Course Content

Certificate Course for Educators

Course Content

Course content is divided into two areas: methodological and substantive. The methodological section explores the relevance of the humanities and social sciences to the study of Muslim cultures. The substantive section deals with the emergence and development of Muslim cultures over 1400 years. This latter section is sub-divided into three components: the formation of early Muslim scholarship; philosophy, science and art in Muslim societies; and contemporary debates on challenges to Muslims. 

The four components are:

  1. Introduction: Humanities and the Study of Muslim Societies
  2. The formation of scholarship in early Muslim history
  3. Philosophy, Science and Art in Muslim Societies
  4. Contemporary Debates

1. Introduction: Humanities and the Study of Muslim Societies

This component provides a basic introduction to the selected methods of the social sciences and humanities which underpin the course. The following topics are covered:

  • Introduction to the approaches adopted in the course;
  • Role of the social sciences in the study of religion and culture;
  • An analysis of the ways Muslim civilisations are taught in Pakistan;
  • The role of teachers as reflective practitioners in understanding Muslim cultures.

2. The formation of scholarship in early Muslim history

Participants revisit crucial issues raised during the formative period of Muslim history that continue to have an impact on modern Muslim thinking. In examining these topics a central assumption is that these issues are part of human history. The following topics are examined:

  • The history of the compilation of the Qur'an, Sira and Hadith;
  • The expansion of Muslim rule and resulting cultural interactions;
  • Interpreting the Qur'an, Sira and Hadith;
  • Development of artforms in the formative period: trends in Arabic poetry and calligraphy;
  • The formative period in the consciousness of today's Muslims.

3. Philosophy, Science and Art in Muslim Societies

This component examines the complex histories and cultures of Muslims from around 800 CE to 1800 CE.  It encompasses both the greatest Muslim achievements, and the genesis of comparative decline.  The aim of this component is to revisit attitudes towards this period.  The following  themes are be examined:

  • Reception, function and status of philosophy in Muslim societies;
  • Reception, function and status of science and technology;
  • Exploration of art and architecture in Muslim societies;
  • The processes of the institutionalisation of law;
  • Madrasas and the institutionalisation of thought;
  • Attitudes towards institutionalisation; and
  • Muslims in South Asia: history, culture and predicaments

4. Contemporary Debates

This component focuses on the Muslim world in the 19th and 20th centuries. It examines the impact of the West, imperialism and colonialism, the emergence of nation states, economic transformations, social changes and the forces of globalisation.  The component also aims to map current debates in Muslim societies for exploration.  Issues related to modernity and Islam, educational reforms, gender debates, political governance, human rights, urbanization and migration, globalisation, and techno-ethics are examined. The following topics are explored:

  • The rise of the modern West;
  • Trajectory of colonial contacts;
  • 19th century reformist Muslim thinkers: perceptions of Muslim and Western selves;
  • Responses to modernity;
  • Introduction to current debates in the Muslim world.​