Academic Programs 
      

The Life of the Prophet Muhammad    (HI-536)
January Interession and Winter/Spring 2007

The Prophet Muhammad is believed by Muslims to be the final prophet of God and the model for their lives as individuals and communities. Through translated selections of original historical sources, the course will survey interpretations of the personality and achievement of the Prophet made by Muslim and non-Muslim scholars. Muslim emulation of the Prophet will be examined with reference to the Hadith literature and devotional prayers.  

 

Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
ONLINE



Dr. Gazi Erdem
Adjunct Professor of Islamic Studies and attaché for religious affairs to the Turkish Consulate, New York City

Contact Information:
phone: 
(212) 661-1039
email: gerdem2002@yahoo.com


Course Syllabus

Course Website

Buy the texts



Note: If you have registered for an online course, you will be contacted by email with instructions about how to access the class by Friday, January 26th.

Course Description and Objectives:

Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad to be the Final Prophet of God. Islam as a religion and civilization is traced back to the life of the Prophet Muhammad since the Prophet himself was the communicator of the religion and his sayings are accepted as the second cardinal source of Islam after the Holy Qur’an. Moreover, Muslims are to accept him as the role model in their individual and social lives. Therefore, studying the life of the Prophet and the stages of his mission helps us attain a comprehensive understanding of Islam. To this effect, the defining elements of the Prophet Muhammad’s life will be analyzed and students will be introduced to the important benchmarks of his life through special references to translations of original sources and selected studies by both Islamic and Western researchers. Throughout the course, the personality and achievements of the Prophet will be interpreted and Muslim emulation of the Prophet will be examined with references to the Hadith literature and devotional prayers.

The Main Texts for the Course:

1) Muhammad Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah, A. Guillaume (trans. and ed.) The Life of Muhammad, London, 1955.
2) Martin Lings, Muhammad: His life Based on the Earliest Sources, London, 1983.
3) Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, San Francisco, 1993.

These sources are available in the Hartford Seminary Library.

In addition to the weekly introduction papers prepared by the lecturer, some other sources will be provided throughout the course and students will be asked to do some extra search. A relatively broader course bibliography will be posted by the first week of the course.

This on-line course does not require the group to be present in the electronic classroom all at the same time.

On Monday of each week, an introduction to the topic of the week will be posted along with some discussion questions related to the readings of the week. The assigned readings and the introduction should be read by Friday of that week. Comments and responses of the students on both readings and postings of the others should be posted by Sunday. All the weekly assignments must be completed by 5 pm of every Sunday.

Course Requirements:

1) Each student is required to complete the weekly reading assignments including both the lecturer’s written introductions and the postings by the students.
2) Each student is required to participate by making at least two posts of 300-500 words; one on assigned reading or lecturer’s introductions and the other on the fellow students’ postings.
3) Each student is required to write a four to five pages (800-1000 words) review of one of the following books. The review will be due by the week nine.

a) Akram Diya Al-Umari, Medinan Society at the Time of the Prophet, Horndon, VA, 1991.
b) Buaben, J. M., Image of the Prophet Muhammad in the West: A Study of Muir, Margoliouth and Watt, Leicester, 1996.
c) Golam W. Choudhury, The Prophet Muhammad: His Life and Eternal Message, Buckhurst Hill: Scorpion, 1993.
d) M. A. Salahi, Muhammad: Man and Prophet: a Complete Study of the Life of the Prophet of Islam, Shaftesbury: Element, 1995.
e) Muhammad Hamidullah, The Battlefields of the Prophet Muhammad with Maps Illustrations and Sketches: A Contribution to Muslim Military History, Hyderabad, 1973.

4) Each student is required to prepare a final 15-page (3000 words, excluding footnotes or endnotes and bibliography) research paper on one of the following topics. The paper will be due three weeks after the end of course.

a) Prophet’s Approach towards Jews and Christians.
b) The Significance of the Hijrah (migration to Medina) for the Muslims of the time and the whole Islamic History.
c) The Importance of Hudaybia in the Islamic History and the Reasons why it is Named by God as ‘Clear Victory’?
d) Family Life of the Prophet Muhammad.
e) The Prophet Muhammad’s Relations with Members of His Community: Women, Children, Orphans, Slaves, Poor, Handicapped, Youth and Elderly.

