Theology (‘Aqidah) covers all beliefs and belief systems of Muslims, including sectarian differences and points of contention. Though theology is the cornerstone of the Islamic religion, it is often quite misunderstood by Muslims themselves in a modern era where classical works are neglected and atheism is on the rise. Through detailed study and memorization of classical texts and proofs, as well as a study of Logic (Mantiq) and Philosophy, students become vested to navigate the landscape of polemics and inter- and intra-religious discussion with sound logic, perspective and recourse to original.
This module will introduce students to the most important political and theological groupings in the formative period of Islam, from the period following the murder of the third caliph, ‘Uthman, until approximately the middle of the 4th/10th century. By studying these sects in the context of their time, as well as their interaction with one another, students will gain a deeper insight into the reasons for the formation of the theological schools considered orthodox in Sunni Islam. In addition, students will cover in-depth the contemporary religious groups of the modern era as well as the tract which details the “‘aqidah for non-sectarian people”: ‘Aqidah al-Tahawiyyah.
Upon successful completion of this level, students should be able to:
- Appreciate the diversity of political and theological opinion in the formative period of Islam and its relationship with historical events
- Understand the development of different Muslim sects and theological schools from a critical historical perspective
- Gain critical appreciation of theological labels such as Ahl al-Sunnah, Shia and Mu’tazila in the light of their genesis
- Demonstrate a profound understanding of contemporary Muslim groups in the modern era
- Gain a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental beliefs of Ahl al-Sunnah
- ‘Aqidah al-Tahawiyyah by Imam al-Tahawi (Module Code: AQD - 101)