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The IU Bloomington Libraries' Philosophy collection supports research and teaching in all branches of philosophy.


Philosophy has long centered the perspective and contributions of white male thinkers, especially from Europe and the U.S. Here,, we have compiled a guide highlighting just a few of the influential Islamic thinkers in order to expand the horizons of philosophy as it is currently understood and learn about the history and achievements of Islamic philosophers. Their works challenge us to think outside of dominant viewpoints. These thinkers represent only a handful of the many important Islamic philosophers of history and today, and we hope you'll continue to learn and explore beyond the scholars and lineages of thought we've highlighted here.

Further Reading & Exploration

Next Steps

One research guide is of course never enough to fully honor and celebrate the history and culture of marginalized communities, let alone heal the legacies (and ongoing reality) of harm they've experienced. We recognize that there is much more to be done, that racism and hate against Muslim individuals and communities can't be eliminated simply through the creation of resource guides, and that the work of realizing justice won't soon be over. But nevertheless, we keep trying, contributing how we can and building upon the efforts of those who came before us, and we continue to learn from and with one another.

If you'd like to engage more deeply with Islamic studies, IU Libraries have created a number of interrelated resources and features to provide more holistic coverage of this topic. You'll find those, below:

Prominent Philosophers

A selection of Islamic philosophers, along with a summary of their research areas and interests:

  • Al-Shifāʾ bint ʿAbd Allāh - companion of the prophet Muhammad, healer, and public administrator
  • Aisha bint Abi Bakr (613/14-678) - scholar, voice of hadith, third wife of Muhammad
  • Amrah bint Abdur-Rahman (640-717 CE) - scholar, jurist, voice of hadith, and secretary to A’isha
  • al-Kindi  (800-870 CE) - first self-identified philosopher in the Arabic tradition; metaphysics, cosmology, psychology, epistemology, science, mathematics
  • Zaynab Al-Shahda - calligrapher, worked in Islamic law and hadith
  • Fatima al-Fihri (800-880) - created the al-Qarawiyyin Mosque, which became the modern University of al-Qarawiyyin
  • al-Farabi  (870-950 CE) - logic, music, language, physics
  • Sutayta al-Mahamali (930-987) - mathematician and legal scholar
  • Ibn Sina (Avicenna; 970-1037) - logic and empiricism, physics, mathematics, metaphysics, practical philosophy
  • al-Ghazali (1056-1111) - introduction of Avicennism into Muslim philosophy; epistemology, logic, metaphysics, theology
  • Ibn Rushd (Averroes; 1126-1198) - logic and methodology, metaphysics, natural philosophy, psychology, religion, medicine, ethics and politics
  • Lubna of Cordoba - royal advisor, poet, library master, and mathematician
  • Ibn ‘Arabî  (1165-1240) - Koran commentary, Hadith (sayings of Muhammad), jurisprudence, principles of jurisprudence, theology, philosophy, and mysticism
  • Zaynab bint Al-Kamal (1248-1339) - Hadith scholar and teacher
  • Ibn Khaldun  (1332-1406)- philosopher and social scientist; considered to be the father of historiography, sociology, economics, and demography
  • Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) - philosopher, author, politician; sought an Islamic revival based on social justice ideals, his thought was also influential in the movement for an independent Pakistan.
  • Syed Zafarul Hasan (1885-1949) - realism, education, religion
  • Morteza Motahhari (1919-1979) - philosophy of law, philosophy of religion, epistemology
  • Fazlur Rahman (1919-1988) - Islamic Modernism, ethics, law
  • Ismail al-Faruqi (1921-1986) - philosophy of religion, Arabism, Islamization of knowledge
  • Musa al-Sadr (b. 1928; disappeared 1978) - political philosophy, Muslim unity, religious philosophy
  • Syed Muhammad al Naquib bin Ali al-Attas  (b. 1931) - Sufism, cosmology, metaphysics, Malay language
  • Ali Shariati (1933-1977) - epistemology, philosophy of history, political philosophy, sociology
  • Seyyed Hossein Nasr (b. 1933) - metaphysics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, Sufism
  • Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr (1935-1980) - philosophy of law, logic, philosophy of religion, economics
  • Hassan Hanafi (1935-2021) - philosophy of religion, phenomenology
  • Abu Abd al-Rahman Ibn Aqil al-Zahiri (b. 1942) - philosophy of religion, logic
  • Taha Abderrahman (b. 1944) - philosophy of language, logic, morality, Islam and science, social criticism, metaphysics
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi (b. 1952) - Islamic law, Islamic history, modern philosophy
  • Shabbir Akhtar (1960-2023) - political Islam, Quranic exegesis, Islamophobia, extremism, terrorism, Christian-Muslim relations, Islamic readings of the New Testament
  • Malika Zeghal (b. 1965) - Harvard University; interaction of Islam and politics in the modern Middle East, modern Muslim states and their religious institutions, intellectual and political genealogies of Islamist movements in the region, and modern Islamic intellectual history in the Middle East, Europe, and North America
  • Muhammed Abdul Muqtedar Khan (b. 1966) - political philosophy, international relations, Islamic political thought
  • Maliha Chishti - University of Chicago; Muslim cultural politics, peacebuilding, international development, decolonial and postcolonial feminist approaches to examine the international-local aid encounter in war affected Muslim-majority states
  • Niloofar Haeri - Johns Hopkins University; religion, prayer, poetry, ritual, semiotics, presence, gender, voice, vernacularization, translation, Iran, Egypt and the Middle East
  • Fatimah Fanusie - Johns Hopkins University; twentieth-century US, African American Islam, civil rights movement, African diaspora culture
  • Homayra Ziad - Johns Hopkins University; history, practice and literature of Islamic spirituality and virtue ethics, philosophical Sufism, Qur'an interpretation, contemporary Islam in the United States, Islam in the Mughal Empire, language and subjectivity, religion and the arts, religion and vocation, community-based research, inter-religious activism



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