Academic Programs 

The Qur'an and Its Place in Muslim Life and Society   (IS-620-4)  (I-SC)     
Summer 2003

As the sacred scripture of Islam, the Qur'an has primary authority in the way Muslims understand their faith. This course will examine Islamic concepts of the Qur'an as divine revelation and guidance. Major Qur'anic themes will be studied in English translation, with reference to classical and contemporary Muslim commentaries. Attention will be paid to ways in which the Qur'an functions as sacred scripture in Muslim history and contemporary life, examples of which will include Muslim communities in the United States.

Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
June 16 – 20, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ingrid Mattson
Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations

Contact Information:
(860)  509-9531

Course Syllabus

Course Requirements: 

Since this is an intensive five-day course, full attendance and participation are absolutely necessary.  Students will be graded for participation and will lose points for unexcused absences from class.

Students will be required to keep a “Qur’an Journal” in a notebook that will be submitted to the instructor in August.  The journal will have two sections.  One section will be a glossary, in which students will write down new and unfamiliar terms and their definitions.  To this end, the student should bring the journal to class each day.  The other section of the journal will be reflective and based on independent reading of translations of the meaning of the Qur’an.  Students are required to submit a journal with at least twenty entries—each made on a different day.  The entries can be as short as two sentences; there is no maximum length.  The entry consists of reflections and questions about what the student has read. 

The research paper must be on a topic approved by the instructor.  An outline and bibliography must be submitted to the instructor on the designated date or points may be deducted from the final grade.  In addition to any monographs the student may find on the paper topic, he or she must also consult the "Index Islamicus," the "Religion Index" or another source to search for relevant scholarly articles.  The student is encouraged to submit a draft of the paper before the final due date.  Students should follow Hartford Seminary guidelines for writing research papers.  A copy of these guidelines are available from the course instructor or the Dean of Students.

Students are also permitted to submit a project instead of a paper.  The project should be a creative exercise designed to help the student further explore the Qur’an in Muslim society.  Students wishing to submit a project must obtain prior approval from the instructor.



Participation                       20%
Qur’an journal                     30%
Research paper or project    50%

      Qur’an Journal and final paper/project due August 15

Course Texts: 

  1. The Meaning of the Holy Quran.  Translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali.  Maryland:  Amana Publications.
  2. Fazlur Rahman, Major Themes of the Qur’an.  Malaysia:  Islamic Book Trust, 1989.
  3. Michael Sells, Approaching the Qur’an:  the early revelations.  Ashland, OR:  White Cloud Press, 1999.

**There will also be a packet of required readings on reserve in the library. 
***All students must have read the Introduction to the Sells book by the start of the first class. 


Daily Schedule

*Please note the Friday schedule is different from the other days in order to accommodate Friday congregational prayers for the Muslims.

Daily schedule (except Friday):                               

Period 1    9:00-10:30 Period 1      9:00-10:30
Break   10:30-10:45 Break  10:30-10:45
Period 2    10:45-12:15 Period 2  10:45-12:30
Lunch  12:15-1:15 Lunch   12:30-2:30
Period 3        1:15-2:30 Period 3  2:30-4:00
Break         2:30-2:45  
Period 4       2:45-4:00  


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