Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah was a scholar of Islam and a prolific academic author.. As a polymath with competence in 22 languages, his dozens of books and hundreds of articles on Islamic science appeared in several languages. He was from born in Hyderabad Deccan, and hails from a family of scholars. He earned his BA, LLB and MA at Osmania University. He travelled to Germany and was awarded PhD in Philosophy, while in France he studied his second doctorate in Literature.
Dr. Hamidullah was the first Muslim to properly translate the Quran into French from the perspective of a believer (Le Saint Coran). Previous translations were from agnostic orientalists which presented a distorted and false perspective of the Quran. As a sincere spiritually practicing Muslim academic par excellance, he had two PhD degrees — one from Germany in philosophy and another in Literature from Sorbonne University in Paris. While studying in Paris, his homeland, Hyderabad, was annexed by the Republic of India, making him a refugee in France.
After his education he went to Pakistan but returned to Paris after he did not find the intellectual environment there that he was looking for. In Paris, he lived in a small one bedroom apartment engrossed in studies. He wrote more than 100 books on Islam in English, French, German, Arabic and Urdu. Dr. Hamidullah devoted his whole life to scholarship and did not marry.
He received the highest civilian medal of honour, the Sitara-e-Imtiaz by President Ziaul Haq of Pakistan. donating all the prize money as well as the royalties from his books to Islamic intellectual research activities. We do not know much about him perhaps because he did not lead a religious group as is usually the case. Rather, his focus was only on research, academic, and scholarly activities. In terms of presentation, he looked like a very common “Indian” in Paris, yet at age 84, he was learning Thai!
He passed away one morning after Fajr and was a great example of modern Islamic scholarship for the modern world.