Final Grading:

Participation and Posted Presentations: 50%
Book Review: 15%
Research Essay: 35%


Course Schedule:

WEEK ONE
• Arabia before Muhammad and Concept of Cahiliyyah
Lings, Muhammad, pp. 1-18; Armstrong, Muhammad, pp. 55-71.
• Birth, Childhood and Youth of the Prophet
Ibn Ishaq, Sirat, pp. 69-89 (skip the poems); Lings, Muhammad, pp. 19-43.

WEEK TWO
• Beginning of the Revelation and Meccan Opposition
Ibn Ishaq, Sirat, pp. 111-121, 130-143 (skip the poems); Lings, Muhammad, pp. 44-57;
Armstrong, Muhammad, pp. 91-107.
• Torture and Tyranny in Mecca and Migration to Abyssinia
Ibn Ishaq, Sirat, pp.143-153 (skip the poems); Lings, Muhammad, pp. 83-86.
• Social Boycott for Muslims
Ibn Ishaq, Sirat, pp. 159-173 (skip the poems); Lings, Muhammad, pp. 90-94.

WEEK THREE
• Travel of Taif
Ibn Ishaq, Sirat, pp.191-197; Lings, Muhammad, pp. 98-103.
• Mi’raj, The Ascension
Ibn Ishaq, Sirat, pp.181-187; Lings, Muhammad, pp. 104-107.
• Pledges of Aqaba and Migration to Medina
Ibn Ishaq, Sirat, pp. 197-213, 221-231 (skip the names); Lings, Muhammad, pp. 111-127; Armstrong, Muhammad, pp. 134-163.

WEEK FOUR
• Early Days in Medina
Ibn Ishaq, Sirat, pp. 234-236; Lings, Muhammad, pp. 128-137.
• Constitution of Medina
Ibn Ishaq, Sirat, pp. 231-233; Watt, Medina, pp. 221-238; Serjeant, ‘The Constitution of Medina’, pp. 3-16.

WEEK FIVE
• Permission for Struggle, Holy War
Armstrong, Muhammad, pp. 164-173; Lings, Muhammad, pp. 138-140.
• Badr and its Significance
Lings, Muhammad, pp. 141-163; Watt, Medina, pp. 10-16.
• Uhud and Lessons for Muslims
Lings, Muhammad, pp. 177-200; Watt, Medina, pp. 21-29.

WEEK SIX
• Battle of Khandaq
Ibn Ishaq, Sirat, pp. 450-460; Lings, Muhammad, pp. 222-236.
• Expedition of Benu Qaynuqa, Benu Nadir and Benu Qureyzah
Lings, Muhammad, pp. 164-166, 209-211, 237-241; Watt, Medina, pp. 192-220.
• Campaign of Kahybar
Ibn Ishaq, Sirat, pp. 510-523; Lings, Muhammad, pp. 271-278.

WEEK SEVEN
• Treaty of Hudaybiyah and Importance of Peace in Islam
Lings, Muhammad, pp. 255-270; Ibn Ishaq, Sirat, pp. 499-510.
• Invitation Letters, Opining the Door for Da’wah
Ibn Ishaq, Sirat, pp. 652-659; Watt, Medina, pp. 78-150.

WEEK EIGHT
• Conquest of Makkah as an Example for the Later Times
Ibn Ishaq, Sirat, pp. 540-556; Lings, Muhammad, pp. 304-316.
• Battle of Hunayn and Taif
Ibn Ishaq, Sirat, pp. 566-597 (skip the poems); Lings, Muhammad, pp. 317-329.

WEEK NINE
• Final Years of the Prophet
Lings, Muhammad, pp. 330-347.
• Farewell Pilgrimage and Last Sermon
Ibn Ishaq, Sirat, pp. 649-652; Lings, Muhammad, pp. 348-352.
• Death and Burial of the Prophet
Lings, Muhammad, pp. 353-362; Armstrong, Muhammad, pp. 250-266.

WEEK TEN
• The Prophet in the Qur’an and the Hadith
Arberry, “The Sira in Verse”, p. 64-72; Welch, “Muhammad's Understanding of Himself: the Koranic Data”, p.15-52; Israr Ahmad, “The Objective and Goal of Muhammad's Prophethood (saw) in the Light of the Holy Qur'an”, p. 6-22; Goto, “Hadiths as Historical Sources for a Biography of the Prophet” p. 82-97; Al- Nowaihi, “Towards a Re-evaluation of Muhammad: Prophet and Man”, p. 300-313.

