Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria was perhaps the first to use allegory to fuse Jewish scriptures with Greek philosophy. Though not much is known about his life, it is believed Philo was a lover of theater, boxing contests, and lavish dinners. His written works showcase the development of Hellenistic Judaism.
Born to Egyptian parents in New York, Mohamed A. El-Erian grew up in the U.S., Egypt, and France, with his diplomat father. Educated at Cambridge and Oxford, he later served as the CEO of PIMCO. Apart from being a Bloomberg columnist, he has also written bestsellers such as When Markets Collide.
Maimonides was a Sephardic Jewish philosopher. He went on to become one of the most important Torah scholars of the Middle Ages. He was also a respected physician and served as the personal physician of the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty, Saladin. His work The Mishneh Torah is considered one of the main authoritative codifications of Jewish ethics and law.
Origen was an early Christian ascetic, scholar, and theologian. Also a prolific writer, Origen wrote as many as 2,000 treatises, including biblical exegesis, textual criticism, biblical hermeneutics, spirituality, and homiletics. Origen is widely considered one of the most prominent Christian theologians, although his teachings on the existence of souls were vehemently rejected by the Church.
Taha Hussein was an Egyptian writer, intellectual, and one of the most influential personalities in 20th-century Egypt. Best remembered for his literary work, Hussein received 21 nominations for the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature during his lifetime. Taha Hussein is also remembered for his political career; he served as the Minister of Education in Egypt.
Yusuf al-Qaradawi was an Egyptian scholar based in Qatar. An important influencer in the Muslim world, Al-Qaradawi is best remembered for his program, Sharia and Life. In addition to authoring over 120 books, Yusuf al-Qaradawi also helped found a website known as IslamOnline. Al-Qaradawi is often counted among the most influential Islamic scholars of his generation.
A prominent Islamic religious scholar from Egypt, Muhammad Abduh became the Grand Mufti, or an Islamic legal counselor, of his country. Known for his writings such as Risālat al-tawḥīd, he aimed at reforming Islam and ridding it of dogma and rigidity. He also avoided the literalization of the Quran.
Ahmed el-Tayeb is an Egyptian scholar who is currently serving as the Grand Imam of al-Azhar. Al-Tayeb served as the Grand Mufti of Egypt from 2002 to 2003 and then served as the President of Al-Azhar University from 2003 to 2010. Widely regarded as an important and influential leader of the Sunni Muslim community, Ahmed el-Tayeb has received several awards.
Hamed Abdel-Samad is a German-Egyptian author and political scientist. A member of the Society of the Muslim Brothers during his university days, Hamed Abdel-Samad later questioned his own beliefs and published a controversial book titled My Farewell from Heaven, which he said was neither a call to renounce the Muslim faith nor an attack on his culture.
Nasr Abu Zayd was an Egyptian Quranic author, thinker, and academic. One of the most important liberal theologians in Islam, Abu Zayd wrote several important books in Arabic and English. Interestingly, Nasr Abu Zayd’s views sparked controversy within the Muslim world and he was declared an apostate by an Egyptian Sharia court in 1995.
Athanasius of Alexandria was the 20th bishop of Alexandria. A well-known Egyptian leader of the 4th century, Athanasius' career was shaped by his conflicts with Arius and successive Roman emperors. He is venerated as a saint and his feast day is observed on different days depending upon the various churches.
Tamim al-Barghouti is a Palestinian-Egyptian columnist, poet, and political scientist. Dubbed the poet of Jerusalem, Tamim is best known for his critically acclaimed poem In Jerusalem, which he presented in a television competition show called Prince of Poets in 2007. Tamim al-Barghouti has also worked as a professor at Georgetown University and the Free University of Berlin.
Ibn al-Farid was an Arab poet whose poetry is regarded as the peak of Arabic mystical verse. He is also credited with composing the longest mystical poem in Arabic. Some of Ibn al-Farid's poems are still revered by Sufis and other dutiful Muslims around the world.
Abdel Rahman Badawi was an Egyptian philosopher, poet, and professor of philosophy. An exponent of existentialism, Badawi has been regarded as the most important master of Arab existentialism. He wrote over 150 books, including 75 encyclopaedic works. In addition to writing in several languages, Abdel Rahman Badawi also taught at institutions like Ain Shams University and Kuwait University.
A 14th-century Arab Muslim author and theologian from Egypt, Ad-Damīrī was an expert on cannon law and natural history. He is remembered for authoring the first Arabic zoological encyclopedia, Ḥayāt al-ḥayawān. He lectured at various institutes of Cairo and was also a well-known mystic, renowned for his religious activities.
Egyptian jurist Al-Bahūtī was one of the most significant figures of the Hanbali school of Islamic law. His legal written works are apparently still followed. not just in Egypt but also in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Syria. His best-known work on jurisprudence remains al-Rawd Al Murbi’ Sharh Zād Al Mustaqni.
Severus of Antioch was a miaphysite leader and the Patriarch of Antioch. Initially a monk in Palestine, Severus was later made a priest and propagated the view that Christ’s human and divine natures were, in fact, one and the same. He also led the Coptic churches in Egypt and Syria.
Egyptian author and scholar Fathi Osman, who promoted cooperation between Islam and other religions, aimed at making Islamic civilization and culture more understandable to non-Muslims through his writings. His writings include 40 books written in English and Arabic. His monumental work Concepts of the Quran gives an overview of the Quran for the general public.
John Talaia was the patriarch of Alexandria from 481 to 482. Due to his refusal to sign Emperor Zeno's Henoticon, he was expelled from the Council of Chalcedon. He fled to Rome, where he received supported. However, he could never return to Alexandria and became the bishop of Nola instead.