Spring 2019 REL 279 Islamic Ethics

This course is an overview of Islamic ethical life and thought through an orientation in the Islamic view of the universe and humanity’s place within it, competing & complementing modes of being ethical, & proposals for a good human life. We will explore these themes through a close reading of seminal Muslim ethical texts. There are three stages in our journey. In STAGE I we will learn about the foundations of Islamic ethics, i.e., the mythical, theological, scriptural and prophetic background of all-things-Islamic. In STAGE II we will survey the various modes of ethical thinking and proposals for good life within the Islamic religious and intellectual tradition. Here, we will explore legal, religious, theological, literary, mystical and philosophical strands of Islamic ethical life and thought. STAGE III will be a synthesis and culmination of various ideas discussed in STAGES I & II and our basis for wider claims and conclusions about Islamic ethical life. As a case study for application of these modes to a contemporary ethical issue, we will probe Muslim responses to the ecological crisis. Here, we will witness how these modes orient, navigate and shape debates regarding the environment. In STAGE III, we will also explore how the various ethical modes have fared or have been transformed in contemporary times. (NOTE: Since learning is an evolving process, the course map, readings and intellectual practices may be shifted and adjusted as necessary.)