Syllabus of “Political Philosophy in Islam”

Political Philosophy in Islam

Course Description

Political Philosophy in Islam is designed as a course that acquaints students with the development of and issues pertaining to political philosophy in Islam from medieval to contemporary times. It is asserted that the classical and medieval Islamic tradition provides extensively rich basis upon which dynamic development of Islamic political thought rested. Modern and contemporary Islamic political thought therefore is seen both as continuity and disjuncture of classical thought and of its context.

The course explores various strands of Islamic political theories and discusses problems and questions those theories attempted to unravel and answer. The evolution and transformation of Islamic political philosophy as it tried to respond to Western influence are also explored. The diverse political thoughts and theories emerging in the Islamic world will be investigated through the works of their main proponents. The conceptual basis on political philosophy and related key issues such as power, sovereignty, legitimacy, state, authority, or identity are extensively explored.

This course is not only intended as to provide and to engage students with historical dynamics of political philosophy in Islam but rather be considered as an endeavour to allow them analytical skills necessary to critically examine and to reflect upon various thoughts discussed and explored.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, a student is expected to have acquired the following:

  • Familiarity with the main strands of Islamic political thought from the formative to contemporary periods in Islamic history
  • Have a good understanding of the development of modern Islamic political philosophy from its historical, political, social, and cultural context
  • Have acquired knowledge and learned various Islamic intellectual political movements and problems, their proponents and their transformation that later perhaps be used to develop as critical foundation for further rethinking of Islamic thought.
  • Have developed an attitude of critical self-awareness about the possibilities of our intellectual tools and methods for philosophical understanding of issues in political philosophy.

Course Prerequisites

Prior to undertaking this course, students are advised to have completed any or some of the following courses:

  • History of Islamic Civilisation I
  • History of Islamic Civilisation II
  • History of Islamic Civilisation III
  • Islamic Philosophy I
  • Islamic Philosophy II

Course Requirements

The course is composed of considerable material both in the lectures and in the readings. It is assumed that students who register in the course will be obliged to fulfil minimum requirement of attendance and will be required to prepare all the readings before they arrive in class. To further motivate the preparation, there would be quizzes, class homeworks, group presentations, and group discussions to be conducted during the semester. The course can be expected to be highly appreciative of active participation and effective engagement demonstrated by sedulous students.

Assessments

The assessment for Political Philosophy in Islam is determined to be based on the following:

Attendance 10%
Presentation and participation 20%
Mid term essay 35%
Final term essay 35%

Course Policies

The course holds to the belief that excellence in learning can be achieved in an intellectual environment where academic integrity is highly valued and carefully upheld. Consequently, all assignments, projects, reports, papers and examinations submitted to this course are expected to be the student’s own work. Students should always take great care to distinguish their own ideas and knowledge from information derived from sources. Students are responsible for educating themselves about plagiarism and will be held accountable for any consequences arising from deriliction and non-observance.

Methods of Instruction

In this course the methods of instruction will be composed of: lecture presentation, group presentation, group discussions, interactive dialogues, and audiovisual presentations.

Consultations

The course includes provision for consultations on academic issues pertaining to the lectures, the readings, and the course. Two hours in each week are allocated for this particular purpose. It will be made available on one hour before and one hour after the lecture. Students are welcome to contact the lecturer during working hours or through electronic means.

Required Readings

The required readings necessary for the course are composed of primary references, secondary references, audiovisual materials, and online resources. Students who enrol in this course are assumed to be internet literate and are expected to be able to take maximum advantage of online resources made available by the college. Secondary references are listed separately and be made available upon request.

Audiovisual materials during the duration of this course will be presented in the class and are consisted of the following film documentaries:

  • Taliban Generation (extraction)
  • Dispatches: Undercover Mosque (extraction)
  • Iran and the West: part 1 (extraction)

The primary references are methodologically prepared to provide perspectives and to allow students to work towards becoming independent readers that acquire rudimentary knowledge and understandings of the course. They are the following:

  • Abu-Rabi, Ibrahim M (ed), 2006, The Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Islamic Thought, Blackwell: Oxford
  • Abu-Rabi, Ibrahim, M, 2004, Contemporary Arab Thought: Studies in Post-1967 Arab Intellectual History, Pluto Press: London
  • Black, Anthony, 2001,The History of Islamic Political Thought, Routledge
  • Cook, Michael A., 2000, Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Crone, Patricia, 2004, God’s Rule: Six Centuries of Islamic Medieval Political Thought, New York: Columbia University Press
  • Davari, Mahmood, 2005, The Political Thought of Ayatollah Murtaza Mutahhari, London: Routledge Curzon
  • Enayat, Hamid, 2006, Modern Islamic Political Thought, Palgrave McMillan
  • Esposito, John L and Voll, John Obert, 2001, Makers of Contemporary Islam, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Goodin, Robert E., Pettit, Phillip, and Pogge, Thomas, 2007, A Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing
  • Hourani, Albert, 1983 (2002), Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age: 1798-1939, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Jahanbakhsh, Forough, 2001, Islam, Democracy, and Religious Modernism in Iran (1953-2000), Leiden: Brill
  • Kamrava, Mehran (ed), 2007, The New Voices of Islam: Rethinking Politics and Modernity, University of California Press
  • Kamrava, Mehran, 2008, Iran’s Intellectual Revolution, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Kausar, Zeenath (ed), 2005, Contemporary Islamic Political Thought: A Study of Eleven Islamic Thinkers, Kuala Lumpur: International Islamic University Malaysia
  • Lambton, Ann K. S., 1982, State and Government in Medieval Islam, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Lewis, Bernard, 1988, The Political Language of Islam, Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  • Miller, David, 2003, Political Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Momen, Moojan, 1987, An Introduction to Shi’i Islam, New Haven: Yale University Press
  • Nabavi, Negin (ed), 2003, Intellectual Trends in Twentieth Century Iran: A Critical Survey, Gainesville: University of Florida Press
  • Rahnema, Ali (ed), 2005, Pioneers of Islamic Revival, New York: Zed Books
  • Simon, Robert L. (ed),2002, The Blackwell Guide to Social and Political Philosophy, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing
  • Vogt, Kari; Moe, Christian; and Larsen, Lena (eds), 2008, New Directions in Islamic Thought, London: I.B Tauris
  • Watt, William Montgomery, 1998, Islamic Political Thought, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press

