What you'll learn

  • An introduction to the place of the Quran in Muslim cultures
  • Major themes of the Quran
  • The historical and cultural contexts of the Quran
  • Interpretive skills that enable a more nuanced reading of the Quran
  • Diverse approaches Muslims have adopted to engaging with Quranic texts, including issues in contemporary interpretation

Course description

How can you improve your understanding of Islam and its most important holy text, the Quran? How can you make sense of a tradition and a text that have been interpreted in different ways across vast geographical spaces for nearly a millennium and a half?

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Using a multimedia and student-centered approach, this religion course provides tools and perspectives for understanding the role of the Quran in the Islamic tradition. Learners will develop the skills and context to read the text themselves, while also being introduced to some of the issues classical and contemporary interpreters have addressed. This approach enables learners to explore the influence of the Quran on diverse Muslim understandings of Islam.

No previous knowledge of Islam or Religious Studies is required. This course is part of the World Religions Through Their Scriptures series. 


  • Portrait of Ali S. Asani
    Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures, Harvard University

Associated Schools

  • Harvard Faculty of Arts & Sciences

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