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Introduction to Muhammad: his Life and Image in History

Level 3, 10 Credits.

Available Dates:

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Course Description

It is hard to forget the reaction created by the recent cartoon controversies around Muhammad which stirred up so much violence and grievance, as well as questions relating to freedom of speech, blasphemy, fundamentalism, and Islamophobia. At the heart of all this commotion lies the person of Muhammad. This course gives a birds-eye view of Muhammad’s life, his importance in Muslim religious life and how he has been perceived by both Muslims and non-Muslims through history. This then helps us to understand contemporary events related to Muhammad as reported in the media. The course invites you to delve deeper into the life of this major religious and historical figure in order to make sense of what is happening today.

Who is this course for?

Anyone with an interest in the history and practice of Islam, or current debates surrounding multiculturalism, intergrationism and the image of Islam in the West,

Course structure:

The course will consist of nine 2-hour weekly classes run in the evenings:

  1. The early years: Muhammad from birth to Prophethood
  2. Muhammad the Prophet: Days in Mecca
  3. The white moon comes to Medina: early days in Medina
  4. Muhammad the Statesman: The later days of Medina
  5. Muhammad as lawgiver and theologian
  6. Muhammad in memory: Sufi imagination and rituals
  7. Muhammad in European imagination
  8. British Muslims and Muhammad
  9. From Rushdie to French satire: Muhammad in current media

Learning and Teaching

Each class will feature a mixture of activities, including lectures, multimedia, class discussions and group-work. There will be plenty of opportunity for you to share and develop your views on the question that the course is asking.


The assessment gives you an opportunity to show what you have learned on the course. The first part is based on your contribution to class discussions and group work. The second part consists of a short portfolio of written work that you will put together across the length of the course. Your tutor will give you plenty of help with this.

Reading suggestions

Library and Computing Facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on

(029) 2087 0000.

Accessibility of Courses

Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.

Further Information

A range of further information can be found on our web site or in Choices.  This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.