Egyptian thinker and professor of Islamic philosophy and modern Arabic thought, Ali Mabrouk, died early on Sunday after a short battle with illness.
He was 54.
Mabrouk, one of the brightest minds in his field in the past three decades, was a prominent scholar of Islamic heritage.
Born in 1961, Mabrouk earned his MA in 1988 in the Islamic Science of Kalam (Science of Discourse) and acquired his PhD in 1995 from Cairo University.
He took a new approach to the fundamental texts in Islam, including the Qur'an, whose interpretations he wanted to revive as critics argue that old Islamic scholars froze all debate in an attempt to serve a specific narrative.
He is best known for his book Al-Hadatha bayn Al-General wal Pasha (The Game of Modernism: Between the General and the Pasha), Nosos Hawl Al-Qur'an (Texts around Qur'an: In pursuit of the Live Qur'an), and Al-Nobowa (The Prophecy: from Aqidah to the Philosophy of History).
The work of Mabrouk, who also recently authored In Pursuit of the Live Qur'an and Condemned Ideas, belongs to a critical tradition initiated by figures like Egyptian thinker Hassan Hanafi, the late Nasr Hamid Abu Zeid, Syrian thinker Georges Tarabichi, and Moroccan Mohamed Abed El-Jabiri.
Mabrouk dealt critically with previous attempts to open a dialogue with fundamental Islamic texts, which, along with his remarkable language, set him apart from other scholars. His approach exposed contradictions in popular Arab and Islamic reason.
The late scholar was admired by his students at Cairo University, whom he urged to participate in critical debate over his own work and ideas.