Sunday, 3 July 2011

Intellectual historian Ibrahim Abu-Rabi' dies in Amman

M. Ibrahim Abu-Rabi'
M. Ibrahim Abu-Rabi', a leading expert on contemporary Muslim thought passed away in Amman on 2 July 2011. An academic with appointments as Professor of Islamic Studies and co-Director of the Duncan Black MacDonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Theological Seminary in Connecticut and at the University of Alberta in Canada, Abu-Rabi' began making a name as a specialist in the intellectual history of the present-day Muslim world in the mid-1990s.

 A graduate of Bir Zeit University on the West Bank, Nazareth-born Abu-Rabi' held two MAs from the University of Cincinnati and Temple University, where he also completed his PhD in the study of religions. His studies of the writings and ideas of contemporary thinkers and scholars from the Arabic-speaking parts, published under the titles Intellectual Origins of Islamic Resurgence in the Modern Arab World and Contemporary Arab Thought: Studies in Post-1967 Arab Intellectual History are now regarded as seminal works on the intellectual history of the modern Middle East. He also edited the Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Islamic Thought.


More recently, Abu-Rabi's interests turned to Turkey, focusing in particular on the writings of the leading 20th-century thinker and Sufi, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (ca. 1875-1960) and Fethullah Gülen. This shift prefigures the new awareness among Arab-Muslim activists associated with the recent  seismic shifts in North Africa and the Middle East of the relevance of developments in Turkish civil society and its intellectual underpinnings for the further unfolding of the 'Arab Spring' of 2011 (cf. also my blog post of 5 February 2011). Sadly, Abu-Rabi' will no longer provide us with insights and reflections on what will most certainly be recognized in future assessments of these developments as both a political watershed and intellectual paradigm shift of magnitude even greater than the traumatic events of 1967.

For links to Abu-Rabi's publications, click on the images below

Contemporary Arab Thought: Studies in Post-1967 Arab Intellectual HistoryIntellectual Orig Islamic Resurgen (Suny Series, Near Eastern Studies)Islam at the Crossroads: On the Life and Thought of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (Suny Series in Near Eastern Studies)Spiritual Dimensions of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi's: Risale-i-nurTheodicy and Justice in Modern Islamic ThoughtThe Contemporary Arab Reader on Political Islam
 September 11: Religious Perspectives on the Causes and Consequences (One World (Oxford))Contemporary Islamic Conversations: M. Fethullah Gulen on Turkey, Islam, and the WestThe Empire and the Crescent: Global Implications for a New American CenturyThe Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Islamic Thought (Blackwell Companions to Religion)