About the Authors

The people who wrote the books published by IBT and TOP come from all backgrounds. They represent a wide spectrum of scholarship, encompassing all the recognised schools of thought in Islam as well as experts in their respective fields.

Below we have selected the most prolific of these authors, and offer a brief sketch about each of them. The names are arranged alphabetically according to the spellings used in our publications. More authors will be added soon.

Abd al-Rahman 'Azzam
Abdullah Yusuf 'Ali
Ali Shariati
• Alija Izetbegovic
Annemarie Schimmel
Ibn Ashur
Kalim Siddiqui
Malik Bennabi
Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall

Muhammad Asad
Muzaffar Iqbal
Ruhullah Musawi Khomeini
Sayyid Abul A'la Mawdudi
Sayyid Qutb
Shaykh Nasir al-Din al-Albani
Yusuf al-Qaradawi
Toshihiko Izutsu

 

 


Abd al-Rahman 'Azzam
(1893-1976)

The father and first secretary-general of the Arab League (1945-1952), Abd al-Rahman Azzam has served Egypt in the diplomatic service and in Parliament, and represented governments in delicate negotiations. When Italy conquered Libya, then an Ottoman province in 1911, Azzam volunteered against the Italian invaders and himself going to the battlefront. During World War I, he left Egypt and fought alongside Sanusi forces in Cyrenaica (east Libya) and the Egyptian western desert. Azzam Pasha, as he is known, was passionately opposed to the partition of Palestine to create a Zionist state (1948), but one of his first acts as secretary-general was to condemn anti-Jewish rioting in Egypt in 1945 during which Jewish and non-Muslim properties were destroyed.

Works include:
The Eternal Message of Muhammad


Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali
(1872-1953)

Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali is most famous for his monumental English translation of the Qur’an, The Holy Qur’an: Text, Translation and Commentary, later published, printed and distributed on an unprecendented scale. Born in Gujrat, India to a Bohra family (a mercantile community in India), Yusuf ‘Ali belonged to both East and West, had an abiding faith in the British, acting as a publicist for the Allied cause. In his childhood, he became well-versed in Arabic, and later went to an English school. At 19, he obtained a first-class degree in Classics and that won him a scholarship to England, where his relationship with the British Empire began. He wrote extensively on social, political and historical issues, as well as articles and reviews on Islam, in various journals. But it was his translation and commentary of the Qur’an now available in countless editions which stands out as the most widely circulated work of 20th century Islamic scholarship. Despite his public acclaim, Yusuf ‘Ali died a lonely man, according to his biography, Searching for Solace. He was found on a cold winter as a confused old man outside a house in Westminster, England. The police took him to a home for the elderly, but days later, on 9 December 1953, he died of heart attack.


Ali Shariati
(1933-1977)

A teacher, scholar and writer, Shariati, the son of Muhammad Taqi Shariati–the famous Iranian scholar–had a dynamic influence on the young people of Iran with his free lectures and writings during the 1960s and 1970s. A sociologist, he was educated in Mashhad (Iran) and Paris, as well as a student of history and philosophy. He subjected contemporary society to careful examination, using the terms, experiences and concepts found in Islamic philosophy and culture for his analysis. He formulated a coherent Islamic worldview and an ideology of social, political and economical change. His views have contributed much to the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979. He was imprisoned by the Shah regime in the 1970s, and mysteriously died at the age of forty-four on June 19, 1977. His works are constantly reprinted and eagerly studied throughout Iran and the rest of the Muslim world.

Works include:
The Hajj
On the Sociology of Islam
The History of Religions
Existentialism
Renaissance
Martyrdom
Islamology
Marxism and Other Western Fallacies

 


Annemarie Schimmel
(1922-2003)

Dr Schimmel was an influential German scholar who wrote extensively on Islam, having authored more than a hundred books on the subject. She was showered with many other awards from many countries, but the 1995 prestigious Peace Prize of the German Book Trade caused a controversy in Germany, as she had spoken against Salman Rushdie and his blasphemous work, The Satanic Veses. The scholar started to learn Arabic at the age of 15, in an effort to better understand Islamic teachings. She also spoke fluent Farsi, Turkish, English, Urdu and Dari. She had lectured in Ankara, Bonn, Harvard, New York, and London.

