iSyllabus intermediary

The Plus Intermediary course extends over two academic year and provides a smooth transition from the One year Diploma and builds and consolidates on material covered by students. These two years can be taken as a self-contained course or as preparation for the specialized Advanced course.

The aim is to cover the material of the iSyllabus diploma course in more depth, proving scriptural evidences for the rulings learnt in the course, as well as provide a comprehensive context to the works and authors that have formed the Classical Muslim intellectual tradition.

The desire to sensationalise contentious topics or Classical writers has been shunned out of a commitment to develop nuanced and informed understandings of the topics, avoiding the diversions into simplified sectarian, legal or political polemics.

Key themes

A. Evidences and context of Classical Islam

The key themes developed in the Intermediary course are the advanced application of hadith and Usul principles, classical ‘Aqidah focused on a detailed study of Fiqh al-Akbar via two classical commentaries, the advanced fiqh of ritual worship as well as a detailed history of the development of both Fiqh and Hadith literature. Students will also be introduced to the classical corpus of Tafsir literature through the analytical study of selected chapters of the Quran. Students are thereby given a deeper understanding of the Classical corpus of Islamic texts so as to build a sound basis for deeper contemporary analysis covered in the iSyllabus Advanced course.

B. Practical spirituality

To balance the rigors of the classical texts studied in the course, students will also be afforded an opportunity to read the classics in the Muslim spiritual tradition, with an in depth study of selected works of Ibn Ata‘Illah as well as ongoing study of the prophetic characteristics (Shama’il) and the theory and practice of Da’wah methodology.

The Modules - Year One

1- The Word of God – Case study in commentary. (Surah Najm)

Aims & Objectives:

Through a detailed study of the commentary of the chapter entitled ‘al-Najm’, this module will provide students with an insight into the divine nature of the quranic message and the themes that make up the text. Students will also be introduced to the special form and style of the chapter through a study of classical and modern works of tafsir. This is done through a look at the methodology used by the most famous authorities of tafsir, with over 30 works forming the basis of the class notes.

‘The theory of thematic unity (nadhm) of the Qur’an holds that every chapter has particular elements and themes that go into creating a unified whole of the message to be conveyed… The rhetoric structure of this chapter is akin to a perfect storm against those that deny revelation and the veracity of the Prophet. [iSyllabus Class Notes, Sura al-Najm]

2- Reading between the lines – Comparative fiqh & hadith studies (Sawm and Zakat)

Aims & Objectives: This module will cover comparative fiqh according to the four schools of law, looking at how the Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali and Hanafi schools utilize the prophetic sunna to arrive at rulings of fiqh. Through a selection of pivotal hadith related to the fiqh of Fasting and Zakat, this module will allow student to understand the role of hadith literature in the science of fiqh, and how the same hadith sources sometimes lead to different legal rulings.

Topics covered:

Fasting the Day of Doubt; Sighting the New Crescent; Establishing the New crescent; The conditions of the fast; The time of intention; Breaking the fast; Traveling and what breaks the fast; On Traveling; Vomiting; Use of Kohl; Illness and death; The fast of the elderly; Fasting for the deceased; On the conditions of Zakat; Zakat on Gold and Silver; Zakat on newly acquired wealth; Recipients of Zakat; Family recipients of Zakat; Wealthy people who can be given Zakat;

 

3- Reading between the lines – Comparative fiqh & hadith studies (Hajj)

Aims & Objectives: This module will cover comparative fiqh according to the four schools of law, looking at how the Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali and Hanafi schools utilize the prophetic sunna to arrive at rulings of fiqh. Through a selection of pivotal hadith related to the fiqh of Hajj, this module will allow student to understand the role of hadith literature in the science of fiqh, and how the same hadith sources sometimes lead to different legal rulings. In particular in includes an extensive study of the Hadith of Jabir on the Hajj of the Prophet .

Topics covered:

On the obligation of Hajj and types of Ihram; On the ruling of Hajj and Umrah; On the types of Ihram; Intention and rulings; Hajj on behalf of the terminally ill; Hajj on behalf of another while not having performed it for oneself; Ability to perform Hajj; The prohibitions of Ihram and the manner of performing the Hajj; Forbidden actions in Ihram; The text of hadith of Jabir ibn Abd-Allah on the manner of performing the Hajj; The manner of performing the Hajj [1]; Extensive commentary on the hadith of Jabir on the Hajj; Sequence of actions on The Day of Sacrifice; Leaving the state of Ihram; Kaffarah.

