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Introduction to the Study of Islam


Admission requirements

The course is open to all students.


This course gives an introduction to the many ways Islam can be studied: historical, social, theological. We will address the origins of Islam, its sources, and the theological, political and social developments through the following centuries. Topics that will be discussed are: philosophy of Islam, mysticism, theological issues, sectarian divisions, law. This course is a requirement course for anyone who wants to study other Islam courses at Leiden University.

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.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

The course consists of lectures. Attendance is not obligatory and the lecturer does not need to be informed in case of missed classes. The lectures will not be recorded, but the powerpoints will be made available on Brightspace. Since the lectures are partof the required materials for the exams, students are strongly advised to attend all lectures.

Assessment method


Two forms of assessment will be used:
a) weekly Multiple Choice test: each week, a multiple choice test about the assigned literature and lecture of that week is to be made online (on Brightspace). The student can make that test anywhere during that week, but the test is to be made within half hour. The student can make the test only once and receive a score between 0 and 10; the average of all scores will be the grade. If the student misses a test, for whatever (justifiable) reason, the test result will be zero: there is no option to re-do a test. However, of all the 12 tests, only 10 with the highest grades will count.
b) Final Exam: open ('essay') questions about ALL literature and lectures.
NB: There will be no Midterm Exam


MC tests: 40% (there are 12 MC tests, that together make up the 40%-grade)
Final Exam: 60%


The Resit Exam replaces the grade of the Final Exam. Resit can only be taken if a) the Final Exam grade is less than 5.5, OR b) if the final calculated exam is less than 5.5.
No Resit is possible for the MC tests.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Aaron W. Hughes, Muslim identities: An Introduction to Islam (Columbia University Press, 2013). Other literature will be made available on Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.

Registration À la carte education, Contract teaching and Exchange

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of À la carte education (without taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of Contract teaching (with taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.

For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office Herta Mohr