Sources of Islamic Spirituality: God Speaks


Explore the very rich tradition of what are known as 'divine sayings' (hadith qudsi) in Islamic spirituality and Sufism: these are special communications 'spoken' by God to the Prophet Muhammad or to another prophet or even to the angels, which were then reported by Muhammad, and are one of the major sources for Islamic tradition. They emphasise the utter dependence of the human upon God for guidance, sustenance and forgiveness. These sayings have been much used in Sufi teaching, as practical reminders of the centrality of love and mercy, and as the basis of various practices such as remembrance (dhikr) and blessing-prayers on the Prophet (salawat).

We will focus on themes that pervade the hadiths, forgiveness, remembrance, mercy and blessing, and show how these have been utilised by Sufi masters over times. In particular, we will examine the collection of 101 hadith qudsi (Mishkāt al-anwār) made by the 'greatest Master', Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi (1165-1240).

In this course we will approach the topic through original texts in translation, contemplation and group discussion, as well as readings from secondary literature and comparative studies with other traditions.

Programme details

Courses starts: 18 Jan 2022

Week 0:  An Introduction to Teams – Course orientation

Week 1:  An introduction to hadith qudsi in Islam and Sufism

Week 2:  I shall forgive you

Week 3:  Remember Me

Week 4:  My Mercy prevails over My Anger

Week 5:  Blessing the Prophet


Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from the January 1st after the current full academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.


Description Costs
Course Fee £125.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00


Mr Stephen Hirtenstein

Stephen Hirtenstein is a Senior Research Fellow of the Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi Society, editor of its Journal, and director of Anqa Publishing. He has been studying the works of Ibn 'Arabi for over 40 years, and has taught courses and seminars worldwide.

Course aims

To explore the genre of 'divine sayings' in Islam and Sufism

Course Objectives:

a) to examine the rich tradition of hadith qudsi and how it has been utilised in Sufism

b) to contemplate the themes of forgiveness, love and mercy in the light of these sayings

c) to assess the relevance of this tradition in the modern world

Teaching methods

Tutor-led or student-led introductions to the topics, based on prior reading, and reading of selected source-texts and commentary. Group discussion of key questions raised by the material. The emphasis will be on stimulating discussion, either as a whole class or in smaller groups.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

1) have developed a general framework for understanding the place of Divine Sayings in Islam and Sufism

2) have an appreciation of how these have provided the basis for deep contemplation in Islamic spirituality.

Assessment methods

Students will be able to choose whether to be assessed by Option A, a long written piece (1,000 words), or Option B, a collection of shorter pieces (oral or written) based on the weekly themes, including 5-minute writing tasks and course journal and short presentations.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form - Declaration of Authorship form


We will close for enrolments 7 days prior to the start date to allow us to complete the course set up. We will email you at that time (7 days before the course begins) with further information and joining instructions. As always, students will want to check spam and junk folders during this period to ensure that these emails are received.

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

This course will not require any prior knowledge of Islam or Sufism, and will be appropriate for anyone wishing to delve more deeply into Islamic spirituality.

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)