Academic Programs 
      

Introduction to Islamic Theology    (TH-553)
Fall 2008

This course explores the content and structure of Islamic belief, as elaborated by Muslim classical thinkers (7th-15th centuries), in relation to a selection of representative texts. The Introduction questions the nature and modalities of theology in Islam. The History studies the origins and growth of the science of Kalâm in its interaction with the other major religious disciplines of Sunnism -- exegesis, Prophetic tradition, jurisprudence, sects, Sufism and philosophy (falsafa). The Creed is then analyzed more theoretically in its major components: the lordship and divinity of God, the mediation of the Messenger, the servitude and ethics of the believers. Society offers a last avenue for enquiry, in so far as it was shaped by particular theological doctrines. The Way/Law (sharî‘a), power, love, innovation, and alterity -- religious or other -- are among the topics envisaged. No knowledge of Arabic is required for this course.

Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
Wednesdays 7-10 p.m., October 8th - December 10th.

Yahya Michot
Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations, Editor, Muslim World

Contact Information:
phone: 
(860) 509-9530
email: ymichot@hartsem.edu

 

Course Syllabus



Course Objectives

1) Students should be able to find their way around in the major reference works on Islamic theology.
2) They are expected to gain an acquaintenance with the most important classical definitions of the Islamic Creed (‘aqîda): divinity and prophethood, divine attributes and justice, Sunnism versus Shî‘ism, Ash‘arism versus Mu‘tazilism and Hanbalism, sects and other religions…
3) They should have some general accurate knowledge of the ways classical kalâm developed, the historical and ideological contexts in which it evolved, its key figures and the main doctrines, schools or movements it crystallized into.
4) In reference to the classical period, they should also be able to take an informed view of the modern theological developments and debates in the Muslim world, as well as of contemporary positions of Islam towards other world religions.

Course Requirements

1) It is strongly recommended that the student arrive at the first class already having a general knowledge about the religion of Islam, as well as about the history and geography of Muslim peoples. See the bibliography below, General references.
2) Weekly readings, class participation, regular attendance. If you are unable to attend class, please contact the Professor.
3) A mid-term essay, a final research paper and a viva voce, as described infra.

The final grade will be based upon the following:

1) Class participation (25%).
2) A mid-term essay (7 pages)* on a topic relating to the history of classical Islamic theology. The topic should be chosen by the end of class III in consultation with the Professor (20%).
3) A final research paper of a least ten pages* on a doctrinal debate or societal aspect of classical Islamic theology. The topic should be chosen by the end of class VII in consultation with the Professor. This paper will be due by the end of the week of class X (30%).
4) A final viva voce exam discussing the course, with an emphasis on the mid-term essay and the final research paper submitted (25%).

* All written work is to conform to the seminary writing guidelines, which can be found online at: http://www.hartsem.edu/student/forms/researchpaperguide.pdf. The Hartford Seminary Grading Guidelines will be the standard of evaluation for work in the course.

Class Schedule

I. October 8. Introduction: Kalâm and Islamic theology
Reading Assignments:
AVICENNA, in MICHOT, Y., A Mamlûk Theologian’s Commentary on Avicenna’s Risâla Adhawiyya. Being a Translation of a Part of the Dar’ al-Ta‘ârud of Ibn Taymiyya, with Introduction, Annotation, and Appendices, Part I, in Journal of Islamic Studies, 14:2 (Oxford, 2003), p. 149-203. — P. 173-177 (can be read on: www.muslimphilosophy.com/it/index.html.)

GHAZÂLÎ (AL-), The book of Knowledge. Being a Translation with Notes of the Kitâb al-‘Ilm of Ihyâ’ ‘Ulûm al-Dîn, by N. A. FARIS (Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1962). — P. 36-40, 52-57.

IBN KHALDÛN, « Chapter VI: The various kinds of sciences, Sections 9-17 on the religious sciences, in The Muqaddimah. An Introduction to History. Translated from the Arabic by Fr. ROSENTHAL, 3 vols. (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1958). — Vol. II, p. 436 - vol. III, p. 110.

RAHMAN, Fazlur, Islam and Modernity, in KURZMAN, Ch. (ed.), Liberal Islam. A Sourcebook (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998). — P. 313-316.

