Friday, 27 May 2011

Bayt al-Maqdis & Jerusalem Studies

Bayt al-Maqdis and Jerusalem Studies is an intellectually exciting new field of inquiry, which seeks to understand the region of Bayt al-Maqdis from interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary perspectives. It explores the historical and theological status of the region within Islamic tradition, and examines the roles the region has played in particular historical and social contexts. The course examines social, religious, historical, geographical and political perspectives on Bayt al-Maqdis, with in-depth studies and critical analyses.

Programme Aims

This is a unique programme that provides students with a theoretical grounding in the new field of enquiry in Bayt al-Maqdis Studies. It engages students with the contemporary debates on the uniqueness of the Bayt al-Maqdis region and its role as a model for inclusiveness and multiculturalism. The programme defines the new terminology of Bayt al-Maqdis. It explores how modern Bayt al-Maqdis is shaped partly by dialogue with its own past, and partly by its response to external influences in the region. It also examines how contemporary Muslims seek to relate their heritage in Bayt al-Maqdis from the past to the radical situation of today. The programme may be taken either as an end in itself or as preparation for postgraduate research.


There are no exams. All assessment is by coursework, with most subjects assessed by:

  • A Critical Review (2,000 words)
  • An Essay (3-4,000 words)
  • A Seminar Presentation

Students who undertake an MLitt are required to complete a research dissertation of 15-18,000 words.

Further Study & Careers

This programme will be useful for those who want to go on to teach in the field. Others may use their expertise and qualifications to go on to further studies, or to work in areas such as: government services at local, national and international levels; diplomacy; consultancy and project work, developing cooperation in non-governmental and international organisations; the media; the voluntary sector; social and not-for-profit organisations. The courses at the Al-Maktoum Institute are designed to equip our students with the skills and the knowledge to face the challenges of the contemporary world.

This is a unique programme that provides students with a theoretical grounding in the new field of enquiry.

Programme Elements

This programme is made up of six taught courses and a dissertation. Students who successfully complete the three courses of the Autumn Semester may exit with a PgC. Students who successfully complete all six courses may leave the programme with a PgD. Students wishing to attain the MLitt must also undertake the dissertation.

The Theoretical Framework of Bayt al-Maqdis.

This course examines the theoretical and conceptual framework within which Muslims approach the region of Bayt al-Maqdis, addressing all the key social, religious, historical, geographical, and political aspects. The course focuses on a number of key questions: What are the reasons for Muslims having close links and concern with Bayt al-Maqdis? What is the significance of Bayt al-Maqdis to Islam and Muslims? Does Bayt al-Maqdis have any special status compared with any other region? Attention is paid to the vision of Bayt al-Maqdis, its boundaries, and the development of al-Aqsa Mosque.

History of Bayt al-Maqdis I: From ‘Umar to Salah al-Din

This course focuses on the first phase of the physical manifestation of the theoretical conceptual framework of Bayt al-Maqdis, from the time of ‘Umar to Salah al-Din. It discusses the historical developments and perspectives on Bayt al-Maqdis, with in-depth studies on particular aspects, and examines how Muslims ruled that region during that early period. Particular attention is paid to the first and second Muslim conquests of the region, the reconstruction of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the first brief interruption, and the transformation of Bayt al-Maqdis (1099-1187).

Optional Course 1

Choose one course, subject to availability, from:

  • Islam & Muslims in History & Society
  • Core Sources & Approaches in the Study of Islam & Muslims
  • Islam & The West: Multiculturalism, Globalisation & Muslims
  • Educational Studies: An Introduction
  • Multiculturalism in Theory & Practice

History of Bayt al-Maqdis 2: From the Late Crusades to the Contemporary Era

This course examines the second phase of the physical manifestation of the theoretical and conceptual framework of Bayt al-Maqdis. As in History of Bayt al-Maqdis I, it discusses historical and political developments and perspectives in the region, and offers in-depth studies on particular aspects, however, this course examines Muslim rule in the region during the period from the late Crusades to the contemporary era, and covers the key political and demographic issues involved. Particular attention is paid to specific subjects at the socio-political, demographical, legal and academic levels in the late contemporary period.

Optional Course 2

Choose one course, subject to availability, from:

  • Globalisation & Political Islam
  • Islam & Muslims & International Relations
  • Islamic Education: Theory & Practice
  • Women in Islam
  • Political Islam
  • Islam & Muslims in Multicultural Britain
  • Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence (Usul al-Fiqh)
  • Editing Islamic Texts & Manuscripts
  • Qur’anic Arabic (for non-Arabic Speakers)

Postgraduate Research Methods

This course addresses various research methods in the humanities and social sciences (e.g. analytical, comparative, historical and social) and introduces an in-depth critical analysis of contemporary research methods. Students engage with qualitative and quantitative methodologies in historical, textual, anthropological (ethnographic) and social scientific disciplines. They are also expected to reflect on different methodologies and select appropriate methodological approaches for their own research.


The dissertation is an independent piece of work of 15-18,000 words in length. The topic to be studied is selected by the student in consultation with a member of academic staff, under whose supervision they develop and write the dissertation.


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