Scholar in the field of Islamic studies
The philosophical and intellectual ideals of the Enlightenment profoundly influenced the work of Muhammad Arkoun.
In the 'golden age' of classical Islam, from the eight to the 12th centuries, Islamic humanism flourished leading to the rise and flowering of religious science, literature, the humanities and the arts. The elevation of reason by this humanism, argued Arkoun, not only led to the advancement of natural sciences, but had an impact on religious sciences, furnishing them with tools of reasoning that enabled them to develop into highly sophisticated system of thought.
In his works such as Contribution à l'Étude de l'Humanisme Arabe (1970) and Essais sur la Pensée Islamique (1973) Arkoun explains the reasons for the prolong Muslims' decline with Islamic thought from the 13th century. In his 1984 seminal work, Pour une Critique de la Raison Islamique, Arkoun develops the nature of his scholarly and intellectual work.
In 1996, Arkoun was decorated as an officer of the French Légion d'honneur.
Born in Algeria, in the Berber village of Taourirt-Mimoun, Muhammad Arkoun studied Arabic and French. After studying at the University of Algiers he went to the Sorbonne, in Paris, where he was eventually to stay as a professor of Islamic studies.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan / Ghulam Mohiuddin