Muslims & Others: Islam in a Multi-Religious World

A two day intensive course • Register Now

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s Muslims we believe in living our lives based on principles that our Creator has given to us through the Prophet, peace be upon him. At the same time there is a very strong tradition in both teachings of Quran and Sunnah and in the historical practice of relating to the world around us based on principles of respect, Justice, and fairness. There is a rich heritage of great societies from Madinah to Baghdad, Timbuktu to Andalus, Khurasan to Delhi to Istanbul in which people of all faith participated. Therein lays a highly developed ethical framework for a pluralistic society.

This two-day intensive course will cover often misused verses of the Quran, the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and historical analysis around this theme.

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Course Objectives

  • Developing a deeper understanding of Quranic verses regarding relations with non-Muslims. Some of these verses are abused by Muslim and non-Muslim extremists
  • Develop a basic understanding of many formal agreements and treaties that Prophet, peace be upon him, entered with non-Muslim in Makkah and Madinah. Understanding multiple Muslim perspectives and debates around several critical issues in Muslim-non-Muslim relations
  • Learning the basic features and brief history of Christianity and Judaism
  • Comprehend the etiquettes and rules of engagement in interfaith dialogue

Course Outline

1.      Quran’s guidance about relationship with people of other faith. The course will do tafseer of the Quranic verses which deals with critical issues regarding Muslim-non-Muslim relations. It will also address the current controversies on this topic as well.

a.          Here are topics and some of the relevant verses of the Quran:

                                                                                                                                 i.         Quran’s concept of humanity being one entity and it’s emphasis on Muslims responsibilities

                                                                                                                              ii.         The Quranic methodology of respectful narration of the prophets and founders of other faiths,

                                                                                                                           iii.         God’s criticism of others’ faith

                                                                                                                           iv.         Verses of war (qital) with non-Muslims

                                                                                                                              v.         Serving creation and worshiping God as twin pillars of faith

                                                                                                                           vi.         Working on common cause

                                                                                                                        vii.         Respectable relationship with the other

b.         Instructor: Dr. Ahmed Murad

2.         Prophet’s guidance in relations with other faith: Early Muslim texts regarding relationship with the people of other faiths in Makkah and Habashah as minority and in Madinah as majority. This class will read the text of the constitution of the city of Prophet Muhammad, Medina, which was contractually agreed upon 1,400 years ago by different tribes to establish co-existence between adherents of different religions. It offered full autonomy in religious and civil matters to each of the city's religious groups by declaring all signatories as one people, while agreeing to defend the city-state together. 

a.          Here is the texts which will be read:

                                                                                                                                 i.         Wasiqatun Nabi (constitution of Madinah),

                                                                                                                              ii.         Hadith and historical narration of the Muslim experience of Habashah

                                                                                                                           iii.         Hadith of the dialog and relationship with the Christian delegation of Najran, Yeman.

                                                                                                                           iv.         hilful Fudool (social justice coalition to protect strangers)

b.         Instructor: Abdul Malik Mujahid

3.         Islamic terminology regarding relationship with people of other faith: Understanding the meaning and context of Islamic terminology regarding in relations to non-Muslims and contemporary discussions surrounding these terms:

a.          The following terms will be studied

                                                                                                                                 i.         Kafir: How Quran uses this term

                                                                                                                              ii.         Wali: shades of meaning between friend to a protector 

                                                                                                                           iii.         Jizya: tax on non-Muslims in Islamic state

                                                                                                                           iv.         Khalifa: stewardship to leadership

                                                                                                                              v.         Darul Islam, Darul Harb, Darul Kufr, Darul Ahd

                                                                                                                           vi.         Ahlul kitab and mushrikeen: what is the difference

b.         Instructor: Imam Professor Muhammad Shafiq

4.         Apostasy debate and freedom of religion in Islam. This class will study the issue of irtidād or ridda. Although Quran clearly states the principle of freedom of religion, today seven out of 50 plus Muslim countries have a death penalty in their books of law for a Muslim who converts to another faith.

a.          This class will study the following regarding this topic:

                                                                                                                                 i.         Quranic verses about freedom of religion: Quran 2:256, 18:29, 88:21-22, 3:20, 4:137, 39:41

                                                                                                                              ii.         Quranic verses change of religion: 3:72, 3:90, 16:106, 4:137, 5:54

                                                                                                                           iii.         Sunnah of the Prophet regarding people leaving Islam

                                                                                                                           iv.         Fiqh (classic Islamic legal position and debates) on apostasy

                                                                                                                              v.         Contemporary fatwas regarding apostasy  

b.         Instructor: Professor Inamul Haq

5.         Study of the text of A Common Word Between Us and You. 138 Muslim scholars, Imams and intellectuals issued this document on October 13th 2007 declare the common ground between Christianity and Islam through this document. The signatories to this message come from every denomination and school of thought in Islam. Every major Islamic country or region in the world is represented in this message, which is addressed to the leaders of all the world’s churches, and indeed to all Christians everywhere.

