American Univesity of Beirut

AUB mourns philosophy icon Majid Fakhry

Safa Jafari Safa, Office of Communications,​

The American University of Beirut mourns the loss of Emeritus Professor and former Chair of Philosophy at AUB Majid Fakhry (BA '44, MA '47), who passed away in Virginia, USA on March 4, 2021.

Born in 1923, Fakhry earned his PhD in philosophy from Edinburgh University in 1949, after obtaining his bachelor's and master's degrees at AUB. In addition to teaching and heading the Philosophy Department at AUB, he taught at some of the world's most prestigious academic institutions around the world, including the London School of Oriental Studies, UCLA, Princeton University, and Georgetown University, where he spent his last years as professor emeritus.

Over the decades between the 1950s and 1980s, Professor Fakhry's classes offered many students at AUB their first introduction to the history of philosophy. Students of Islamic philosophy from around the world sought him, sometimes spending a year or more at AUB to take courses with him.

Fakhry was known among his students and colleagues as a clear, thorough, meticulous, and impassioned lecturer who had complete mastery of his subject and who showed personal interest in each of his students.

A first-class scholar who was at the forefront of research in his field, Fakhry was a prolific author of many books, articles, and manuscripts. Perhaps his most famous book is A History of Islamic Philosophy (3rd Edition, 2004) – the first comprehensive survey of Islamic philosophy from the 7th century onwards and a classic in its field that was translated into eight languages. His other publications include Ethical Theories in Islam (1991); Philosophy, Dogma, and the Impact of Greek Thought in Islam (1994); and An Interpretation of the Qur'an: English Translation of the Meanings (2015).

In addition, Fakhry authored more than 15 titles in Arabic, the most recent of which is​ Dirasat Jadida fil Fikr el ‘Arabi (2007). He was working more recently on his manuscript Historical Encounter of Civilizations: Islam, Christianity, and the West (2nd Edition, 2018), which will be re-published posthumously.

Majid Fakhry is survived by his wife of 66 years, Alice Shiber (BA '51); three children Rima (BA '84, MA '88), Bassem (BEN '80, MBA '87), and Samir (BS '77, MD '81); and three grandchildren. He will be fondly remembered by his AUB family, and his many friends and students worldwide who admire him and his teaching.​

For anyone who wishes to send their condolences to his family, you may do so at



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