Introduction to Islam
11 January – 27 January
Mondays & Wednesdays
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 PM GMT
History of Islam: Dr Mohammad Zakaria
There are currently more than a billion Muslims in the world that speaks hundreds of languages and dialects. They are the majority population in a region spanning from Morocco to Indonesia. At the height of Islamic Civilisation they drew on a number of existing traditions, including the Greek, the Persian and the Indian, but they made their own distinctive and original contributions to these fields, and these were, in turn, passed on to Europe.
The purpose of this course is to allow students to study systematically and coherently the global civilisation of Islam – The starting point will be pre-Islamic Arabia, the place in which Prophet Muhammad, the founder of the religion of Islam was born. This will be followed by an introduction to his mission and the subsequent expansion of Islam out of Arabia, resulting in the creation of a distinct civilisation, which at one point had the majority of the world’s most sophisticated philosophers, mathematicians, medical practitioners, astronomers, and architects.
The course will focus on the political, social, and religious institutions that shaped Islamic civilisation as well as on the intellectual and scholarly traditions which characterised the Muslim world.
Islamic Thought(Theology – Including the Islamic conception of God, the soul, and the afterlife; beliefs about scripture and revelation; Islamic views of other religions; and life’s big questions): Dr Amina Inloes
Islam is a way of life centred upon the primary principle of the oneness of God, out of which everything comes into being, and to which everything returns after it has disintegrated and died. The realisation of this oneness and its implications in every sphere of existence is the aim that the Muslim strives to attain. The ‘roots’ of Islamic belief are divided into three: testifying to the oneness of God; belief in prophet hood and belief in the afterlife. This course examines these three principles, before moving on to reflect on the nature of the Qur’ān and how it may be understood and read. Linked to the realisation of tawhīd is the process of the purification of the soul. Methods for this constitute the spiritual tradition of Islam and they will be looked at in brief. Finally, a selection of ethical instructions in relation to society and politics will be discussed in the light of one of Islam’s key principles: that of justice.
The following topic swill be covered in two sessions
- The nature of God
- The word of God: Revelation and scripture
- Prophets (and Imams)
- Means of knowing God
- The purpose of life
- The soul and the afterlife
- The relationship between the divine and the material world
- Fate and free will
- Prayer and the involvement of God in the material world
- Does evil exist?
- Views towards other religions
Contemporary Issues in the Muslim World: Sheikh Ahmad Haneef
Contemporary Issues in the Muslim World. It will be covering some of hot topics that are featured in the media that pertain to Islam/Muslims. Some issues related to Islam and democracy and democratic practice and its compliance with Islam. Some of the family law issues including the woman’s social and political position in Islam. Islam, Muslims, and their relations with other faiths. Some issues on the differences between Islamic principles and Muslims’ cultures that create serious misconceptions on Islam and its principles.