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Sacred Studies

The Islamic Studies curriculum at Averroes is a four year track designed for students to learn the fard ayn knowledge of Islam, disciplines that every Muslim must have familiarity with in order to establish a foundational relationship with God, the Prophet Muhammad and society at large. These teachings emanate from the hadith of Gabriel in which the Prophet divided the religion of Islam into three primary aspects: law (islam), faith (iman) and spirituality (ihsan). As such, the Muslim identity is rooted in a comprehensive knowledge of the sciences of law (fiqh), theology (aqidah) and virtue ethics (tasawuf) that were codified by the early Muslims to establish an academic and moral code of conduct to deepen one’s consciousness of himself and his Lord.

Based on the tripartite classification of Islamic, the following subjects have been selected to provide a foundation of the fard ayn:

Islamic Manners

Today, many youth fail to exemplify basic etiquette  in instances that our elders would traditionally intuit, be it in one’s private space, a social setting or the public sphere. Tasawuf, the inculcation of virtue ethics, further enforces character development by treating the soul with the diseases of the heart and the inculcation of praiseworthy qualities through moderation and mujahada (struggle). Returning to the established mannerisms of the Prophet serves as a reminder of the importance of comportment (adab) in all situations, minor and major, and revives the normative practice of the Muslim in everyday life.

Text: Islamic Manners by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah
Text: The Beginning of Guidance by Imam al-Ghazali
Text: Muhammad: The Messenger of Allah by Qadi ‘Iyad
 

Prophetic Biography

The Qur’an characterizes the Prophet Muhammad as a universal mercy for creation [21:107]. Thus, studying the life of the Prophet Muhammad becomes relevant to American Muslims since the Prophet’s message is universal for all times and places. Subsequently, the American Muslim identity must find itself in the example of the Prophet while viewing itself as an integral role in the continuum of the Prophetic legacy in the United States and a part of a global community of Muslims.

Text: Revelation: The Story of Muhammad by Dr. Meraj Mohiuddin

Theology

The concept of tawhid (Oneness of God) allows the Muslim to have a metaphysical outlook on life that centralizes his/her purpose beyond the material world: Everything is from God and for God. A lack of this framework results in an individualism, materialism and even a rejection of God, as statistics show that atheism is the fastest growing “religion” today. As such, learning God’s attributes, the purpose of Prophets and the realities of the afterlife put the nature of the world (dunya) into perspective and conjoin the temporal with the Eternal, allowing for a relationship between creation and Creator.

Text: Ascent to Felicity by Abu ‘l-Ikhlas al-Shurunbulali
 

Law

Imam Abu Hanifa categorized understanding into two: fiqh al-akbar (major), creed, and fiqh al-asghar (minor), jurisprudence. Hence, if theology is the study of God, then law is the study of how to worship God through personal devotion and societal interaction--two sides of the same coin. Furthermore, one cannot worship God without knowing the rules and regulations that the scholars have put in place, based on the Prophetic example, and formalized into the madhahib (legal roadways) of Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam al-Shafi'i’, and Imam Ahmed.

Lastly, worship contains an external dimension as well as an internal one, the first reflecting the form while the latter focusing on the meaning. In other words, bodily movement may fulfill the legal element of an act but the consciousness of God within the act may determine its acceptability or disapproval with God.

Text: Ascent to Felicity by Abu ‘l-Ikhlas al-Shurunbulali
Text: Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship by Imam al-Ghazali
 

Qur’anic Exegesis and Hadith

The two single most important sources of Islamic knowledge are the Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet: verbal, behavioral and tacit approval. The Qur’an provides the roadmap that man is expected to follow while the Prophetic example provides a compass on how to navigate the universal message of the Qur’an. As such, the Prophet is a walking Qur’an as described by his wife, A’isha. Anything that a Muslim does must find its grounding in the Qur’an and the Sunnah and a departure from these is heretical, to say the least.