Spring 2006 IAS 3003 Sec. 005
Prof. Joshua Landis


Class Meetings: Tuesday and Thursday 10:30 - 11:45, Michael F. Price Hall, Room 3065

Office hours: Hester Hall , Room 116: Mon. and Wed. 5:00 to 5:45

            The best way to get in touch with me is through e-mail = - Phone: 325-3330




1. Daniel Brown, A New Introduction to Islam, Blackwell Publishers, 2004, ISBN: 0631216049
2. Martin Forward, Muhammad: A Short Biography, Oneworld Publications; 1997, ISBN: 1851681310
3. Malcolm X, Autobiography of Malcolm X, African American Images; Reissue edition, 1987, ISBN: 0345350685
4. Anthony Shadid, Legacy of the Prophet: Despots, Democrats, and the New Politics of Islam, Westview Press; (March 19, 2002) ISBN: 0813340187

5. Bernard Lewis, The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror, Random House, 2003.

Note on readings: Many of the readings are on the Web. They should be done along with the readings in the textbooks, and you will be responsible for them on the quizzes.




1.         Keep up with the readings and come to class, having thought about the daily questions. Attendance and class participation count 10%.


2.                  Quizzes – There will be 5 quizzes over the course of the semester. Each will be worth 20%. 

3. Maps:
Map of the Islamic World


History of Islam

Aug. Mon 23    Intro   


         Wed 26   The pre-Islamic Near East

Daniel Brown, A New Introduction to Islam, pp. 3-33. [30]

Question: Why was it unlikely that Arabia would produce a new religion?

        Notes to Lectures 1-3

         Mon 30   Muhammad in Mecca

- Brown, 69-77. [8]

- Martin Forward, Muhammad: A Short Biography, pp. 1-15. [15]

-  “Muhammad,” PBS site:

Go through the different features to explore his biography and major issues.

- For a traditional Islamic account of Muhammad and the Islamic Faith see, The Message ,The Holy Quran , The Faith of Islam  at:

- A good place to start reading the Qur’ân or Koran is here at Harvard Classics:

The “suras” or chapters of the Qur’ân are organized in approximate historical sequence. The earliest suras to be revealed to Muhammad, the Meccan Suras, are presented in chronological order. Try reading some of them. They are short. “The following chapters are selected to give a view of all the more important elements of the faith Muhammad taught.”

Question: Who was Muhammad? How do we know about him? What are the main concepts of the Meccan Suras?

On line resources:
Rev. Edward Sell (1869-1932), The Historical Development of the Qur'an, (Facsimile of [probably] the 4th ed., London, 1923), People International, Tunbridge Wells, England, 1989?, pp. 206. ( This book offers insights into the historical development of the Qur'an.  It is not a history of the life of Muhammad.  Rather, it discusses the historical background that prompted Muhammad to recite different portions of the Qur'an.  By observing the historical events that impacted Muhammad's thinking, it is possible to trace the gradual development of the Qur'an.)


Sept. Wed 1     Muhammad in Medina

- Brown, 47-49, 77-95. [18]

- Forward, pp. 15-30. [15]

- A good resource with maps is the Islamic History to 1600.

- For a traditional Muslim view of The Hijrah (Migration from Mecca to Medina), see:

Question: How did Muhammad fuse monotheism with tribalism? How did he bind the Arabs together as one people? How does this concept of community compare to that in Judaism and Christianity?

         Mon 6     Labor Day (No class)


         Wed 8     The Monotheist Tradition and the Koran (be sure you have gotten the photo copied handout of Quran selections)

- Brown, 53-67. [14]

- From the following selections, read the stories of the Flood and Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael for today’s class with particular care. Also read this background story:

- “The Legacy of Abraham,” by David Van Biema, Time Magazine, Sunday, Sep. 22, 2002. He is beloved by Jews, Christians and Muslims. Can this bond stop them from hating one another?

- Selections from Gilgamesh, the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Koran, and al‑Kisa`i, taken from:

- J. Pritchard, ed., The Ancient Near East, vol. 1, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973, pp. 67‑70.

- H. May and B. Metzger, ed., The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, New York: Oxford University Press, 1977, pp. 9ff.

                        - Arberry, The Koran Interpreted, pp. 59ff.

- al‑Kisa`i, The Tales of the Prophets, trans. W. Thackston, Boston, Twayne Publishers and G.K. Hall, 1978, pp. 150‑154, 160‑163.

Question: How does Islam fit into the monotheist tradition and how does it reinterpret the role of past prophets?


