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Qur’anic Exegesis: Christianity and Christians in the Qur’an


Admission requirements

Completion of the course: “Introduction to the Qur’an”, or any other equivalent introductory level or knowledge about Islamic sources (in agreement with the lecturer).


In this course we shall briefly discuss various scientific theories about the historical development of Qur’anic exegesis and the exegetical methods used by the various schools within this Islamic science from classical to modern times. These methods will be illustrated in more details on the basis of the theological, confrontational and dialogical issues regarding Christianity and Christians in the various Muslim exegetical traditions. We shall study how these Islamic normative texts have understood the Qur’anic texts regarding the Christian dogma’s about the Holy Scriptures, Trinity and Crucifixion throughout history.

Course objectives

Knowledge: upon the completion of the course, students are expected to have 1) a broad overview of the historical development of the various schools of Qur’anic exegesis, 2) the content and methods of each school within this science, 3) deep knowledge in the Islamic understanding of Christianity.
Insight: The student will get insight into 1) the emergence and development of literary exegesis and the various ways in which the Qur’anic exegesis was applied to Christianity and Christians and Christians in Islamic primary sources.
Skills: The student learns the methods and techniques of historical exegesis in practice by reading relevant tafsir texts (available in English translation)


See Time table

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Working Seminar

    • Each student should give a presentation about the obligatory literature
    • Participants should formulate three questions on the already studied literature after each meeting

Assessment method

Written exam with easy questions (80%)
Active participation and presentations (20%)



Reading list

Todd Lawson, The Crucifixion and the Qur’an, Oxford: Oneworld, 2009
Jacques Waardenburg (ed.), Muslim perceptions of other religions : a historical survey, Oxford University Pres, 1999
Umar Ryad, Islamic Reformism and Christianity, Brill, 2009


Via uSis
In addition to the registration in uSis, students are also expected to self-enroll in blackboard a few weeks before the course starts.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte via:
Registration Contractonderwijs via:


Course language: English (or in Dutch: when all participants have a working knowledge of Dutch)

Contact information

Dr. Umar Ryad + 31 (0) 71 5272568