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Unformatted text preview: INTRODUCTION TO ISLAM I SLAMICS 110 S PRING Q UARTER 2010 P ROF . E RROR ! C ONTACT NOT DEFINED . (MW 3:00 PM-4:20 p.m. HAINES 118) C OURSE D ESCRIPTION : Islam is the youngest of the world’s major religious traditions. It is also one of the most dynamic religions and continues to expand. Some of the important reasons for its rapid growth and success are that Islam stresses the equality of humans in general, social justice and tolerance between various faiths, races and nations. As Islam spread from its beginning in the Arabian Peninsula, it has encompassed a wide variety of cultural and ethnic groups. Despite a great deal of linguistic diversity there is a common pattern of religious and social life based on Islam that gives the Muslim world a sense of unity. The course will seek to explain the faith, belief, and doctrines of Islam as they evolved over the fourteen centuries of its history. It provides an understanding as to how Islam as religion and as cultural phenomena developed, spread, and informed the faith and lives of the faithful throughout its history. This course will concentrate on the early centuries of Islamic history when Islam flourished and the development of its traditions, sacred law, theology and philosophy, mysticism and other sciences took place. The Islamic world during this period was the center of the civilized world and Islamic civilization was at its zenith while the West was stagnating during the Dark Ages. The final weeks of lectures and discussion will address the Muslim world’s encounter with the colonial West and how it has attempted to respond to that challenge and other controversies, such as globalization and the clash of civilizations. It is unfortunate that with regard to Islam there is much misunderstanding in the West, especially in America. Islam, a rich and vibrant religious tradition of more than a billion people, the second largest world religion, has been buried by menacing headlines and slogans, such as, “belligerent religion”, “militant revival”, “what has gone wrong with Islam?” and “why do they hate us?” The historic roots of this misunderstanding and distortion are as old as the history of Islam and go back to the early Middle Ages when the western idea of Islam was first formed. This deformed image has, of course, gone through various revisions and reassessments beginning with the European Enlightenment. A brief survey of this literature suggests how far the West has come from the hatred of the Middle Ages, towards a more just appreciation of the Prophet of Islam and Islamic contributions. Unfortunately, the progress in academic studies is not always accurately reflected in the news media. C OURSE O BJECTIVES : Lectures and weekly discussions will seek to dispel stereotypical images of Islam as militant, inflexible, and monolithic, especially in the aftermath of tragic events of 9/11. It explores the root causes of more than fourteen centuries of misunderstanding and...
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- Spring '10