Pragmatic Islamic Theology

Course Description

In this course we will reconstruct classical Sunni Islamic theology from its foundations using contemporary understandings of epistemology (the philosophy of knowledge), the natural sciences, a theological analysis of the Sirah of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, and recent academic developments in Quranic Studies. This course has been developed and tested within the classroom and is suitable for both beginner and intermediate students of Islamic theology.

NOTE: This is not an apologetics course for answering 'doubts' or for learning how to do da'wah. Much of the content of this course will help to answer many doubts that Muslims today have about their faith, but the goal of this course is not to address arguments by Ex-Muslims or Islamophobes or teach you how to do it. It is a theology course for Muslims that brings the intellectual foundations of their faith up to date with contemporary knowledge.

By the end of this course you will learn:

Why is Islamic theology important? How we should we study Islamic theology in the world we live in today? Why is it often taught poorly? How can we study and understand Islamic theology in a contemporary context without sacrificing beliefs agreed upon by Sunni scholarship?

How did philosophical theology start in Islamic History? Is it problematic in Islam to use logic and philosophy in Islamic theology? Why did scholars disagree about it? When is it acceptable to use logic and philosophy, when is it not? What role, if any, can the natural sciences have in Islamic theology?

Metaphysics is the study of ‘what is’. How did classical Islamic theologians understand it? How does modern science change our understanding of metaphysics and how can we reconcile new understandings with Islamic theology?

Why is it critical to understand concepts of knowledge, belief and truth before we learn Islamic theology? What are the differences between classical and contemporary theories of knowledge and truth? What would an ‘Islamic epistemology’ today look like?

We will discuss, in some detail, several proofs from classical Sunni Islamic theology on the existence of God, and how are they are still well-justified using contemporary epistemology, the natural sciences and new ways of understanding mind and how it interacts with reality.

We will discuss and compare with the sacred or historical texts of other faiths; the preservation, miraculous nature, and content of the Qur’an with an emphasis on contemporary academic literature in the subject.

We will contextualize the miracles, characteristics and life history of our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and how it is unreasonable, irrational and historically problematic to believe he was anything other than what he ﷺ said he was.

What is the role of the soul and spiritual experience in knowing Allah? How do these experiences give us knowledge? How can a Muslim attain spiritual intuition using worship and righteousness?

What is the resulting ontology or worldview that results from the Islamic sacred texts and Sunni theological tradition? How does this ontology or worldview compare with others common in the contemporary world e.g. liberalism, secularism, feminism, naturalism etc. How do we understand ideas like the theory of evolution, the social construction of gender, scientism and other popular ideologies using Islamic ontology and epistemology?

*Please note: that addition of this content to this course is tentative. It may be removed and added later as a separate course. Students will have the option of registering for it after THY12 is complete.

Summary & Fees

Course fees: $99.99/month (CAD)