Course syllabus

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SEMESTER 1, 2019

15 points



Dr Zain Ali


Phone: 021 164 0093

Course Convenor: 


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Course outline can be downloaded here: THEO 106G course outline 2019.pdf


Course delivery format:

2 hours of lectures and 1 hour of tutorial

(Timetable and room details can be viewed on Student Services Online)


Summary of Course Description:              

An introduction to Islam as a living and multifaceted tradition within our contemporary world with particular attention to Islam in New Zealand and Australia. The course begins with an analysis of this context. It turns then to an overview of the Qur’an, locating the beginning of Islam in 7th century Arabia with the life of the Prophet Muhammad. A particular emphasis will be the development of early philosophical and theological schools of thought (e.g. Sunni and Shia), kalaam (dialectical theology) and falsifa (philosophy); and Sufism as the mystical tradition within Islam.  The course then turns toward contemporary issues such as the relevance and value of Islamic Law (Sharia); Democracy and Islam (including issues surrounding minority and migrant rights, particularly in post-colonial contexts); and “Islamic” concepts of family (including women and gender). The purpose of the course is to introduce students to Islam as a living and multi-faceted tradition within our contemporary world with particular attention to Islam in New Zealand and Australia.

This course will be of interest to those who have never studied Islam before as well as those who may be adherents of Islam but have never studied it formally.

 Course outcomes:

  • By the end of this course, the student should be able:

    • to demonstrate a basic knowledge of the life of Muhammad and the origins of Islam
    • to discuss the development of the early schools of Islamic philosophy and theology
    • to critically discuss the relevance and value of Islamic law
    • to have an understanding of Islamic mysticism and its place in our current setting
    • to discuss contemporary scholarly debates on the place of women in Islam
    • to be able to analyse the current debate on the relationship between Islam and democracy
    • to have an understanding of contemporary approaches to interpreting the Quran
    • to develop an informed perspective by engaging with the course readings
    • to present a brief analysis in short essay form demonstrating understanding

 Assessment Summary:

  1. Quiz [On CANVAS] 20% total grade. Due: 10 April - 19 April
  2. 2000-word essay 30% total grade. Due: 24 May
  3. 2-hour examination 50% total grade. Date: TBA

Weekly Topics:

Topics covered may include:

  • Faces of Islam in contemporary New Zealand
  • God and the Quran
  • Muhammad
  • Theological and philosophical debates (freewill & predetermination, faith & reason)
  • Sharia, secularism and democracy
  • Mysticism - Sufism
  • Feminism and Islam
  • Minorities and migration
  • War and the logic of terror
  • Islam and New Zealand

Prescribed Texts:

William Shepard, Introducing Islam (Routledge, 2014 : 1st or 2nd edition).


Workload and deadlines for submission of coursework:           

The University of Auckland's expectation is that students spend 10 hours per week on a 15-point course, including time in class and personal study. Students should manage their academic workload and other commitments accordingly. Deadlines for coursework are set by course convenors and will be advertised in course material. You should submit your work on time. In extreme circumstances, such as illness, you may seek an extension but you may be required to provide supporting information before the assignment is due. Late assignments without a pre-approved extension may be penalised by loss of marks – check course information for details.

Course summary:

Date Details