Introduction to Medieval and Classical Islamic Thought

Group Online Tuition (8 MAX)

14 weeks

sTART DATE: Tuesday 6 april 

Islam is a religion of billions, and Islamic history includes an incredible diversity of politics, cultures, and philosophies, stretching across continents and over a thousand years. It is critical for any serious observer of Muslim-majority states and societies, and indeed society as a whole, to take this tradition seriously, in order to understand the continued relevance of its core concepts.


This course introduces philosophical thought in the Islamic world during the classical and medieval periods. It touches on logic, grammar, metaphysics, free will, sufism, epistemology, political ethics, and Muslim commentaries on Greek, European, and South Asian positions. Classes will take an explicitly queer, feminist, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist approach, particularly as it relates to philosophies of music, finance, poetry, and law. Readings will be supplied on Google Drive and thinkers including Al-Kindi, Al-Sirafi, Al-Suhrawardi, Ibn Arabi, Ibn Taymiyyah, Mulla Sadra, Avicenna, Averroes, Al-Farabi, Al-Ghazali, Ibn Tufayl, Ibn Hazm, Al-Tusi, and Ibn Khaldun will be translated into and discussed in English. Modern thinkers like Nasr Abu Zayd and Osama Bin Laden will also frame the course, along with weeks dedicated to important women like Rabia Al-Adawiyah, Fatima, and teachers in the traditions of Qu'ran and Hadith. Finally, students will learn the basics of kalaam and usool ul-fiqh, in the process of discussing movements like the Mu'tazilah, Sufis, Salafis, Isma'ilis, and so on. 

Classes will be structured in a relatively loose discussion format with summaries of the readings that are sent out the day prior. Students are not expected to do all the readings, but they are expected to discuss at least one of the readings with depth.

The teacher is currently a PhD student in Islamic philosophy and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Rutgers University, and a Masters of Science in Comparative Political Thought from SOAS, University of London. She is Pakistani-Canadian and grew up in a devoutly religious family of Sunni Wahhabi Muslims. She has been teaching various subjects for five years.