music and Song in the Qur’an, Hadith, and in Sufi Contemplative Practice. Theological Views (pro and contra) on Sama‘.Qur’anic Cantillation and Sama‘. Rumi on Sama‘ and among the Mevlevi Whirling Dervishes.

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities2412 x 2 hr. classes (lectures followed by a seminar). The lectures will cover the subjects on the syllabus above, followed by a seminar in which the students discuss the required readings and answer pre-assigned questions on them.
Guided independent study88Reading from required readings; preparation of answers to (in-class) questions from readings
Guided independent study90Research and writing up of two book studies
Guided independent study100Research and writing up of final term 2500-word essay. The title and structure of the essay is determined in consultation with your module convenor. Your module convenor with provide you with feedback on a draft of your final term essay and help you out with its bibliography and literature review

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).

Other Learning Resources

Handouts to be given out during class, and the slides from my powerpoint lectures will be made available to students.