4- Recording the legacy – The main Hadith works and their authors

Aims & Objectives: Through this course, students will look at the early collections of prophetic hadith and investigate the importance and relevance of the Sunnah in early Islam. With particular focus on the early authorities of hadith science, students will gain an insight into the classification methodology in hadith and the systems created to ensure that all material was preserved authentically. The conditions of the six main books of hadith will also be detailed and critically appraised together with the science of verifying hadith narrators and the role of biographical dictionaries in this task.

As well as a general introduction to hadith works and literature, the module will look into the following areas of interest for hadith scholars: A critical assessment of al-Hazimi’s ‘The Conditions of the Five Books’; The levels of strictness of hadith Scholars in al-Jarh wa al-Ta’dil; The Tabaqat of the Companions; The 12 levels of narrators in Ibn Hajr’s ‘Taqrib al- Tahdhib’ as well as the standing of Imam Abu Hanifah and the science of Hadith.

 

5- Tracing the Law – History of Fiqh and the schools of law

‘Why Islamic law developed in the way it did is a contentious issue. The schools of law in Sunni Islam have been at the receiving end of attacks accusing them of being to a degree responsible for the general civilizational stagnation of Muslims. Even those that do not accuse the schools of presiding over the intellectual stagnation of the Muslim world would contend that their existence is indicative of the trend to follow (through taqlid) rather than lead (through ijtihad) and to be submissive rather than assert progressive thought. So how did Islamic law develop and why?’ [iSyllabus Class notes]

Aims & Objectives: This module will give students an in- depth understanding of the development of Islamic law from the beginning of Islam through to the codification of fiqh in the schools of Sunni law. The course will firstly overview the different theories on fiqh development before focusing on the moves towards verifying and codifying legal positions. As well as this, the course will look at the main principles and source books of each school of law and the personalities that were pivotal in advancing the teachings of the schools.

Topics covered:

The main theories on the development of Fiqh: Development of Law focusing on historical event; Development of Law based on the state of independent legal thought (ijtihad); Development of Islamic law through reference to the formation of the schools (Madhahib); Development based on the stages of codification and standardization of Law; The era of the rightly guided Khalifs and the followers (tabi’un); The era of the Imams; The era of following Imams (taqlid); The contemporary age; Notes on Islamic law and the application of Hadd; The development of ‘ The Fiqh of Minorities’ (al-Fiqh al-Aqaliyyah); The history of the development, main usul principles and books of the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali school.

6- Worship with understanding – Classical Islamic laws of worship (Taharah) [1]

Aims & Objectives: Building on the material covered in the iSyllabus Diploma course, this module will involve the reading and comprehension of one of the foremost books on Hanafi ritual worship as well as detailed explanation on the day to day application of fiqh related to taharah.

7- Worship with understanding – Classical Islamic laws of worship (Salah) [2]

Aims & Objectives: Building on the material covered in the iSyllabus Diploma course, this module will involve the reading and comprehension of one of the foremost books on Hanafi ritual worship as well as detailed explanation on the day to day application of fiqh related to prayer.

 

8- Worship with understanding – Classical Islamic laws of worship (Salah) [3]

Aims & Objectives: Building on the material covered in the iSyllabus Diploma course, this module will involve the reading and comprehension of one of the foremost books on Hanafi ritual worship as well as detailed explanation on the day to day application of fiqh related to prayer.

9- The Creed of Islam – Commentary on the fiqh al- Akbar of Abu Hanifa [1]

Aims & Objectives: This module provides an overview of classical Islamic creed looking at the main issues dealt with during early discussions on Aqidah. The module includes a preliminary outline of Epistemology; the theory and articulation of Divine Oneness including an appraisal of The Proof of Mutual Hinderance’ (Dalil al-Tamanu) in Classical works; the methodology used in categorizing the Divine Attributes and the theory behind a differentiation between attributes and essence.

 

10- The Creed of Islam – Commentary on the fiqh al- Akbar of Abu Hanifa [2]

Aims & Objectives: This module will cover the essential attributes related to Speech and Will and the difference regarding the active attributes of God (takwin). It will investigate the area of Divine omnipotence and in particular the classification used by Abu Hanifah for the Divine attributes in separating them into the essential and active attributes. Finally the module will cover the controversy on the Divine Speech and the Sunni belief in the pre-eternal existence of the attributes.

 

11- The Creed of Islam – Commentary on the fiqh al- Akbar of Abu Hanifa [3]

Aims & Objectives: This Module develops advanced themes in Sunni Theology: The Descriptions and Attributes of God as they occur in the religious texts and how they are understood by Sunni theologians; the issue of Predestination and how this relates to the two divine attributes of Knowledge and Will; The meaning of the primordial Covenant that God took from the Sons of Adam and the ramifications of this on human choice and volition.

