Lesson Plans & Guiding Questions
The Book of Golden Meadows: Evaluating The Early Caliphs
Students will read a tenth century history of early caliphs and evaluate their rule based on al-Mawardi's lists of qualifications and duties for a caliph (from Framing the Issues #3).
For Grade Level(s): 9–12
Time Needed: Two 45–60 minute classes and one night's homework, or two night’s homework and one class.
1. What can we tell about the values of a historic society by examining different kinds of sources? What do these sources on rulers and leadership reveal in particular?
2. What makes a good ruler? When examining al-Mawardi’s and al-Masu'di’s descriptions of rulership, what commonalities and differences emerge with regard to their ideas of the qualities of a good ruler? How do their ideas of good leadership compare with what might be required of a ruler today?
3. What are the different purposes of different kinds of written sources? How does understanding the bias and intended audience add to or detract from its usefulness as historical evidence?
What IS the difference between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims?
Students will read an article about Sunnis and Shi'ites, then create a Venn diagram to plot similarities and differences between the two.
For Grade Level(s): 8–12
Time Needed: One class period (45–60 minutes)
1. What are the differences between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims? Why is understanding this important?
2. How is continuity of leadership important to the idea of Muslim identity in the present and in the past? What are the possible ramifications when that continuity is broken?