Credit points


Campus offering

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THCT100 What Christians Believe or PHIL107 Philosophy of World Religions

Teaching organisation

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials and online learning. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment.

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is an introduction to the study of Islam, including its central beliefs, theology, history and culture. It is an exploration of key principles and practices that are important to understanding Islam and Muslims. It provides an overview of basic Islamic beliefs and practices, especially in the contemporary period and in their historical development. It examines the life of Prophet Muhammad and the scriptural sources for his life and the main pillars of Islam. It will also introduce students to Islamic arts, culture and mystical traditions. The context and history of Muslims in Australia will also be considered. The aim of this unit is for students to acquire broad and coherent knowledge of the Islamic faith and explain historic and contemporary perspectives to key beliefs and practices.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Identify the core beliefs and practices of Islam (GA8, GA9) 

LO2 - Analyse the historical formation of Islam and its different sectarian and mystical traditions (GA4, GA8) 

LO3 - Apply scholarly perspectives and language to interpret the relevance and significance of key Islamic beliefs for contemporary society, especially in a secular context (GA4, GA8, GA9)  

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 

  • Historical development of and revelation in Islam; 
  • The sources of knowledge (aql, naql and five senses) in Islam from classical to the modern period;   
  • Pre-Islamic Arabia and life of the Prophet Muhammad; 
  • The Quran, Sunnah and Five Pillars of Islam; 
  • The Mystical traditions of Islam;   
  • Islamic arts, music and philosophy;  
  • Muslims in Australia: Diversity and sectarianism.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials and online learning. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment.

The unit is normally offered in attendance mode. Students learn through formally structured and sequenced learning activities that support the achievement of the learning outcomes. Students are asked to critically reflect, analyse, and integrate new information with existing knowledge, draw meaningful new connections, and then apply what they have learned. Collaborative and peer learning is also emphasized.

These face-to-face activities enable students to acquire and assimilate knowledge of Islamic faith and identify the importance of Islamic faith to the life of believers, particularly through the presence and articulation of the lecturer and tutors.

THSR206 emphasises students as active, adult learners. Students are recognised as adult learners who engage best when what they are learning is relevant to them and gives them the opportunity to be responsible for their own learning. In many ways, the student is the one who drives the learning forward, and their active participation in this unit is essential. Learning is designed to be an engaging and supportive experience, which helps students to develop critical thinking and reflection skills.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to attempt all assessment tasks and achieve an overall grade of Pass (50% or higher).

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome.

Task 1 asks students to identify an important belief in Islam and reflect briefly on its meaning. This task is designed to allow them to display achievement of Learning Outcome 1.

Task 2 asks students to critically analyse the development of key beliefs and practices of the Islamic faith using historical and theological perspectives, in order to display achievement of Learning Outcome 2.

Task 3 invites students to consider the range and relevance of Islamic beliefs today in order to display achievement of Learning Outcome 3. Students are asked to demonstrate a clear understanding of a range of key Islamic beliefs and how they impact on people’s lives, particularly in a secular context.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Presentation: Require students to identify and explain a core belief or practice of Islam related to the weekly lectures.



8, 9

Analytical task: Require students to analyse the development of Islam in a key period of its historical or doctrinal development.


1, 2

4, 8, 9

Research Essay: Require students to apply key learnings by addressing a range of key Islamic beliefs and practices and articulate what these beliefs mean in a contemporary context.


1, 2, 3

4, 8, 9

Representative texts and references

Ata, A.W. Us and Them: Muslim-Christian Relations and Cultural Harmony in Australia. Bowen Hills, QLD: Australian Academic Press, 2009

Esposito, John L. Islam: The Straight Path. 4th Ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Esposito, John L. What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, USA, 2011.

Lings, Martin. Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources. 2nd U.S. ed. Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions, 2006.

Sachiko, Murata & William Chittick, The Vision of Islam, London: I.B. Tauris, 1994

Ramadan, Tariq, In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007

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