In the MA programme, the course is designed to give the student a broad knowledge of the modern trends in Islamic thought. It aims at charting the main reform movements which emerged in both the Sunni and Shi’ah schools from the 18th century onwards. It will provide the student with a comprehensive knowledge of the reform movements in the late 19th and 20th centuries. The student will be able to study the major trends in Islamic thought in the 20th century, especially the debate among Muslim intellectuals regarding the role of Islam in the modern world. The course will cover most of the trends and currents in modern thought until 1979. The student will learn about the conflict between the Modernists and Traditionalists, and the effort to adapt, reject or reform Islam to the modern age.


It is hoped by the end of the course, the students:

  • Will have a very good idea about the major themes in Islamic theology, the birth of Muslim philosophy and intellectual traditions in modern day Islam.
  • Will gain an understanding of, and familiarity with the academic discourse associated with themes of the area of study.
  • Will be able to think critically and independently about the subject they have studied.
  • Will be able to recognise and define the problems associated with the study of Islamic theology and philosophy.
  • Will have gained grounding in methods of collecting and analysing data according to accepted methods of research.
  • Will have completed their coursework, which would have been assessed and provided with written feedback in order that the student may take heed of the comments to improve on their next research paper.
  • Identify and analyse critical issues in modern Islamic thought.
  • Develop a critical insight into historical and contemporary factors giving rise to these issues.
  • Assess the adequacy of responses advanced to address dilemmas in Muslim societies.

The Masters covers:

  1. The reformist movements
  2. Ibn Taymiyya and Muhammad b. Abd al-Wahhab.
  3. The impact of the modern West.
  4. The challenge of science and technology.
  5. The challenge of social development.
  6. Theology and the moral and social order.
  7. Contemporary theological currents and politico-religious movements.