Academic Programs 

Readings in Arabic Religious Texts    (SC-622)
January Interession and Winter/Spring 2007

The aim of this course is to improve students’ reading fluency in classical Arabic. Students will read selections of Islamic religious texts including the Qur’an and Hadith.


Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 9:20 p.m., beginning January 31

Steven Blackburn
Faculty Associate in Semitic Scriptures

Contact Information:
(860) 509-9561


Course Syllabus

Required textbooks:

the entirety of al-Qur’an, along with The 40 Hadith of al-Nawawi, can be found online. If you wish to purchase a copy of al-Nawawi, it is published by the Islamic Texts Society, distributed by Fons Vitae; copies of al-Qur’an vary in cost and quality. Make sure the copy you purchase has the text in Arabic.


The purchase of a dictionary is optional, though either Penrice’s A Dictionary and Glossary of the Kor-an or the Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Standard Arabic (J M. Cowan, ed.) would be helpful. Penrice is less expensive, but less comprehensive. However, it contains all the vocabulary you will encounter in our Qur’anic passages, as well as virtually all, if not the entirety, of what we will run into as far as Hadith are concerned. The Wehr is about the best available today, but is clearly a dictionary of modern Arabic; Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon is the most comprehensive of all dictionaries, covering Qur’anic, classic, and modern usage; it has recently been republished by Fons Vitae, both in print and as a CD. Lane is also accessible online.

The student will be exposed to several stylistic types of readings: Meccan Surahs, Medinan Surahs, and Hadith as presented by al-Nawawi. Students will use these texts to improve their grasp of Arabic grammar, as well as to consider a variety of theological themes in Islam and in Jewish-Christian-Muslim comparative religion.

The following texts are scheduled to be considered:

The Unbelievers (Surah #109)
Purity of Faith (Surah #112)
The Opening Chapter (Surah #1)
The Believers (Surah #23) verses 1-11
Light (Surah #24) verses 35-38
Maryam (Surah #19) verses 16-40 (or a selection therefrom)
A selection from the following Hadith: 3, 6, 8, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 31, 38, 40-42

The final exam will consist of an examination on an “unseen” passage from the Qur’an. In addition, students will be asked to write a five-to-six page Reflection on a topic related to a topic to be mutually agreed upon with the Professor. Possible topics include a theme common to Abrahamic religious texts, a consideration of a Muslim commentator, the history of the collection of hadith, a character from a Qur’anic narrative, etc.

The semester’s work will be weighted as follows:

Class performance and participation: 1/2
Reflection: 1/4
Final exam: 1/4


Hartford Seminary  77 Sherman Street  Hartford, CT  06105   860-509-9500