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Mohammed Arkoun

Mohammed Arkoun
Born (1928-02-01)February 1, 1928
Taourirt Mimoum, Algeria
Died September 14, 2010(2010-09-14) (aged 82)
Paris, France
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Islamic philosophy

Professor Mohammed Arkoun (Berber: Muḥemmed Arkun, Arabic: محمد أركون‎), was an Algerian scholar and thinker of Berber descent. He was born on February 1, 1928 and he died on September 14, 2010. He was considered to have been one of the most influential secular scholars in Islamic studies contributing to contemporary intellectual Islamic reform.[1] 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, secularism, and humanism. During his academic career, he wrote his numerous books mostly in French, and occasionly in English and Arabic. He appeared on numerous occasions on French TV and magazines, on Berbère Television channel speaking in Berber, and on Aljazeera TV speaking in Arabic.


  • Academic career 1
  • Publications 2
    • In English 2.1
    • In Arabic 2.2
    • In French 2.3
    • In Dutch 2.4
    • In Indonesian 2.5
  • Awards 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Academic career

A native of the Kabyle village of Beni Yenni, Tizi Ouzou Province in Kabylie, Algeria, and a native speaker of the Berber language, he studied at the Faculty of Literature of the University of Algiers and at the Sorbonne in Paris (Agrégé in Arabic language and Literature, 1956 and Ph.D., 1968). He established his academic reputation with his studies of the history and philosophy of Ibn Miskawayh. 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, 1994), L'immigration: défis et richesses (Paris, 1998) and The Unthought in Contemporary Islamic Thought (London, 2002).[2] 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 Georgio Levi Della Vida Award for his lifelong contribution to the field of Islamic Studies.

Mohammed Arkoun Library, Paris

Arkoun taught at the Lyon 2 University (1969–1972), as a professor at the Paris 8 University, and at the New Sorbonne University of Paris (1972–1992). He was a Fellow at Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin (1986–1987 and 1990) and at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.A (1992–1993), visiting professor at University of California, Los Angeles (1969), Princeton University (1985), Temple University, the University of Louvain-la-Neuve, Wallonia, Belgium, (1977–1979), the Pontifical Institute of Arabic Studies in Rome and the University of Amsterdam (1991–1993) and served as a jury member for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. At the time of his death he was 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.[3]

Arkoun died on the evening of September 14, 2010, in Paris.[4]


In English

  1. Arab Thought, ed. S.Chand, New Delhi 1988.
  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, California 1988.
  4. The Unthought in Contemporary Islamic Thought, London 2002.
  5. Islam: To Reform or to Subvert, Saqi Books, 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, 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.



  1. ^ Mohammed Arkoun:A Modern Critic of Islamic Reason
  2. ^ "Passing of influential professor of Islamic Studies leaves ‘a gap that will be impossible to fill’". 2010-09-17. Retrieved 2010-09-20. 
  3. ^ "In Memory of Professor Mohammed Arkoun". The Institute of Ismaili Studies. 2010-09-16. Retrieved 2010-09-20. 
  4. ^ "Death in Paris of Mohamed Arkoun". 2010-09-15. Retrieved 2010-09-20. 

External links

  • Wael Abu-Uksa, "Rediscovering the Mediterranean: Political Critic and Mediterraneanism in Mohammed Arkoun’s Thought", Journal of Levantine Studies 1 (Summer 2011): 173-191
  • Autobiography of Mohammad Arkoun in
  • Mohammed Arkoun, "The Struggle for Humanism in Islamic Contexts", Journal of Levantine Studies, 1 (Summer 2011): 155-172.
  • Biography of Arkoun in Center for Islam and Science (CIS) website
  • Interview with M. Arkoun on Rawafid part 1
  • Interview with M. Arkoun on Rawafid part 2
  • Interview with M. Arkoun on Masarat
  • Mohammed Arkoun:A Modern Critic of Islamic Reason
  • Obituary for Mohammed Arkoun on
  • Mohammed Arkoun (1928-2010): Trailblazer for New Approaches to the Study of Islam
  • Obituary for Mohammed Arkoun: A Pioneer of Modern Critical Islam Studies
  • Samir Abuzaid, Professor Muhammad Arkoun,
  • Ursula Günther: Mohammed Arkoun: Towards a radical rethinking of Islamic thought. In: Taji-Farouki, Suha (ed.): Modern Muslim Intellectuals and the Qur’an. London 2004, p. 125-167.
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