Quran and hadith Studies
- Course Code:
- Unit value:
- Year of study:
- Year 3 of 4 or Year 4 of 4
- Taught in:
- Full Year
The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to the two principal textual sources of the Islamic tradition: The Qur'an and the Hadith, taking into account the rather subtle interplay between these sources. It covers their structure, content and style, their status relative to one another and their function in Muslim religious and social life.
Given that this is essentially a text-based course, it is expected that students should be able to read and comprehend classical Arabic material.
Objectives and learning outcomes of the course
At the end of the course students will have developed a distinct understanding of the historical and conceptual significance of the earliest Islamic scriptural sources: namely the Qur’an and Hadith and the role they play in the synthesis of Islamic faith and practice. Furthermore, s/he will also have obtained not only a firm grasp of the linguistic and structural features of the associated classical literature which developed around these sources but also the theoretical contexts which defined approaches to scripture and the academic frameworks within which these are gauged.
WorkloadTwo hours each week are devoted to the examination and translation of primary source material. Students are expected to prepare the set texts in advance of lectures; moreover, it is also expected that students present at least one seminar relating to topics covered during the course of the lectures.
Scope and syllabus
The first part of the course examines the earliest forms of Qur'anic scholarship engendered by the need to codify, preserve and elucidate the holy text. The Qur'an is explored in terms of aspects of its contents, style and structure. Students also review features of the development of the exegetical tradition and issues in Qur'anic hermeneutics, comparing and contrasting passages from a number of classical tafsir texts. There is also opportunity to assess the significance of the role of readers (qurra') and the whole reading tradition (qira'at).
The second part of this course focuses on the study of the development of Hadith literature. Students examine selected texts from the canonical collection of traditions together with commentaries, which scrutinize traditions from theological, legal and linguistic perspectives. This also includes a review of the classical introductions to the science of the study of traditions and the careful attempts to authenticate the stock of Hadith literature.
Method of assessmentOne three-hour written examination taken in May-June (80%); one essay of 2,000 - 2,500 words to be submitted on day 1, term 2 (10%); one essay of 2,000 - 2,500 words to be submitted on day 1, term 3 (10%).
- Abbott, N., Studies in Arabic literary papyri II, Qur'anic commentary and tradition (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1967).
- See also Studies in Arabic Literary papyri III, language and literature (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1972).
- Arberry, A,. The Koran interpreted (London: George Allen Urwin, 1980).
- Bell, R., Introduction to the Qur'an, revised by Watt, W. M., Islamic Surveys (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1997).
- Berg, H., The Development of exegesis in early Islam: the authenticity of Muslim literature from the formative period (London: Curzon Press, 2000).
- Boullata, I. J., Literary structures of religious meaning in the Qur'an (London: Curzon Press, 2000).
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- Haleem, M. A., Understanding the Qur'an: themes and style (London: I. B. Tauris, 1999).
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- Guillaume, A., The Traditions of Islam (Beirut: Khayyat, 1961).
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