II. October 15. The early debates and the establishment of the religion

Reading Assignments:

SCHOELER, Gregor, The Oral and the Written in Early Islam. Translated by Uwe VAGELPOHL. Edited by James E. MONTGOMERY (Routledge. Taylor & Francis Group. Abingdon, 2006), viii, 248 p.

AL-SHÂFI‘Î, Muhammad b. Idrîs (d. 820), al-Risâla fî usûl al-fiqh - Treatise on the Foundations of Islamic Jurisprudence. Translated with an Introduction, Notes, and Appendices by Majid KHADDURI (Cambridge: The Islamic texts Society, 1987), xii - 379 p. — P. 116-122, 285-287, 288-290.

III. October 22. History: the construction of orthodoxy

Reading Assignments:

VAN ESS, Josef, The Flowering of Muslim Theology. Translated by Jane Marie TODD (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006), 220 p. , 067402208-4. — Transl. of: Les prémices de la théologie musulmane (Paris: Albin Michel, ‘La Chaire de l’IMA’, 2002), 163 p. 2-226-13258-6.

FRANK, Richard, Abu Hashim’s Theory of “states”, its structure and function, in Actas do Congresso de Estudos Arabes e Islâmicos, Coimbra - Lisboa 1 a 8 de setembro de 1968 (Leiden: Bril, 1971), p. 85-100.
— art. hâl, in EI2, Suppl.

IV. October 29. History: philosophical, mystical and other challenges

Reading Assignments:
IBN TUFAYL (d. 1185), Hayy ibn Yaqzân; a philosophical tale translated with introd. and notes, by Lenn Evan GOODMAN (New York: Twayne Publishers [1972]).

IBN TAYMIYYA, in MICHOT, Y., A Mamlûk Theologian’s Commentary on Avicenna’s Risâla Adhawiyya. Being a Translation of a Part of the Dar’ al-Ta‘ârud of Ibn Taymiyya, with Introduction, Annotation, and Appendices, Part I, in Journal of Islamic Studies, 14:2 (Oxford, 2003), p. 149-203. — P. 178-187 (can be read on: www.muslimphilosophy.com/it/index.html.)

V. November 5. History: failure and reformism

Reading Assignments:

AL-GHAZÂLÎ (d. 505/1111), al-Munqidh min al-dalâl —> Richard Joseph MCCARTHY, Freedom and Fulfillment. An Annotated Translation of al-Ghazâlî’s al-Munqidh min al-dalâl and other relevant works of al-Ghazâlî (Boston: Twayne Publishers, ‘Library of Classical Arabic Literature, 4’, c. 1980). — P. 61-143. BP88.G47 E5 1980a

IBN TAYMIYYA (d. 1328) —> SWARTZ, Merlin, ’A seventh-century (A. H.) Sunni creed : The ‘Aqîda Wâsitîya of Ibn Taymîya’, in Humaniora Islamica. An Annual Publication of Islamic Studies and the Humanities, vol. I. Ed. by H. W. MASON, R. L. NETTLER, M. L. SWARTZ, J. WAARDENBURG (The Hague - Paris: Mouton, 1973), p. 91-131.

VI. November 12. Creed: Tawhîd or the oneness, lordship and divinity of God

Reading Assignments:

WATT, W. M., Islamic Creeds. A Selection (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1994), 107 p., 0-7486-0522-3.

MEIER, Fritz, The Cleanest about Predestination. A Bit of Ibn Taymiyya, in MEIER, Fritz, Essays on Islamic Piety and Mysticism. Translated by John O’KANE with editorial assistance of Bernd RADTKE, Leyde, Brill, 1999, p. 309-334.

MICHEL, Thomas F., A Muslim Theologian’s Response to Christianity. Ibn Taymiyya’s Al-jawâb al-sahîh. Edition and translation (Delmar, New York: Caravan Books, ‘Studies in Islamic phi¬losophy and science’, 1984), ix - 465 p., 0-88206-058-9 — P. 40-55. BP170 .I18913 1984

VII. November 19. Creed: Nubuwwât or Prophethood

Reading Assignments:

MAWDÛDÎ, Abû l-A‘lâ’, Finality of Prophethood (Lahore: Islamic Publications [Pvt.] Limited, 7th ed., 1994), vi-71 p.

MICHOT, Y., Revelation, in The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology, ed. by Tim WINTER (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), p. 180-196.

