American University of Beirut

Abdulrahim Abu-Husayn: Lost but always memorable

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Safa Jafari Safa, Office of Communications,​​​

AUB mourns the passing of Dr. Abdulrahim Abu-Husayn (PhD '82), a recognized authority on the history of Greater Syria in Ottoman times and professor in AUB's Department of History and Archaeology.

Abu-Husayn has been at AUB since 1971 when he joined as a student and continued to teach after that since 1982. He obtained his PhD at AUB in 1982 after studying under the guidance of the late Professor Kamal Salibi, becoming one of his main disciples in the work on Lebanon’s history. His expertise revolved on the political and social history of Ottoman Syria, with special emphasis on the history of the areas that came to constitute the modern country of Lebanon. He worked on Ottoman history, history of Ottoman Syria, and Christianity in Arabia in pre-Islamic and early Islamic times. His research interests concern especially the reciprocal interactions between province and center, as well as the mutual relations between different communities in Ottoman times. 

He taught generations of current academics and experts in the field worldwide, and countless students rushed to take his prominent classes on the history of Lebanon, Arab history under the Ottomans, Ottoman history, and history of Lebanon through the novel.

He published widely in English, Arabic, and Turkish on various themes of Arab, Ottoman and, more largely, Islamic and Christian history. In addition to teaching at AUB, he taught at various universities in the US and the Arab World.

In 2013, he was inducted as an honorary member of the Turkish Historical Society for his achievement in the field and in recognition of him as an expert and reference on Ottoman history in the region.

“Today we bid farewell to a great scholar and gentle soul who came to AUB as a 20 year old, obtained his BA, MA, and PhD, became a world authority in Ottoman history, was inducted into the Turkish Historical Society, and never left his beloved Alma Mater,” said AUB President Fadlo Khuri who received condolences at the AUB Alumni Association, along with the AUB community, family, and friends. “I had the privilege of getting to know and befriend Abu-Husayn, an esteemed, humble, meticulous, and kind scholar. A mentor of many fine scholars, he made an enormous difference in so many people’s lives.”

Professor Abu-Husayn is survived by his son Tarek who has completed his PhD from Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and, with similar research interests to his father’s, will be joining AUB as professor of history. 

He also leaves behind his students and extended family at AUB, who are dispersed worldwide yet joining together in continuously expressing deep sorrow at the loss of a treasured source of knowledge and an unforgettable impact in their lives, Dr. Abdulrahim Abu Husayn.

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