The one-year specialisation in Islamic Studies provides you with an introduction to the various theoretical and methodological approaches to historical and current forms of Islam. The focus of this programme is on ‘Islam and Society’, with special emphasis on the comparative study of Muslim society. It aims to respond to the growing demand for internationally oriented programmes that provide thorough training in the methodology of Islamic Studies.
The specialisation in Islamic Studies provides you with the skills and insights required to conduct research in your chosen field. Much research on Islamic Studies is based on written sources and archive material from Islamic cultures and societies. This programme particularly focuses on these sources, teaching you to establish their value and importance in a specific context, or as the basis for a hypothesis. Social and historical approaches to the field are given ample attention, too.
NB: For those interested in the study of contemporary Islam in a European context, see the Islam in the Contemporary West specialisation of the MA in Theology and Religious Studies.
It is also possible to focus on Islamic Studies within the two-year Research Master’s programme Middle Eastern Studies
“I have always been interested in the relationship between rules in normative texts and the daily practices of ordinary people.”
“Anyone who wants to acquire solid scholarly knowledge about Islam, is in the right place in Leiden. Our perspective is historical-critical; we do not make statements about religious truths. We study Islam in many different societies and try to come to an understanding of the various forms of Islam, related to time and place.
Our MA programme has three regional focuses: Islam in Western Europe, Islam in Southeast Asia and Islam in Morocco, my own specialty. In addition, we also offer thematic specialties, such as Islamic law, Mysticism, and Shi`i Islam.
I studied Cultural Anthropology, learned Arabic and then went on to study Islam. I have always been interested in the relationship between rules in normative texts and the daily practices of ordinary people. I am currently examining this relationship focusing on family law in Morocco. My interest in Morocco has been stimulated by the presence of Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands.
Leiden has a long tradition in the study of Islam. Oriental languages have been studied here since the 16th century, and the study of Islam started in the middle of the 19th century. The historical-critical method dates from that time. In the seventies, a social-science approach was added.
Attracted by this tradition, scholars and students from all parts of the world come to Leiden, and also, of course, because of our renowned library collections, which include manuscripts, rare, printed books, images and sound recordings. These collections represent a unique resource for the study of Islam.”