Islam: Religion and Rationality

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 2 or Year 3
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Religions and Philosophies

Module overview

This module offers an introductory intellectual history of Islam with especial focus on the different religio-philosophical strands that constitute Muslim worldviews. It will introduce students to the academic, particularly historical study of Islamic thought. The module will start with outlining 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 religio-philosophical 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 textual sources attested among these schools of thought and to the interplay between religious texts and reasoning in various religious and intellectual contexts.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module, students will:

  • have acquired a solid understanding of the historical development, textual sources, doctrines and intellectual disciplines of Islam;
  • have acquired knowledge of the diverse schools of thought and movements that developed in the Islamic world, and of the diversity within each;
  • have developed a clear understanding of intellectual history as an approach to Islamic thought;
  • have acquired a critical awareness of the problems with simplistic and reductive accounts of Islamic thought and their underpinning biases;
  • have gained familiarity with some of the central the issues and debates within Islamic thought


Two hour lecture, one hour tutorial

Method of assessment

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


James Caron


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules