Understanding Islam

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Tue 13 Jun
  • Tuesday, 13 June 2023
  • 7:00pm - 8:30pm
  • London Jesuit Centre, 114 Mount Street



Course overview

The course is aimed at Christians who encounter Islam and Muslims in the context of their ministry – as chaplains, educators, colleagues etc. – and would like to know more about the Muslim world and theological sense Christians have made of it. Over five weeks, we will look at the basics of Islam both as Muslims understand it and from a Christian perspective. We will explore how Muslims understand other religions, especially Christianity, and the impact of the modern world on Islam and its dealings with Christians. The course is based on courses that have been given many times over the last decade an intensive three-day residential programme in partnership with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.


Course outline

Week 1
Muhammad and the Qur’an

Muslim belief centres on the claim that Muhammad was a Prophet sent by God with revelation. Understanding what this belief entails is a good entry point into the deep logic of the world of Islam. This session will explore some of the claims made by Muslims about their Prophet and their revealed text.

Week 2
The Core teachings and Practices of Islam

From the Qur’an and elsewhere, Muslims derive core doctrines relating to God, Creation and human beings, The tradition also commends certain canonical ritual practices which define Islam as a religion. This session will address the core beliefs of Islam and assess their religious practices within that framework.

Week 3
Law and Sufism

It is often said that the primary intellectual discipline of Islam is not theology but jurisprudence. In this session we will look at what that means and how Muslims generate religious law. But there will also be a chance to discuss Sufism, often described as the mystical branch of Islam.


Week 4
Islam in the Modern World

Modernity has had a decisive and complex impact on the Muslim world. Various new expressions of Muslim identity have arisen as a result of the colonial and post-colonial experiences. This session will outline a pedagogical framework enabling participants to identify and understand the more significant developments.


Week 5
Christians and Muslims making sense of each other

Christians and Muslims share a conviction that theirs is the definitive and final message of God to humankind. They have, however, developed ways of thinking about the religious “other”. Comparing and contrasting these will provide the core content of the final session.

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