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101 Principles of Faith I

Syllabus from Fall 2000

Textbook information

Supplementary Materials information

Audiotapes information

Student feedback

Other resources

Syllabus from Fall 2000

(edited to remove some information like the professor's name, phone number, email, etc)

Fall 2000 Course Schedule 9/15/00 - 12/15/00

Principles of Faith I (3 credits)


Dear Brothers & Sisters:

Assalaamu Alaikum,

On behalf of AOU, I welcome all of you to Principles of Faith 101. Together insha'Allah we can make this a joyful, informative and successful experience. This will require work on my part and your part as well. Please note the questions and answers below.

How should you study for this course?

This is a three-unit course you must dedicate at least three hours a week for it. Remember to take notes while you are listening to the tapes as well.

What should I expect in the written exams? Due dates to instructor: October 14 & November 11, 2000

This is a take-home exam. You will not find cut and paste questions. All questions are implied in the course. The content will include all the course materials.

What about the oral exam? Due dates December 8-15, 2000

Written exams must be turned in first. I will discuss the written exam as part of the oral exam as well. This exam usually lasts for about 20 minutes. Weekend hours may be arranged. Overseas students may call when it is least expensive. I suggest that you use, so that you will not have to pay for your calls (highly recommended for overseas students).

What about the term paper? Due date to instructor: November 20,2000

DO NOT procrastinate. Get to it right away. If you are having difficulty please call me.

Course Outline:

This course focuses on the belief in Allah. It covers the existence of Allah, the oneness of Allah in being the Lord, the One God, His Names, and His Attributes. The study will refer to the defects in this domain where the Muslims have fallen short as a result of secularism and the application of man made laws vs. the laws of Allah

Course materials:


Fundamentals of Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism) by Bilal Philips

Supplementary materials:

Principles of Faith I - Articles by Dr. Jaa'far Sheikh Idris

6 Audiotapes:

Principles of Faith I by Riad Ansari

Recommended Reading:

Four Qur'anic Terms by Maudui (

Ibn Taymiyyah's Essay on Servitude: Al-Uboodiyyah (

What Did Jesus Really Say? By Misha'al ibn Abdullah

My Advice:

Make use of the office hours

Ask questions

Call and introduce yourself when you receive the materials.

Term Paper Notes:

Please authenticate all quotes.

Paper should not exceed 10 pages.

Paper must be typed (double spaced) on a letter size paper.

Write your name on each page of the paper.

Last day to receive term paper is November 20,2000

Term Paper Topics: (Please choose one)

1. Concept of God in Islam:

The mere belief in the existence of a creator is not of much consequence. We need to know who the creator is, so that we can establish appropriate relations with Him, relations that will make a difference in our lives. The paper should discuss the importance of knowing God and the means of knowing about Him. The paper should also answer the following questions: How do Muslims view God? How do we know God through His names and attributes? A comparative paper is highly recommended i.e. compare the Islamic concept of God with other religions.

Suggested Readings:

Surah Ar-Ra'ed (Surah 13)

Explanation of Surah Ikhlas (Surah 112) from The Shade of the Qur'an by Sayed Qutb.


2. Concept of Worship in Islam:

Although Islam is a way of life, there has been a misconception about this concept among Muslims. Worship is being confined and limited to the five pillars of Islam. The paper should prove that the concept of Ibadah is much wider. Linguistic definition as well as the religious terms should be discussed. The paper should explore different aspects of 'ibadah (Please, don't discuss the five pillars of Islaam).

Suggested readings:

Surah al-An'am (Surah 6) + Surah Al-Ma'edah (Surah 5)

Book of Zakat and Sadaqa from Sahih Muslim

Four Basic Qur'anic Terms by Maududi (excellent for the usage of the term 'ibadah in the Qur'an)

Ibn Taymiyyah's Essay on Servitude: al-Uboodiyyah (published by Al-Hidayyah, UK or you can download it from the internet).


3. Abrahamic Faiths: A Myth or Reality

Islam is unfairly classified with Christianity and Judaism as one of the three monotheistic or Abrahamic religions. The paper should discuss the following issues: Who was Ibrahim (pbuh)? What was his message? How is he related to the Jews, Christians and Muslims? The origin, the motives and the consequences of such belief (i.e. classifying Islam with these religions). What are the implications of the facts that the Qur'an calls the Jews and Christians, People of the Book? The paper should conclude by providing the Islamic definition of monotheism.

