Ethics in Four Islamic Traditions: Fiqh, Kalam, Tasawwuf, Falsafa
This course will examine questions of ethics such as the nature of good and evil of acts, revelation and ethics, the possibility of human knowledge of ethics independent of divine revelation, the means of acquiring virtues, in the domains of theology (aqidah, usul al-din, or kalam), tasawwuf (Sufism and other spiritualist traditions), fiqh (jurisprudence), and falsafa (Muslim receptions of Hellenistic and other philosophical traditions). The course will include historical and thematic introduction to the subject, making it accessible to both educated practitioners of Islam as well as those advanced students interested in a panoramic overview of the core questions in Islamic tradition. It will seek to relate contemporary questions to the classical scholarship and classical problems to modern ones. As such, it will aspire to be bidayat al-mujtahid wa nihayat al-mqtasid: the beginning for future scholars and sufficient ground for those seeking enrichment. The knowledge of Arabic is not required, but prior courses or readings on Islam are.