Tentative Syllabus
12:645 Muslims and Christians:
Children of Abraham

Fall Semester, 2016
2 Graduate Credit Hours
Thursday Afternoons  2:15 - 4:05 Room N-322
Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology
St. Meinrad, Indiana

Rev. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M., S.T.D,
Professor of Sacramental / Liturgical Theology
Saint Meinrad School of Theology

Course Description

Required Reading

Course Objectives

Schedule of Topics and Assignments

September
October
November

Course Method

Grading

Participants

Course Description

In the United States today Catholic priests and others who are ministering as chaplains in hospitals, prisons, and the armed forces, -- and in many American parishes -- are often called upon to assist people of various faiths.  Today's minister, following St. Paul, must often "become all things to all people" (I Cor 9:22).  A basic knowledge of Islam can be very helpful in these situations.  Islam is frequently in the news; but from these brief reports many Americans understand Islam to be some sort of terrorist organization. This course examines Islam as one of the great Abrahamic religions and studies its beliefs, history, and spirituality. The course includes a lectio divina of Islam's sacred book, the Holy Qur'an. 

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Required Reading

'Abdullah Yusuf 'Ali. The Meaning of The Holy Qur'an.  11th Edition with Revised Translation and Commentary. ISBN 1-59008-026-2. $17.00 

Caesar E. Farah. Islam: Beliefs and Observances. New York: Barron's.  (Seventh Edition), 2003. ISBN 0-7641-2226-6.  Paperback $14.81

John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed. Who Speaks For Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think. New York: Gallup Press, 2008 ISBN 1595620176 $15.61.

The Message:  The Story of Islam,  A Moustapha Akaad Film (178 minute) on DVD staring Anthony Quinn (in the English Version), 1976.  [The authenticity of the film is approved by Muslim scholars and the University of Al-Azhar in Cairo.]  (The movie will be shown during class; there is no need to individually purchase the DVD.)

Second Vatican Council. Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions ("Nostra Aetate"), October 28, 1965. (Available on line)

Two issues of the magazine Al Jumuah (which will be provided during the course)

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Course Objectives

Assalaam Alaikum.  By the end of the course: 1) You will have read the Qur'an -- the most read text on the planet earth!  2) You will know the basic life story of Muhammad and the origins of Islam. 3) You will know basic Islamic terms and key concepts. 4) You will have the basic information needed to be able to help Catholics understand Islam.  5)  You will have the basic information needed to be able to dialogue with Muslims and begin to understand the riches of this great religion. 6) You will be able to see something of the Islamic answer to the great questions of life: Who is God? Who am I? What does God expect of me? 7) Your Christian perspective will be enriched, Inshallah.

While this course on Islam does not relate directly to the Program Outcomes for the MA and MDiv degrees, the course will assist the student to effectively communicate Church teaching, moral teaching, and Church history and tradition and to communicate faithfully the social teaching of the Church for justice, peace and the integrity of human life.

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Course Method

1.  This is a graduate seminar.  Participants are expected to read the materials listed in this syllabus and to review the lecture notes (which are given as hyperlinks in the syllabus). 

2.  Assignments given in this syllabus are to be posed on MOODLE before midnight of the day preceding the class period.  Because of the dialogical nature of the course and these postings, it is important that they be posted on time.   It is helpful, and indeed important, to read one another's postings.

3.  During the class periods, in addition to the professor's lectures, movies, etc, the participants will frequently be asked to read their posting and receive comments on it from the professor and the other participants in the course.  Each participant is expected to actively participate in the group work, oral presentations, discussions, etc. which will comprise the class time.

4.  Absences from class for reasons other than illness are to have the prior approval of the professor. 

5.   Your postings are presumed to be your original thought unless you indicate otherwise.  When quoting someone give the source of the quote and indicate by quotation marks where the quotation begins and ends.  Each participant is expect to be familiar with the "Statement on Plagiarism" in the Saint Meinrad Student Handbook. 

6.  For help at any time or questions about the assignments or the course in general you can e-mail me at trichstatter@saintmeinrad.edu   (If you send me an e-mail through MOODLE, check the box at the bottom that sends the e-mail directly to my inbox outside of MOODLE.)  You can contact me by phone; please call my cell phone (812-719-2688) rather than my office phone.  I am in my office at Saint Meinrad (A-330) by appointment before or after class on Thursdays.   

7.  In general, this is a "green" (paper-less) course.  All lectures, notes, homework etc. postings are electronic.  I suggest that you read the materials (especially the syllabus) from the internet rather than printing hard copies.  MOODLE will remain available for several weeks after the course.  The information on my website will be available to you -- Inshallah -- after the course and in the years to come,  for as long as my Franciscan province is willing to maintain the site.  

8.  The syllabus will not change substantially during the course (e.g. to add new assignments, etc.); however, following each class meeting I will adjust the syllabus to reflect what we actually did during the class so that you can have an accurate record for reviewing the material.  The material on my website is constantly being updated.  I suggest that you frequently click the "refresh" button on your web browser so that you have the most recent version of the page. 

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Grading

1.  The final grade will be the average of the grades of the ten essays.  Because of the dialogical nature of the course and these postings, it is important that they be posted on time.  Five points will be deducted for late postings.

2.  Failure to satisfactorily complete the "Meditation on the Qur'an" exercises will lower the course grade.

3.  Unexcused absences and/or failure to participate sufficiently in the class discussions will lower the course grade. 

4.  Grades will be posted in the MOODLE grade book.  The MOODLE grade book lists your grades numerically;  the School Bulletin states that 95 (and above) = A; 94 = A-; 93 = B+; 92 (and lower) =B. [.5 is rounded up] 

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Schedule of Topics and Assignments

Class #01, Thursday, September 5, 2013 --  Introduction to the course
Before class read:  This syllabus.  Purchase the assigned books and bring them to class.
Before class write:  No written assignment for this first  class.  
During class:   Presentation of the syllabus;  method and assignments;  Introduction to the course.  The Parable of Jacob the Tailor.   Five Pillars   View
video  "The World of Islam (1): The Five Pillars of Islam,"  (30 minutes. Films for the Humanities.)  

Class #02, Thursday, September 12, 2013 --  Introduction to Islam
Before class read:   Juz' 1-2-3 (Surah 1:1 - 3:120).  Farah Chapter 1: An Introduction to Islam; Chapter 2: The Setting in Arabia.
Before class write:  Meditation on the Qur'an,
 Juz' 1-2-3.   For further details about this assignment see "Course Assignment" in Chapter u64 The Holy Qur'an of these notes. 
Essay #1
  Post an essay on the "Five Pillars of Christianity."  [You have seen how Islam is based on the "Five Pillars"; in an imaginative parallel, what would you say are the "Five Pillars of Christianity"?]      
During class:   Basic Muslim phrases and greetings. 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fT23UJGbPts&list=PLBAED38B7387E0AB8    Presentation and discussion of the MOODLE postings.     

Class #03, Thursday, September 19 -- Muhammad
Before class read:   Juz' 4-5-6 (Surah 3:121 - 5:86).  Farah Chapter 3: Muhammad the Prophet;  Chapter 4: Muhammad the Man.  Vatican Council II, Nostra Aetate.  
Before class write:  Meditation on the Qur'an.   Essay #2  Post an essay comparing what we know of the life of Jesus and the life of  Muhammad.
During class:  Presentation and discussion of the MOODLE postings on the Qur'an.  Chapter u64 The Holy Qur'an    Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names   Five minute meditation on the The Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names at 
www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFh6gXmWdIo 
Practice first surah (al fathia)  at   www.youtube.com/watch?v=hze3ybouY9Q
Discussion:  the life of Jesus and the Life of Muhammad.   video "The World of Islam (2): Islamic Art," Films for the Humanities.

Class #04, Thursday, September 26, 2013 --  Movie  (September 27 Faculty Study Day)  The class will not meet today.
Before class read:    View DVD movie  The Message:  The Story of IslamA Moustapha Akaad Film (178 minute) on DVD
Before class write:    No written assignment for today.  View the movie.  Prepare for Essay 3 next week comparing the life of Jesus and the life of Muhammad.
During class:    The class will not meet today.  View the movie at your leisure.  (Long Weekend)

Class #05, Thursday, October 3, 2013 (Yawm al-Khamis, Rabi  Al-Awwal 21, 1432 AH) --  The Qur'an
Before class read:   Juz' 7-8-9 (Surah 5:87 - 8:64). Farah Chapter 5: Foundations of Islam: The Qur'an;  Chapter 6: The Fundamentals of Islam.
Before class write:  Meditation on the Qur'an.    Essay #3   Post an essay comparing the Bible and the Quran and their role in the spiritual life.  
During class:  Any questions on the movie or the life of Muhammad?   The Adhan (The call to prayer).The call to prayer.  Surah 1.   Common Islamic phrases.   History of Religion in 90 Seconds   The History of Islam    Presentation of Qur'an postings.   Qur'an
    video "The World of Islam (3): The Islamic City," Films for the Humanities.   video "Prayer for Beginners," lecture by Abdalla Ali. (Islamic Audio Visual Center, VT 35-005) Vatican II and Islam   Vocabulary Review. 

Class #06, Thursday, October 10, 2013 (Rabi  Al-Awwal 28) -- Islam in Daily Life
Before class read:   Juz' 10-11-12 (Surah 8:65 - 12:68).   John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed. Who Speaks For Islam? Chapters 1-3, pp 1-99.
Before class write:  Meditation on the Qur'an.  Essay #4  Post an essay comparing the presentation of Islam in the first two chapters of Who Speaks For Islam? with your own perception of Islam as you began this course and with your understanding of how most people in your parish or diocese think of Muslims.
During class:   Surah 1 practice.  Presentation and discussion of the MOODLE postings.  

