Jun 23, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

REL 276 - Sunni, Shia, & Sufi Islam


Today, Sunni-Shiite conflicts are among the most imminent internal threats to the unity of the Islamic world, especially in the Middle East, but also in South Asia. We will begin with learning about the origins of the Sunni-Shiite split and systematical compare Sunni and Shiite interpretations of Islam. Building upon our knowledge of the two traditions, we will probe the Sunni-Shia relations in history and ask ourselves: Are Sunni and Shia interpretations of Islam mutually exclusive and irreconcilable? Is this conflict purely religious, theological, and denominational? What fuels the fire of Sunni-Shia sectarian violence? How have colonial, political, and social realities affected these relations? How, for example, has the Iranian Revolution and Iran’s rise as an Islamic state affected Sunni-Shia relations? What impact did the U.S. invasion of Iraq have on these relations? Finally, are reconciliation and meaningful dialogue possible? Have there been efforts to bridge the divide, improve understanding, mitigate conflict and violence? What role can Sufism - Islam’s mystical tradition - play in mediating the Sunni-Shia divide? 

Satisfies the Philosophical and Religious Perspectives requirement. 
Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement. 
Satisfies a requirement in the South Asian Studies interdisciplinary minor. 
Satisfies a requirement in the Middle Eastern Studies interdisciplinary minor.