This course will build on the foundational studies and delve into more complex topics in fiqh, hadith and tafsir. It will equip you with the knowledge and skills to independently engage with primary Islamic texts and the commentary literature (shuruh) to develop a deeper appreciation of the discipline. Through the cross-comparison of various commentaries, students will engage the scholarly debates on Islamic matters in the classical and contemporary context.
Fiqh 200: Selections from Nuqayah together with Fath Bab al-Inayah
In Islamic jurisprudence, understanding positive law (furu’ al-fiqh), in other words, elaboration of rules that govern ritual (ibadat) and commercial as well as civil acts (muamalat), requires a deep comprehension and appreciation of each legal school’s (madhhab’s) fundamental matn and their evolvement. Building on the first fiqh subject, this subject exposes students to one of the most important commentaries of Hidaya Nuqaya through Ali al-Qari’s Fath Bab al-Inaya. It provides deep understanding and appreciation of the evolvement of Hanafi furu’ al-fiqh literature through one of its central texts and interpretation. Due to style and methodology adopted by the commentator, students also gain good understanding of how hadith is used in fiqh literature. In addition, each student will bring an additional text to incorporate another scholar’s point of view or madhab’s perspective to the class. This will allow students to gain broader understanding of the reasons for differences of opinions within the madhab as well as across the various schools in Islamic jurisprudence.
Hadith 200: Anthology of Hadith Collections with their Interpretations
This subject builds on the first hadith subject. However, instead of selections from one hadith collection, it exposes students to an anthology of hadith collections selected from all Kutub al-Sittah collections. Students are exposed to all collections, particularly sahih, sunan, and jami’ collections. Additionally, each student will be given a different sharh (commentary) to study independently and bring the novel interpretation and perspective introduced by the respective scholar to the class. This student-centric approach encourages independent research skills and confidence in primary hadith collections. It also creates a class environment where students actively and critically partake in discussion and content delivery.
Tafsir 200: Deeper Tafsir Exploration
Building on Tafsir100, a selection of more advanced exegeses from different tafsir genres form the textbook that will be read in class for this subject. The readings range from classical exegeses like Tabari’s to more linguistic-focused tafsir (such as Baydawi’s and Nasafi’s) to modern commentaries such as Ibn Ashur’s. In addition, each student will summarise an assigned tafsir (reading in parallel to the textbook Surah and verses). This cross-comparative discussion will provide a platform for students to appreciate the different approaches to tafsir studies, confidently extract complex meanings independently from Arabic texts and analyse them.
Tasawwuf 100: Fundamentals of Islamic Spirituality through one of the Masterpieces – al-Risalah al-Qushariyya fi Ilm al-Tasawwuf [Epistle on Sufism]
Topics on Islamic spirituality (aka tasawwuf) comprise a significant portion of early hadith collections. Soon after the Companions, it became an internal part of the classical body of Islamic tradition and one of the earliest well-developed disciplines. Qushayri’s al-Risalah (translated as Epistle on Sufism) is one of the most popular manuals ever on Islamic spirituality and has served as a primary textbook since it was authored. Through selected passages from Qushayri’s work, this subject will give students illuminating insights into the everyday lives of ascetics and masters of people of the heart. It will also demonstrate the moral and ethical dilemmas they faced in trying to strike a delicate balance between their ascetic and mystical convictions and the exigencies of life in a society governed by rank, wealth and power. On one hand, this subject exposes students to this vast and deep genre via engaging with the fundamental terms and concepts in Islamic spirituality through Qushayri’s primary text, while on the other hand it introduces many of the key terms that are illustrated by the anecdotes and parables from those masters’ lives.