The Appearance of Intellectual
“What social, political, and economic factors led to the appearance of the four major intellectual developments in the early Islamic period (Sufism, theology/law, court culture, and philosophy/science)”?
This prompt requires you to make your own individual arguments based on the lectures and the readings.
Please Be sure to check out the Grading Criteria.
I also attached a ‘A’ Paper down below, Please also check it out. (IT IS IMPORTANT)
Argument/Thesis: There needs to be a clear thesis statement (“x, y, and z led to the rise of Islam in these ways…”). You don’t want to simply reiterate the information presented in lecture without thinking critically about any particular aspect of it, or without being equally influenced by or critical of the sources (in ways that were not already discussed in lecture).
Evidence: Regarding sources and incorporation of evidence, most papers incorporated primary sources and some secondary sources. oWith primary sources, you want to make sure to properly connect evidence to larger argument (ex: using Egyptian records as evidence for persistent but lenient tax collection, but not connecting that to other evidence or as a cause of rise and spread of Islam). Surprisingly, many did not draw on the Quran as a primary source, even though a lot of students relied on the life of the prophet Muhammad as a cause of rise and spread of Islam.oThere were also a good number of students that barely used primary sources at all, maybe referencing once or twice. oWith secondary sources, which most students had no problem drawing from (although sometimes too heavily), there was a persistent issue of using secondary sources in lieu of their own words or ideas. For example, writing that “Hoyland says, “Islam was this …” and then never following up to demonstrate how Hoyland’s argument contributes to their own. You don’t want to just rely on someone else’s authority for your thoughts. You may use their evidence to make your own argument.
Organization: A strong paper should aim at chronological coherence — using evidence from before the death of the prophet, then giving evidence of events that happened after his death, then using evidence from when he was alive and active. This way, we can show interrelated events and cause-and-effect over time. I also think that the non-chronological organization is a symptom of a reliance on the 5 paragraph essay model from high school, which requires that there be 3 distinct pieces of evidence but does not require you to think about the connection between those pieces of evidence as the actual focus of the paper. You may have 5, 6, 7, or more causes. Also, we need topic sentences for each paragraph to show coherent topic, and transition from one paragraph/topic to another. The best way to do this is when you have written the paragraph, stop and ask yourself how it answers the question. Then briefly state that for your readers.
Terminology: Please be clear about this. For example, we need to discriminate between when you are referring to Islam as a religion, Islam as a political movement, Islam as an empire. The point here is obviously not to totally sever these categories, but understand that some evidence will require them to analyze Islam in a political sense, and other times theologically, and so on.