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Module HPS-1007:
Islam:Hist, Soc and Beliefs

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Farhaan Wali

Overall aims and purpose

This module will provide a broad overview of the historical, sociological and religious configuration of Islam together with a comprehensive analysis of Islamic beliefs and practices. The module will commence with an inspection of early Islamic history, society and beliefs, covering the life and career of Prophet Mohammad, and the Qur’an and Sunnah as the main sources of Islamic theology, as well as selected issues of Islamic law and philosophy. The module will also seek to introduce broader understandings and interpretations of the diverse nature of Islamic faith, namely the development of militant Islam. In sum, the module aims to encourage students to gain an understanding of a broader range of issues relating to the study of Islam, looking both at the religion of Islam and also Muslims in particular social and historical contexts.

Course content

Islam is the world’s fastest-growing religion, yet for most people, its beliefs and practice remain obscure despite having a close religious connection with Judaism and Christianity. For this reason, this module has been designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to Islamic faith, history and practice. The module will introduce students to the study of Islamic theology by exploring the emergence and development of Islam, from its origins in the seventh century to its modern revival. Therefore, the module will guide students through the following aspects of the study of Islam: (1) Introduce students to the history and development of early and modern Islam (against the background of social and cultural contexts); (2) Examine core Islamic beliefs and practices; and (3) Investigate the wider Islamic tradition by surveying Islamic law, philosophy and mysticism.

Assessment Criteria


Shows some knowledge of key areas of the module with an acceptable presentation of arguments.


Shows detailed knowledge of key areas covered in the module with the arguments presented in a logical and coherent way.


Shows comprehensive and very detailed understanding of the material covered in the module, based on extensive background reading.

Learning outcomes

  1. To demonstrate an understanding of the Islamic faith and practice, as well as an understanding of the main approaches and methodologies in the study of the Islamic religion

  2. To demonstrate an understanding of the development of the historical and sociological importance of the Islamic core sources: namely the Qur’an and Hadith and the function they play in the synthesis of Islamic belief and practice

  3. To demonstrate an understanding of Islamic society and philosophy, as well as an understanding of the key issues facing contemporary Muslims

  4. To be aware of the heterogeneous nature of Islamic faith and to be aware of the historical, sectarian and cultural differences between Muslims

  5. To show understanding of how Islam as a faith relates to wider social, cultural and political contexts

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
EXAM Take home (seen) exam 40
ESSAY written 2000 word essay 60

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Lecture 24
Private study 176

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: