Full course description
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This course aims to introduce students to the academic study of Islamic history, providing them with an-depth understanding of early Islamic history. This course acquaints students with classical texts of history and introduces them to the works classical Muslim historians and later orientalist scholarship. Moreover, this course will also introduce students to the history of pre-Islamic Arabia, and will critically evaluate the economic, socio-political and moral norms and values of this period. After analysing this period, the course focuses on providing a detailed and critical study of the history of Prophet Muḥammad (ص), discussing the major social, historical, political and religious/spiritual events that occurred during the Prophet’s life.
Lesson 1 Introduction to module, distinction between history and historiography, sources of history, approaches to Islamic history: descriptive, source-critical, tradition-critical and sceptical approaches
Lesson 2 History of Islamic historiography, transmission of early materials, material and source distinction, 1st and 2nd century materials and sources
Lesson 3 3rd and 4th century sources and materials, typology of Islamic historiography, passage from Ibn Isḥāq’s work, Qurʾān and Ḥadīth as a source of history
Lesson 4 Religious vs Secular history, maghāzī/sīra vs Ḥadīth, ḥujjīya of Ḥadīth, pre-Islamic history – periodization, ancient and classical civilizations
Lesson 5 World history – second-wave civilizations, the world of late antiquity, religions and religious activities in the late antique period, Arabia and Arab identity
Lesson 6 Jāhiliyya: time or state? Jāhiliyya poetry, Arab and Semitic languages, Religions in Arabia
Lesson 7 Geography of Arabia, archaeological sites, the Nabateans, Arabic language, Trade routes in Arabia, Tribal identity, Theophilus of Edessa – reading
Lesson 8 Religions mentioned in the Qur֫ān, Non-Muslim accounts: Doctrina Jacobi, The Armenian history of Pseudo-Sebeos, How Islam has been perceived, orientalists
Lesson 9 Biographies to the Prophet – introduction to sources, typology of Prophet’s biography, approaches to the study of the Prophet’s life, ancestors of the Prophet and death of his father
Lesson 10 Birth of the Prophet, travels to Sham, Battle of Fijar and marriage to Khadīja, reading from sīra literature
Lesson 11 Revelation, migration to Abyssinia, boycott of Banū Hāshim and Banū ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib, siege of Ṭāʾif, the night journey, pledges of ʿAqaba, Medina
Lesson 12 Plot to kill the Prophet, ʿAbdallāh b. Ubayy, Battle of Buʿāth, Constitution of Medina
Lesson 13 Constitution of Medina, Reading from the constitution, aftermath of constitution, Jews of Medina, Banū Qurayza, Khaybar and Fadak
Lesson 14 Battle of Badr, Expedition against Banū Qaynuqāʿ and Uḥud
Lesson 15 Expulsion of Banū Nadīr, Battles of Khandaq and betrayal of Banū Qurayza
Lesson 16 Towards Mecca, treaty of Ḥudaybiyya, Battles of Khaybar and Muʾta
Hours of Study
Shaykh Ali Raza Khaki
Shaykh Ali Raza Khaki completed a BEng in Biomedical Engineering and a MSc in Computer Science at the University of Birmingham before beginning his seminary studies at the Al-Mahdi Institute. Upon graduating from AMI, he went on to complete an MA in Islamic Studies at the University of Birmingham in 2020. At AMI, Shaykh Ali Raza is the Lecturer in Islamic History and also teaches courses on legal theory and legal maxims. In addition to his teaching, he is also heavily involved in the running of the Centre for Intra-Muslim Studies and lectures to Muslim communities around the world. His current research interests include legal theory and hermeneutics, and Islamic history.