Course Content

The content of the course represented various topics discussed which are arranged as follows:

Part I. Introduction to Political Philosophy

  • What is political philosophy?
  • Key issues on political philosophy

Part II. Origins and Schisms

  • Religion, Politics, Law
  • Community, Government, the State
  • Khariji, Shii, Murjii, Qadari, Mutazili

Part III. Classic and Medieval Political Thinkers

  • Legitimacy and sovereignty: Ibn al-Muqaffa’, Abu Yusuf, al-Jahiz, Ibn Qutayba
  • Virtuous City: al-Farabi, Ibn Rushd
  • Imam-Caliph: al-Mawardi; Caliph-Sultan: al-Ghazali
  • Religious-temporal power separation: Fakhr al-Din Razi, Barani
  • No more Caliph: Ibn Jamaa, and Ibn Taymiyyah
  • Polity based on religion: Ibn Khaldun
  • Ascent of ulama: Nasr al-Din Tusi, Kashani, Karaki, Majlisi

Part IV. Modern and Contemporary

  • Modernism: Tahtawi, Khayr al-Din, Bustani, Malkum Khan, Ahmad Khan
  • Pan Islamism: al-Asadabadi, Abduh
  • Demise of Caliphate: Gokalp, Rida, Iqbal
  • Nationalism, Democracy, Socialism
  • Revivalism: al-Banna, Qutb, Mawdudi, Natsir
  • The Islamic Revolution: Khomeini, Mutahhari, Shariati
  • Post-Revolution: Hassan Turabi, Rashid Ghannushi, an-Naim, Soroush

Course schedule

The schedule of the course is arranged as follows:

Week

Description

Readings

1

Introduction

Part I.

Introduction to Political Philosophy

  • What is political philosophy?
  • Key issues on political philosophy
Miller

Goodin et al: ch. 18-22,25-27,31,38,39,41,44,45,49,51,52,54

2

Part II. Origins and Schisms

  • Religion, Politics, Law
  • Community, Government, the State
  • Khariji, Shii, Murjii, Qadari, Mutazili
Lambton: ch.1-3

Crone: ch.1-3,5,6,10,16

Black: ch.4

Watt: ch.1-10

Momen: ch.1-4

3

Part III. Classic and Medieval Political Thinkers

  • Legitimacy and sovereignty: Ibn al-Muqaffa’, Abu Yusuf, al-Jahiz, Ibn Qutayba
Lambton: ch.4

Black: ch.2-3

4

  • Virtuous City: al-Farabi, Ibn Rushd
Black: ch.6,11

Crone: ch.14

5

  • Imam-Caliph: al-Mawardi; Caliph-Sultan: al-Ghazali
Lambton: ch.6,7

Black: ch.7,9

Crone: ch.16

6

  • Religious-temporal power separation: Fakhr al-Din Razi, Barani
Lambton: ch.8

Black: ch.11,17

7

  • No more Caliph: Ibn Jamaa, and Ibn Taymiyyah
Lambton: ch.9

Black: ch.14,16

8

  • Polity based on religion: Ibn Khaldun
  • Ascent of ulama: Nasr al-Din Tusi
Lambton: ch.10

Black: ch.18

Black: ch.15

Momen: ch.5

9

  • Ascent of ulama: Kashani, Karaki, Majlisi
Lambton: ch.13-16

Black: ch.22

Momen: ch.6-7

10

Part IV. Modern and Contemporary

  • Modernism: Tahtawi, Khayr al-Din, Bustani, Malkum Khan, Ahmad Khan
Black: ch.25

Enayat: ch.2

Hourani: ch.4

11

  • Pan Islamism: al-Asadabadi, Abduh
Black: ch.25

Enayat: ch.2

Hourani: ch.5-7

Rahnema: ch.2-3

12

  • Demise of Caliphate: Gokalp, Rida, Iqbal
Black: ch.25-26

Enayat: ch.3

Hourani: ch.4

Kausar: ch.1

13

  • Nationalism, Democracy, Socialism
  • Revivalism: al-Banna, Qutb, Mawdudi, Natsir
Enayat: ch.4

Black: ch.25

Enayat: ch.3

Rahnema: ch.5-7

Kausar: ch.4,6-8

14

  • The Islamic Revolution: Khomeini, Mutahhari, Shariati
Black: ch.25

Enayat: ch.5

Jahanbakhsh: ch.4

Rahnema: ch.4,9

15

  • Post-Revolution: Hassan Turabi, Rashid Ghannushi, an-Naim, Soroush
Black: ch.25

Vogt: ch.9-10

Abu-Rabi: ch.9

Abu-Rabi (ed): ch.8

Kausar: ch.10-11

Esposito: ch.5-7

Jahanbakhsh: ch.5

Kamrava: ch.3-7

Nabavi: ch.5-8

16

  • Epilog: Political Philosophy and Political Questions
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