Introduction to Islam  

Introduction to Islam                                                                      Final Paper Guideline
This paper is meant to provide you the opportunity to write a substantial, well-researched, paper on a topic of your choosing that is related to the course.
Page Length: 8-10 double spaced pages. 12 Times New Roman font.
Citations: You are not expected to do outside research for this paper unless you chose to do so. When citing sources you have read in class, or any other sources, be consistent. The preferred, but not required, citation style is that outlined by the Chicago Manual of Style.
Deadline: The final paper is due on Thursday May 3rd at 11:55 pm. You should submit your paper via BlackBoard.
Sample topic
Many scholars have argued that Islam in the Modern world is facing a ‘crisis of authority.’ In order to evaluate this claim, it is important to understand the notion of ‘authority’ established within early Islam. The central question you should aim to answer in your paper is:
Does Islam have a notion of authority? If yes, how did it develop in the first five centuries after the death of Muhammad, and if not, why not? And how did the lacuna in the notion of authority affect the development of Islam in the first five centuries after the death of Muhammad?
Some subsidiary questions to consider are: what type of authority was Muhammad invested with and was that authority was transferable? Who/what became authoritative in the realm of law, theology, politics and hadith etc., and what did this process look like? Is there any notion of ultimate authority in any of these aforementioned intellectual disciplines? Did different understandings of authority lead to different sects within Islam? Be sure to address more than one of the following questions to strengthen your argument.
Your paper will be graded based on the clarity and quality of your argument, the organization of your paper, and your command of the topic. As for your argument, there should be a clear, concise and well-argued thesis articulated throughout your paper. If you are having trouble building your argument, start with making an outline, or a series of smaller claims. The writing center on campus is a wonderful resource to help you structure your paper. You can also come see me during office hours and we can discuss it further.
Please proof read your paper before submitting it. If you are concerned with your grammar, please see the campus writing center.

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