(Nov. 24-28: Reading week)

VIII. December 3. Creed: ‘Ubûdiyya or servanthood and praxis mystica

Reading Assignments:

KHATTAB, Nasiruddin (al-), Al-‘Ubudiyyah. Being a true Slave of Allah. By Shaykh al-Islam IBN TAYMIYYAH. Translated by — (London: Ta-ha Publishers, 1420/1999), 144 p., 1-897940-88-2.

MICHOT, Y., The Image of God in Humanity from a Muslim Perspective, in Abraham’s Children: Jews, Christians and Muslims in Conversation, ed. by R. HARRIES, N. SOLOMON, T. WINTER (London: T&T Clark, 2006), p. 163-174. BR127 .A27 2005

IX. December 10. Society: Sharî‘a or a way/law of loving obedience

Reading Assignments:

MICHOT, Y., Muslims under Non-Muslim Rule. Ibn Taymiyya on fleeing from sin, kinds of emigration, the status of Mardin (domain of peace/war, domain composite), the conditions for challenging power. Texts translated, annotated and presented in relation to six modern readings of the Mardin fatwa. Foreword by J. PISCATORI, Oxford-London: Interface Publications, Dec. 2006, xviii & 190 p. – ISBN 978-0-9554545-6-1. — P. 104-105.

BELL, J. N., Love Theory in Late hanbalite Islam (Albany: State University of New York Press, ‘Studies in Is¬lamic Philosophy and Science’, 1979). — P. 46-92. BP188.16.L68 B44

X. December 17. Society: ‘Adl or justice among humans

Reading Assignments:

FARRUKH, ‘Umar A., Ibn Taymiyya on Public and Private Law in Islam. Or Public Policy in Islamic Jurisprudence. Translation, Khayats, Beyrouth, 1966, 202 p.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

GENERAL REFERENCES

I. ISLAMIC STUDIES & HISTORY


ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF ISLAM (THE), New edition: T.I-X, Supplement (Leyden: E. J. Brill, 1960-2002).

INDEX ISLAMICUS

RUTHVEN, Malise, with Azim NANJI, Historical Atlas of the Islamic World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 208 p. , 0-19-860997-3.

BRICE, William C. (ed.), An Historical Atlas of Islam. Edited under the Patronage of the Encyclopædia of Islam (Leyden, E. J. Brill, 1981), VIII - 71 p.

ROBINSON, Francis (ed.), The Cambridge illustrated history of the Islamic world (Cambridge: C.U.P., 1996), xxiii, 328 p., 0-521-43510-2.

LAPIDUS, Ira M., A History of Islamic Societies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), xxxi, 1002 p., 0-521-29549-1.

ENDRESS, Gerhard, Islam: An Historical Introduction. Translated by Carole

HILLENBRAND (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, ‘The New Edinburgh Islamic Surveys’, 2002 -2d ed.), viii - 301 p., 0-7486-1620-9.

BOSWORTH, C. E., The new Islamic dynasties : a chronological and genealogical manual (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1996), xxvi, 389 p., 0-7486-0684-x.

II. ISLAM
MUSLIM TEXTS

MUHAMMAD ‘ALI, Maulânâ, The Religion of Islâm. A Comprehensive Discussion of the Sources, Principles and Practices of Islâm (Cairo: National Publication & Printing House, n. d. [before 1973]), XXIII & 784 p.

AL-QARADAWÎ, Yûsuf, Introduction to Islam. Overall Revision Muhammad HIGAB (Cairo: Islamic Inc. Publishing & Distribution, 1997), iv, 330 p., 977-265-178-5

RAHMÂN, Fazlur, Islam (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979, 2nd ed.), ix, 285 p., 0-226-70281-2.

EATON, Gai, Islam and the destiny of Man (London: G. Allen & Unwin - Islamic Texts Society, 1985), v - 242 p., 0-04-297047-4.

MAQSOOD, Ruqaiyyah, Islam (London: Hodder Headline Plc, “Teach Yourself”, 1994), [vi] - 218 p., 0-8442-3746-9.

HAMID, A., Islam, the Natural Way (London: Mels, 1989), 195 p., 0-948196-09-2.

STUDIES

SCHIMMEL, Annemarie, Islam. An Introduction (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992), vii, 166 p., 0-7914-1328-4.

HEWER, Christopher, Understanding Islam: The first ten steps (London: SCM Press, 2006), xi, 244 p. 0334-04032-9.