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Class #07, Thursday, October 17, 2013  (Rabi  Al-Thani 5) -- The Qur'an and the Bible
Before class read:   Juz' 13-14-15 (Surah 12:69 - 18:82).  Farah Chapter 7:
Before class write: Meditation on the Qur'an.  Essay #5  Post an essay comparing the story of Joseph in the Qur'an with the story of Joseph in the Bible.  [In Surah 12 we read the story of Joseph and his brothers.  This is the one extended narrative in the Qur'an.] 
During class:   Presentation and discussion of the MOODLE postings.    The Story of Joseph  
video "The World of Islam (4): Orient/Occident," Films for the Humanities.

Class #08, Thursday, October 24, 2013 (Rabi  Al-Thani 12, 1432 AH)  --  Islamic Orthodoxy
Before class read:   Juz' 16-17-18 (Surah 18:83 - 25:44). Farah Chapter 9: Heterodoxy and Orthodoxy; Chapter 10: Formalism and Free Expression.
Before class write:  Meditation on the Qur'an.    Essay #6  Post an essay explaining the main branches and divisions in Islam.
During class:   Presentation and discussion of the MOODLE postings. 
video "Muhammad, the Natural Successor to Christ,"  lecture by Ahmad Deeat. Islamic Audio Visual Center, VT 65-010.  Available on YouTube at   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZH42wbdMAxQ   

Class #09, Thursday, October 31, 2013 --  History (1)
Before class read:   Juz' 19-20-21 (Surah 25:45 - 33:52).  Farah  Chapter 11: "Medievalism" and the Dawn of "Renaissance"; Chapter 12: Islamic Resilience.
Before class write:  Meditation on the Qur'an.   Essay #7 Post an essay commenting on some aspect of what you have read in Farah.
During class:   Select two issues of the magazine
Al Jumuah.   DVD Lecture:  The Koran:  The Origins of the Book by Bruno Ulmer. Discussion of the origins of the Qur'an.  Presentation and discussion of the MOODLE postings.   

Class #10, Thursday, November 7, 2013 --  History (2)
Before class read:   Juz' 22-23-24 (Surah 33:53 - 41:54).    Farah Chapter 13: Islamic Dynamism; Chapter 14: Islam in Translation
Before class write:  Meditation on the Qur'an.
  (Surah 36 is often used in funerals.  Compare the text of the Dies Irae)  
During class:   Discussion of
Farah Chapter 13: Islamic Dynamism   DVD lecture:  Fr. Leslie J. Hoppe:  "Al-Quds:  Jerusalem's Status in Islam"

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No Class, Thursday, November 14, 2013

Class #11, Thursday, November 21, 2013 --  Islam and Contemporary Family Life
Before class read:   Juz' 25-26-27 (Surah 42:1 - 57:29)   Read two issues of the magazine Al Jumuah  (copies will be provided).
Before class write:  Meditation on the Qur'an. Essay #8  Post an essay based on the two issues of AL JUMUAH that you have read. Your essay may be directed toward your general impression of the magazine, some aspect of family life, or even the advertisements, but your essay is to have substance and relevance to our understanding of Islam. Do not simply post a few ideas of the top of your head.
During class:   Presentation and discussion of the MOODLE postings.   Chapter u64 The Holy Qur'an   Chapter u65 Islam and Law  
video "The World of Islam (5): Islamic Science and Technology," Films for the Humanities.

No Class, Thursday, November 28, 2013 -- Thanksgiving 

Class #12, Thursday, December 5, 2013 --  Islam Today
Before class read:   Juz' 28-29-30 (Surah 58:1 - 114:6).  John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed. Who Speaks For Islam?  Chapters 3-5, pp 65 to the end.   
Before class write:  Meditation on the Qur'an.  Essay #9  Select one of the chapters of Who Speaks For Islam? (radical, women, coexistence) Write an essay on the relation between Christianity, Islam, and the topic you have chosen.     
During class:    Presentation and discussion of the MOODLE postings. video "The World of Islam (6): Islam Today," Films for the Humanities

Class #13, Thursday, December 12, 2013--  Islam and Christianity
Before class read:   Farah Chapter 15: Current Trends; Chapter 16: Perspectives on Activist Islam
Before class write:   Essay #10  Post a "Concluding Essay."  You may use this essay to explore a topic of Islam that is of particular interest to you or some element of comparison between Islam and Christianity or a summary of how the course has altered your thinking towards Islam. The assignment is broad enough to include any of these topic but write an essay that will be interesting and helpful to the other participants in the course.
During class:    Presentation and discussion of the MOODLE postings.   Formulate conclusions.   Implications of the study of Islam for the Catholic Faith.   Process comments.

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Participants

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Copyright: Tom Richstatter.  All Rights Reserved.  This page was created by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.  Every effort has been, and is being made to acknowledge sources when the ideas are not my own.  Any failure to comply with the United States Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) will be corrected immediately should I become aware of it.  This site was updated on 10/24/15 .  Your comments on this site are welcome at trichstatter@franciscan.org