UCC ACE Short courses

Islam and Muslims: An Introduction

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Islam and Muslims: An Introduction

  • Code


  • College

    Adult Continuing Education

  • Duration

    Ten weeks, Wednesdays 7-9pm, from 30 January to 3 April 2019

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications

    Cert of Attendance

  • Fees

    €230 See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Friday 18 January 2019

  • Venue

    Western Gateway Building, Room G17, UCC

  • Start Date

    Wednesday 30 January 2019

Course Outline

Do you have curious questions about Islam and Muslims that you want answered? This course introduces participants to the history, beliefs and practices of Islam. It is held over ten weeks and looks at Islam's history, civilisations, ideas, people and issues. It emphasises both the unity and the diversity of Muslim experience. It examines the early history, rise and expansion of Islam, including the cross-cultural exchanges between Christendom and the Islamic world at times peaceful and productive, but also at other times violent. As well as an overview of Islam's major beliefs and practices, it then moves to critically examine the debates and diversity that exist in the Muslim and the growing Muslim presence in Europe. It looks at lifecycle rituals and sensitive issues surrounding family, healthcare, sexuality, religious freedom, education, employment and Islam's relationship with other faiths, in particular Judaism and Christianity.

Week 1: The Rise of Islam in a Context of Judaism and Christianity. The life and times of the Prophet Muhammad as man, messenger, master, and mystic; the core beliefs he taught; and the leadership crisis surrounding his death.

Week 2: The Expansion of Islam. The evolution of Islamic dynasties; the development of the schools of theology, law, philosophy; and the ‘Golden Age’ of Islamic creativity and learning.

Week 3: Islamic Beliefs & Practices. Islamic beliefs, practices, mysticism & eschatology through an examination of the Gabriel Hadith. What do Muslims believe about Jesus, Mary and the Church?

Week 4: Who Speaks for Islam? The battle of voices in the Muslim world. Participants will debate a controversial religious issue through secular, traditionalist, fundamentalist, and contextualist lenses.

Week 5: Conflict & War. Did Islam spread by the sword? The concept of jihad in both pre-modern and modern contexts.

Week 6: The Muslim World. From Tangerang to Timbuktu: the sheer diversity of the Muslim world. As well as modern geography and demographics, it will also hark back to the great Muslim explorers, scientists and sociologists who followed the Islamic dictum: ‘seek knowledge even unto China’.

Week 7: Life Rituals. Life rituals around birth, coming of age, celebrations, marriage & divorce, and death. Food and halal slaughter.

Week 8: Debates in Islam. Hotly-debated or sensitive topics including abortion, euthanasia, feminism, homosexuality, apostasy and atheism.

Week 9: Islam in Ireland. The history of the Muslim presence in Ireland; the current picture as well as future demographic trends, as well as the phenomenon of Islamophobia.

Week10: Art of Islam. Preparing participants for an (optional) excursion to the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin that will take place at the conclusion of the course. Please note: participants will be responsible for arranging their own travel (incl. cost) to the library. Admission to the library is free.

Course Practicalities

Who teaches this course:

Dr Amanullah De Sondy is Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Islam and Acting Head of School, Asian Studies at University College Cork. His research connects the study of Islam to the themes of gender, ethnicity, race and pluralism. He is the author of The Crisis of Islamic Masculinities (Bloomsbury, 2014).

Dr Rachel Woodlock is an academic and writer with a special interest in the experiences of Islam and Muslims in the West. She holds a doctorate from Monash University focusing on the social integration of religious Muslims in Australia, and a Master of Islamic Studies from the University of Melbourne. She co-edited Fear of Muslims? International Perspectives on Islamophobia with Professor Douglas Pratt (Springer, 2016), and co-wrote For God's Sake: An Atheist, a Jew, a Christian and a Muslim Debate Religion (Pan Macmillan, 2013). She has taught subjects on Islam and Muslims at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, as well as introduction courses for the Australian Federal Police, Victoria Police, and the Jewish Museum of Australia's Magid Institute.


Short courses are non-assessed



Students must be minimum eighteen years by course commencement.

Fees and Costs

The fee for this course is €230.

How Do I Apply

The closing date for applications is Friday 18 January 2019. Fees are listed in each course description. Students register and pay fees before course commencement as follows:

1. Register and pay online by clicking the Apply Now button below. Course commencement is subject to sufficient enrolment. In the event of a course not commencing applicants will be informed and their fees will be returned.

2. Payment may also be made by credit or debit card, cheque, postal order or bank draft made payable to UCC and these should be returned together with a completed application form to Short Courses, Adult Continuing Education, The Laurels, Western Road. Application forms are available from the office or they may be downloaded from the link below.

3. Students may also hand in completed application forms to the office at ACE between 9:15am and 5pm each day prior to the closing date. We regret we are unable to accept cash.

Application Form January 2019

Apply Now

Contact details for this course

Year 1 Modules

Year 2 Modules

Year 3 Modules

Year 4 Modules

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact