The process of shaping his identity and personality

Ismaʻil Raji al-Faruqi was born on January 21, 1921, in Jaffa, Palestine. He completed his primary and secondary education at St. Joseph’s College before pursuing his undergraduate studies in philosophy at the American University of Beirut.

Faruqi’s Western-style education would prove advantageous, allowing him to offer a comparative analysis of Western and Islamic thought as a Muslim intellectual. Additionally, he served in administrative capacities, including as the final Palestinian governor of Galilee from 1945 to 1948. His familiarity with the political atmosphere of the era was extensive, as evidenced by his persistent defense of the rights of Palestinians, who were being relegated to second-class status in their own land. However, the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 represented a turning point in his life and that of the people of the region. Unable to remain in occupied Palestine, he emigrated to the United States.

Upon reaching the United States, the education he had received laid a solid foundation for him. He did not abandon intellectual activity, pursuing graduate studies in philosophy at Indiana University and Harvard University. He completed his doctoral dissertation on “Justifying the Good: Metaphysics and Epistemology of Value” at Indiana University in 1952.

However, Faruqi did not limit himself to studying Western thought as an Easterner. He pursued his own intellectual roots with a similar level of seriousness and enthusiasm. To this end, he spent three years studying the religious sciences at Al-Azhar University in Egypt.

Later, he began teaching in the United States. While teaching at universities in the country, he emphasized the importance of promoting an organized Muslim presence in Western society. To ensure cultural solidarity among Muslim students, he established a close relationship with members of the “Muslim Students Association” and guided them on scientific and intellectual issues. He went even further by founding the Islamic Studies Department at Temple University in Philadelphia and the “American Islamic College” in Chicago.