SOAS University of London

Department of Religions & Philosophies, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

R130 Islam: Religion and Rationality

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2020/2021
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Term 2

This module introduces Islam with especial focus on the different religious and intellectual strands that constitute Muslim worldviews.

Taking a non-faith-based perspective to the subject, it will introduce students to the academic, particularly historical study of Islam. The module will start with the emergence and early development of Islam within its wider historical context, will introduce its principal textual sources and doctrines, and will then turn to major religious and intellectual disciplines, such as theology, jurisprudence and philosophy, and to some of the diverse schools of thought and movements that developed in Muslim societies. Attention will be given to the plurality of interpretations of scripture attested among these schools of thought and to the interplay between religious scripture and reasoning in various religious and intellectual contexts.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • have knowledge and understanding of the historical development, textual sources, doctrines and religious and intellectual disciplines of Islam;
  • have knowledge of some of the diverse schools of thought and movements that developed in the Islamic world, and of the diversity within each;
  • a clear understanding of academic approaches to Islam;
  • have a critical awareness of simplistic and reductive accounts of the subject and of their underpinning biases;
  • have an awareness of some of the important issues and debates within the study of Islam;
  • have an ability to find and use relevant sources of information.


Two hours Lecture, one hour tutorial

Method of assessment

  • Essay plan (750 words) (20%)
  • Essay (3000 words) (80%)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules