Academic Programs 

Understanding Islam: Rumor and Reality (DI-501) ONLINE
January Interession and Winter/Spring 2009

This course is an introduction to the Islamic faith, intended for those from other traditions. It is designed to meet the growing need for basic information about Islam. It will cover Islamic beliefs and practices, issues faced by Muslims living in the West, the role of women in Islam, and current efforts at Muslim-Christian dialogue.

Meeting Day, Time and Dates:*
ONLINE beginning Jan. 26

*Note: This course is scheduled to begin Monday, January 26 . Registered students will receive an email from Dr. Scott Thumma the afternoon of January 23rd with instructions on how to access the private web site.

Kemal Argon

Adjunct Instructor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations and Ph.D. Candidate in Islamic Studies at Hartford Seminary

Contact Information:

Course Syllabus

Course Web Site

Text Book: An Introduction to Islam, 3rd Edition by Frederick Mathewson Denny (Paperback - 2005)

Course Requirements:

  1. Discussion List participation is mandatory: Students should write responses to my written presentation having carefully studied the assigned text and prepared to discuss it. I will post a lecture on Monday and await your responses and discussion throughout the week.
  2. Complete all reading assignments.
  3. One Book Review, two to four pages long of the textbook for the course.
  4. One Final paper, 7-10 pages long, double spaced.
  5. One –half page to a page long letter of introduction due at first class to be sent to the instructor introducing yourself as you like so that the instructor remembers you in composing his lectures. Students have the option of introducing themselves to the rest of the online class, to facilitate discussion.

Grading Scale:

A- Excellent, Superior Work
B- Good, Better than Average
C- Ordinary, acceptable passing,
D- Less than ordinary
E- Failed.

The Book Review of Denny’s book should show me that you have read the book, engaged the material, thought about it and can write two to four pages showing that you comprehended the material and can rely on it as background material for class discussion. This will be 10 percent of the final grade.

The final paper of 7-10 pages will be 20 percent of the final grade. Instructor and student must jointly choose and approve their topic: this is to make sure that you pick a topic that is practicable at this level.

The rest of the course grade will be based on a selection of what I consider to be your best postings, engaging the material. I expect one good post in response to each one of my posted lectures and additional dialogue with other students will only improve your grade if it shows me that you are engaging the material, better yet expanding your understanding and knowledge and or bringing new relevant information to the discussion.

Please enjoy engaging the material and learning with the other students and your instructor!

Schedule for Spring 2009

First week Class Introduction and Policies
Overview of Islam: The Rituals/Five Pillars TEXTBOOK: pages 97-127
Jan 26, 2008
Second week History: Arabia Before Islam and the coming of Muhammad: The Qur’an and Teachings Textbook pages 3-70; 128-163
Feb. 2
Third week The Tradition: The Hadiths
The Early Expansion of Islam
TEXTBOOK pages 149-163
Feb. 9
Fourth week The Battle of the Books? The Holy Bible and Holy Quran as God’s Word
Feb. 16
Fifth week Classical Islam: The Sunni Majority: Four Schools ;Shariah. Textbook: 187-207
Feb. 23
Sixth week Classical Islam: The Shi’a and Related Sects
Mar 2
Seventh week Modernist Islamic Movements in Response to Crisis: Book Review Due
Textbook pages 315-380
Mar 9
Eighth week Islamic Mysticism and The Sufi Brotherhoods Textbook: pages 211-259
Mar 16
Ninth week Human Rights in Islam and Western Critique
Mar 23
Tenth week Islam in North America: Islam in Europe
Mar 30
Eleventh week Political Islam and Islamism: Islam in Iran:
Apr 13
Twelfth week Relations with other faiths: Christianity, Judaism
Apr. 20
Thirteenth week Discussion, (Final Papers Due MAY 4TH)
Apr. 27


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