Department of Theology

The Department of Theology teaches ‘ilm uṣūl al-­dīn (lit. the knowledge of the roots of the religion), also called al­-Kalām (lit. the discourse), which is a discipline of learning by which one is able to establish religious truths with evidence and remove doubts from these truths.  Its primary subject consists of Allah and His attributes, the relation between the Creator and creation, and the nature of prophethood. Islamic theology differs from philosophy in that it considers revelation as a true source of knowledge and studies epistemology, ontology, and eschatology with the light of revelation Allah revealed to His final Messenger and Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him.

In the Intermediate Islamic Studies program, the Department of Theology teaches Islamic theology in three levels. In the beginning level, the focus is on elucidating the Islamic creed through the foundational creed of the Ḥanafī theologian and jurist Imam Ṭaḥawī (d. 321/933). At the intermediate level, the student is introduced to the differences between theological schools and sects based on the Qurˀān and the Sunnah. At the advanced level, the focus is on integrating arguments based on reason within the framework of revelation through a thorough study of Imam Taftazānī’s (d. 793/1390) Sharḥ al-Aqāʾid.

Within the Advanced Islamic Law and Islamic Theology program, the department focuses on comparative theology. All texts are in Classical Arabic and read in the original with extensive discussions of theological concepts in English.

Dr. Muhammed Volkan Yildiran Stodolsky

Liaison, Department of Theology
muhammed.stodolsky@darulqasim.org

Core Content Curriculum


 

Theology

 

Course CodeCore or ElectiveCourse NameCourse Description
THEO101CoreIntroduction to Theology: al-ʿAqīdah al-ṬaḥāwiyyahThis course consists of an in-depth study of al-'Aqīdah al-Ṭaḥāwiyyah of Imam al-Ṭaḥāwī (d. 321/933) and introduces students to the tenets of Islamic creed in light of the Qur’ān and the Sunnah. It also highlights the historical emergence of heterodox sects and the flaws within their creeds. Imam Ṭaḥāwī’s work has been accepted as one of the main references for understanding the Islamic creed.
THEO102CoreIntermediate Islamic Theology: Ḍawʾ al-MaʿālīIn this course students will study Ḍawʾ al-Maʿālī, a commentary on the well-known creed Badʾ al-Amālī of Sirāj al-Dīn al-Ūshī (d. 569/1174) written by Mulla ʿAlī al-Qārī (d.1014/1605). Through this text students will become reacclimated to the core tenets of the Islamic faith. Studying the text will introduce students to more advanced details of creed, thus allowing the students to gain the ability to understand these tenets to a greater extent.
THEO401CoreIntroduction to Advanced Dialectic Theology: al-Taftāzānī’s Sharḥ al-'Aqāʿid IThe course consists of an intensive study of Sharḥ al-'Aqā'id al-Nasafiyyah of al-Taftāzānī (d.793/1390) to introduce students to concepts and methodology of advanced works of Kalām (dialectic theology). Taftāzānī’s work is a commentary on the influential creed of the Ḥanafī theologian Najm al-Dīn Abū Ḥafṣ 'Umar al-Nasafī (d. 537/1142) and is distinguished by the impartiality and sophistication of its critique of theological arguments based on reason.
THEO402CoreIntroduction to Advanced Dialectic Theology: al-Taftāzānī’s Sharḥ al-'Aqāʿid IIThe course consists of an intensive study of Sharḥ al-'Aqā'id al-Nasafiyyah of al-Taftāzānī (d.793/1390) to introduce students to concepts and methodology of advanced works of Kalām (dialectic theology). Taftāzānī’s work is a commentary on the influential creed of the Ḥanafī theologian Najm al-Dīn Abū Ḥafṣ 'Umar al-Nasafī (d. 537/1142) and is distinguished by the impartiality and sophistication of its critique of theological arguments based on reason.
THEO531CoreComparative Dialectic Theology: Abū Muʿīn al-Nasafī’s Tabṣirat al-Adillah IThe course consists of an intensive study of Abū Mu'īn Maymūn b. Muḥammad al-Nasafī’s (d. 508/1115) Tabṣirat al-Adillah fī Uṣūl al-Dīn, one of the most important works of the Māturīdī school of Islamic theology reflecting the understanding of the scholars of Samarqand. Nasafī discusses in detail issues on which Islamic theological schools and Muslim sects differ, presenting and evaluating the evidence for the positions of each group. Nasafī also strives to show that Māturīdī theology is firmly grounded in the theological thought of Abū Ḥanīfah (d. 150/767). The objective of the course is to give the students a deeper understanding of the Māturīdī school in particular and Islamic comparative theology in general.
THEO532CoreComparative Dialectic Theology: Abū Muʿīn al-Nasafī’s Tabṣirat al-Adillah IIThe course consists of an intensive study of Abū Mu'īn Maymūn b. Muḥammad al-Nasafī’s (d. 508/1115) Tabṣirat al-Adillah fī Uṣūl al-Dīn, one of the most important works of the Māturīdī school of Islamic theology reflecting the understanding of the scholars of Samarqand. Nasafī discusses in detail issues on which Islamic theological schools and Muslim sects differ, presenting and evaluating the evidence for the positions of each group. Nasafī also strives to show that Māturīdī theology is firmly grounded in the theological thought of Abū Ḥanīfah (d. 150/767). The objective of the course is to give the students a deeper understanding of the Māturīdī school in particular and Islamic comparative theology in general.
THEO598ElectiveIndependent Study in Theology and Theological MethodologyThe course is for students who want to conduct an independent study on theological issues and works.
THEO599CoreThesis Research and MethodologyThis course is a requirement for completion of a thesis in the advanced program. The student will choose a thesis adviser based upon the subject of interest, who will advise the student on research and writing methodology and monitor the progress of the thesis. Students are expected to submit each chapter of the thesis as it is completed to the adviser, who will comment on the work and suggest improvements where appropriate. Once the thesis is completed the approval of the adviser and one other faculty are required for the final submission.