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Dr. Annemarie Schimmel Obituaries

 
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2003 12:03 pm    Post subject: Dr. Annemarie Schimmel Obituaries Reply with quote

From Times Online
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,60-567543,00.html

February 06, 2003

Annemarie Schimmel
Linguistically gifted scholar of the Islamic world, inspired by its poetry and mysticism



A giant in her field, Professor Annemarie Schimmel was one of the world’s foremost experts on Islamic studies, Persian poetry and Sufism. She composed hundreds of articles and books on Islamic history, art, theology, poetry, calligraphy and mysticism, and also translated Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu and Sindhi poetry into German and English verse.
She was unique, and outpaced both her illustrious contemporaries and her orientalist forebears. In breadth of learning, knowledge of a diversity of West- ern and Oriental languages, sheer volume of publications, erudition in the comparative history of religion, and the wide geographical and intellectual scope of her studies and interests, she surpassed all her colleagues. If her friends stood in awe of her, those who had the folly to dare to become her foes always came off looking like intellectual pygmies.

The main focus of her scholarship was Sufism, on which she composed what remains (for its size) the most comprehensive historical and doctrinal study on the subject: Mystical Dimensions of Islam (1975, and often reprinted).

She was the leading expert on the supreme Persian Sufi poet, Rumi (d.1273), who was, she said, “an unfailing source of inspiration and consolation” to her. She wrote several important studies of him, including The Triumphal Sun: A Study of the Works of Jalaloddin Rumi (1978), I am Wind, You are Fire: Life and Works of Rumi (1992) and a German translation of his Discourses.

Born in Erfurt, Germany, in 1922, Annemarie Schimmel received her first doctorate in Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Islamic art from the University of Berlin in 1941, and her second in the history of religion from the University of Marburg in 1951. From 1946 to 1954 she taught at the University of Marburg, having been appointed to the chair of Arabic and Islamic Studies when she was only 23 years old.

During the Nazi era she was forced to labour on behalf of the regime (Arbeitsdienst). She relates in her autobiography that it was only her love of Arabic that prevented her being drafted into the Nazi youth party on reaching the age of 18, the common fate of girls in Hitler’s Germany.

After a research visit to Turkey in 1952, she fell in love with the generous hospitality and friendship of the poets and mystics of Istanbul (“Germany appeared cold and unfriendly to me,” she later wrote), and so in 1954, at the age of 30, she gladly accepted the offer of a chair in the history of religion in the faculty of Islamic theology at Ankara University — “although I was a Christian woman”. She remained there, lecturing in Turkish, for five years.

On her return to Europe, she was appointed associate professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at the University of Bonn (1961-64), before accepting an invitation in 1966 to teach at Harvard. She served first as a lecturer in Indo- Muslim culture (1966-70) and then, for two and a half decades, as professor of Indo-Muslim culture.

On her retirement from Harvard in 1992, her lifetime of writing and teaching was celebrated by the publication of two volumes, published respectively in the United States and in Germany, of essays by 50 of her colleagues and students.

In basing her knowledge on intuitive heart-savour (dhawq), Schimmel shared the approach of her beloved Persian Sufi poets. Her intellectual learning was steeped in an ocean of warm and intense feminine sensitivity and feeling.

She had also learnt the old Sufi trick of dictating passages from the secret book of the heart (“And I weave ever new silken garments of words / only to hide you . . . ” as she says in one of her poems), so that audiences fell at her feet as she discoursed without notes in English, German and Turkish (and with notes in Arabic, French and Persian). When she lectured, she would close her eyes tightly, clutching her handbag lightly, and reel off the chronicles of kings, the verses of poets and seers, the tales of lovers, and the accounts of mystical theology and doctrine of Islamic mystics and philosophers with eloquent fluency, sometimes for hours on end.

She composed and conversed with fluency in at least ten languages. When a colleague once foolishly vaunted the superiority of the computer over the typewriter that she used, he received the robust reply: “When you can read 25 languages and write letters to people in 17 of them, what does one need a computer for?” She made such an impression in Pakistan that a major boulevard was named after her in the city of Lahore. She received three honorary degrees from Pakistani universities, and was awarded the highest civil distinction of that nation (Hilal-i Pakistan). In Europe, she received an honorary degree from the University of Marburg.

In 1980, she was elected president of the International Association of the History of Religion, becoming the first woman and the first Islamologist to hold this position. In 1992 she gave the Gifford lectures at Edinburgh, which were later published as Deciphering the Signs of God: A Phenomenological Approach to Islam (1994). Professor William Chittick of New York State University called the book “a landmark in bringing Islamic studies into the mainstream of religious studies”.

At least once a year in London, Schimmel taught summer courses on Islam at the Institute of Ismaili Studies (she was close friend of the Aga Khan), and she delivered innumerable lectures at the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University, the Furqan Foundation and the Royal Asiatic Society. Large crowds, often numbering several hundreds, flocked to hear her.

In addition to some 500 articles in journals, books and encyclopaedias, Schimmel wrote more than 150 books and pamphlets of her own. After her retirement in 1992, she produced no fewer than 40 works, including her autobiography, which was completed only last year. She also wrote prefaces to many books by her students and colleagues, and popular articles for newspapers and local journals.

Her voluminous works on general Islamic subjects include As Through a Veil: Mystical Poetry in Islam (1982), Islamic Calligraphy (1970), Gabriel’s Wing: A Study of the Religious Ideas of Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1963), And Muhammad is His Messenger: The Veneration of the Prophet in Islamic Piety (1985) and Islam in India and Pakistan (1982).

Schimmel concluded one of her very last articles (“Lyrics for the Divine Soul”, published in The Times on October 26, 2002, in a special supplement on Persian mysticism) with this classical definition of Islamic mysticism: “Sufism means to find joy in the heart at the time of grief.” This definition not only foretold her death, but encapsulated the mystical subtlety of her spirit, for she believed, “as there is no end to life . . . there is no end to learning — learning in whatever mysterious way something about the unfathomable mysteries of the Divine, which manifests itself under various signs”.



Professor Annemarie Schimmel, Islamic scholar, was born in Erfurt, Germany, on April 2, 1922. She died in Bonn on January 26, 2003, aged 80.
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nagib



Joined: 01 Feb 2003
Posts: 295

PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2003 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[See
http://www.tak.li/02-03/bilder/personen/schimmel.jpg
http://www.iconic-turn.de/upload/33_aschimmel_.jpg

for photos of Dr. Schimmel]

February 06, 2003

x0x Annemarie Schimmel

Linguistically gifted scholar of the Islamic world, inspired by its poetry
and mysticism

A giant in her field, Professor Annemarie Schimmel was one of the world?s
foremost experts on Islamic studies, Persian poetry and Sufism. She
composed hundreds of articles and books on Islamic history, art, theology,
poetry, calligraphy and mysticism, and also translated Arabic, Persian,
Turkish, Urdu and Sindhi poetry into German and English verse.

She was unique, and outpaced both her illustrious contemporaries and her
orientalist forebears. In breadth of learning, knowledge of a diversity of
West- ern and Oriental languages, sheer volume of publications, erudition
in the comparative history of religion, and the wide geographical and
intellectual scope of her studies and interests, she surpassed all her
colleagues. If her friends stood in awe of her, those who had the folly to
dare to become her foes always came off looking like intellectual pygmies.

The main focus of her scholarship was Sufism, on which she composed what
remains (for its size) the most comprehensive historical and doctrinal
study on the subject: Mystical Dimensions of Islam (1975, and often
reprinted).

She was the leading expert on the supreme Persian Sufi poet, Rumi
(d.1273), who was, she said, ?an unfailing source of inspiration and
consolation? to her. She wrote several important studies of him, including
The Triumphal Sun: A Study of the Works of Jalaloddin Rumi (1978), I am
Wind, You are Fire: Life and Works of Rumi (1992) and a German translation
of his Discourses.

Born in Erfurt, Germany, in 1922, Annemarie Schimmel received her first
doctorate in Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Islamic art from the University
of Berlin in 1941, and her second in the history of religion from the
University of Marburg in 1951. From 1946 to 1954 she taught at the
University of Marburg, having been appointed to the chair of Arabic and
Islamic Studies when she was only 23 years old.

During the Nazi era she was forced to labour on behalf of the regime
(Arbeitsdienst ). She relates in her autobiography that it was only her
love of Arabic that prevented her being drafted into the Nazi youth party
on reaching the age of 18, the common fate of girls in Hitler?s Germany.

After a research visit to Turkey in 1952, she fell in love with the
generous hospitality and friendship of the poets and mystics of Istanbul
(?Germany appeared cold and unfriendly to me,? she later wrote), and so in
1954, at the age of 30, she gladly accepted the offer of a chair in the
history of religion in the faculty of Islamic theology at Ankara
University ? ?although I was a Christian woman?. She remained there,
lecturing in Turkish, for five years.

On her return to Europe, she was appointed associate professor of Arabic
and Islamic studies at the University of Bonn (1961-64), before accepting
an invitation in 1966 to teach at Harvard. She served first as a lecturer
in Indo- Muslim culture (1966-70) and then, for two and a half decades, as
professor of Indo-Muslim culture.

