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Mohammed Arkoun

Mohammed Arkoun

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Professor Mohammed Arkoun (February 1, 1928 – September 14, 2010) was considered at the time of his death to have been one of the most influential scholars in Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic studies contributing to contemporary islamic reform. In a career of more than 30 years, he had been a critic of the tensions embedded in his field of study, advocating Islamic modernism
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

 and humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....


Academic career

A native of the Berber
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

 village of Taourirt Mimoum
Beni Yenni is a town and commune in Tizi Ouzou Province in northern Algeria....

, Kabylie
Kabylie or Kabylia , is a region in the north of Algeria.It is part of the Tell Atlas and is located at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. Kabylia covers several provinces of Algeria: the whole of Tizi Ouzou and Bejaia , most of Bouira and parts of the wilayas of Bordj Bou Arreridj, Jijel,...

, Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, he studied at the Faculty of Literature of the University of Algiers
' is the capital and largest city of Algeria. According to the 1998 census, the population of the city proper was 1,519,570 and that of the urban agglomeration was 2,135,630. In 2009, the population was about 3,500,000...

 and at the Sorbonne
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

 in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 (Agrégé in Arab Language
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 and Literature
Arabic literature
Arabic literature is the writing produced, both prose and poetry, by writers in the Arabic language. The Arabic word used for literature is adab which is derived from a meaning of etiquette, and implies politeness, culture and enrichment....

, 1956 and Ph.D.
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

, 1968). He established his academic reputation with his studies of the history
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

 and philosophy of Ibn Miskawayh
Ibn Miskawayh
Abu 'Ali Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ya'qub Ibn Miskawayh, also known as Ibn Miskawayh or Ebn Meskavayh was a Persian chancery official of the Buwayhid era, and philosopher and historian from Rey, Iran...

. As he began to consider how one might rethink Islam in the contemporary world, his questioning provided a counterpoint to the predominant interpretations of both the Muslim world and the non-Muslim West. As the editor of Arabica, he broadened the journal's scope, and played a "significant" role in shaping Western-language scholarship on Islam (source?). He is the author of numerous books in French, English and Arabic, including most recently: Rethinking Islam (Boulder, Colorado
Boulder, Colorado
Boulder is the county seat and most populous city of Boulder County and the 11th most populous city in the U.S. state of Colorado. Boulder is located at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of...

, 1994), L'immigration: défis et richesses (Paris, 1998) and The Unthought in Contemporary Islamic Thought (London, 2002). His shorter studies have appeared in many academic journals and his works have been translated into several languages.

He was decorated as an Officer of the French Légion d'honneur
Légion d'honneur
The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Consulat which succeeded to the First Republic, on 19 May 1802...

 in July 1996. In 2001, Professor Arkoun was asked to deliver the Gifford Lectures
Gifford Lectures
The Gifford Lectures were established by the will of Adam Lord Gifford . They were established to "promote and diffuse the study of Natural Theology in the widest sense of the term — in other words, the knowledge of God." The term natural theology as used by Gifford means theology supported...

, which enable a notable scholar to contribute to the advancement of theological
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 and philosophical thought and was announced as the recipient of the Seventeenth Georgio Levi Della Vida Award for his lifelong contribution to the field of Islamic Studies.

Professor Arkoun has taught at the Lyon 2 University
Lumière University Lyon 2
Lumière University Lyon 2 is one of the three universities that comprise the current University of Lyon, having splintered from an older university of the same name, and is primarily based on two campuses in Lyon itself...

 (1969–1972), as a Professor at the Paris 8 University, and at the New Sorbonne University of Paris
University of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle
The New Sorbonne University is a public university in Paris, France.The Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle is a founding member of the Paris Universitas, a union of 6 Parisian universities....

 (1972–1992). He was a Fellow at Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 (1986–1987 and 1990) and at the Institute for Advanced Study
Institute for Advanced Study
The Institute for Advanced Study, located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States, is an independent postgraduate center for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry. It was founded in 1930 by Abraham Flexner...

 in Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton is a community located in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States. It is best known as the location of Princeton University, which has been sited in the community since 1756...

, U.S.A (1992–1993), visiting professor at University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Los Angeles
The University of California, Los Angeles is a public research university located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, USA. It was founded in 1919 as the "Southern Branch" of the University of California and is the second oldest of the ten campuses...

 (1969), Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

 (1985), Temple University
Temple University
Temple University is a comprehensive public research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Originally founded in 1884 by Dr. Russell Conwell, Temple University is among the nation's largest providers of professional education and prepares the largest body of professional...

, the University of Louvain-la-Neuve, Wallonia, Belgium, (1977–1979), the Pontifical Institute of Arabic Studies in Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 and the University of Amsterdam (1991–1993) and served as a jury member for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture
Aga Khan Award for Architecture
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is an architectural prize established by Aga Khan IV in 1977. It aims to identify and reward architectural concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of Islamic societies in the fields of contemporary design, social housing, community...

. He was at his passing Emeritus Professor, at La Sorbonne as well as Senior Research Fellow and member of the Board of Governors of The Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS), At IIS, he has taught various graduate courses including unthought in contemporary Islamic thought, rethinking Islam, contemporary challenges of Muslim world and traditions for almost a decade.

Arkoun died on the evening of September 14, 2010, in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...


In English

  1. Arab Thought, ed. S.Chand, New Delhi
    New Delhi
    New Delhi is the capital city of India. It serves as the centre of the Government of India and the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. New Delhi is situated within the metropolis of Delhi. It is one of the nine districts of Delhi Union Territory. The total area of the city is...

  2. Rethinking Islam : Common questions, Uncommon answers, today, Westview Press, Boulder 1994.
  3. The concept of revelation : from the people of the book to the societies of the book, Claremont Graduate University
    Claremont Graduate University
    Claremont Graduate University is a private, all-graduate research university located in Claremont, California, a city east of downtown Los Angeles...

    , Claremont, California
    Claremont, California
    Claremont is a small affluent college town in eastern Los Angeles County, California, United States, about east of downtown Los Angeles at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. The population as of the 2010 census is 34,926. Claremont is known for its seven higher-education institutions, its...

  4. The Unthought in Contemporary Islamic Thought, London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

  5. Islam: To Reform or to Subvert, Saqi Books
    Saqi Books
    Saqi Books is an independent UK publisher co-founded in 1984 by author and feminist Mai Ghoussoub to "print quality academic and general interest books on the Middle East". It now claims to be "the UK's largest publisher of Middle Eastern and Arabic titles"...

    , London, 2006.

Title number five is a revised edition of title number four.

In Arabic

  1. Al-Fikr al-'arabiyy, éd.'Uwaydat, Beyrouth 1979.
  2. Al-Islâm: Asâla wa Mumârasa, Beyrouth 1986.
  3. Ta'rîkhiyyat al-fikr al-'arabiyy al-islâmiyy, éd. Markaz al-inmâ' al-qawmiyy, Beyrouth 1986.
  4. Al-Fikr al-islâmiyy: Qirâ'a 'ilmiyya, éd. Markaz..., 1987.
  5. Al-islâm: al-Akhlâq wal-Siyâsa, éd. Markaz..., 1988.
  6. Al-Islâm: Naqd wa-jtihâd, éd. Dâr al-Sâqî, Beyrouth 1990.
  7. Al-'almana wa-l-dîn, Dâr al-Sâqî 1990.
  8. Mina-l-ijtihâd ilâ naqd al-'aql al-islâmî, Dâr al-Sâqî 1991.
  9. Min Faysal al-Tafriqa ilâ Fasl-al-Maqâl: Ayna huwa-l-Fikr al-islâmiyy al-mu‘âsir, Dâr al-Sâqî 1993.
  10. Al-Islâm, Urubbâ, wal-Gharb: Rihânât al-ma'nâ wa Irâdât al-Haymana, Dâr al-Sâqî 1995.
  11. Naz‘at al-Ansana fî-l-fikr al-‘arabiyy, Dâr al-Sâqî 1997.
  12. Qadâyâ fî Naqd al-Fikr al-dînî, Dâr al-Talî‘a, Beyrouth 1998.
  13. Al-Fikr al-usûlî wal-stihâlat al-Ta’sîl, Dâr al-Sâqî 1999.
  14. Ma‘ârik min ajli-l-ansana fî-l-siyâqât al-islâmiyya, Dâr al-sâqî, 2001.
  15. Min al-Tafsîr al-mawrûth ilâ tahlîl al-khitâb al-dînî, Dâr al-Talî‘a, Beyrouth 2001.

In French

  1. Deux Epîtres de Miskawayh, édition critique, B.E.O, Damas, 1961.
  2. Aspects de la pensée islamique classique, IPN, Paris 1963.
  3. L'humanisme arabe au 4e/10e siècle, J.Vrin, 2°éd. 1982.
  4. Traité d'Ethique, Trad., introd., notes du Tahdhîb al-akhlâq de Miskawayh, 1e éd.1969; 2e éd.1988.
  5. Essais sur la pensée islamique, 1e éd. Maisonneuve & Larose, Paris 1973; 2e éd. 1984.
  6. La Pensée arabe, 1e éd. P.U.F., Paris 1975; 6e éd. 2002.
  7. L'islam, hier, demain, by Mohammed Arkoun & Louis Gardet
    Louis Gardet
    Louis Gardet was a French Roman Catholic priest and historian. As an author he was an expert in Islamic culture and sociology who caught a sympathetic view on Islam as a religion. He considered himself "a Christian philosopher of cultures"...

    , 2e éd. Buchet-Chastel, Paris 1982; translation in Arabic, Beyrouth 1983.
  8. L'islam, religion et société, éd. Cerf, Paris 1982; translated in Italia, RAI 1980.
  9. Religion et laïcité: Une approche laïque de l'islam, L'Arbrelle, Centre Thomas More, 1989.
  10. Lectures du Coran, 1e éd. Paris 1982; 2e Aleef, Tunis 1991.
  11. Ouvertures sur l'islam, 1e éd. J. Grancher 1989.
  12. L’islam. Approche critique, Le livre du mois, Club du livre 2002.
  13. Pour une critique de la Raison islamique, Paris 1984.
  14. L'islam, morale et politique, UNESCO-Desclée 1986.
  15. Combats pour l’Humanisme en contextes islamiques, Paris 2002.
  16. The Unthought in Contemporary Islamic Thought, London 2002.
  17. De Manhattan à Bagdad: Au-delà du Bien et du Mal, Paris 2003.
  18. L´islam et les musulmans dans le monde. Paris 1993.

In Dutch

  1. Islam in Discussie, 24 vragen over de islam, éd. Uitgeverij Contact, Amsterdam 1993.
  2. Islam & De Democratie; Een ontmoeting, en collaboration avec Frits Bolkestein, Uitgeverij Contact, Amsterdam 1994.
  3. Plusieurs articles et interviews dans Revues et journaux néerlandais.. / Meerdere artikels en interviews in Nederlandse kranten en tijdschriften..

In Indonesian

  1. Nalar islami dan nalar modern: Berbagai Tantangan dan jalan Baru, trans. Johan H. Meuleman, INIS, Jakarta 1994.
  2. Berbagai Pembacaan Quran, trans. Johan H. Meuleman, INIS, Jakarta 1997, 256 p.

External links

  1. Autobiography of Mohammad Arkoun in Ibn-rush.org
  2. Biography of Arkoun in Center for Islam and Science (CIS) website
  3. Interview with M. Arkoun on Rawafid part 1
  4. Interview with M. Arkoun on Rawafid part 2
  5. Mohammed Arkoun:A Modern Critic of Islamic Reason
  6. Obituary for Mohammed Arkoun on Qantara.de
  7. Mohammed Arkoun (1928-2010): Trailblazer for New Approaches to the Study of Islam