JOMIER, Jacques, How to understand Islam? Translated by John BOWDEN from the French ; with additional material by J. S. NIELSON (London: SCM Press, 1989), [5], 168p., 0-334-02070-0. — Translation of: Pour connaitre l’Islam (Paris: Cerf, 1988).

WATT, W. M., What is Islam? (London: Longman [etc.], 1979, 2nd ed), x, 262 p., 0-582-78302-x.

INTERNET
University of Southern California Muslim Students Association: www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/

A. INTRODUCTION
I. KALÂM AND ISLAMIC THEOLOGY


CASPAR, R., A Historical Introduction to Islamic Theology. Muhammad and the Classical Period. Translated by P. JOHNSTONE (Roma, Pontificio Istituto di Studi Arabi e d’Islamistica - P.I.S.A.I., 1998), 278 p., 88-85907-10-5.

FAKHRY, M., A Short Introduction to Islamic Philosophy, Theology and Mysticism (Oxford: Oneworld, 1997), x, 151 p., 1-85168-134-5.

GOLDZIHER, Ignaz, Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law . Translated by Andras and Ruth HAMORI ; with an introd. and additional notes by Bernard LEWIS (Princeton: Princeton University Press, ‘Modern classics in Near Eastern Studies’, 1981), 302 p., 0-691-07257-4. — Translation of Vorlesungen über den Islam.

MACDONALD, Duncan B., Development of Muslim Theology, Jurisprudence and Constitutional Theory (London: Darf Publishers Ltd, 1985 - 1st ed. 1902), xii, 386 p., 1-85077-066-2.

WINTER, Tim (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).

CLASSICAL MUSLIM TEXTS

AL-ASH‘ARÎ, Abû l-Hasan (d. 324/935), Risâlat isihsân al-khawd fî ‘ilm al-kalâm - A Vindication of the Science of Kalâm Translated by Richard J. MCCARTHY, The Theology of al-Ash‘arî (Beirut: Imprimerie Catholique, 1953), p. 119-134.

IBN QUDÂMA, Muwaffaq al-Dîn (1147-1223), Tahrîm al-nazar fî kutub ahl al-kalâm - Censure of speculative theology. Transl. by George MAQDISI (London, Luzac, ‘E.J.W. Gibb Memorial Series, 23’, 1962.

MODERN MUSLIM TEXTS

BOUBAKEUR, Hamza, Cheikh Si, Traité moderne de Théologie Islamique, Contenu doctrinal, ramifications, Écoles orthodoxes et hétéro¬doxes, soufisme, théologie com¬parée, concordances et diver¬gences des Écritures révélées (Thora, Évangile, Coran). Avenir de l’Islâm dans le monde. Préface de T. AMAT-UL-WAHHAB (Paris: Maisonneuve & Larose, 1404/1985).

B. THE HISTORY
II. THE EARLY DEBATES AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE RELIGION

SCHOELER, Gregor, The Oral and the Written in Early Islam. Translated by Uwe
VAGELPOHL. Edited by James E. MONTGOMERY (Routledge. Taylor & Francis Group. Abingdon, 2006), viii, 248 p.

VAN ESS, Josef, The Flowering of Muslim Theology. Translated by Jane Marie TODD (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006), 220 p. , 067402208-4. — Transl. of: Les prémices de la théologie musulmane (Paris: Albin Michel, ‘La Chaire de l’IMA’, 2002), 163 p. 2-226-13258-6.

WATT, W. M., The formative period of Islamic thought (Oxford: Oneworld, 1998), [v]-vi, [6], 424 p., 1-85168-152-3.

CLASSICAL MUSLIM TEXTS

AL-SHÂFI‘Î, Muhammad b. Idrîs (d. 820), al-Risâla fî usûl al-fiqh - Treatise on the Foundations of Islamic Jurisprudence. Translated with an Introduction, Notes, and Appendices by Majid KHADDURI (Cambridge: The Islamic texts Society, 1987), xii - 379 p., 0-946621-15-2.

OBERMAN, Julian, Political Theology in Early Islam: Hasan al-Basrî’s Treatise on qadar, in Journal of the American Oriental Society, 55 (1935), p. 138-162.

 

 


Hartford Seminary  77 Sherman Street  Hartford, CT  06105   860-509-9500  info@hartsem.edu