Works include:
And Muhammad Is His Messenger
Deciphering the Signs of God: A Phenomenological Approach to Islam
Rumi's World: The Life and Works of the Greatest Sufi Poet
Islam: An Introduction
Islamic Calligraphy
Make A Shield From Wisdom: Selected Verses from Nasir-i-Khusraw's Divan
Gabriel's Wing: Study into the Religious Ideas of Sir Muhammad Iqbal
Mystical Dimensions of Islam

 


Ibn Ashur
(1879-1973)

Born in Tunis to an affluent family, Ibn Ashur entered the prestigious Zaytuna School at the age of 13, being taught there by eminent reform-minded professors of the time. He quickly rose to various prominent positions and in 1927, he was appointed the chief judge, before being named “Shaykh al-Islam”, the highest scholarly rank in the country. He wrote in leading journals published in Tunisia, Egypt and Syria. His most famous work, Maqasid al-Shariah, is a pioneering study of Shariah, the result of a deep and serious study of the revitalization of Islamic jurisprudence. Ibn Ashur remains 20th-century Tunisia’s most well-known Muslim scholar.

Works include:
Tafsir al-Tahrir wa al-Tanwir (multi-volume tafsir on the Qur'an)
Kashf al-Muwatta
Al-Nazar al-Fasih (commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari)
Alaysa al-Subh bi-Qarib
Usual al-Nizam al-Ijtima'i fi al-Islam
Maqasid al-Shari'ah al-Islamiyyah


Kalim Siddiqui
(1931-1996)

Dr Kalim Siddiqui was perhaps Britain's best-known Muslim personality in the late eighties and nineties. Born in India, he became a student leader during his youth, migrating to Britain in 1954. He rose in the journalism field and became a sub-editor and correspondent for The Guardian, a position rarely filled by a Muslim in those days. He set up The Muslim Institute in 1972, which rose to become a world-renowned centre of Islamic movement and activism, holding seminars in the early eighties to disspell the heightened Western propaganda against Islam in the wake of the Islamic revolution in Iran. Sometimes described by the British media as "Britain's Ayatollah", Kalim also co-founded the Crescent International, a newsmagazine of current events in the Muslim world, which continues until today. Little was known of him outside Britain, until The Satanic Verses affair in 1989 sparked by Salman Rushdie's book insulting Islam. Kalim's charisma and deep understanding of how British policy works, immediately gained him recognition as the voice of British Muslims. In 1992, he controversially set up the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain, thereby sparking a debate on Muslims' future in Britain. Kalim's biggest contribution, however, was not in community affairs, but in his writings and brilliant analyses of the global Islamic movement. His last work published weeks before his death in 1996, Stages of Islamic Revolution, remains an important reference material of Islamic political movement and is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding Muslim political thought.

Works include:
The Seerah: a power perspective
Processes of Error, Deviation, Correction and Convergence in Muslim Political Thought
Stages of Islamic Revolution


Malik Bennabi
(1905-1973)

Malik Bennabi could easily be regarded as the most eminent scholar and thinker of post-World War II Algeria and one of the foremost intellectuals of the Arab world. Bennabi’s interest however does not reflect his early education: he was a graduate of electrical engineering from a polytechnic school in Paris. Fluent in Arabic and French, he is regarded as a grand theory-builder whose work is a critical response to the intellectual climate of his time. Bennabi’s best-known discourse, The Qur’anic Phenomenon provides a fresh approach to the study of the Qur’an at a time some orientalists were subverting Islam under guise of ‘scientific‘ inquiry.

Works include:
The Qur’anic Phenomenon
On the Origins of Human Society
Islam in History and Society
L’Afro-Asiatisme
Memoirs of a Witness of the Century
Les Conditions de La Renaissance
Les Grands Thèmes
The Question of Culture
The Question of Ideas in the Muslim World


Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall
(1875-1936)


Marmaduke Pickthall is best remembered as the first Englishman who was a Muslim to translate the Qur’an into English, The Meaning of the Glorious Qur'an. He was also a prolific writer on the issues that concerned Muslims during his lifetime– Turkey, India, Islam–as well as a novelist and short story writer. Born into a devout Christian family in England, and whose father was a clergyman, Pickthall converted to Islam, and enamoured of the Islamic world by living and working in India. Pickthall died on May 19, 1936, and is buried at Woking, England.