         Mon 13   Koranic depictions of Christians and Jews and Women

- Brown, 84-96. 12

- Forward, pp. 54-76. [22]

- Read the remaining selections of the handout from the previous class from the Old and New Testament and the Quran.

Question: Is the Muslim God the Same as the Christian God? How did the early experience of Islam make it different from Christianity?


Sept. Wed 15   Quiz 1: & The Rightly Guided Caliphs

- There will be a short quiz on the readings so far. Bring texts to class.

- Brown, pp. 35-47. [12]

- Patricia Crone. “The Rise of Islam,” taken from her book, Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam. This short selection contradicts the thesis of Montgomery Watt, that the rise of international trade in Arabia drove the rise of Islam.

- Also see:

- This is one of the best Islam sites for our purposes, it can point you toward most topics we will cover in this class:


Lecture Notes included with next week's


Sept. Mon 20   The Early Islamic State: the Umayyad & Abbasid Dynasties, 632-750

- Civil War and the Umayyads, written by Richard Hooker, is a political history that begins with the death of the Prophet and covers both the period of the Rightly Guided Caliphs (632-661 CE) and that of the Umayyad Dynasty (661-750 CE).

-   The Abbasid Dynasty, a political history written by Richard Hooker, covers the dynasty that ruled the Middle East during the years 750 to 1258 CE.  

- Fred Donner. “The Early Islamic Conquests,” What explains the success of the early Islamic conquests?

- Also see “The Umayyads”  and “Abbasids”

- Another excellent resource is Ted Thorton's, History of the Middle East Database. For this week see his brief chronology of Early Middle Ages, 661- 1091.

Question: What explains the success of the Islamic conquests? What did the Umayyads do to consolidate the empire? How were the Abbasids different?

Lecture Notes  

         Wed 22   Shi`ism

- Brown, 97-115. [20]

- Ted Thorton's, The Shi'a (one page)

- Karbala as Court Case by Sayyid Nasim Abbas, (a Shi'a Muslim scholar and preacher based in Lahore gives a sermon about the martyrdom of Hussein, Muhammad’s grandson, at Karbala.) For Shiites this is the central story of their faith, comparable to the crucifixion of Christ for Christians. This is about 6 or 7 pages.

- Juan Cole, “It Takes a Following to Make an Ayatollah,” from the Washington Post, August 15, 2004 (explains who the main Ayatollah's in Iraq today are and why the matter.) 3 pages.

- Shi’a Islam:

-  Also, look at some of the smaller Shi’a sects describe on this site.

- Outline of Differences Between Shi'ite and Sunni Schools of Thought from the viewpoint of Shi`ism. This was written by the scholars who have compiled the Shi'ite Encyclopedia.


Lecture Notes


       Mon 27  Islamic Law

- Brown, pp. 116-134. [18]

- Sahih Bukhari is a collection of sayings and deeds of Prophet Muhammad, also known as the sunna. The reports of the Prophet's sayings and deeds are called hadith. Bukhari's collection of hadith is recognized by the overwhelming majority of the Muslim world to be one of the most authentic collections of the Sunna of the Prophet. Islamic law is based on hadith. Read the introduction and first chapter of the collection to get an idea of what hadith are:

Class Notes


         Wed 29   Quiz 2: Theology and Philosophy

- Brown, 135-153. [18]


Oct. Mon 4     Sufism

- Brown, pp. 154-174. [20]

- Read the five pages of Rumi - exerpted from Coleman Barks' translation here to get a feel for his poetry

- Read the background to Rumi on from Laura Gibbs' site.

         Wed 6     Sufism: Guest Lecture by Prof. Laura Gibbs

  • Before class, you must take the quiz which posted on blackboard for Intro to Islam. Log into and follow the instructions there. You will be getting an email about this.
  • You must do the reading at the following link in order to complete the quiz. It is worth 5 points.

- Attar's Lives of the Saints:


 Oct. Mon 11  Islam and Christendom

- Brown, 175-189. [14]

- The First Crusade; by Thomas Asbridge, senior lecturer in Medieval History at the University of London. Author of The First Crusade: A New History the Roots of Conflict Between Christianity and Islam, speaks on National Public Radio.

- The Crusades - Another, shorter, NPR history of Western involvement in the Middle East with a look at the Christian Crusades. (You may want to listen to the complete series. They are well done and short.)

- The Truth About Muslims by William Dalrymple, New York Review of Books, Volume 51, Number 17 · November 4, 2004.

