Spring 2008

Muhammad and the Qur'an

Listed in: Religion, as RELI-24


Kenneth J. Garden (Section 01)


This course will examine Islam's twin scriptures: the Qur'an, seen by Muslims as the literal word of God, and the accounts of sayings and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad known as hadith, which serve as a guide for Muslim thought and practice as well as for the interpretation of the Qur'an. We will begin by reading the Qur'an and exploring its major concepts and themes. We will then turn to hadith, starting with a study first of their emergence and proliferation in the first centuries of Islamic history, and then the efforts of hadith scholars to winnow them down to a smaller body of authentic traditions. After first asking what these texts say to us, we will turn to the more important question of what they have said to Muslims over the centuries by reading works of Qur'anic exegesis and looking at how the Qur'an and hadith are invoked by Muslims in religious discourses. Second semester. Visiting Professor Garden.