12- A Beautiful Calling – Homiletics and Da’wah

Aims & Objectives: One of the most important responsibilities on Muslims is to convey the message of Islam to others through good council and perfect morals. This module will look at the way that great scholars of the past viewed this obligation and the guidelines they gave to all members of society, be they scholar and layperson, on how to convey the message through words and actions.

Topics covered: Da’wah Unto God; Who has been Entrusted with Da’wah to God; The Notions that Hinder Da’wah God; The Meaning of the Individual Da’wah and it’s Characteristics; The Degrees of the Individual Da’wah, it’s Means and Techniques; The Spiritual Etiquettes of Da’wah.

 

13- The Qualities (Shama’il) of the Prophet [1]

Aims & Objectives: Through a thematic and systematic study of the hadith related on the description of the Messenger students will come to appreciate the words of Ali (r.a) ‘Whoever saw him for the first time would fear in awe of him, and he who spent time with him with the aim of knowing him would fall in love with him’.

 

14- The Qualities (Shama’il) of the Prophet [2]

Aims & Objectives: This module continues on from the introductory look at the prophetic character, and takes a detailed look at issues related to the divine protection (‘ismah) conferred upon the Prophet with case studies on the specific instances where this has been brought into question.

 

15- The Refinement of the Souls – ‘Taj al-Urus of Ibn Ata’illah al-Iskandari [1]

Aims & Objectives: In this module students will be taken through a careful study of one of the gems of Islamic spiritual literature, The Taj al-Urus of Ibn Ata Illah al- Iskandari. It will provide an outline of the path to gaining divine pleasure and the obstacles in that appear on the way to this in the form of short counsels given by the author.

 

16- The Refinement of the Souls – The Hikam of Ibn Ata’illah al-Iskandari [2]

Aims & Objectives: In this module students will be taken through a careful study of one of the gems of Islamic spiritual literature, The Taj al-Urus of Ibn Ata Illah al- Iskandari. It will provide an outline of the path to gaining divine pleasure and the obstacles in that appear on the way to this in the form of short counsels by the author.

The Modules - Year Two

1- The Word of God – Case study in commentary (Surah al-Hujurat)

Aims & Objectives: Through a detailed study of the commentary of the chapter entitled ‘Surah al-Hujurat’, this module will provide the student with an insight into the divine nature of the quranic message and the themes that make up the quranic text. The student will also be introduced to the special form and style of the quranic text through a study of classical and modern works of tafsir as well as taken through the methodology used by the most famous authorities of tafsir, with over 30 works forming the basis of the special class notes.

2- Reading between the lines – Textual hadith studies (Taharah)

Aims & Objectives: This module will cover comparative fiqh according to the four schools of law, looking at how the Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali and Hanafi schools utilize the prophetic sunna to arrive at rulings of fiqh. Through a selection of pivotal hadith related to the fiqh of purity, this module will allow student to understand the role of hadith literature in the science of fiqh, and how the same hadith sources sometimes lead to different legal rulings.

This module will cover a number of pivotal hadith from the collection of the Shafi’i muhadith Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani on legal hadith entitled ‘Bulugh al-Maram’.

The majority of content analysis for this module is based upon ‘Dirasat tatbiqiyah fi al-hadith al-nabawi’ of the contemporary Damascus hadith scholar Prof. Nur al-Din ‘Ittr.

The content and commentary for of all modules dealing with textual hadith studies will also supplemented from other main works on this genre of hadith studies, in particular Imam al-Sanani’s ‘Subul al-Salam’, Shaykh Ibn Daqiq al-‘Iid’s ‘Ihkam al-Ahkam’ as well as al-Sanani’s commentary on the latter work entitled ‘al-‘Udah’.

Topics covered: Variant hadith on Wudu’; The exhortation to use the siwaq; Tasmiyah at the beginning of wu’du; The sequential performance of action in wu’du; Doubts regarding ritual purity; Types of Sleep; On the breaking of wu’du through vomiting or bleeding; Performing the ritual bathing (ghusl); The ruling regarding washing one’s hair; Ritual bathing after sexual intercourse; The dispensation of tayyamum; What material is permitted to be used to perform tayyamum; Touching the Qur’an for a person not in a state of ritual purity; The spit & the saliva of canines.

 

3- Reading between the lines – Textual hadith studies (Salah)

Aims & Objectives: This module will cover comparative fiqh according to the four schools of law, looking at how the Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali and Hanafi schools utilize the prophetic sunna to arrive at rulings of fiqh. Through a selection of pivotal hadith related to the fiqh of prayer, this module will allow student to understand the role of hadith literature in the science of fiqh, and how the same hadith sources sometimes lead to different legal rulings.

This module will cover a number of pivotal hadith from the collection of the Shafi’i muhadith Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani on legal hadith entitled ‘Bulugh al-Maram’.

