THEOREL 106/106G : Islam and the Contemporary World


2023 Semester Two (1235) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Since the religion of Islam has become a very significant aspect of contemporary global and local societies, this course seeks to introduce students to an understanding of key aspects of Islam and an analysis of its significant contribution to New Zealand society as well as to societies and cultures across the world.

Course Overview

An introduction to Islam as a living and multifaceted tradition within our contemporary world with particular attention to Islam in New Zealand and Australia. The course begins with an analysis of this context. It turns then to an overview of the Qur’an, locating the beginning of Islam in 7th century Arabia with the life of the Prophet Muhammad. A particular emphasis will be the development of early philosophical and theological schools of thought (e.g. Sunni and Shia), kalaam (dialectical theology) and falsifa (philosophy); and Sufism as the mystical tradition within Islam. The course then turns toward contemporary issues such as the relevance and value of Islamic Law (Sharia); Democracy and Islam (including issues surrounding minority and migrant rights, particularly in post-colonial contexts); and “Islamic” concepts of family (including women and gender). 

Course Requirements

Restriction: THEOLOGY 106, 106G

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Arts

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe and discuss the life of Muhammad and the origins of Islam (Capability 1.1)
  2. Discuss the development of the early schools of Islamic philosophy and theology (Capability 1.1 and 2.1)
  3. Critically discuss the relevance and value of Islamic law (Capability 1.1 and 4.2)
  4. Contextualise Islamic mysticism and its place in our current setting (Capability 1.1 and 2.2)
  5. Discuss contemporary scholarly debates on the place of women in Islam (Capability 1.3, 2.3 and 3.1)
  6. Analyse the current debate on the relationship between Islam and democracy (Capability 1.3, 2.2 and 3.1)
  7. Have an understanding of contemporary approaches to interpreting the Quran (Capability 2.3, 3.2 and 5.2)
  8. Interpret the tradition of Islam in the context of contemporary New Zealand (Capability 2.2, 5.2 and 6.2)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Quizzes 20% Individual Coursework
Essay 30% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 2 hours of lectures, a 1 hour all class tutorial, 1 hour per week (over 12 weeks) of reading and thinking about the content and 40 hours on assignments and/or test preparation. 

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

This course is not available for delivery to students studying remotely outside NZ in 2023.

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including tutorials to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including tutorials will be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events including tutorials.
Attendance on campus is required for the exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

William E. Shepard, Introducing Islam (2nd edition, Routledge, 2014).

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Students appreciated being able to engage in class discussions. They also enjoyed the use of online tools that allowed them to create word clouds and answer surveys in real time. These features will continue to play an important role in the class of 2023.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Well-being always comes first
We all go through tough times during the semester, or see our friends struggling. There is lots of help out there - for more information, look at this Canvas page, which has links to various support services in the University and the wider community.

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 26/10/2022 11:03 a.m.