Introduction

Allah Most High sent His messengers with “clear signs” (Qur’an, 57:25). They called people to abandon the blind imitation of the false religions and customs of their ancestors and to use their minds to discern what was true and then follow it wholeheartedly. The science of Islamic theology (kalam) formalized the arguments of Allah’s messengers and then used them to respond to the questions posed by Greek philosophy. Take this course to learn Islamic theology, how it developed, and how to apply it to contemporary questions related to science, atheism, cosmological arguments, human freewill, infinity, classical conditioning, natural causation, anthropomorphism, miracles, modal logic, and the problem of evil.

Curricular Context

  • This is a second-level course in Step Two
  • Take Introduction to Islamic Logic before taking this course (or simultaneously with it) 
  • Complete Step One before taking this course

Course Outline

LESSON 1: What is Islamic Theology (kalam)?

  • 1(a). History of Kalam from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) to Abul Hasan al-Ash’ari (27 min 45 sec)
  • 1(b). History of Kalam from Abul Hasan al-Ash’ari to Muhammad b. Yusuf al-Sanusi (21 min 11 sec)
  • 2. Perceiving the Truth of Propositions (ahkam) (32 min 15 sec)

LESSON 2: The Sanusiyya + The Attributes of God (1)

  • 1. Moral Responsibility and the First Obligation (35 min 10 sec)
  • 2. The Organization of the Sanusiyya (9 min 58 sec)
  • 3. The 20 Attributes That Are Necessary For Allah Most High (17 min 36 sec)
  • 4. Existence (28 min 7 sec)
  • 5. Privative Attributes (37 min)

LESSON 3: The Attributes of God (2)

  • 1. Power, Will, and Knowledge (55 min 51 sec)
  • 2. Life and Divine Agency (14 min 38 sec)
  • 3. Hearing and Sight (18 min 33 sec)
  • 4. Speech (16 min 58 sec)
  • 5. The Relation Between the Written Qur’an and the Attribute of Speech (5 min 12 sec)

LESSON 4: Transcendence and Anthropomorphism

  • 1. Entailed Attributes (10 min 53 sec)
  • 2. Matters that Are Impossible for Allah Most High — Focus on Transcendence (57 min 36 sec)
  • 3. The Hadith of “Descent” and the Verse of the Throne (28 min 27 sec)

LESSON 5: Transcendence, Divine Wisdom, and Human Freewill

  • 1. Matters that Are Impossible for Allah Most High — Focus on Divine Oneness (25 min 56 sec)
  • 2. Understanding Verses That Seem to Imply Motives (16 min 5 sec)
  • 3. Divine Destiny and Human Freewill (28 min 30 sec)
  • 4. What is Possible for Allah Most High (31 min 35 sec)

LESSON 6: The Argument for the Existence of God

  • 1. A History of the Cosmological Argument (48 min 14 sec)
  • 2. The Argument for the Existence of God (1 hr 12 min 30 sec)

LESSON 7: The Kalam Cosmological Argument and Big Bang Cosmology

LESSON 8: The Arguments for Allah Most High’s Necessary Existence and Agency

  • 1. The Argument for Allah Most High’s Beginninglessness and Endlessness (34 min 30 sec)
  • 2. The Argument for Allah Most High’s Transcendence and indpendence (28 min 53 sec)
  • 3. The Argument for Allah Most High’s Oneness (25 min 40 sec)
  • 4. The Argument for Allah Most High’s Agency (31 min 40 sec)

LESSON 9: Revelatory Arguments and Allah Most High’s Messengers

  • 1. The Argument for Allah Most High’s Hearing, Sight, and Speech (14 mins)
  • 2. The Argument for What is Possible for Allah Most High (12 min 35 sec)
  • 3. What is a Messenger (21 min 50 sec)
  • 4. The Attributes of Messengers (33 min 33 sec)

LESSON 10: Arguments for Genuineness of Allah Most High’s Messengers

  • 1. Kinds of Miracles (41 min 10 sec)
  • 2. Prophetic Miracles as Evidence for the Genuineness of Messengers (33 min 50 sec)
  • 3. Other Proofs for the Genuineness of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) (29 min 40 sec)

LESSON 11: The Sinlessness of Messengers and the Wisdom of Difficulties

  • 1. The Argument for the Sinlessness of Messengers (42 mins)
  • 2. The Wisdom of Difficulties and the Problem of Evil (30 mins 50 sec)

LESSON 12: La ilaha illa Allah Muhammadur Rasul Allah as a Summary of Islamic Theology

  • 1. La Ilaha Illa Allah (45 min)
  • 2. Muhammad Rasul Allah (45 min)
  • 3. Conclusion (10 min)

What You Will Learn:

  • Describe the historical development of mainstream Islamic theology
  • Explain what Muslims believe about Allah Most High and His messengers
  • Prove why these beliefs are true
  • Respond to common objections to belief in Allah Most High and His messengers
  • Appreciate the scholarly depth of the Islamic theological tradition

Course Requirements: Complete Step One before taking this course

About the Course Text

The Sanusiyya has arguably been the most popular introduction to mainstream Islamic theology ever since it was written five hundred years ago by the learned and pious West African theologian, Shaykh Muhammad b. Yusuf al-Sanusi (d. 895 AH / 1489 CE). Shaykh Muhammad b. Yusuf al-Sanusi (may Allah have mercy on him) wrote many textbooks in the science of Islamic theology of varying lengths–a long work called al-Sanusiyya al-Kubra (“The Long Sanusiyya”), a middle-sized work called al-Sanusiyya al-Wusta (“The Medium Sanusiyya”), a short work called al-Sanusiyya al-Sughra (“The Short Sanusiyya”), and an even shorter work called Sughra al-Sughra (“The Tiny Sanusiyya”). The most popular of these works, however, has been al-Sanusiyya al-Sughra (“The Short Sanusiyya”), which is the textbook for this course. This book is also called Umm al-Baraheen (“The Summary of Theological Proofs”), which is a description of its contents: the book begins with an introduction to the methods of reasoning, then lists the attributes of Allah Most High, then summarizes the rational arguments for those attributes, then lists the attributes of Allah Most High’s messengers, then summarizes the rational arguments for those attributes, and finally concludes by showing how the testification of faith (la ilaha illa allah muhammadur rasul allah) summarizes everything that has been mentioned in the book. A translation of the text is provided to all registered students of the course.