Topics covered: The timings of the five prayers; On the prohibited times of the prayers; The Qiblah; The place used for Prayer; Hadith on ‘The person who prayed badly’; On reciting Bismillah before the Fatihah; Understanding the hadith ‘Pray as you see me pray; On placing hands when prostrating; Raising hands in the prayer; Speaking in Prayer; Communicating with others in prayer; Carrying a child in prayer; Movements in prayer; Inattentiveness in Prayer; Pictures and prayers; Food and distractions; Hadith on distractions.

4-The Lawyers shorthand – al-Qawaid al- Fiqhiyyah

Aims & Objectives: This module will give students an in- depth understanding of the five major legal maxims. A maxim (or principle) is defined as “A general rule which applies to a large number of its related particulars and which aids in the understanding of those rulings” [Al-Subqi, al-Ashbah]. This module will cover the five pivotal maxims used in the science of Fiqh as well as the numerous associated rules that go with them. The focus of the module will be on both the theoretical and practical understanding of these legal rules of thumb.

 

5-Worship with understanding – Classical laws of worship (Prayer)

Aims & Objectives: Building on the material covered in the iSyllabus Diploma course, this module will involve the reading and comprehension of one of the foremost books on Hanafi ritual worship as well as detailed explanation on the day to day application of fiqh related to Prayer.

 

6-Worship with understanding – Classical laws of worship (Sawm and Zakat)

Aims & Objectives: Building on the material covered in the iSyllabus Diploma course, this module will involve the reading and comprehension of one of the foremost books on Hanafi ritual worship as well as detailed explanation on the day to day application of fiqh related to Fasting and Zakat.

 

7-Worship with understanding – Classical laws of worship (Hajj)

Aims & Objectives: Building on the material covered in the iSyllabus Diploma course, this module will involve the reading and comprehension of one of the foremost books on Hanafi ritual worship as well as detailed explanation on the day to day application of fiqh related to Hajj.

 

8-Modern Zakat case studies – Theory and practice

Aims & Objectives: Building on the material covered in the iSyllabus one year Diploma course, this module will involve a detailed explanation on the day to day application of fiqh related to zakat with a focus on the practical method of calculating complex Zakat case studies including issues related to accounting, trade and investment.

9- The Creed of Islam – Commentary on the Fiqh al-Akbar of Abu Hanifa [1]

Aims & Objectives: This module will cover the course text book on the theory of Acquisition (kasb), The status of the Prophet , as well takfir and other legal issues discussed within Islamic Creed.

10- The Creed of Islam – Commentary on the Fiqh al- Akbar of Abu Hanifa [2]

Aims & Objectives: This module will cover the course text on the chapters on Miracles, The Beatific vision of God, the relationship between faith and religion and finally the issue of intercession and other eschatological realities.

 

11- The Creed of Islam – Commentary on the Fiqh al- Akbar of Abu Hanifa [3]

Aims & Objectives: This covers the final chapters of the work of Abu Hanifah on Eschatological realities and the Signs of the End of Time.

12- The Qualities (Shama’il) of the Prophet SAW Part 1

 

15- Understanding the Path – The Hikam of Ibn Ata’illah al-Iskandari [1]

Aims & Objectives: Through this module students will be taken through a careful study of one of the gems of Islamic spiritual literature, providing an understanding of the spiritual states experienced on the way to gaining divine pleasure. The course will make use of the most famous commentaries authored on the Hikam, in particular that of Ibn Abbad al-Rhondi.

 

16- Understanding the Path – The Hikam of Ibn Ata’illah al-Iskandari [2]

Aims & Objectives: Through this module students will be taken through a careful study of one of the gems of Islamic spiritual literature, providing an understanding of the spiritual states experienced on the way to gaining divine pleasure. The course will make use of the most famous commentaries authored on the Hikam, in particular that of Ibn Abbad al-Rhondi.

Aims & Objectives: Dealing with others. This module continues on from the introductory look at the prophetic character, and takes a detailed look at how this was manifest through a perfection in his dealings with others. The module will look at detailed examples of this quality with a view to inculcating such characteristics in those that study it.

 

13- The Qualities (Shama’il) of the Prophet SAW Part 2

Aims & Objectives: Leadership. This module continues on from the introductory look at the prophetic character, and takes a detailed look at how this was manifest through his leadership role in the community. The method of winning over others will be detailed and studied with relevant examples from early sources.

 

14- The Qualities (Shama’il) of the Prophet SAW Part 3

Aims & Objectives: Prophetic educational methodology. This module continues on from the introductory look at the prophetic character, and takes a detailed look at the Prophetic educational methodology and the theory and practice of effectual teaching and guidance.