a.          The class will study the following:

                                                                                                                                 i.         The text of this document

                                                                                                                              ii.         the contexts of the document; and

                                                                                                                           iii.         the text of the major Christian responses

b.         Instructor: Professor Ahmadullah Siddiqi

6.         Study of historic realities: Christian minorities under Muslim rule and Muslim minorities under Christian rule.

a.          The following topics will be covered

                                                                                                                                 i.         Jerusalem contracts of Caliph Omar & Sultan Salahuddin

                                                                                                                              ii.         Crusades and Jihads

                                                                                                                           iii.         Muslim and Christian experience in Spain

                                                                                                                           iv.         Christian experience under Ottoman

                                                                                                                              v.         Christian minorities in the Muslim world today

b.         Instructor: Prof. Aminah McCloud

7.         Christianity 101:

a.          This course will introduce the following topics:

                                                                                                                                 i.         Brief Introduction to Christian history

                                                                                                                              ii.         Theology of different denominations

                                                                                                                           iii.         Structures of Christian denominations

b.         Instructors Rev. Robert Thompson

8.         Judaism 101:

a.          The class will serve as an introduction to Judaism and will address the following topics:

                                                                                                                                 i.         Jewish contemporary beliefs

                                                                                                                              ii.         Jewish worship and other practices

                                                                                                                           iii.         Understanding differences and similarities between Orthodox, Conservative, Reform & Reconstructionism

b.         Instructor: Rabbi Brant Rosen

c.          Date & Time: Sunday, November 15

9.         Interfaith dialogue & engagement: Etiquettes, norms and rules

a.          Instructor: Imam Professor Muhammad Shafiq

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Academic Profile of Instructors


Dr. Muhammad Shafiq is professor of Islamic and religious studies at Nazareth College as well as the Imam of the Islamic Center of Rochester, NY.  Dr. Shafiq is a graduate of Darul Uloom Taleemul Quran Kohat, Pakistan and holds a Ph.D. from Temple University. Dr. Shafiq has written over 40 articles and several books, including Interfaith Dialogue: A Guide for Muslims (International Institute of Islamic Thought: 2007).

Abdul Malik Mujahid is President Sound Vision Foundation and Khateeb at Down Town Islamic Center , Chicago and MECCA.

Professor Inamul Haq has three degrees in traditional Islamic knowledge as graduate of Madrasah: Maulavi, Maulavi Alim and Maulavi Fazil from the Sindh Board Pakistan. He is an Imam at Muslim Education Center. He is also a Professor of Islamic Studies at Elmhurst College, IL. He is also an adjunct professor at Loyola University, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and Chicago Theological Union (CTU).

Professor Mohammad Ahmadullah Siddiqi is Imam of Islamic Center, Macomb, IL. He is also the Chair of Journalism and English department of the Western Illinois University. He teaches public relations, international communication, and research methods courses. He is author of Islam, Muslims and Media: Myths and Realities (1997); Islam: A Contemporary Perspective (ed) 1993.


Dr. Aminah McCloud is professor of Islamic Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at DePaul University and the Director of the Islamic World Studies Program. She is the author of African American Islam, Questions of Faith, Transnational Muslims in American Society and Silks: The Textures of American Muslim Women's Lives. She is currently editor of The Journal of Islamic Law and Culture.

Dr. Ahmed Murad is Khateeb at the Muslim Community Center Chicago and Islamic Center Naperville, IL. He is thoroughly read in the Quran and Sunnah and has been teaching Quran for the last 30 years. He has also produced the most popular Quran learning tool Al-Qari.

Rabbi Brant Rosen will do Judaism 101 class. He is rabbi at Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, Evanston, IL. He is also a founding leader of which invites Jews to fast in solidarity with the blockaded Palestinians in Gaza. Under Rabbi Rosen’s leadership, his synagogue has received the first Platinum rating ever awarded to a house of worship by the US Green Building Council. He is Past President of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. In 2008, Rabbi Rosen was honored by Newsweek magazine as one of the Top 25 Pulpit Rabbis in America.

The Reverend Robert V. Thompson will do Christianity 101 class. He is the minister of Lake Street Church since 1980. Rev. Thompson is former Chair of the Council for a World Parliament of Religions. As a peace justice leader of Chicago area he is involved with the Third Side project of the Global Negotiation Program at Harvard University. The Third Side is a way of looking at conflict by involving whole communities as “social immune systems,” in order to prevent and resolve destructive conflict. He has written a number of articles on diverse topics for publications like The Christian Century and The Chicago Tribune.



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