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ʿAqīda: Classical Roots, Modern Applications


When: Every Monday, 6-8pm EST; Starting September 28th – December 28th, 2020
Location:  ONLINE ONLY



This course provides a comprehensive study of the main topics of Islamic theology – covering foundational beliefs and concepts such as God, revelation, prophets, the afterlife, human free will and divine omnipotence, theodicy, the nature of faith, etc. – connecting these core beliefs to their scriptural (or scriptural and rational) sources on the one hand, and to contemporary applications and challenges on the other. We will discuss various topics with reference to the role of reason and scriptural texts (Qurʾān and ḥadīth) in establishing theological truths and how to properly employ reason and scripture in tandem when confronting contemporary issues. 



  • To familiarize students with the main topics covered in classical works of Islamic theology at a higher level and in more detail than in Level 1 (Ramadan 2020).
  • To cover all such topics (by reading through a complete work of theology, such as the ʿAqīda al-Ṭaḥāwiyya) so that students have a complete picture of the range and content of the beliefs that are core to the Islamic faith in every age.
  • To acquaint students with the evidentiary bases of these beliefs, in terms of both their scriptural and their rational foundations.
  • To familiarize students with the main approaches taken to theological questions in Islam, to understand broadly acceptable differences in approach, and to develop a sense of the outer boundaries of Islamic theology.
  • To draw out and reflect upon the spiritual impact these core theological commitments should have in the everyday life of the believer (both as an individual and in community).
  • To examine and respond to the main challenges to core Islamic theological commitments that arise as a function of the dominant framework and assumptions of our age (atheism, humanism, skepticism surrounding the validity of religious texts and truth claims, religious plurality and relativism, ethical critiques of religion/religious morality, etc.).
  • To train students to think clearly about theological issues in light of Islamic revelation and a proper application of critical reason.
  • To train students to view and experience the world around them according to its true nature as embodied in the theological message of Islam.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of the course, students will, insha’Allah:

  • Be able to identify, describe, and demonstrate a solid understanding of the beliefs that form the core theological commitments of Islam.
  • Demonstrate mastery of the entirety of a basic text in Islamic belief (such as al-ʿAqīda al-Ṭaḥāwiyya).
  • Understand the relevance of theological belief to the daily spiritual and ethical lives of Muslim individuals and communities.
  • Be able to apply a robust theological framework to thinking about and perceiving the world around them.
  • Understand the main challenges posed to religious belief in general, and to Islamic belief in particular, in our contemporary circumstances and how to respond effectively to these challenges.
  • Comprehend the proper roles of and relationship between reason and revelation in discovering, affirming, and understanding theological truths.
  • Possess a robust framework for thinking about and experiencing the world “theologically,” a framework that can be applied to future questions as they come up.
  • Uthe scope of approaches that have been taken to theological questions in Islam and the outer boundaries of Islamic theology.
  • Be able to speak with confidence about Islamic beliefs and theological commitments to diverse audiences, both inside and outside the Muslim community.


Dr. Carl Sharif El-Tobgui

Dr. Carl Sharif El-Tobgui holds a B.S. in Arabic Language from Georgetown University and a Master’s and Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from McGill University and currently serves as Associate Professor of Arabic & Islamic Studies, and Director of the Arabic Language Program at Brandeis. He previously taught for five years at Harvard University as Preceptor of Arabic, and has also taught at the Middlebury College Summer Arabic Language School. Prof. El-Tobgui’s scholarly expertise lies in the field of Islamic thought, with a special concentration on theology, law, and jurisprudence. He is particularly interested in questions concerning the relationship between reason and revelation in the Islamic tradition, and has published on the manifestations of this tension in the fields of classical Islamic jurisprudence and Qur’anic exegesis. Read More


General admission: $150 per one course. Then, $100 for each additional course.

Students: $100 per one for all students (including BIS students). Then, $50 for each additional course. 

Financial aid is also available for all courses. Please scroll down to find out more:


The Boston Islamic Seminary is committed to providing quality instruction to all, regardless of financial circumstances, through a generous financial aid program.

Please note that financial aid is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis until available funds are exhausted.  Please apply as early as possible to increase your chances of being awarded.

Boston Islamic Seminary admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.