Works include:
The Near Eastern Short Stories
The House of Islam
The Cultural Side of Islam
Islam and Progress
All Fools
Saïd the Fisherman
Knights of Araby
The House of War
The Early Hours
Veiled Women


Muhammad Asad
(1900-1992)

Muhammad Asad’s name figures prominently on the roll of 20th-century English-language Muslim thinkers. Born as Leopold Weiss into a Polish family of strong Jewish background, he was a gifted young writer and adventurous traveler who journeyed to the East to discover Islam. The result of his travels is a highly charged and brilliantly written autobiography, The Road to Mecca. He found the Muslim world an unexpected tonic: its complexities, temperament and sense of spiritual security intrigued him. Over the decades that followed, he became the most articulate and passionate of Muslim scholars and writers, devoted to the revival of his faith and its reconciliation with the modern world. At 80, he completed his translation and commentary of the Qur’an, The Message of the Qur’an. He had also undertaken a translation of Sahih al-Bukhari, the collected books of Prophetic traditions, but all his translations except one were destroyed during the chaos that followed World War II.

Works include:
The Message of the Qur’an
Islam at the Crossroads
Sahih al-Bukhari: The Early Years of Islam
This Law of Ours and Other Essays
The Principles of State and Government in Islam
Home-Coming of the Heart
The Unromantic Orient
Meditations


Muzaffar Iqbal
(b.1954)

A scientist by training, an Islamic scholar by vocation, a novelist, and a poet, Muzaffar Iqbal is the founder-president of Center for Islam and Science, Canada, and editor of Islam & Science, a journal on science and civilization from Islamic perspectives. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from University of Saskatchewan, Canada, but most of his published work is related to Islam and various aspects of Islamic civilization, including the Islamic scientific tradition. Born in Lahore, Pakistan, he has lived in Canada since 1979. He has held academic and research positions at University of Saskatchewan (1979-1984), University of Wisconsin-Madison (1984-85), and McGill University (1986). During 1990-1999, he lived and worked in Pakistan, first as Director (Scientific Information) for the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) and later as a director at Pakistan Academy of Sciences. He is currently working on a major project, Integrated Encyclopedia of the Qur'an, a first of its kind reference work on the Qur'an. He is also the General Editor of Ashgate's forthcoming series, Islam and Science: Historic and Contemporary Perspectives.

Works include:
The Making of Islam and Science
God, Life and the Cosmos: Christian and Islamic Perspectives
Science and Islam
Islam, Science, Muslims, and Technology (co-authored with Seyyed Hossein Nasr)
Dawn in Madinah: A Pilgrim’s Passage
Dew on Sunburnt Roses and other Quantum Notes
Definitive Encounters: Islam, Muslims, and the West
Divan al-Hallaj
Colours of Loneliness


Ruhullah Musawi Khomeini
(1902-1989)

Ruhullah Musawi Khomeini was the charismatic leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran which saw the overthrow of the Shah of Iran through a popular uprising. He was considered a marja‘-e taqlid (source of emulation), the highest authority on religious laws in Shi‘i-Islamic tradition. Immensely popular in the Muslim world, his return from exile, his proclamation of the Islamic Republic and his death were considered momentous events of the twentieth century, shaping the political landscape of contemporary Muslim world. Before the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini taught at the seminaries of Qum and Najaf, and his views often defied the traditional ‘ulama in Iran. He authored more than two hundred works on the commentary of the Qur’an, Hadith, Islamic law, politics, philosophy, ethics, mysticism, gnosticism, poetry and literature.

Works include:
Wilayat al-Faqih (Governance of the Jurist)
Forty Hadith
Adab al-Salah (Disciplines of Prayer)
Tahrir al-Wasilah (A Clarification of Questions)
The Greatest Jihad
See also: Imam Khomeini: Life, Thought and Legacy


Sayyid Abul A'la Mawdudi
(1903-1979)

Mawlana Mawdudi is perhaps the 21st century’s most well-known Muslim scholar from the Indian sub-continent. His writings in Urdu are translated into numerous languages all over the world. He founded the Jama‘at-e-Islami and was active in political and social works. He suffered imprisonment and was even sentenced to death by the Pakistan regime in 1953. His ideas and thought expressed in his famous periodical, The Tarjuman al-Qur’an had created controversies and sparked criticisms from ulama of that time, but have become an inspiration to millions of Muslims today and required readings in institutions of higher learning. His magnum opus, Understanding the Qur’an, an exegesis of the holy book, was completed shortly before he died in 1979. His works established his place in the annals of Islamic revivalist thought.

