Annemarie Schimmel

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Annemarie Schimmel
Annemarie Schimmel.jpg
Erfurt, German
OccupationProfessor and Author

Annemarie Schimmel (1922 – 2003) was an influential German Orientalist and scholar who wrote extensively on Islam and Sufism.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Annemarie Schimmel was born in the city of Erfurt in central Germany. She became interested in the Eastern world and Islamic studies from an early age and began learning Arabic at the age of 15 and memorized a part of the Qur'an. She earned a doctorate in Oriental Languages and Islamic Art from the University of Berlin at 19 and a second doctorate in the history of religions from the University of Marburg in 1951.

She traveled widely, spending five years in Turkey teaching at the University of Ankara. In 1967, Dr. Schimmel was appointed Professor of of Indo-Muslim culture at Harvard University.

She was multilingual, besides German, she spoke English, Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Punjabi.

Annemarie Schimmel was an early admirer of "Muhammad Iqbal",Muslim poet, and translated the "Javidnama" into German verse. In 1958 she made the first of many visits to Pakistan, a country that became central to her work. The government has honored her with the "Hilal-e-Imtiaz", its highest civil award, and a fine tree-lined avenue in Lahore is named after her in 1982.

In 1970, she was named the first Professor of Indo-Muslim Culture, a chair endowed by A.K. Ozai Durrani, the inventor of Minute Rice. She retired from Harvard in 1992 and returned to Germany, accepting an honorary professorship from the University of Bonn.

In 1992, she received the Leopold Lucas Prize of the Evangelisch-Theologische Faculty of the University of Tubingen. The prize is given to persons who have striven to create better understanding among Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Schimmel was the first woman to win the award.

Finally, she died on 1 February 2001 and was buried in the city of Bonn, Germany On her tombstone, the following sentence has been engraved:

"الناس نیام فاذا ماتوا انتبهوا"

people are asleep and wake up when they die.

This sentence is attributed to the Prophet or Imam Ali.

Publications[edit | edit source]

Selected Publication[edit | edit source]

In the writings of Professor Schimmel, Imam Hussain along with his his mother, brother, father, and grandfather represents honor, sanctity, purity, self-sacrifice and magnanimity. The martyrdom of Hussain and his companions in 61 AH led the Shi'as to show their devotion to the Imam by holding religious rites and mourning for the Imam, his family and companions.

From this Orientalist's perspective, the Battle of Karbala is a turning point in world history. Since she is a woman, she also pays attention to the high position of Zaynab and presents her as a full-fledged lady who completes the Imam's mission. Professor Annemarie Schimmel says beautifully about Zaynab that it is due to a special force that Zaynab was able to break the bayonets and take her brother's head to the sky and tell her Lord that, "this sacrifice is for you". No one except her could do so.

Source[edit | edit source]