SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Islamic/Democratic Political Thought

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 2

This module provides a philosophical and empirical introduction to contemporary debates regarding the compatibility of Islam and democratic political thought and practice. It also encourages a critical re-examination of these debates through a discussion of Muslim scholarship (and practice) pertaining to the specification and interpretation of religious laws, the role of religious and political opposition, and the status of the individual in political and social life. These aspects are explored conceptually and through case studies from Asia and the Middle East.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

Through lectures, critical reading, and informed discussion, this module will enable students to:

  • Evaluate and engage ongoing debates regarding Islam and democracy from a theoretical as well as an empirical standpoint
  • Write analytically – as students and future professionals – about an issue with considerable significance in the study of comparative politics, political philosophy, public policy and modern diplomacy.


2-hour seminar each week, for 22 weeks. 

Scope and syllabus

  1. Islam and Democracy: Contemporary Debates
  2. A Brief Introduction to Islam: The Qur'an
  3. Shari'a and the State
  4. Variations on the theme of Opposition
  5. The Quest for Consensus
  6. Democracy and the State
  7. Secularisms
  8. Case Study: Islam and Democracy in X
  9. Case Study: Islam and Democracy in Y
  10. Case Study: Islam and Democracy in Z


Method of assessment

The module is assessed by two essays:

AS1 - 1,500 words, 25%

AS2 - 2500 words,  75%

Suggested reading

The syllabus and reading list for this module will be identical to the equivalent UG module (153400065: Islam and Democracy).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules