Quran and Hadith Studies

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 3 of 4 or Year 4 of 4
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level

Module overview

The purpose of this module 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 module, it is expected that students should be able to read and comprehend classical Arabic material.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the module 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.


The module is taught over 10 weeks with 2 hours a week classroom time.

Scope and syllabus

The first part of the module 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 module 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 assessment

  • 40% - Annotated bibliography, 1,000 words
  • 60% - Essay, 1,500 words
  • The exact assessment deadline dates are published on the relevant module Moodle/BLE page

Suggested reading

Basic bibliography

  • Abdul-Raof, Hussein, Schools of Qur’anic Exegesis. Genesis and Development. London, Routledge, 2010
  • Arberry, A,. The Koran interpreted (London: George Allen Urwin, 1980).
  • Awwa, Salwa Muhammad, Textual Relations in the Qur”An: Relevance, Coherence and Structure. London: Routledge, 2006.
  • 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).
  • Burton, J., The Collection of the Qur'an (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977).
  • Draz, M. A, Introduction to the Qur’an. London: I.B. Tauris, 2000.
  • Haleem, M. A., Understanding the Qur'an: themes and style (London: I. B. Tauris, 1999).
  • Hawting, G., Sharif, A., Approaches to the Qur'an (London: Routledge, 1993).
  • Imam, A. A., The variant readings of the Quran (Virginia: International Institute of Islamic Thought: 1998).
  • Kinberg, Naphtali Studies in the linguistic structure of classical Arabic, edited by Leah Kinberg and Kees Versteegh. (Leiden: Brill, 2001).
  • Lawrence, Bruce, The Qura’n: A Biography. London: Atlantic Books, 2006.
  • McAuliffe, Jane (Ed.), The Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an, Leiden: E.J. Brill.
  • McAuliffe, Jane, Cambridge Companion to the Qur’an. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  • Rippin, A., Approaches to the history of the interpretation of the Qur'an (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988).
  • Robinson, Neal, Discovering the Qur’an: a Contemporary Approach to a Veiled Text, London: SCM, 1996.
  • Shah, Mustafa, ed. (2013) Tafsir: Interpreting the Qur'an. Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies. London: Routledge. (Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies, v.4)
  • Versteegh, C. H. M., Arabic grammar and Qur'anic exegesis in early Islam, (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1993).
  • Wansbrough, J., Qur'anic studies: sources and methods of scriptural interpretation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977).
  • Watt, Montgomery, Introduction to the Qur’an, R. Bell’s introduction Revised by Watt, W.M., Islamic Surveys. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1997.

Hadith Literature

  • Abbott, Nabia, ‘hadith Literature II: ‘Collection and Transmission of Hadith’, (1983). pp. 289–98.
  • Abdul Rauf, Muhammad. ‘hadith Literature-II: The Development of the Science of Hadith’, in A. F. L. Beeston, T. M. Johnstone, R. B. Serjeant, and G. R. Smith (eds), Arabic Literature to the End of the Umayyad Period (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), pp. 271–88;
  • Azami, Mustafa, Studies in Early Hadith Literature: with a Critical Edition of Some Early Texts (3rd edn) (Indianapolis: American Trust Publications, 1992).
  • Azami, Mustafa, Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature (Indianapolis: American Trust Publication, 1977).
  • Brown, Jonathan, BROWN, J. A. C. Hadith: Muhammad's Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World . Oneworld Publications. (2018).
  • Burton, J., Introduction to the tradition (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000).
  • Guillaume, A., The Traditions of Islam (Beirut: Khayyat, 1961).
  • Juynboll, G. H. A., Muslim tradition: studies in chronology, provenance and authorship of early Hadith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983).
  • Lucas, Scott, Constructive Critics, Hadith Literature, and the introduction 32 TH_Vol1 Page 32 Articulation of Sunni Islam (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2004).
  • Motzki, Harald (ed.), Hadith: Origins and Development (Aldershot: Variorum, 2004).
  • Shah, Mustafa, (ed.), (2009) The Hadith: Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies. London: Routledge. (Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies).
  • Schacht, J., The Origins of Muhammadan jurisprudence (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1950).
  • Siddiqi, M .Z., Hadith literature: its origin, development, special features and criticism (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1993)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules