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Wilferd Madelung

Wilferd Madelung

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Wilferd Ferdinand Madelung (born 26 December 1930) is a scholar of Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. He was born in Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, where he completed his early education at Eberhard-Ludwigs-Gymnasium
Eberhard-Ludwigs-Gymnasium is a gymnasium in Stuttgart established in 1686.-History:The school was established in 1686 as Gymnasium illustre. In 1881, during the reign of Charles I of Württemberg, because of overcrowding, the Karls-Gymnasium was established and took over 18 of its 39 classes...


His family moved to the United States in (or after?) 1947, and he studied at Georgetown University
Georgetown University
Georgetown University is a private, Jesuit, research university whose main campus is in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Founded in 1789, it is the oldest Catholic university in the United States...

. In 1952, he went to Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and stayed there for a year. During his stay the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, initiated by the Free Officers, occurred. He also met Ihsan Abbas, the famous scholar of Islamic History, there.

On leaving Egypt he went back to Germany and completed his Ph.D in 1957, working with Spuler. In 1958 he was sent to Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 by the German government to work at its embassy there. Shortly after his arrival in Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

, Brigadier Abd al-Karim Qasim overthrew the regime in the bloody military coup known as the 14 July Revolution
14 July Revolution
The 14 July Revolution was a coup which took place on 14 July 1958 in Iraq, marking the overthrow of the Hashemite monarchy established by King Faisal I in 1932 under the auspices of the British. In 1958, the coup overthrew King Faisal II, the regent and Crown Prince 'Abd al-Ilah, and Prime...

. Madelung stayed in Iraq two more years. Subsequently, he taught at the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...


Madelung was Laudian Professor of Arabic
Laudian Professor of Arabic
The position of Laudian Professor of Arabic at the University of Oxford was established in 1636 by William Laud, who at the time was Chancellor of the University of Oxford and Archbishop of Canterbury. The first professor was Edward Pococke, who was working as a chaplain in Aleppo in what is now...

 at the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

 from 1978 to 1998. He has written extensively on the early history of Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, as well as on Islamic sects such as the Shi'a and the Ismaili
' is a branch of Shia Islam. It is the second largest branch of Shia Islam, after the Twelvers...

s. He has served on the editorial board
Editorial board
The editorial board is a group of people, usually at a publication, who dictate the tone and direction the publication's editorial policy will take.- Board makeup :...

s of several academic journal
Academic journal
An academic journal is a peer-reviewed periodical in which scholarship relating to a particular academic discipline is published. Academic journals serve as forums for the introduction and presentation for scrutiny of new research, and the critique of existing research...

s including the Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies
Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies
The Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies, often abbreviated to JAIS, is an international, peer-reviewed academic journal. It was founded in 1995 by Joseph N. Bell from the University of Bergen, Norway and Petr Zemánek from Charles University in Prague. The current editor is Alex Metcalfe of...

. He is currently a Senior research fellow at the Institute for Ismaili Studies in London


  • Madelung, W. (editor) - Arabic Texts Concerning The History of The Zaydi Imams of Tabaristan, Daylaman And Gilan, Franz Steiner, 1987
  • Madelung, W. - Religious Trends in Early Islamic Iran, 1988
  • Madelung, W. - Religious and Ethnic Movements in Medieval Islam, 1992
  • Madelung, W. - The Succession to Muhammad, Cambridge University Press, 1997
  • Madelung, W. and Walker, P. - An Ismaili Heresiography, Leiden, 1998
  • Madelung, W. and Walker, P. - The Advent of the Fatimids: A Contemporary Shi'i Witness, I.B. Tauris, 2000
  • Madelung, W. - Der Imam al-Qasim ibn Ibrahim und die Glaubenslehre der Zaiditen, Walter De Gruyter Incorporated, 2002
  • Madelung, W. - Religious school and sects in medieval Islam

External links

  • Institute for Ismaili Studies - festschrift
    In academia, a Festschrift , is a book honoring a respected person, especially an academic, and presented during his or her lifetime. The term, borrowed from German, could be translated as celebration publication or celebratory writing...

    in honour of Wilferd Madelung.