Philosophers of the Arabs
(1917-2002), one of the most
eminent philosophical figures and scholars in
was born to a rural rich family at the
In November 1941, Badawi
obtained his MA with a dissertation in French under the supervision of professor
Lalande then professor
Alexandre Koure, titled "The
Death Problem in Existentialism". The dissertation was printed in French
in 1964 at the printing house of the French Institute for Oriental Archeology
He worked as a cultural counselor
and head of the Egyptian educational mission in
Over the following six years
(1967 - 73), he worked as a professor of logic and modern philosophy at the
addition to his academic involvement, Badawi was an active participant in
national politics. He was a member of Misr al-Fatah Party (1938 - 1940), then a member in the Higher
Committee of the Neo-National Party (1944 - 1952). In January 1953, he was
chosen as a member of the Constitution Committee commissioned to draft a new
In May 1938, Badawi obtained his BA in Philosophy with distinction. He studied under renowned French professors at the time such as Alexandre Koure (1892-1964), Andre Lalande (1867-1963), and orientalist Paul Kraus (1900-44) Influenced by Kraus's, considerable erudition, thorough philological methodology and his library rich with the works of orientalists, Badawi's attention was drawn to the theme of Greek heritage impact on the Islamic world.
Badawi, the encyclopedic
philosopher adopted existentialism and contributed to its formation since he wrote
his book "Existentialist Time" in 1943. The book was written as a
thesis to obtain his PhD in philosophy from the Faculty of Arts,
According to his own description, his version of existentialism differs from Heidegger's and other existentialists in that it gives priority for action rather than thought, and it founds the meanings of existence on both reason and emotion and will together, and on the living experience which depends on the inner feelings which is more capable of comprehension of living existence.
With Sartre's and Heidegger's works on the subject still then new and topical, it was perhaps inevitable that Badawi should become known throughout the Arab world as the torch-bearer of existentialism - though, in fairness, he was never content to be merely a disciple, and showed originality in trying to root his ideas in his own culture, notably in his book Humanism And Existentialism In Arab Thought (1947).
Fluent in many European
languages, Badawi published more than 120 books. His belief was that the west
and Islam were complementary, and compatible, links in a common chain. His
promotion of this thesis -which runs counter to the creeds of modern Islamists
- was found in his seminal books Greek Heritage in Islamic Civilization (1940)
and Aristotle among the Arabs, as well as countless translations of Greek
thought. He also wrote about
Significantly, he translated into Arabic Goethe's Western-Eastern Divan collection, written by the German as a token of his admiration of Arab-Islamic culture. Among Badawi's other works are his introduction to Dissidents In Islam (1946) and the controversial A History Of Atheism In Islam.
However, in his later works, he defend Al-Qur'an and Prophet Muhammad and devoted a space to reply to orientalists who attacked Islam. He authored 'Défense du Coran Contre ses critiques' (a defense of Qur'an against its critics), 1988, and 'Défense de la vie du Prophète Muhammad contre ses Détracteurs' (a defense of the live of the Prophet Muhammad against his detractors), 1990.
In a book of his own, he has remained for more than sixty years a dedicated scholar in the realm of thought and philosophy as a creative writer, thinker, translator and a heritage researcher. Sometimes actively engaged in intellectual battles or other times secluded in his own cell at home or living in voluntary exile away from home, yet at all times, his preoccupation has always been to promote modernization and rationalism and enlighten minds.
Badawi as a Poet
In addition to his philosophical works, Badawi produced a collection of creative writings which reflected a unique and vigorous poetic talent, a highly sentimental nature and deep literary and aesthetic culture. Among these writings are: "Worries of Youth", "Death and Genius", " Song of a Stranger" and "Nymphs and Light".
latter was produced in the form of messages fraught with emotions, intellectual
meditations and personal confessions exchanged with his beloved; Salwa, (a Nymph from
Badawi confesses that he had an unfulfilled love story that drove him to wander around the world, looking for consolation in art and beauty. Many of critics believe that "Salwa" was just an artistic "device" of Badawi's creation through which he expressed his ideas and intellectual arguments. This may be supported by the fact that all the messages exchanged on both sides, were written in the same style and intellectual logical technique peculiar to Badawi himself.
Throughout his career, Badawi has been a prolific writer on philosophy and literature since he wrote his first book "Nietzsche" (Cairo, September 1939). He wrote more than 120 books, including five volumes in French, besides hundreds of articles and research papers delivered in international scientific conferences in Arabic, French, English, German and Spanish.
A Short List of his Philosophical Works
2- Greek Heritage in the Islamic Civilization,
5- The Spring of the Greek Thought,
6- The Autumn of the Greek Thought,
7- Existentialist Time,
8- Humanism and Existentialism in Arabic Thought,
9- The Spirit of the Arabic Cilivization, translation and study,
10- Aristotle's Logic, part I, 1948, part II, 1949, and part III, (1952),
11- Art of Poetry by Aristotle, translation and study,
12- Greek Origins of Political Theories in Islam,
13- Synoposis of Oratory by Ibn Roshd's verification and study,
14- Studies in Existentialism,
15- Scientific Research Methodology,
16- Ibb-Khadom's Works,
17- Arabs' Role in Forming the European Thought,
18- A New Introduction to
19- Ethics in Kant's
20- Al Ghazali's Works,