HST241 History of Islam in the Middle East
[3–0, 3 cr.]
This course may either provide an overview of the history of the Islam from its conception in the 7th century to the present-day or focus on particular themes in the history of Islam. As well as introducing students to the history of one of the world’s major religious faiths, the course examines Islam’s development as a creed and a complete way of life. A particular focus will be the challenges arising from Islam’s relations with the non-Muslim world. The historical survey may include such pivotal events and developments as the life and message of the Prophet Mohammed, the first four wise Caliphs, the Sunni-Shiite split, the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, the shari’a and the five pillars. The Umayyad and Abbasid Empires and the expansion of Islam will be discussed. Important topics in the medieval history of Islam are the flowering of Islamic culture, the role of the Ayyubids, Fatimids and Seljuks, the Crusades, the Mongol invasion, the conversion of Iran to Shiism and the emergence of the Ottomans. In modern history we might focus on Whahabism, Abdu and Afghani, Qutub and Banna, and Khomeini and Bin Laden.