Religious Studies (RELS) 206

The Islamic Tradition (Revision 2)

RELS 204 Course Cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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RELS 206 has not been developed with the purpose of trying to defend or criticize Islam, nor is it meant to convince you of the validity of certain religious beliefs at the expense of others. The academic study of religion is in part about placing religious traditions in their proper socio-historical and economic contexts so we can better understand the growth and internal diversity of religious systems over a lengthy period of time. Doing so enables the individual to develop a real sensitivity to and understanding of the beliefs of religious practitioners without losing the analytical and critical methodology upon which the study of religion is built. The goal of Religious Studies 206, then, is to provide you with a strong, basic knowledge about Islam that will help you understand the historical, ritual, theological, and political manifestations of Islam and the diversity of voices and opinions within this religious tradition.


  • Unit I: A Brief History of Islam
  • Unit II: Pre-Islamic Arabia
  • Unit III: The Prophet Muhammad
  • Unit IV: The Qur'ān
  • Unit V: The Five Pillars of Islam
  • Unit VI: The Sunnah of the Prophet: The Prophet as Moral Exemplar
  • Unit VII: The Sharī'ah
  • Unit VIII: Philosophy and Theology
  • Unit IX: Shī'ism
  • Unit X: Sufism
  • Unit XI: Islamic Responses to Modernity
  • Unit XII: Women in Islam
  • Unit XIII: Islam in a Global and Post 9/11 World


Students must hand in all their assignments by the end of the stipulated contract date and complete the exam with a passing grade of 50% or higher.

In order to pass the course, students must hand in their assignments, pass the exam, and achieve a composite grade of 50 percent or higher between the exam and the assignments.

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 10%
Assignment 2 15%
Assignment 3 15%
Assignment 4 20%
Final Examination 40%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Ayoub, Mahmoud M. Islam: Faith and History. Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2004.


Quinn, Anthony, Irene Pappas, Michael Ansara, and Johnny Sekka. The Message: The Story of Islam, DVD. Directed by Moustapha Akkad. Filmco International Productions, 1976.

Ghasemi, Aladdin, Amir-Solermani Moghaddam, Mozatter Ghorbani-Nejad, Gharvameddin Ghasemi, and Davoud Abaei. Dress Rehearsal: The Brave Hurr's Ta'zieh, DVD. Directed by Nasser Taghvai. Iranian Independents, 2005.

Manji, Irshad. Faith without Fear: Irshad Manji's Quest, Documentary DVD. Directed by Ian McLeod. 90th Parallel/National Film Board of Canada, 2007. (This is available in the AU library.)

Other Materials

All other materials are available online.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, December 8, 2016.

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