MES 310 • INTRODUCTION TO ISLAM
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
The objective of this course is to give students an understanding of what it means to be Muslim, in terms of beliefs, practices, and cultural. In order to achieve this three-part objective, we will read materials from various perspectives and of different genres, including literature, philosophy, biography, and religious explication. We will devote some time to the history of the foundations and civilization of Islam, for while a religion's message is intended to be universal, its human manifestation is always in the framework of history. Additionally, religions exist not only as ideal systems of beliefs and practices, both ritual and moral, but also as the lived reality of its practitioners, which is tempered by the exigencies of culture, history and the varied nature of human beings. Thus, we will explore the meaning of Islam as a worldview and a moral system, through its doctrinal, ritual, philosophical, moral and spiritual dimensions. We will also explore Islam as a culture and a community, with its own forms of artistic expression and its own social institutions. The course is designed for students with no prior knowledge of Islam.
Weekly reading assignments, short quizzes, midterm and a final exam. Students must complete all the reading assignments, and active participation in the class is necessary. Quizzes - 32%; Midterm exam - 25%; Final exam - 25%; Class attendance - 12%; Class participation - 6%.
Islam: the Straight Path, by John Esposito Sufism: an Account of the Mystics of Islam, by A. J. Arberry Course packet.