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Islamic Thought in Western Europe

Beginning in the 19th century, there appeared in the west a renewed interest in Islamic thought, in its intellectual sciences, such as philosophy and theology, as well as in its traditional (naqli) disciplines. This was in fact a new historical phase in the expansion of Islamic thought in Europe, one that started in the 5th century AH (11th cen. AD) in the city of Toledo with the translation into Hebrew and Latin of the works of al-Kindi, al-Farabi, Ibn Sina, Ghazzali, Ibn Rushd and other eminent Islamic thinkers. Ever since the 19th century AD, a large number of Islamic works has been translated into European languages and subjected to critical review. Though a great number of the works written by western scholars have attempted to undermine the authenticity and originality of Islamic thought and have looked at the subject through the prism of western philosophy, one can easily detect the ever-increasing presence of Islamic thought in the west. In the past few decades, especially in France, the efforts on the part of Henry Corbin and others have established Islamic philosophy, especially the schools which have come into being in Iran during the past few centuries, as a deeply rooted and living intellectual tradition and worthy of attention not just for orientalists but also for those engaged in ongoing philosophical activity. Though the presence of Islam in western Europe is not always underpinned by a genuine knowledge of Islamic teachings and intellectual sciences, its more authentic reflections in various European languages, in the past few decades, has been of special significance to the Muslims of the continent, a fact that will continue to gain in value.

* source: Nasr , Seied Hossein "Islam Entry" The Great Islamic Encyclopedia. Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.8 , pp.583

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