Islam In Morocco And North Africa (French-taught)

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Course Information
Religious Studies
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Language of instruction: 
Contact Hours: 

Appropriate level of French language, to be determined by language assessment. Generally, this is equivalent to 4 semesters, or more, of college-level French.

Additional student cost: 



This course aims to give a general overview of Islam from its beginnings till today. For a thorough understanding of its spirit, Islam is analyzed as a spiritual mission, as it started out with the commencement of the revelation of the Koran, through the first efforts of the pioneering Muslim scholars to devise a viable legal system during the dawn of the Islamic state era, to the pre-colonial time and the present day. An analysis is given about the causes and effects of the Ijtihad endeavor, its causes, principles, subject matter and concerns. Alongside with mysticism and Islamism, the Islamic culture is expounded through its main components, especially the family code (with such issues as marriage, divorce, inheritance, etc.), (sartorial, social, culinary, etc.) traditions, art (architecture, calligraphy, etc.) make important parts of the course. Much of the work will be done with special reference to Morocco. 

Attendance policy: 

Class attendance is compulsory. Each student will be allowed only two unexcused absences throughout the course. For each unexcused absence beyond this there will be a reduction in the final grade. Students who are late to class on a regular basis will also receive a reduction in their final grade and/or disciplinary action.

Students should not exceed 2 absences in each (45 hours) content course.
Students should not exceed 4 absences in the (90 hours) Arabic language course.

Any additional absence would lower the grades as follows:
1 more absence = will lower the final grade by 5 %
2 more absences= will lower the final grade by 10 %
3 more absences = will lower the grade by 15 %
4 more absences = will lower the grade by 20 %

Any additional absences will continue to lower the final grade by 5% increments. 

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Clearly understand what it means to be a Muslim,
  • Objectively appraise the foundations of a Muslim society,
  • Fully understand the elements of legislation in the Islamic legal system.
Method of presentation: 

Lectures and Student Presentations followed by discussions, case studies, field visits to religious organizations and state institutions. 

Field study: 

Various visits will be organized to some prestigious religious institutions such as Dar Al Hadith Al Hassania, and the ‘Imams and Preachers’ Training Program.

Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Participation & Presentations - 30%                         
  • Mid-term exam - 25%
  • Final term paper (3000 words) - 20%  
  • Final exam - 25% 

Participation & Presentations:
Student attendance is mandatory. If a student is absent more than one week without a valid excuse, an F grade will automatically apply to her/his overall class grade. All students are expected to have read the assigned readings and come to class prepared for active participation and discussion. The participation grade is an assessment of student’s active listening and verbal involvement in class discussions: explanation, commentary, and questions/responses roles. For that purpose, attendance, participation, and oral presentations will be awarded 10% each of the overall evaluation.

Book chapters and articles Review and Presentations:
All students are invited to review and present at least one reference from the mandatory reading list related to the course topics during the semester. The reviews should include a summary of the article or chapter of book and its main arguments and situate it in the literature covering international phenomena related to Islam in Morocco in particular and in North Africa in general.

There will be two exams during the semester with the grade value of 25% each of the overall grade.

Final Paper:
Students will also complete one Final term paper graded at 20% based on a topic approved by the instructor. A description in approximately 100 words is required.





Islamic Beginnings: Revelation, State Building, and Culture.


The five pillars of Islam, the six pillars of Faith. 


Pluralism in Islam: issues of cohabitation (particularly with Jews and Christians)


The sources of legislation in Islam: The Quran, the Sunna, and the Qiyas


Guest Speaker: The rise and evolution of Jurisprudence schools: an overview of the major schools of Fiqh


Field trip to the Imams and preachers’ Training Program


Midterm Exam 


Spring Break


Ijtihad vs. Jihad: An investigation of the apparatus of mainstream and non-mainstream interpretations of the Text.


Guest Speaker: Philosophy, Kalam (and intellectual schools), Human destiny: predetermination or predestination?


The Sunnis and the Shiites: the roots of a dispute.


Final Papers submission and discussion. Some basic components of the Muslim society: the Family (including marriage and divorce), celebrations, cuisine, clothing, architecture, etc.


Field Trip to Dar al Hadith al Hassaniyya: A brief history of Islam in Morocco


Final Exam


Required readings: 
  • Boutaleb, Abdelhadi.  Pour Mieux Comprendre l’Islam. 1998.
  • Buyukcelebi, Islamil. A la découverte de la foi en islam. The Light, 2004.
  • Chaltût, Mahmoud. L'islam: dogme et législation. Al bouraq, 1999.
  • Fritsch, Laurence E. Islam, foi et loi: quelques clés pour découvrir la deuxième religion du monde. Paris, Pocket, 2002.
  • Hamidullah, Muhammad. Le Prophète de l'islam, sa vie, son œuvre. Edition de l'Association des Etudiants Islamiques de France, 1989.
  • Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn al-Jawzî, Yousoûf Qaradawi et Abd al-Azîz Ibn Bâz. Statut de la femme musulmane. Al Qalam, 2007.
  • Mahdi, Tahar. Méthodologie de la pensée juridique en islam. Dar Al Kalemah, 2002.
  • Ramadan, Saïd. La Shari’a; le droit islamique, son envergure et son équité.  Al Qalam, 2008.