RELIGIOUS STUDIES 681, fall 2006
Readings in Islamicate Literatures
Topic: Advanced Urdu Texts
Instructor: Carl W. Ernst
UNC-Chapel Hill

Tuesdays, 11:00 a.m.- 1:50 p.m.
We normally meet in the Saunders seminar room, but if that is unavailable, the official location is Hamilton 517 (to 12:50 p.m. only).
There will be no class on October 10 due to an outside commitment.


This course involves close and careful study of selected Urdu texts on the intellectual history of Muslim South Asia, with attention to the vocabulary and grammar of Urdu including Persian and Arabic elements. Scanned texts will be added to this website as the semester progresses. Each week students prepare selected passages, read them aloud with correct vocalization, and translate orally into English.
An ongoing theme is current issues in modern scholarship on Islamic culture in South Asia, with particular attention to the religious sciences and Sufism, as well as the nature of research tools for the study of Urdu texts.


Advanced knowledge of Urdu, and permission of instructor.


The basic goals of the course are:

Gaining linguistic skill in reading and translating classical Urdu religious texts.

Understanding problems related to the study of Islam, and methods of the study of classical Urdu texts.

Developing analytical skills through a research paper on a subject of one's choice related to the intellectual history of Muslim South Asia.

Developing translation skills, including English translation of significant Urdu passages relating to one's research.


A research paper on some aspect of South Asian Islamic culture related to the major text we are reading (15 pages plus bibliography), accompanied by translations of Urdu texts that provide the basis for the paper (4-5 pages of Urdu text). 70% of grade.

Participation in weekly seminars with preparation. 30% of grade.



Hajji Imdad Allah Muhajir Makki, Faysala-i Haft Mas'ala, in Kulliyyat-i Imdadiyya (Karachi: Dar al-Isha`at, 1397/1976), pp. 77-86.

Anonymous, "Treatise on the science of yoga and asceticism" (Risala-i `ilm-i jog awr riyadat), MS 1997/1-47 Tasawwuf Urdu, Asafiyya Collection, Hyderabad, India, fols. 92b-118a

Gul Hasan Qadiri, Tazkira-i Ghawsiyya (Delhi: Matba`-i Faruqi, 1301/1883-4), pp. 8-17

Majlis of Qasim
, MS Hyderabad

General Reference:

Platts, John T. A dictionary of Urdu, classical Hindi, and English. London: W. H. Allen & Co., 1884. Online version (Roman script only) available here.