Lesson Plans & Guiding Questions
Women and Family in the Islamic World
Students will read selections from the Qur’an and a New York Times article on women in Islam, and speculate about why the Qur’an was revolutionary in its provisions for women when it was revealed, as well as why many parts of the Islamic world are often seen as backward in their treatment of women.
For Grade Level(s): 7–10
Time Needed: 1 class period and 1 night’s homework, or ½ class period and 2 night’s homework, or two class periods.
1. What are some of the problems of applying gender and family laws created 1000-1400 years ago to 21st-century social situations?
2. Why is it so hard to change ideas and worldviews?
3. What stereotypes about the Islamic world are reinforced when we only hear about the bad things that happen in Islamic societies? How might this reinforce a false sense of superiority in Westernized nations?
The Pact of Umar
Students will read two translations of the Pact of Umar as well as a short section of the Quran, and analyze the importance of these writings in the context of inter-ethnic or inter-religious relations in the early Islamic world.
For Grade Level(s): 6–10
Time Needed: One class period
1. Why are the issues of identity so prominent in these primary sources? What does that tell us about the society that created them?
2. How would the kinds of concessions made for Jews and Christians in the early centuries of Islam create a tendency toward pluralistic societies? How might these be seen in modern society as more restrictive than lenient?