Professor Ridwan El-Sayed was born in Tarshish, Mount Lebanon, in 1949. He received his Alimiyya Certificate (equivalent to Bachelor) from the College of Usul Ed-Din in Al-Azhar University in 1970 and State Doctorate in Philosophy from the Department of Religious Studies at TÜbingen University in Germany in 1977. He joined the academic staff of the Lebanese University for the next forty years, advancing from lecturer to Assistant Professor and becoming full Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the College of Arts since 1989. He served as Visiting Professor in the Department of Islamic Studies at Sanaa University in Yemen (1989 – 1991), the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the College of Law at Harvard University (1993-1994; 1997; 2002) and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago (1994; 1995) in the USA, the College of Theology at Salzburg University in Austria (1994), the Department of Comparative Theology and Anthropology at the University of Bamberg in Germany (2001) and the Institute of Islamic World Studies at Shaikh Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates (2012-2014). He is currently a professor emeritus at the Lebanese University.
Professor Radwan El-Sayed is an eminent scholar who has enriched the Arabic and Islamic libraries with his books, studies and research that reflect his insights and thorough knowledge of Arabic and Islamic religious heritage, deep knowledge of modern research methodologies and ability to pursue detailed analysis and coordination between the origins of Islamic political thought and contemporary Arabic/Islamic reality. His studies on Muslim political thought cover various issues of governance, authority, state, society and nation as related to historical Islamic realities. He verified nine books pertaining to Islamic heritage and authored twelve other books, of which he translated five.
Professor El-Sayed owns an imposing teaching experience both at the undergraduate and the postgraduate levels. This includes teaching the: origins of Islamic jurisprudence, Islamic theology, Qur’anic studies, Islamic history and sociology, Islamic philosophy, interpreters’ methods, modern Islamic thought, orientalists input, etc .
Apart from serving as Professor of Islamic studies at the Lebanese University, Professor El-Sayed held several other tasks during his career. He was Acting Director of the Arab Development Institute in Beirut (1982-1985), and Director of the High Institute for Islamic Studies (1985-1988; 1994-2000). He also served as Editorial Secretary of the “Islamic Thought” journal (1970-1972), Chief Editor of “Arab Thought” magazine (1979-1985) and Co-editor of “Al-Ijtihad” journal (1988-2004) He has also made significant contributions in many conferences and seminars in the Arab World, Europe and the USA, in addition to his translations, journal articles and contributions in many cultural dialogues in various mass media.
He is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Arabic Thought Foundation, a Founding Member of the Deanship of Shari’a College in Beirut, an Active Member of the Royal Jordanian Al-Albait Academy, a Member of the German Orientalists Society, and of the Board of Directors of Al-Magasid Islamic Society in Lebanon, and the Lebanese Universities’ Council.
Professor El-Sayed was awarded Abdulhamid Shoman Prize for Islamic Studies (1985), Abdulhadi Al-Dibs Prize for Distinguished Research in the field of Islamic Studies (1997) and Al-Khwarizmi Prize for the best contribution in Islamic Studies (1998).
The King Faisal International Prize for Islamic Studies for this year 2017 Topic: (Muslim Political Thought up to the 9th CenturyH/15 Century G) has been awarded to Professor Ridwan Al-Sayyid in recognition of his overall specialized publications that enriched the Arabic Library as well as his distinguished contribution to the Prize’s topic namely:
- The contributions in his researches and studies of broad and through knowledge of the Arabic Islamic jurisprudential and political heritage with full acquaintance with modern research methodology.
- Characterization of his academic research by precise scientific methodology.
- Successful integration of original Islamic political thought and current Arabic Islamic reality.
- Multiplicity of his studies on Muslim political thought, including issues of governance, authority, state, society and nation as related to historic Islamic reality.