WEEK ELEVEN
• The Spiritual Life of the Prophet
Sahih Bukhari and Muslim, Chapters of Belief and Virtue (Kitab al-Iman and Fadail); Al-Ghazali, The Prophet in the Hadith and Spiritual Life of Muslims: “The Book of the Conduct of Life as Exemplified by the Prophetic Character,” Book XX of the Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din; Schimmel, And Muhammad, pp. 24-55.

WEEK TWELVE
• The Prophet as an Educator and Example
Royster, “Muhammad as Teacher and Exemplar”, pp. 235-258; Schimmel, “The Prophet Muhammad as a Centre of Muslim Life and Thought,” pp. 35-61.

WEEK THIRTEEN
• Medieval and Contemporary Christian and Orientalist Image of the Prophet
Daniel, Islam and the West, 35-129; Buaben, “The Prophet Muhammad in Twentieth Century European Scholarship” p. 30-52.

Selected Bibliography for Further Reading:

A. Goto, “Hadiths as Historical Sources for a Biography of the Prophet” in: Orient, Tokyo, 30-31, 1995, p. 82-97.
A. J. Arberry, “The Sira in Verse”, in: Arabic and Islamic Studies in Honor of H. A. B. Gibb, 1965, p. 64-72.
A. J. Wensinck, Muhammad and the Jews of Medina, Berlin, 1982.
A. T. Welch, “Muhammad's Understanding of Himself: the Koranic Data”, in: Islam's Understanding of Itself, 8th G.Levi della Vida Conference, R. G. (Editor), S. Vryonis (Editor), Malibu: Undena , 1983, p.15-52.
Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, Muhammad the Last Prophet: a Model for all Time, Leicester, 1993.
Akram Diya Al-Umari, Medinan Society at the Time of the Prophet, Horndon, VA, 1991.
Annemarie Schimmel, “The Prophet Muhammad as a Centre of Muslim Life and Thought,” in: We believe in One God, Edited by A. Schimmel and A. Falaturi, London, 1979, p. 35-61.
Bernard Lewis, The Arabs in History, Oxford, 1993.
Bernard Lewis, The Jews of Islam, London, 1984.
D. J. Sahas, John of Damascus on Islam: the “Heresy of the Ishmaelites”, Leiden, 1972.
Golam W. Choudhury, The Prophet Muhammad: His Life and Eternal Message, Buckhurst Hill: Scorpion, 1993.
Hüseyin Algül, İslam Tarihi I-IV, İstanbul, 1986.
İbrahim Sarıçam, Hz. Muhammed ve Evrensel Mesajı, Ankara, 2001.
Israr Ahmad, “The Objective and Goal of Muhammad's Prophethood (saw) in the Light of the Holy Qur'an”, in: Qur'anic Horizons, 1 i, 1996, p. 6-22.
J. E. Royster, “Muhammad as Teacher and Exemplar”, in: Muslim World, 68 (1978), p. 235-258.
Jabal Muhammad Buaben, Image of the Prophet Muhammad in the West: A Study of Muir, Margoliouth and Watt, Leicester, 1996.
Jabal Muhammad Buaben, “The Prophet Muhammad in Twentieth Century European Scholarship” in: Encounters, 1 ii, 1995 p. 30-52.
M. A. Salahi, Muhammad: Man and Prophet: a Complete Study of the Life of the Prophet of Islam, Shaftesbury: Element, 1995.
M. A. Shaban, Islamic History a New Interpretation I, Cambridge, 1971.
Mohamed Al- Nowaihi, “Towards a Re-evaluation of Muhammad: Prophet and Man”, in: Muslim World, 60 (1970), p. 300-313.
Muhammad Al-Waqidi, Kitab al-Maghazi I-III, (Ed. M. Jones), London, 1966.
Muhammad Hamidullah, The Battlefields of the Prophet Muhammad with Maps Illustrations and Sketches: A Contribution to Muslim Military History, Hyderabad, 1973.
Muhammed Hamidullah, İslam Peygamberi I-II, (Trc. Salih Tuğ), İstanbul, 1991.
Norman Daniel, Islam and the West, Oxford, 1993.
P. K. Hitti, History of the Arabs, London, 1970.
R. B. Serjeant, “Constitution of Medina”, in: Islamic Querterly, V. 8, 1, 1964, pp.3-16.
William Montgomery Watt, Muhammad at Mecca, Oxford, 1953.
William Montgomery Watt, Muhammad at Medina, Oxford, 1956.
William Montgomery Watt, Muhammad, Prophet and Statesman, Oxford, 1961.

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