Guest post by Jurek Molnar
The Moroccan philosopher Mohammed Abed Al-Jabri (1935 – 2010) is said to be the most important contemporary Arab thinker, whose work is well acknowledged among Arab and Muslim audiences, but was until a decade ago completely unknown in the West.
Thanks to efforts of some Western Arab speaking researchers, parts of his works were translated first into French, and then later into English and German. Al-Jabri became widely known in Arab faculties and among philosophically interested readers in the Islamic world when he published “The Critique of Arab Reason”, which appeared in four volumes between 1984 and 2001 in Morocco.
He was born in Morocco into a simple working class family in 1935 and because of his talents he received further education. He started as an elementary teacher and became engaged in politics, first as a union activist in the teachers’ union, later as an intellectual connected to leftwing parties in Morocco. Most of his working life he was a professor of literature and philosophy at the University of Rabat who worked on behalf of the Moroccan government and influenced the curricula of upper school grades and university students.
While he wrote intensively about the crisis of Arab societies as an expert on literature, language and philosophy, his main focus of political activism has been the field of education policies, the fight against illiteracy and the poor conditions of schools and intellectual life in the Arab world. As a reaction to the terrorist attacks of 2001 he concentrated his efforts on commentary on the Qur’an from a linguistic and interpretive point of view in order to tackle and denounce Islamism on grounds of Islamic scripture.
Read more about Mohammed Abed Al-Jabri and his work here.