On her retirement from Harvard in 1992, her lifetime of writing and
teaching was celebrated by the publication of two volumes, published
respectively in the United States and in Germany, of essays by 50 of her
colleagues and students.

In basing her knowledge on intuitive heart-savour (dhawq ), Schimmel
shared the approach of her beloved Persian Sufi poets. Her intellectual
learning was steeped in an ocean of warm and intense feminine sensitivity
and feeling.

She had also learnt the old Sufi trick of dictating passages from the
secret book of the heart (?And I weave ever new silken garments of words /
only to hide you . . . ? as she says in one of her poems), so that
audiences fell at her feet as she discoursed without notes in English,
German and Turkish (and with notes in Arabic, French and Persian). When
she lectured, she would close her eyes tightly, clutching her handbag
lightly, and reel off the chronicles of kings, the verses of poets and
seers, the tales of lovers, and the accounts of mystical theology and
doctrine of Islamic mystics and philosophers with eloquent fluency,
sometimes for hours on end.

She composed and conversed with fluency in at least ten languages. When a
colleague once foolishly vaunted the superiority of the computer over the
typewriter that she used, he received the robust reply: ?When you can read
25 languages and write letters to people in 17 of them, what does one need
a computer for?? She made such an impression in Pakistan that a major
boulevard was named after her in the city of Lahore. She received three
honorary degrees from Pakistani universities, and was awarded the highest
civil distinction of that nation (Hilal-i Pakistan). In Europe, she
received an honorary degree from the University of Marburg.

In 1980, she was elected president of the International Association of the
History of Religion, becoming the first woman and the first Islamologist
to hold this position. In 1992 she gave the Gifford lectures at Edinburgh,
which were later published as Deciphering the Signs of God: A
Phenomenological Approach to Islam (1994). Professor William Chittick of
New York State University called the book ?a landmark in bringing Islamic
studies into the mainstream of religious studies?.

At least once a year in London, Schimmel taught summer courses on Islam at
the Institute of Ismaili Studies (she was close friend of the Aga Khan),
and she delivered innumerable lectures at the School of Oriental and
African Studies at London University, the Furqan Foundation and the Royal
Asiatic Society. Large crowds, often numbering several hundreds, flocked
to hear her.

In addition to some 500 articles in journals, books and encyclopaedias,
Schimmel wrote more than 150 books and pamphlets of her own. After her
retirement in 1992, she produced no fewer than 40 works, including her
autobiography, which was completed only last year. She also wrote prefaces
to many books by her students and colleagues, and popular articles for
newspapers and local journals.

Her voluminous works on general Islamic subjects include As Through a
Veil: Mystical Poetry in Islam (1982), Islamic Calligraphy (1970),
Gabriel?s Wing: A Study of the Religious Ideas of Sir Muhammad Iqbal
(1963), And Muhammad is His Messenger: The Veneration of the Prophet in
Islamic Piety (1985) and Islam in India and Pakistan (1982).

Schimmel concluded one of her very last articles (?Lyrics for the Divine
Soul?, published in The Times on October 26, 2002, in a special supplement
on Persian mysticism) with this classical definition of Islamic mysticism:
?Sufism means to find joy in the heart at the time of grief.? This
definition not only foretold her death, but encapsulated the mystical
subtlety of her spirit, for she believed, ?as there is no end to life . .
. there is no end to learning ? learning in whatever mysterious way
something about the unfathomable mysteries of the Divine, which manifests
itself under various signs?.

Professor Annemarie Schimmel, Islamic scholar, was born in Erfurt,
Germany, on April 2, 1922. She died in Bonn on January 26, 2003, aged 80.
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kmaherali



Joined: 27 Mar 2003
Posts: 19650

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Custodian of Culture

Excerpt:

Jadish Mittal’s life has been a smorgasbord of rich experiences, making him almost a sage in his field today, one of the last few remaining men of his cabal. Reminiscing about the past he recounts how one of his most memorable experiences was meeting the Islamic scholar Anna Marie Schimmel, “I was a great admirer of her books on Islamic calligraphy and literature. Meeting her was an experience I remember till this day. She visited my collection and later we attended a wonderful Sufi night at the Qutub Shahi Tombs. She could recite the Quran by heart, and her gift for Islamic literature one day saved her from being attacked by a mob in Turkey who were on a rampage. She simply began reciting holy verses and had the crowds bow down before her, calling her a farishta.”


More....

http://www.asianage.com/age-on-sunday/190818/custodian-of-culture.html
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