King Faisal International Prize (KFIP) recognizes excellence in 5 categories: Service to Islam, Islamic Studies, Arabic Language & Literature, Medicine, and Science, since 1979

Professor Fuat Sezgin

Winner of the  
KFP Prize for  
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Topic: Studies Dealing with the Influence of Muslim Scholars on European Civilization


Nationality: Germany

1979-Fuat-SezginProfessor Fuat Sezgin (Germany) is a world-renowned authority on the history of Islamic science and the Founder and Honorary Director of the famous Institute of Arab-Islamic Science History at the University of Frankfurt.

Born in Bitlis (Turkey) in 1924, Sezgin obtained his Master’s degree in Oriental Studies and Ph.D. in Islamic Studies and Philosophy at Istanbul University, where he also studied and commanded Arabic. He became Professor of Islamic Studies at the Institute of Islamic Studies in Istanbul, before moving to Germany in 1961. In 1965, he was appointed Professor of Islamic Natural Sciences at the University of Frankfurt. His research focused on Islam’s Golden Age of Science. In 1983, he founded and directed the Institute of Arab-Islamic Science History at the University of Frankfurt, which currently holds the world’s most comprehensive collection of texts on the history of Arab and Islamic science, and houses a unique museum containing more than 800 replicas of historic scientific instruments, tools and maps belonging to the Golden Age of Islamic Science.

Professor Sezgin made prodigious contributions to the study of Islamic history and civilization. One of his greatest achievements is The History of Arabic and Islamic Heritage, a mammoth, 13-volume text that projects the role of Muslims in the advancement of human civilization in virtually all aspects of knowledge. He spent 40 years collecting material for the book, which is  recognized as the finest and most thoroughly documented work of its kind.

Over a period of 30 years, he compiled more than 400,000 ancient manuscripts on Islamic science which he located in Europe, Africa, India, Turkey, Russia and the Middle East. Professor Sezgin also publishes the Journal of Arab and Islamic Studies and the Institute of Islamic Studies Series, of which more than 1,000 publications have been issued so far. Based on information and drawings in ancient manuscripts, Sezgin was also the first to fabricate replicas of instruments and tools invented by ancient Islamic scientists.

In addition to the King Faisal International Prize for Islamic Studies, Professor Sezgin was awarded the Federal Service and the Grand Cross for Distinguished Services of the Federal Republic of Germany, Goethe Medal from the City of Frankfurt and Honorary Science Doctorate, with establishment of a Chair in his name, from the Technological University of Malaysia. In 2006, he won the Iranian World Prize for Book of the Year for his five-volume work Science et Technique en Islam, which provides a beautifully illustrated catalogue – in different languages – of all the objects in the institute’s museum. He is a member of the Turkish Academy of Sciences, the Royal Moroccan Academy, and the Arabic Language Academies of Cairo, Damascus and Baghdad.

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