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This seminar explores the main constituent elements of the Islamic religion and the characteristic worldview, value system, and form of living it has engendered. The seminar begins with an introduction to the life of the Prophet Muhammad, the historical rise of Islam in 7th-century Arabia, and the preservation and transmission of the textual bases of the Islamic faith (Qur’an and hadith). We then consider the main components of Islamic theology (God, man, prophets and revelation, good and evil, eschatology), as articulated primarily in the Qur’an. Next, we explore Muslim worship and ritual practice, Islamic spirituality, and the Islamic moral vision as expressed (partly) through Islamic Law. The final segment of the course will examine contemporary issues selected on the basis of student interest. Such topics may include: Islam and the secular state, Islam and human rights, gender/family/sexuality, war and peace, Islam/Muslims in the West, or other topics.


Course Details

  • The course will take place on Wednesday evenings from 6:00-8:00 PM, starting October 16th and ending December 11th.

    • No class sessions on November 6th or November 27th.

  • Dinner will be provided at all sessions.

WHo should apply?

  • The seminar is open to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students and young professionals and will be capped at a seminar size of fifteen participants.

  • The cost of the seminar is $150 for seven sessions, texts, and meals at all sessions. There is a reduced cost of $75 for AAI Fellows, and scholarships are available. Please email for more information on scholarships.

How can I apply?

  • All interested individuals can apply with the link at the bottom of the page. The application consists of a few short questions, one academic reference, and a writing sample of up to 2,000 words.

  • Applications are due October 2nd, and applicants will be notified of acceptance by October 7th.

Led by Prof. Carl S. El-Tobgui of Brandeis University

Carl Sharif El-Tobgui holds a B.S. in Arabic Language from Georgetown University and a Master's and Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from McGill University and currently serves as Associate Professor Arabic & Islamic Studies, and Director of the Arabic Language Program at Brandeis. He previously taught for five years at Harvard University as Preceptor of Arabic, and has also taught at the Middlebury College Summer Arabic Language School. Prof. El-Tobgui's scholarly expertise lies in the field of Islamic thought, with a special concentration on theology, law, and jurisprudence. He is particularly interested in questions concerning the relationship between reason and revelation in the Islamic tradition, and has published on the manifestations of this tension in the fields of classical Islamic jurisprudence and Qur'anic exegesis.


If you are interested in attending we ask that you apply with the links below: