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Introduction to the Study of Islam


Admission requirements



This course will give an introduction to the origins of Islam, the sources of Islam, the organisation, Islamic Law, the rituals, social precepts, theology, philosophy, mysticism, the so-called sects, and manifestations of Muslim culture. The final lecture will be devoted to the themes of gender, democracy and human rights.

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 and political context of religious views and the interaction between normative prescriptions and everyday religious experience.


Timetable BA MOS
Timetable BA SSEAS
Timetable BA Religiewetenschappen
Timetable minor Islam: Religion and Society

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

Course Load

Total course load for the course is 140 hours.
Lectures: 13 × 2 = 26 hours
Examns = 4 hours
Preparation lectures and exams (studying the compulsory literature) = 110 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.

The course is an integrated whole. The final examination and the assignments must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.



A detailed programme with reading assignments per week will be available through blackboard before the start of the course.

Reading list

  • William Shepard, Introducing Islam, [Second Edition], Routledge 2014.

  • articles to be announced


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

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Studeren à la carte.


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 accommodations 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).