The Islamic faith has often been characterized by Muslims as consisting of outward practice, theology, and inward virtue known as iḥsān. Considering the emphasis that the Islamic scriptures and Muslim figures of piety placed on the “soundness” of what is known in the Islamic tradition as the spiritual heart, Islamic spirituality and virtue ethics developed as an independent field of study under various names such as Sufism (taṣawwuf), tazkiya, iḥsān,and ʿirfan. This science was taught as part of the core curriculum of classical institutions of Islamic learning alongside Islamic law (fiqh) and theology (kalām) as an essential complement and integral element of Islamic practice. This course will introduce students to this third dimension of the Islamic faith through examining the core elements of how many Muslim specialists understood Islamic spirituality and virtue ethics, while also exploring how it can be applied today to many contemporary issues such as social justice, environmental stewardship, and personal development. Both classical and modern texts related to Islamic spirituality will be studied and discussed in this course.
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