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A look into the life of late Muslim German intellectual Murad Hofmann

By Taha Sakr

The Islam of some Western Europeans or Americans has always caused a worldwide sensation, because of the importance of this for the universality of Islam and its spread among nations, and the possibility of talking about Islam by the people of those nations and their languages, not by foreigners.

Over the course of history, very few of the Westerners who converted to Islam had a prominent role in the lives of their peoples, as this carries hardship in conveying their views and ideas to those nations that embrace different religions.

Thus was the prominent German diplomat and jurist Islam, Murad Wilfried Hofmann, whose death – as well as his life – caused a shock in the Islamic world.

Who is Murad Hofmann?

The late Hofmann was born in 1931 in Aschaffenburg, a large town in northwestern Bavaria, an administrative subordinate to the Lower Franconia region of Germany.

He is a prominent German diplomat and author, who belonged to Hitler’s youth when he was nine years old, but besides that he belonged to a banned anti-Nazi League at the same time.

He studied law after obtaining the baccalaureate degree in Munich, then he studied masters at Harvard University, until after that he obtained a PHD in law from the University of Munich also.

He was so fond of ballet dancing, that he even gave lessons and learned to play jazz drums, then established the Ballet Lovers Association in Munich, and worked for many years as a critic of ballet art in specialized magazines.

He worked since the 1950s at the Federal Embassy of Germany in Algeria, and this made him watch closely the Algerian revolution, which seems to have aroused his intense interest and prompted him to reflect.

He also held the position of expert in the field of nuclear defense in the German Foreign Ministry, then worked as director of the Information Department at NATO in Brussels from 1983 to 1987, then as German ambassador to Algeria from 1987 to 1990, then as ambassador to Morocco from 1990 to 1994.

An exciting Islam story

In his book (The Road to Mecca), Hofmann mentioned that in the very early days of his life he had a terrible traffic accident, and the physician told him after he finished his rescue: “Indeed, such an accident does not survive anyone, and God saves you, my dear, something very special.”

He pointed out that the physician’s intuition had believed his destiny, as he converted to Islam in 1980, after a deep study of him, and after his association with the good morals of Muslims in Morocco and Algeria.

The late Islamic thinker said: “In the acceptance test at the German Foreign Ministry, each applicant had to give a lecture of no more than five minutes on a topic that was randomly assigned, you were surprised when it became clear to me that the subject of my lecture was the Algerian issue! My surprise is how much I know about this subject, not my ignorance of it. “

The Islam of Hofmann was not a passing story in European circles, especially German, where the local press fought a fierce warrior, leading to his mother’s boycott of him, especially as he held sensitive diplomatic and political positions in his country’s foreign affairs, in addition to his work with “NATO” the largest military power in the world.

After he became satiated with Islam, he entered the field of writing and wrote unique books in Islamic thought. He wrote a collection of books, most notably “Islam as an alternative”, which caused a sensation in Germany, and “Diaries of a German Muslim” and “Islam in 2000”, “Islam in the Third Millennium: A Religion in Ascension”, and “The Future of Islam in the West and East”, in addition to his books “A Journey to Mecca” and “The Road to Mecca”.