- Bernard Lewis, "I'm Right, You're Wrong, Go To Hell: Religions and the Meeting of Civilization,” The Atlantic Monthly | May 2003,

- Nicholas D. Kristof, Jesus And Jihad July 17, 2004 Op-Ed Columnist,

-   Mohamed Qasem, a Muslim scholar, disputes the nature of Christ with Christians in A “Closer Look at Christianity” he asks: Was Jesus Sent to be Crucified? Is Jesus the same as God?  Oneness of God

The following reading is voluntary

- Read “Lesson Nineteen: The Proclamation by Jesus of the Mission of the Prophet of Islam” of  Sayyid Mujtaba Musavi Lari, Seal of the Prophets and His Message: Lessons on Islamic Doctrine, trans. Hamid Algar (Potomac, MD: Islamic Education Center, n.d.), (Mujtaba Musavi Lari is a prominent Iranian Islamic scholar. This selection gives a depiction of how Muslims view Jesus and his prophecy.)  


         Wed 13   The Ottoman and Safavid Empires

- Brown, pp. 190-206. [16]                

-   Listen to Nationa Public Radio's 5 minute segment on "The Middle East and the West: Rise of the Ottomans." (You will need realplayer.)

         Mon 18   Art & Architecture

- Go through the collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for the Late Islamic Period. Read the short history section and browse the collection.
- Also work your way through the Salimar site, here. In particular go through the Ottoman section and Safavid and Mughal sections.
- Another site which may interest you to browse through is the Islamic Arts and Architecure

Oct.  Wed 20 Quiz 3: The Ottomans and the West

- Read the seven very short chapters about the Ottomans. On this site: read the short chapters on The Ottomans - Origins - Suleyman - Selim II - The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries - European Imperialism and the Balkan Crisis -Ottoman Reader

- Also read, Bernard Lewis, The West and the Middle East, From Foreign Affairs, January 1997

         Mon 25   World War One and Imperialism

- Brown, pp. 207-225. [18]

- Bernard Lewis, The Crisis of Islam, pp.1-28. [28]

- For a short biography of Lewis and his work see this article by by IAN BURUMA in The New Yorker. Here is a pro-Lewis review. Here is an anti-Lewis review.

Question: Is Islam compatible with the nation state? How have different states sought to use religion to build nationalism?

         Wed 27   Islam and Modernity

                        - Lewis, pp. 29-82. [52]


Nov. Mon 1     A Question of Identity

- Anthony Shadid, Legacy of the Prophet: Despots, pp. 1-42.


Nov. Wed 3     Islam Interpreted and Reinterpreted

- Shadid, pp. 43-74. [31]

- Forward, pp.98-120. [22]


         Mon 8     Quiz 4: The Rise of Militant Islam

 - Shadid, pp. 75-110. [35]


         Wed 10   Malcolm X and the Making of the Nation of Islam

- Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, pp.1-72. [72]

         Mon 15   Malcolm X

- Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, pp. 73-171. [98]

         Wed 17   Malcolm X

- Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, pp. 172-270. [98]

Nov. Mon 22   NO Class: I will be at the Middle East Studies Association Meeting


         Wed 24   Thanks Giving


         Mon 29   Quiz 5: Malcolm X


Dec. Wed  1    Contemporary Islam: Reformation or Revolution?

- Shadid, pp. 187-222. [35]

- Lewis, 82-102. [20]

- “The next war, they say: Survey: Islam And The West,” Economist, Aug 4th 1994,

Also read the next article: “A hand grenade in mid-flight”, Which follows the above.

“It is now the year 1415: Survey: Islam And The West,” Economist,  Aug 4th 1994,

“In the name of Islam,” Economist, Sep 11, 2003,

Question: How did Muslims respond to the challenge of the West?


         Mon 6     Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia and al-Qaida

- Brown, 200-206. [6]

- Lewis, 103-170. [66]

- Go through the PBS site on Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia:


Dec.  Wed 8     Is Islam Compatible with Democracy?

                        - Shadid, 223-296. [72]

“The trickiest one of all: Democracy and Islam, Survey: Islam And The West,” Economist, Aug 4th 1994

“The Hidden Hand And The Hidden Hand,”


           Mon 10 Quiz 6: Women in Islam Today

                        - Forward, pp. 77-97. [20]

- “In the Name of Eve: Survey: Islam And The West,” Economist, Aug 4th 1994

- “Islams women fight for their rights: Hard-Won Change In Iran And Morocco,” by Wendy Kristianasen in Le Monde Diplomatique, March 2004, About 4 pages. (The position of women in Islamic countries has greatly changed in a few decades, with access to education, birth control and jobs. But each advance is resisted and attitudes are harder to change than laws. From Morocco to Iran, women - secular, liberal and Islamist, sometimes alone, sometimes together - are challenging traditions, demanding greater rights, reinterpreting the Koran and Muslim history.)



Final Exam: