Admission to the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research) or the MA Asian Studies (research) or another relevant Research MA. Students should have a basic knowledge about Islam and the Qur’an, preferably obtained through an academic course Introduction to Islam, and one in the Qur’an. Students who did not follow such courses successfully, but think they might be eligible to take this course are kindly requested to contact the instructor dr. N.J.G. Kaptein at least two weeks before the start of the course, to discuss their admission.
Students from regular MA programmes are kindly referred to the course description of the regular MA course.
As the foundational text of Islam, the Qur’an is central to all modern Muslim societies. Since modern Muslim societies are (and have been) confronted permanently with new challenges, the interpretation of the Qur’an is also permanently in motion. In this course we will go into a number of the most important modern Muslim interpreters of the Qur’an and thereby get insight in to the authority of the Qur’an in the modern Muslim world. After a theoretical block, we will discuss a number of thinkers, from the beginning of the 20th century onwards until today, from various parts of the Muslim world, not only from the Middle East, but also from Asia. The following thinkers will be dealt with: Muhammad `Abduh, Sayyid Qutb, Fazlur Rahman, Nasr Abu Zayd, Amina Wadud and Hamka.
The student will get knowledge on a number of important Muslim interpreters of the Qur’an in the modern world and get insight into the various underlying conceptions of the authority of the Qur’an which are important in contemporary debates on the position of Islam in society. At the end of the course the students will be able to follow future developments in this field independently.
The timetable is available on the Website of Middle Eastern Studies
Mode of instruction
Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The convenor needs to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.
Contact hours Research MA: 6 hours
• Attendance meetings: 2 contact hours per week = 12×2: 24 hours
• Reading and preparing assignements: 11 classes x ca. 8 hours: 82 hours
• Preparing powerpoint presentations: 28 hours
• Writing a final paper: 140 hours
• Total study load: 280 hours (10EC)
• Attendance of the meetings, active participation in the discussions and presentation linked to one or more of the meetings
• Preparation of meetings, which includes the thorough reading of the literature for each meeting and the preparation of three written questions related to this literature. These questions must show that the literature for the meeting has been read and has been reflected upon critically; together they should not exceed 500 words. These three questions should be submitted via blackboard ultimately on the day before the seminar takes place, not later than 13.30 h.
• Writing final paper of approximately 5,000 words on a relevant topic which has been chosen in consultation with Dr. Kaptein. The draft of this paper should be submitted before the start of the holiday break (exact date announced in first class). After feed back of the professor, the final draft should be submitted two weeks before the start of the next semester.
• Attendance of the meetings, active participation in the discussions and presentation linked to one or more of the meetings – 20 %
• Preparation of meetings, which includes the thorough reading of the literature for each meeting and the preparation of three written questions related to this literature. These questions must show that the literature for the meeting has been read and has been reflected upon critically; together they should not exceed 500 words. These three questions should be submitted via blackboard ultimately on the day before the seminar takes place, not later than 13.30 h. – 30 %
• Writing final paper of approximately 5,000 words on a relevant topic which has been chosen in consultation with Dr. Kaptein. The draft of this paper should be submitted before the start of the holiday break (exact date announced in first class). After feed back of the professor, the final draft should be submitted two weeks before the start of the next semester – 50 %
Students who do not meet the deadline for the first draft will lose the right to get comments and will only be graded based on their final version. (The paper deadline mentioned in uSis is a fictional date for administration purposes only. The actual date will be communicated by the convenor of the course.)
In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher.
The course is an integrated whole. All assessment parts must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.
If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam/paper results, an exam/paper review will be organized.
Blackboard will be used to communicate outside classes; and to submit assignments.
Note: there is no separate Blackboard page available for this ResMa course. Please subscribe to the Blackboard page of the regular MA course.
Basic text: Abdullah Saeed, Interpreting the Qur’an: Towards a contemporary approach, London and New York: Routledge, 2006.
The full programme (including bibliographical references, per week) will be available before the start of the new semester.
Relevant literature will be available through the University Library.
For the Research MA students additional readings will be determined by the convener at a later stage taking into account the students’ fields of interest. Extra sessions will be organized to discuss this extra literature.
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.”. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
A la carte nor contractonderwijs is possible for this course.
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.
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).