Out of the following fifteen questions listed below, choose only four to answer as the final exam for this course.
The answer for each question should be within the range of two (minimum) to four (maximum) double-spaced pages. Use standard margins and font size no. 12. Also delete/do not include any empty/blank pages.
You can consult any of the sources used for this course (or any other sources). If/when you do, indicate the sources you use and cite them properly, preferably according to Chicago Manual of Style (author-date) and then give a list of all your references at the end. Instructions on how to use the style can be found in this link.
Avoid long and direct quotes and always express your ideas in your own words.
Grading criteria: depth of analysis, clarity of expression, consistency of argument(s), and overall coherence.
Illustrate your answers with examples.
How did the problem of evil shape Islamic theology and Islamic thought in general?
What were the main Islamic responses to the problem of evil, and what were the main examples that were used to illustrate these responses?
Why al-Ghazali’s idea of “the best of all possible worlds” was considered problematic?
How did Ibn al-Qayyim justify the infallibility of Divine decree?
How/to what extent does the study of the plagues and pandemics offer an important perspective in understanding world history?
Why did contagion represent a theological challenge in the Islamic tradition?
Why are the views of the Andalusian scholars Ibn al-Khatib and Ibn Lubb on the issue of contagion often contrasted?
What was the economic and demographic impact of the Black Death in the Middle East?
Why were Ottoman, and generally Islamic, responses to the recurrent plague pandemics branded as fatalistic in European accounts?
How does Nukhet Varlik respond to the charge of the “fatalistic Turks” in Western historiographies?
To what extent was Ibn Hajar’s account on the etiology of the plague unique and how did it influence other subsequent accounts in The Middle East and elsewhere?
Why was the framework suggested by Algerian scholar Hamdan Khoja for countering plague pandemics considered revolutionary in the 19th century?
What are the main lessons to be gained from studying earlier (plague) pandemics?
Why did COVID-19 pandemic elicit comparison with earlier historical precedents of plague pandemics?
To what extent have Islamic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic been shaped by earlier accounts on historical precedents of (plague) pandemics?
Course Sources (choose 2 minimum and then you can use other scholarly sources):
Aberth, John. 2015. Plagues in World History. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Chowdhury, Safaruk. 2021. Islamic Theology and the Problem of Evil. Cairo: American University
in Cairo Press.
Dols, Michael W. 1977. The Black Death in the Middle East. Princeton: Princeton University
Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya. 2017. On Divine Wisdom and the Problem of Evil, trans. Tallal M.
Zeni. Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society.
Ormsby, Eric Linn. 1984. Theodicy in Islamic Thought. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Stearns, Justin. 2011. Infectious Ideas: Contagion in Premodern Islamic and Christian Thought in
Western Midetrranean. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Varlik, Nukhet. 2015. Plague and Empire in the Early Modern Mediterranean World: The
Ottoman Experience, 1347–1600. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.