Works include:
A Short History of the Revivalist Movement in Islam
Jihad in Islam
Understanding the Qur’an
The Religion of Truth
Islam and Ignorance
On Education
Towards Understanding Islam
The Process of Islamic Revolution
Biography of the Last Prophet


Sayyid Qutb
(1906-1966)

The saying that 'the pen is mightier than the sword' accurately describes the life-story of Sayyid Qutb. Trained as a teacher, he raised his voice–indeed his pen–against un-Islamic ideologies, which he termed as ‘jahiliyyah’ (ignorance), gripping the Muslim world. He also wrote novels, poems, autobiographies and literary criticisms. He later became active in Egypt’s Ikhwanul Muslimun organisation. In 1954, he was arrested by the Egyptian secret service and was tortured for hours. It was during his long confinements in prison that he completed his magnum opus, In the Shade of the Qur’an.
On August 29, 1966, he was sent to the gallows by the Nasser regime after being found ‘guilty’of a ludicrous charge of plotting a Marxist coup. The specific charge against him was based on his now-celebrated book, Milestones (or Signposts). Sayyid Qutb lives in the hearts of millions of Muslims worldwide, his books translated into virtually every language that Muslims read.

His works include:
In the Shade of the Qur’an (Tafsir of the Qur'an)
Social Justice in Islam
Milestones
Ashwak (Thorns)
Mihimmat al-Sha’ir fil-Hayah (The Task of the Poet in Life)
The Socialism of Islam


Shaykh Nasir al-Din al-Albani
(1914-1999)

Shaykh Muhammad Nasir al-Din, or al-Albani as he was most famously known, was born into a poor and religious family in Albania. His family migrated to Damascus, Syria, where al-Albani completed his initial education.
Al-Albani was also trained by his father in the art of clock and watch repair and soon derived his earnings through it. By the age of twenty, al-Albani began to engross himself in Hadith studies, annotating and transcribing Hadith works by famous scholars. He would sometimes close up his shop and retreat to the famous al-Zahiriyyah library. The result of this is many useful works on Hadith and Fiqh, studied without any inclination towards a particular school of thought. His works are not without controversies as some of his works were critical of the traditional works by mainstream jurists. Despite this, al-Albani himself had high respect for the traditional scholars of the various schools of thought whom he criticised. In 1999, he was awarded the King Faisal International Prize for Islamic Studies.

Works include:
Sifah al-Salah al-Nabi (The Salah)
Sahih wa Dha’if Jami’ Saghir, authenticated works originally compiled by al-Suyuti
Sahihs of Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah
Sahih wa Dhaeef Adabul Mufrad of al-Bukhari
Mishkat al-Masabih, authenticated version of the original work.



Yusuf al-Qaradawi
(b. 1926)

Yusuf al-Qaradawi is one of the most prominent Muslim scholars today. Born in Egypt, he was educated at Al-Azhar University. His contributions in the field of Islamic scholarship are noteworthy, having written more than fifty books, many of which have been translated into Turkish, Persian, Urdu and Malay. He heads many international Muslim organisations and chairs advisory boards of various Shari‘ah committees. In 2004, he founded the Dublin-based International Union for Muslim Scholars, an organisation comprising Muslim scholars from all over the world representing different schools of Islamic thought.

Works include:
Fiqh al-Zakah
Priorities of the Islamic Movement in the Coming Phase
Towards a Sound Awakening
The Status of Women in Islam
Islamic Awakening between Rejection and Extremism
The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam [out of stock]
Islam: An Introduction (English adaptation of Madhkal li Ma'rifah al-Islam)


Toshihiko Izutsu
(1914-1993)

Toshihiko Izutsu was born into a wealthy family in Japan. His father was a calligrapher and a Zen Buddhist, and Izutsu became familiar with meditation and koans (sayings and teachings followed by the Zens) from an early age. Izutsu was a well known Japanese scholar on Islam, having taught at Keio University, McGill University, Montreal and the Iranian Imperial Academy of Philosophy, Tehran. Izutsu's area of study was wide, and more than thirty scholarly works in Japanese and English are attributed to him, all of which demonstrate uniqueness of his thought through the construction of complex theoretical arguments. Complementing this brilliance was his mastery of over twenty languages, including Hebrew, Persian, Chinese, Turkish, Sanskrit and Arabic, in addition to many modern European languages. In 1958, he completed translation of the Quran, for the first time directly from Arabic to Japanese.

Works include:
God and Man in the Qur'an
The Concept of Belief in Islamic Theology
Ethico-Religious Concepts in the Qur'an
A Comparative Study of the Key Philosophical Concepts in Sufism and Taoism
The Concept and Reality of Existence
History of Islamic Thought (Japanese)
Language and Magic - Studies in the Magical Function of Speech
Mystical Philosophy (Japanese)
Cosmos and Anti-Cosmos (Japanese)

 
 
 

 

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