Suggested Reading:

Surah al-Baqara (Surah # 2)

Surah Al-Imran (Surah # 3)

Surah Al-Ma'edah (Surah # 5)


  1. 1st exam: You will receive by October 9, 2000 - due to me by October 14, 2000
  2. 2nd exam: You will receive by November 6, 2000 - due to me by November 11, 2000
  3. The oral exam is about 20 - 30 minutes over the phone. It is the responsibility of the student to call the instructor and make an appointment for the exam
  4. Term paper: The term paper is due by November 20, 2000

General instructions

Keep a copy of all your exams and papers.

Papers and exams should be sent directly to the instructor (not to the university).

To get your exams and term paper back, please send a self-addressed envelope with appropriate stamps (USA students only). Overseas students may email or fax their exams.

ALL INQUIRIES regarding instructional material, exams, and term paper should be addressed to the instructor.

All other inquiries (registration, tuition… etc.) should be addressed to the English Program Office (phone number at the AOU web page)

Supplementary materials information

The supplementary materials are some articles by Dr. Jaa'far Sheikh Idris. The articles are:

The Attributes of Allah: an Islamic point of view

This article discusses the nature of Allah's attributes and the correct understanding of them; i.e. they are to be believed in but not compared to the creation. It also discusses the question of "Where is Allah?" 11 pages.

Islamic Answers to Some Philosophical Questions

Some issues discussed in this article: The Theory of Knowledge. Is Knowledge Possible? Is there Knowledge that Precedes Birth? How do we Attain Knowledge? The Means of Acquiring Knowledge. The Sources of Knowledge. 9 pages

Atheism in the Modern Age

The author discusses the concept of atheism as it corresponds to today and how it has become a foundation for the sciences. 3 pages

Audiotapes information

 There are six audiotapes by Riad Ansari. A brief summary:

Definition of Aqeedah

Tawheed is divided into three branches.

Tawheed al- Rububeyyah. Pascal's argument. Atheism. Fitrah. Proof for the existence of Allaah in all things. Discussion of evolution and Darwin's theory.

Definition of Tawheed al-Rububeeyah in more detail.

Examination of the ideas of those who deny Tawheed al-Rububeeyah.

Stories of Allah's Lordship in Quran showing His power.

Tawheed al-Uluhiyya

Rububeeyah is not monotheism. Uluhiyya is. Proof in Quran; Quraish believed in rububeeyah. First order in Quran: Worship your Lord.

All prophets invited to tawheed al uluhiyya. Quran: "I have not created jinn & humans except to worship Me." Quran uses rububiyya to invite to uluhiyya. Several verses of Quran quoted.

Definition of Ilaah. Definition of La ilaaha illa Allah. Comparative translations of this phrase. Several ahadith about this phrase.

Conditions for validity of shahada:

Definition of Worship. Acts of worship

Definition of Shirk: Shirk as mentioned in the Quran.

Discussion of the issue about asking of people.

How shirk started & how it is present today even in the Muslim world.

Shirk in Ta'a. "That was worshipping them"

Shirk expressed in: amulets, slaughtering, love, Verses & Hadith about love for Allaah & Messenger.

Shirk al-Asghar: Riyaa & how it works. Improper intention.

Definition of Tawheed al-Asmaa wal Sifaat. How it relates to other 2 parts of Tawheed. How do we recognize Allah? Several rules about understanding the Names of Allah. Certain forms of understanding which lead to blasphemy with regard to Allah's Names & Attributes.

More Rules about the Attributes of Allah. Several verses and ahadith about the Attributes of Allah. Every Name has an Attribute, but not every Attribute has a name. Must stick to the Revelation with regard to these. Dangers in understanding of Attributes. Famous story of Imam Malik & "How?"

Where evidence for names & attributes comes from. Discussion of ahaad hadith.


Student Feedback

 (added 2/3/02 12:06 PM)

I took this class Fall 2000, and I think I learned a lot about things which I had no idea of before. The tapes are probably the most useful resource, full of information. The book is also very good, but if it was longer and went into more depth it might be more suited to this class. Read the book at least two or three times and listen to the tapes a couple of times too. Take very good notes while listening to the tapes and don't throw the notes away once the class is finished. Even though there are only 6 tapes, he covers a lot of material which inshaAllah you will find useful later on.


Other Resources


Kitab al Tawheed


Explanation of Kitab al Tawheed


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