Religion: Understanding Islam Course Overview

Course Overview

In this course, students will learn the basics of Islam as a world religion and develop some understanding of the essentials like Muslim beliefs (six main beliefs), five pillars of Islam, Muslim religion character (e.g., modesty, rights of parents, submission to God, enjoying the good, forbidding the evil, helping one another in righteousness), but also dive into legal, theological, and mystical aspects of Islamic thought.

Students will learn about Muslim culture and social life (i.e., greeting, rights of women, right of others, Ramadan,  why did Prophet practice polygamy, etc.) with a brief overview of philosophical and political aspects of Islamic thought; how to bridge most common stereotypes and prejudices about Islam and Muslims; thought provoking perspectives and expressions of Islam in America; and the main purpose of a mosque, its artistic expressions, and how to visit it respectfully.

Students will experience:

  • How to visit a mosque respectfully
  • Diversity within Muslim community
  • Influence of culture on religious expressions and practices
  • Traditions, customs, and foods
  • Common grounds with other Abrahamic faith traditions (Hendricks Chapel model and visit)

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the opportunity to request a Syracuse University noncredit transcript.


Course Objectives

By the end of this course, students will:

  • Understand the basics of Islam as a world religion
  • Develop some understanding of the essentials like Muslim beliefs, pillars of Islam, and Ihsan/excellence
  • Understand Muslim culture and social life
  • Learn the most common stereotypes and prejudices about Islam and Muslims
  • Learn the role of a mosque and how to visit it respectfully



Course Information

Course Prefix and Number: TBD

Format: On Campus (at Syracuse University)

Eligibility: Students must be of rising high school sophomore, junior, or senior status – or a 2022 high school graduate.

Credit: Noncredit

Grading: Pass/Fail


  • Residential: $3,585
  • Commuter: $2,730

Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees. Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Information

Summer College – On Campus: Experience what college is really like: take a college-level course, live in a residence hall, have meals with friends in a dining hall, and participate in activities and events on campus.

Course Dates and Details

Program Course Dates Class Time (Eastern Time) Credit/Noncredit Status
Summer College – On Campus 2-Week Session III: Sunday, July 31 – Friday, Aug. 12, 2022 MTWTh
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
F 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Noncredit Open
Students will break for roughly one hour for lunch. Class times subject to change.

Students should budget for the cost of supplies.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

Students are required to attend class Monday – Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

9 – 9:15 a.m. Overview of the day
9:15 – 10 a.m. Instructor’s presentation I
10 – 10:05 a.m. Short Break
10:05 – 10:45 a.m. Group activity/Workshop
10:45 – 11 a.m. Break
11 – 11:30 a.m. Groups report their work to the class
11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Guest speaker or Instructor’s presentation II
12:15 – 12:20 p.m. Short Break
12:20 – 1 p.m. Guided discussion, Q&A, Adjourn
Fridays: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Instructor’s presentation, Q&A 12 – 3 p.m. Field Trips

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College – On Campus activities to meet and connect with other students! Check out our On Campus Experience page for more information!

Field Trips

Potential field trips include:

  • 8/5 Visiting Mosque of Jesus Son of Mary (Jumuah Service) and Norh Side Learning Center (Tour and Lunch)
  • 8/12 Visiting Islamic Society of Central New York (Jumuah Service) and Thornden Park (Tour and Lunch)

End Event

Parents are welcome to join our field trip on 8/12, which will include the mosque visit, attending Jumuah/
Muslim Friday gathering, and lunch in Thornden Park afterward. We will be preparing to depart from
campus around noon and should be done by 3 p.m.

Faculty Bios

Amir Durić

Amir Durić is chaplain, imam, and director of Muslim Student Life at Syracuse University. He is also an
associate chaplain at Crouse Health, New York State Office of Mental Health/Hutchings Psychiatric, and
Upstate Medical University.

Before coming to Syracuse, Durić served as imam and a director of religious affairs for ten years, three
years in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina, and seven years in the United States, Delaware Valley-
Philadelphia region. Durić also volunteered as a chaplain with the New Jersey Department of Corrections
for three years, offering spiritual guidance and support to inmates.

Chaplain Durić holds a bachelor’s degree in Islamic studies from the University of Sarajevo and a
master’s degree in religious studies from Hartford Seminary. Besides, he completed Graduate Certificates
in Imam and Muslim Community Leadership and Islamic Chaplaincy Program at Hartford Seminary. Durić
is currently enrolled in the Social Science Ph.D. Program at Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public
Affairs at Syracuse University and his research focuses on Muslim student experience in higher education
in the United States

For more info, Click Here.

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