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Introduction to the Study of Islam


Admission requirements



During the first period, this course will give an introduction to the origin of Islam, the sources of Islam, the organisation, the rituals, the social precepts, the theology, the philosophy, the mysticism and the Shi`a. The second period will – where relevant – further explore how the topics and phenomena dealt with during the first period manifest in the different regions where Muslims live, namely the Middle East, South Asia, South-East Asia, China, Africa and the West. For example, more attention will be paid to the relationship between state and Islam.

Course objectives

This course will provide the participant with basic knowledge of Islam and its different expressions in the Islamic world and elsewhere; it will also provide a first insight into the social embedding of religious views and the interaction between normative prescriptions and everyday religious experience.



Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

Course Load

Total course load for the course is 140 hours.
Lectures: 13 × 2 = 26 hours
Preparation lectures and exams (studying the compulsory literature) = 114 hours

Assessment method

  • A written examination with short open questions on the capita selecta from Shepard and the prescribed reading during the exam week after the first period.

  • A final exam on the capita selecta from Shepard and several articles (to be specified) during the exam week after the final lecture.

  • There is no resit opportunity for the first written examination. The final mark is determined as follows: first written exam (40%) and final exam (60%). The resit for the final exam (before the start of the second semester) is only available to students whose average mark of the written exam and final exam is insufficient (< 5,49). The resit will then make up 100% of the mark.

Reading list

  • William Shepard, Introducing Islam, Routledge 2009 or later;


To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the time table in the column under the heading “Act.nbr.”

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Dhr Dr. N.J.G.Kaptein


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accomodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).