IslamCourse Level: Intermediate

Course Summary

This six week course will introduce you to the basics of Islam, which is the second largest religion in the world and the fastest growing faith in the United States. The course will discuss the origin, development and spread of Islam and include a study of major practices and beliefs, the role of the Quran, perspectives on gender roles and how Islam views people of other faiths. Consideration will also be given to factors that give rise to either fundamentalist or democratic movements in the Muslim world.

Successful completion of this course earns 3.0 CEU's. Click here for more information about CEU's.

General Course Objectives

  • Distinguish between confessional, scientific and empathetic-critical approaches to the study of world religions.
  • Describe the life Muhammad and key elements of his teaching.
  • Distinguish between the political, cultral and religious dimensions of Islam.
  • Discuss Quranic views regarding Jesus, Mary, and relations with Christians and Jews.
  • Identify factors that give rise to Islamist movements.
  • Identify web, video and textual resources for the study of Islam.

Course Materials

  • Required Book: Elias, J.J. Religions of the World Series: Islam Prentice Hall 1998. ISBN: 0132662639; ISBN-13: 978-0132662635
  • Required Book: Kaltner, J. Islam, What Non-Muslims Should Know Augsburg Fortress Publishers 2003. ISBN: 0800635833; ISBN-13: 978-0800635831
  • Optional Book: Video CD
    • This course uses on-line video clips. If you use a dial-up connection for your Internet access please request a CD of the video clips by sending an e-mail to Margaret McCrate: mmccrate1@udayton.edu

Course Structure and Highlights

  • Week 1: Session 1: Introduction to the Muslim World
    • To provide a global context for correcting mis/perceptions about Muslim and Islam.
    • To recognize the importance of distinguishing the political, cultural and religious dimensions of Islam.
    • To examine different approaches to the study of world religions.
  • Week 2: The Birth of Islam: Muhammad and His Message
    • To understand the religious, cultural and political context in which Muhammad lived and Islam was born.
    • To note the rapid transformation of Islam from a local Arab religion to a largely non-Arab world religion.
    • To identify early controversies that led to division among the followers of Muhammad.
  • Week 3: Islamic Theology, Law and Spirituality
    • Identify major themes in Islamic theology (kalam)
    • Clarify the 4 principles or sources of authority that establish Islamic law (shari'ah)
    • Explore the origins and spirituality of Islamic mystics known as Sufis.
  • Week 4: Beliefs, Rituals and Practices
    • Provide practical information regarding basic Muslim beliefs, religious practices and social customs, including gender roles.
    • Correct misconceptions regarding the meaning and practice of jihad.
  • Week 5: Muslim-Christian Relations
    • Survey Quranic views regarding People of the Book, Hebrew Prophets, Mary and Jesus.
    • Identify points of convergence and divergence in Muslim and Christian teachings.
  • Week 6: Islamist Responses to Global Changes
    • In an attempt to determine whether a "clash of civilizations" (a struggle between Islam and the West) is inevitable or a "dialogue of civilizations" is possible, this session will: identify historical factors that influence the interplay of religion and politics in the Islamic world;
    • Examine the goal of Islamist movements and the roots of pluralism in Islam.