Taha Abdurrahman is a Moroccan philosopher. He is regarded as one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world. This is as a result of his humanistic and contemporary approach to Islamic ethics. He was awarded the ISESCO Prize for Islamic Philosophy in 2006.
Abdurrahman was born in the city of Al Jadida, Morocco and studied at the Muhammed V University in Casablanca during his early years. He later moved to the prestigious Sorbonne University in Paris to further his education. Upon completing his PhD, he wrote a thesis entitled; “Language and Philosophy: a treatise on the linguistic structure of existence study.” For his second PhD, he delved more deeply into the study of argumentation and its various methods.
In 1970, Abdurrahman took up a job as a Professor of Philosophy at his Alma mater in Casablanca. He served the University with much dedication till his retirement in 2005. After his retirement, he remained active in academia in various roles such as the presidency of The Wisdom Forum for Thinkers and Researchers. He has also been publishing a lot of books.
Abdurrahman’s work is seen as being in the forefront of contemporary Islamic thought. His work is known to challenge western presumptions with regards to knowledge and how it is applied. His also argues for the need for Muslims to reinvigorate their academic disciplines as well as putting up a solid stance to present ideas that are originally rooted in Islam. Part of his key areas of interest that are perhaps very relevant today relates to ethics and the importance of the ethical model.
Central to Abdurrahman’s work is his vision for Muslims to use their own sources as well as traditional sources in new ways that will spur intellectual development. Abdurrahman is also known to be one of the Muslims that argues against imitating western ideas. His is seen as bold for proposing that Muslims develop new terminologies to describe what is been discussed rather than copying from western thinkers.
Abdurrahman’s work plays a key role in the campaign for an Islamic Ethical Model. There had been discussions with regards to whether or not colonialism is over or whether it has evolved into neocolonialism. He recognized however that what still remains is that the minds of many individuals, institutions, nations and communities remain colonized to this day, more than have a century after the supposed end of ‘colonialism’.
The call for Islamic ethics by Abdurrahman is playing an important role in helping the Muslim world to break away from the dependency of western models. In a nut shell, his work is providing an alternative to move forward.