religion and politics


Course Syllabus

 Course #: 032:157 (1130)

 About the Course:

In 622 C.E., the Prophet Muhammad migrates to Madinah and establishes the first autonomous Muslim community. Within one decade, almost all of Arabia falls under the rule of the Islamic state. Such success was not to be squandered. The political successors of the Prophet Mohammad, the Caliphs, continued his legacy in one form or another. For nearly 1300 years, Islamic political power persisted; dynasties ruled within and without the caliphate system and empires were built on the ruins of the Roman and Persian ones.

In this course, we will focus on the political aspects of Islam from the formative period (7th century) until the formation of modern nation-states and beyond. Through a combination of primary and secondary literature, this course will explore the space within and between religion and politics in Islamic societies.  Special attention will be given to topics such as authority and power, state and governance, law and society, gender and minority, individual and collective identity, secularism, nationalism, fundamentalism, activism, reformism, renewalism, democracy, guided democracy, Westernization, modernism, traditionalism, and the notion of civilization.



  1. Religion and Politics in the Middle East: Identity, Ideology, Institutions, and Attitudes; by Robert D. Lee; Westview Press; (2009); ISBN: 0813344204; Price: $21.38-$35.00.
  2. Milestones, by Sayyid Qutb; CreateSpace, (2005), ISBN: 1450590640, Price, $9.99.
  3. Islamic government, by Ruhollah Khomeini; CreateSpace (1979); ISBN-10: 053223166X, Price: $14.95.
  4. Other materials will be made available on ICON, Free.
  5. Web: Religion and Politics in the Islamic Civilization’s Experience (Web Resource)


Students’ final assessment is neither based solely on the assigned readings nor exclusively on the in class lectures; rather, will be based on all your activities associated with this course.  The reading materials are intended to provide an adequate background for the lectures whereby one complements the other. Subsequently, quizzes and tests’ questions will be more or less equally distributed between the reading assignments and the lecture materials.  It is imperative that students stay on schedule and do the readings as scheduled and before attending lectures. 


Students’ final grades will be based on the accumulative grades in quizzes, tests, news articles reactions, and Group Projects according to the following distributions:

  • Quizzes: 20%
  • Midterm: 20%
  • Final: 20%
  • Research Paper: 20%
  • Participation and weekly essays: 20%