Understanding Muhammad TRS4094

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course explores the wide diversity of depictions of Muhammad through 1400 years of history by looking at key works by both Muslims and non-Muslims. Topics of study may include the life of Muhammad, the importance of Muhammad as represented in the Qur'an, the Hadith (Prophetic Traditions) and other Muslim sources, comparison between Muhammad and other prophets in Islam, and interpretations of Muhammad as reflected in non-Muslim sources.


1x2hr seminar per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.


This is one of the Honours options in Theology and Religious Studies and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into Theology and Religious Studies, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses





Essay (2,000 words) - 40%

Seminar participation - 10%

Essay (3,000 words) - 50%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ explore a history of the way in which the figure of Muhammad has been understood;

■ analyse the "creation" of Muhammad by engaging with a wide variety of relevant interpretations;

■ examine a selected range of the fundamental Islamic sources, as well as medieval and contemporary sources, by Muslims and non-Muslims (in English);

■ emphasise the importance of examining the context of the sources.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ recount general historical and religious knowledge about Muhammad;

■ offer an in-depth analysis of the wide variety of interpretations of Muhammad;

■ read and understand early Islamic sources, as well as medieval and contemporary texts;

■ carry out close readings of the various interpretations offered by both Muslims and non-Muslims, taking into account the context of the authors;

■ identify and develop independent research questions;

■ apply transferable skills involving independent and critical thinking, cultural awareness, information literacy and analysis;

■ communicate responses to the material studied on the course both orally and in written form through coherent and sustained argument.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.