Elaheh Kheirandish


email: kheirand@fas.harvard.edu


Islam: Explorations in Islamic Literature (NEJS 128a)

Brandies University (Lown 111: X-2967)


Course Requirements:

1. Class Attendance

(Mondays and Wednesdays – selections for reading and discussion to be assigned in class)

2. Participation in Discussions

(Thursdays – themes for discussion also based on your weekly reflection papers = critical

response not to exceed 1 page to: kheirand@binah.cc.brandeis.edu by Weds. 9 pm).

3. Mid-term Take-home Examination (due October 22, 1998).

 4. Term paper (presented and submitted December 7th, 1998).


List of Texts (in alphabetical order): Copies on reserve in the Main Library


Arberry, A. J., Aspects of Islamic Civilization: as Depicted in the Original Texts, 1964.

Rosenthal, Franz, The Classical Heritage in Islam, 1957.

Schimmel, Annemarie, Islam, 1992.

Wolfe, Michael, One Thousand Roads to Mecca, 1997.



Arberry, A. J. Revelation and Reason in Islam, 1957.

Nicholson, R. A., Studies in Islamic Mysticism, 1921.

Pellat, Charles (ed.), The Life and Works of al-Jahiz, 1969.

Rahman, Fazlur, Major Themes of the Quran, 1989.

Rosenthal, Franz, Ibn Khaldun: An Introduction to History, The Muqaddimah,1964.

Thackston, Wheeler, A Millenium of Persian Poetry,1996.


NEJS 128a


Weekly Topics

Week 1: Introduction

9/9: A Spectrum of Islamic Literature

9/10: Discussion [samples]

 Weeks 2-3: Polemical literature

9/14: Satires [selections from al-J˙iΩ (d.868-869)]

9/21: Debates [AbË Bishr Mattå and Siråf¥ on Grammar and Logic]

Weeks 4-5: Cross-cultural/Intra-cultural Literature

9/28: Cultural/Biographical Histories [selections from Ibn al-Nadim’s (d. 990) Fihrist and Tabari's History of Prophets and Kings]

10/5: Travelogues [selections from Nasir Khusruw’s (ca. 1050) Safar-namah]

Weeks 6-7: Philosophical Literature

10/12: Theories of Knowledge [selections from al-Farabi (d.950), Averroes (d. 1198]

10/19: Theories of Perception [selections from Avicenna (d.1039), Suhrawardi (d. 1191].

 Weeks 8-9: Scientific Literature

10/26: Methodologies [selections from Ibn al-Haytham’s (d.ca.1040) Optics]

11/2: Arguments [selections from Tusi's (d. 1274) Memoir on Astronomy]

Weeks 10-11: Mystical Literature

11/9: Ethical genres [selections from Mawlana Rumi (d. 1273) Mathnavi]

11/16: Spiritual genres [selections from Ibn ‘Arabi's (d. 1240) Fusus al-hikam]

Weeks 12-13: Historical/Sociological Literature

11/23: Social/Intellectual Histories [selections from Ibn Khaldun’s (d. 1406) Muqaddimah].

11/30: Social Critiques [selections from Iqbal Lahouri (d. 1964)]

Weeks 14: Conclusion

12/7: Presentations (based on term papers)

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