Introduction to Islam

Islam is a way of life centred upon the primary principle of the oneness of God, out of which everything comes into being, and to which everything returns after it has died.  The realisation of this oneness and its implications in every sphere of existence is the aim that the Muslim strives to attain.

The ‘roots’ of Islamic belief are divided into three: testifying to the oneness of God; belief in prophethood and belief in the afterlife. This course examines these three principles, before moving on to reflect on the nature of the Qur’ān and how it may be understood and read. Linked to the realisation of tawhīd is the process of the purification of the soul. Methods for this constitute the spiritual tradition of Islam and they will be looked at in brief.

Finally, a selection of ethical instructions in relation to society and politics will be discussed in the light of one of Islam’s key principles: that of justice.


Week OneTawhīd: testifying to the oneness of God
Week TwoNubūwwa and Imāma: Prophethood and Imamate
Week ThreeMa‘ād: the return back to God
Week FourThe nature of the Qur’ān
Week FiveCultivation of the ‘aql (intellect); purification of the nafs (soul)
Week SixSocial and political ethics


This course is at the level equivalent to a first year Batchelor’s degree. The rate is standard for a non-accredited short course in the Humanities.


To introduce the fundamental tenets of Islamic belief, based upon the Qur’ān.

To provide a structure that may form the basis for further study on the various dimensions of Islam.

To explore and clarify well known and controversial aspects of Islam, such as the rules of war and the treatment of women.


  • al-‘Āmilī, Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Hurr. Combat with the Self. Trans. Nazmina Virjee. (London: ICAS Press, 2003).
  • al-Jibouri, Yasin T. Stages of the Hereafter: the Path to Eternity.(CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014).
  • al-Tabarsi, Hassan ibn Fazl ibn Hassan. Mishkat al-Anwar fi Ghuraril-Akhbar [The Lamp Niche for the Best Traditions]. Trans. Ms Lisa Zaynab Morgan and Ali Peiravi (Qum: Ansariyan Publications, First Edition, 1422).
  • Amini, Ibrahim. What Everyone Should Know about Islam. (US: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015).
  • Amir-Moezzi Mohammad Ali. The Divine Guide in Early Shi‘ism: the Sources of Esoterism in Islam. Trans. David Streight (Albany: SUNY, 2004).
  • ar-Rāzī, Ash-Shaykh Abū Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Ya‘qūb ibn Ishāq al-Kulaynī. Al-Kāfī. (Tehran: World Organization for Islamic Services, 1987, second ed.).
  • Corbin, Henry. Swedenborg and Esoteric Islam. Trans. Leonard Fox (Pennsylvania: Swedenborg Foundation, 1995).
  • Hamid, Idris Samawi. Islam, Sign & Creation. (New York: Global Scholarly Publications, 2011).
  • Kassis, Hanna E. A Concordance of the Qur’an. (Berkeley: University of California, 1983).
  • Lalani, Arzina R. Early Shī‘ī Thought. (London: IB Tauris& Co. Ltd, 2000).
  • Legenhausen, Muhammad. Islam and Just War Theory. (Qum: The Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute, 2008).
  • Modarressi, Hossein. ‘Early Debates on the Integrity of the Qur’an: A Brief Survey’. Studia Islamica, No. 77. (1993), pp. 5-39.
  • Redhewi, Sayyid Sa‘eed Akhtar. Imamate. (The Vicegerency of the Prophet s.a.) (Qum: Ansariyan Publications, 1996).
  • Rizvi, S. Saeed Akhtar. Wahhabis Fitnah Exposed. (Qum: Ansariyan Publications, 3rd ed. 2000).
  • Rizvi, Sayyid Saeed Akhtar. Day of Judgement. (Dar es Salaam: Bilal Muslim Mission of Tanzania, 1998).
  • Rizvi, Sayyid Saeed Akhtar. Prophethood. (Dar es Salaam: Bilal Muslim Mission of Tanzania, 1987).
  • Sells, Michael A., trans. and ed. Early Islamic Mysticism. (New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1996).

Course date and time

Running every Sunday 19:00 UK time from 11th December 2022 to 15th January 2023.

The course with live on-line classes is £60/$80. You can book by clicking on the button below, or by making a PayPal or Mastercard transfer to [email protected].

Once you have booked, you will be sent a Reading Pack and recordings for each class in pdf format, and a Syllabus for the course. You will asked to provide your Skype ID for live classes. Classes are also recorded.

The self-study option is £25/$40. You can book by clicking on the button below:

Once you have booked, you will be sent a Reading Pack and recordings for each class in pdf format, and a Syllabus for the course. You can write with any questions as you go along.

For more information, please check the FAQs page, or write to [email protected]