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Islamic Ethics


Admission requirements

  • BA students in Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives, who have successfully completed at least 70 ECTS credits of the mandatory components of the first and second year of their bachelor’s programme, including World Philosophies: Modern Europe, Concepts of Selfhood, Language and Thought, and World Philosophies: Middle East.

  • BA students in Filosofie, who have successfully completed at least 70 ECTS credits of the mandatory components of the first and second year of their bachelor’s programme, including Griekse en Romeinse filosofie, History of Modern Philosophy, Comparative Philosophy, Analytische filosofie OR Philosophy of Mind.


Ethics and morality in Islamic learned discourses find their origin in a plethora of sources, ranging from the scriptural canons of the Qurʾan and hadith, to the dedicated texts in philosophy, theology, law, and quranic exegesis. The devoted genres of philosophical ethics in Islam is known as ʿilm al-akhlaq.
To study Islamic ethics is to study centuries of philosophical reflections on moral conduct, wisdom, beauty, virtue, humanism, duty and responsibility, and excellence.

The aim of this course is to study in close detail theories of Islamic ethics, morality, and practical wisdom from a range of Islamic canons and Muslim thinkers from the genre. In doing so, students will explore questions and themes on self-cultivation, piety, communal togetherness, virtue and vice, and much more.

Course objectives

By the end of this course students should be able to:

  • demonstrate familiarity with some of the Arabic and Islamic ethical theories, moral philosophy, and philosophical debates surrounding human action;

  • critically reflect on, distinguish between, and examine key varieties and aspects of philosophical argumentation;

  • exhibit the analytic skills necessary to comprehend the relevance of the past to their understanding of the present, while becoming more familiar with their own assumptions and values;

  • acquire a set of reading and discussion skills that allow them to engage texts and others in an informed and conscientious manner.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar.

Assessment method


  • Essay I: 2,000 words (20%);

  • Essay II: 3,000 words (60%);

  • Weekly essays: 1,000 words (20%).


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average. To pass the course, the weighted average of the partial grades must be 5.5 or higher.


The resit consists of one examination, consisting of a paper. The mark for the resit replaces all previously earned marks for subtests. Class participation and completion of practical assignments are required for taking the resit.

Students who have obtained a satisfactory overall grade for the first examination cannot take the resit.

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

  • M. Fakhry, Ethical Theories in Islam (Leiden, 1994);

  • A. Sachedina, Islamic Ethics: Fundamental Aspects of Human Conduct (Oxford, 2022);

  • A. Sacho (ed.), Companion to Muslim Ethics (London, 2010);

  • G. Hourani, Reason and Tradition in Muslim Ethics (Cambridge, 2009).


Enrolment through MyStudymap is not possible for this course. Students are requested to submit their preferences for the third-year electives by means of an online registration form. They will receive the instruction and online registration form by email (uMail account); in June for courses scheduled in semester 1, and in December for courses scheduled in semester 2. Registration in uSis will be taken care of by the Education Administration Office.


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

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga.


Not applicable.