Written Assignments

Applying the Qur'an


Web Resources for This Assignment

Selections from the Qur'an
A collection of selections from the Qur'an.

Interpreting Culture   On the last assignment you learned how to think about the larger aspects of Islamic world view by applying the Qur'an . This assignment is identical to the previous one, only you'll be interpreting a specific Islamic culture, the Ottomans during the time of Suleyman.
   Either in class or on your own, you saw the film Suleyman the Magnificent . The film was rich in the visual culture (calligraphy, maps, tile-work, illustration, tapestries, clothing, marching, architecture, metallurgy, and so on), aural culture (music all over the place), and performance culture (shadow theater, poetry, music). In this assignment you're going to choose one aspect of either the visual, aural, or performance culture and look at it through the eyes of an Ottoman or Muslim. In order to do this, you're going to use the Qur'an yet again.

Interpreting the Qur'an   You are to choose a verse from the Qur'an , one that you didn't use on the previous assignment, and you are to produce a single paragraph in which you thoroughly explain that verse. This time, however, you must interpret this verse in relationship to another verse in the Qur'an, that is, you're to use another part of the Qur'an to help you explain the verse you're dealing with (this means, by the way, that you're going to have to give an explanation of the other verse that you're using to explain the first!)

Interpreting Ottoman Culture   In your second paragraph, describe the painting, calligraphy, tile-work, architecture, music, or whatever, that you're trying to explain from the film you saw. Then, in as much detail as you can, apply your explanation of the Qur'an in the first part to the visual, aural, or performance attributes of the artifact from the film that you're explaining. The purpose of this paragraph is to show how a Muslim would look at or hear the cultural artifact that you've described.

Grading   I'm looking for three things: a.) a thesis that describes accurately what you're doing in the essay, that is, what you're trying to explain and how you're going to explain itómake sure that you say something in a sentence or whatever that tells me and others why your argument is significant or relevant; b.) how well you explain the verse from the Qur'an , and, in particular, how well and appropriately you use another verse from the Qur'an to explain it; c.) how thoroughly and precisely you apply your explanation of the Qur'an to the details of the cultural artifact that you're describing.


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