Annemarie Schimmel: Wikis


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Annemarie Schimmel

Glass plate in the Bonngasse; Bonn, Germany
Born April 7, 1922 (1922-04-07)
Died January 26, 2003 (2003-01-27)
Education Doctorate of civilization and languages, doctorate of religious history.
Occupation Iranologist, Sindhologist, Orientalist, Islamic studies, Sufism studies, Iqbal studies

Annemarie Schimmel, SI, HI, (April 7, 1922 – January 26, 2003) was a well known and very influential German Orientalist and scholar, who wrote extensively on Islam and Sufism.


Early life

Schimmel was born to Protestant and highly cultured middle-class parents in Erfurt, Germany. Her father, Paul, was a postal worker and her mother, Anna belonged to a family with connections to seafaring and international trade. Schimmel remembered her father as "a wonderful playmate full of fun", her mother made her feel she was the child of her dreams and her home as full of poetry and literature, though her family was not an academic one.[1]

She began studying at Berlin University in 1939 at the age of 17. She received a doctorate in Islamic languages and civilization from the University of Berlin at the age of 19. Following this, she was drafted by the Foreign Office while continuing with her scholarly work in her free time. At the age of 23, she became a professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at the University of Marburg, Germany in 1946, where she earned a second doctorate in the history of religions in 1954.


A turning point in her life came in 1954 when she was appointed Professor of the History of Religion at the University of Ankara (Turkey). There she spent five years teaching in Turkish and immersing herself in the culture and mystical tradition of the country.

She was a faculty member at Harvard University from 1967 to 1992 and became Professor Emerita of Indo-Muslim Culture upon her retirement. She was also an honorary professor at the University of Bonn. She published more than 50 books on Islamic literature, mysticism and culture, and translated Persian, Urdu, Arabic, Sindhi and Turkish poetry and literature into English and German.[2]

For her work on Islam, Sufism or mysticism and Muhammad Iqbal, the government of Pakistan honored her with its highest civil awards known as Sitara-e-Imtiaz or 'Star of Excellence', and Hilal-e-Imtiaz or 'Crescent of Excellence'.[3] She was showered with many other awards from many countries of the world, including Leopold Lucas Prize of the Evangelisch-Theologische Faculty of the University of Tübingen and 1995 prestigious Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. This award caused a controversy in Germany, as she had defended the outrage of the Islamic world against Salman Rushdie in a television interview.[4]

Personal Life

She was briefly married in the 1950s. Although she had no immediate living family, she is survived by a well-loved son of a cousin and his family.

Works by Annemarie Schimmel

  • As Through A Veil
  • And Muhammad Is His Messenger: The Veneration of the Prophet in Islamic Piety
  • A Dance of Sparks: Imagery of Fire in Ghalib's Poetry
  • A Two-Colored Brocade: The Imagery of Persian Poetry
  • Deciphering the Signs of God: A Phenomenological Approach to Islam (1991-1992 Gifford Lectures, online)
  • Gabriel's Wing: Study into the Religious Ideas of Sir Muhammad Iqbal
  • Mystical Dimensions of Islam
  • Rumi's World : The Life and Works of the Greatest Sufi Poet
  • Look! This Is Love
  • The Triumphal Sun: A Study of the Works of Jalaloddinn Rumi
  • Islam: An Introduction
  • Islamic Calligraphy
  • Make A Shield From Wisdom : Selected Verses from Nasir-i Khusraw's Divan
  • Ernst Trumpp;: A brief account of his life and work
  • The Mystery of Numbers
  • Islam and the Wonders of Creation: The Animal Kingdom (2003)

See also


  1. ^ Der Islam. Volume 80, Issue 2, Page 213
  2. ^ Annemarie Schimmel, Influential Scholar of Islam, Dies at 80
  3. ^ Obituary: Professor Annemarie Schimmel
  4. ^ The itch of guilt won't go away while Rushdie remains condemned

External links

  • Burzine K. Waghmar, Professor Annemarie Schimmel (April 7, 1922 to January 26, 2003), Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 13 (2003): 377-79. [1]
  • Burzine K. Waghmar, Review of Morgenland und Abendland: mein west-östliches Leben in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 15 (2005): 236-38. [2] (Annemarie Schimmel's autobiography)
  • M. Ikram Chaghatai and Burzine K. Waghmar, Bibliography of the works of the Scholar-Hermit Prof. Dr. Annemarie Schimmel, ed. M. Suheyl Umar, Iqbal Academy, Lahore, 2004.[3]
  • Harvard link
  • Biography of Annemarie Schimmel (in Persian)
  • Annemarie Schimmel and Muhammad Iqbal Lecture of Khosro Naghed in Tehraner university. (in German/Persian)
  • An Obituary


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