Academic Nature of the Program

Students in Islamic Studies are expected to develop both a comprehensive knowledge of Islamic intellectual history and religious thought, as well as mastery of a field of specialization and the requisite tools for critical scholarship on Islam. They are expected to demonstrate competency in Islamic religious thought (focusing on Islamic philosophy and theology, including normative and heterodox developments such as Shi’ism and Sufism); Islamic religious history (focusing on the development of Islamic civilization, law, society, and institutions in the period from the origins of Islam to 1500 A.D.) and the study of Islamic scripture and tradition (focusing on the composition, redaction and interpretation of the Qur`an as well as on the development of Hadith literature). Recent dissertation topics in Islamic Studies include: Sufi Thought and Practice in the Teachings of ‘Ala’ al-Dawla al-Simnani; The Greeks in Medieval Islamic Egypt, 640-1095; The Fabulous Gryphon: An Early Maghribine Work by Ibn al-‘Arabi; Slavery in Islamic Law: An Examination of Early Maliki Jurisprudence; Between Mysticism and Messianism: The Life and Thought of Muhammad Nurbakhsh; The Qur’an Commentary of al-Tha’labi; Mystical Language and Theory in the Sufi Writings of al-Kharraz; The Travels and Teachings of Makhdum-i Jahaniyan Jahangasht; Ahmad Ghazzali: Mystical Poet and Philosopher of Medieval Islam; ‘Abd al-Jabbar’s Critique of Christian Origins; The Doctrine of the Soul in the Thought of Fakhr al-Din al-Razi; Mir Dard: Sufi Mystic and Urdu Poet in 18th century India; The Theology of al-Ash’ari; the legal reforms of Ubn Abu Zayd al-Qayawani; the Life and Thought of Abu Rayhan al-Biruni.