Mohamed Osman Elkhosht
Muhammad Othman Elkhosht (al-khasht) (b. 1964) (Arabic: محمد عثمان الخشت) is a professor of philosophy of religion and contemporary philosophy at Faculty of Arts, Cairo University, where he is also a cultural advisor. He is a leading authority on modern Islam, and a member of the Association for Intercultural Philosophy, which encourages a dialogue among philosophers from all over the world.
Elkhosht is an Arab thinker and an encyclopaedia of knowledge; he has delved into both Islamic heritage and Western thought. His writings are characterized by combining the rational approach and his faith background.
His writings are references to fundamentals of religion, modern and contemporary doctrines, and political science, in a sense that has to do with civil society and its role, the global state and the nation state.
Some of Elkhosht’s writings are taught at several universities with regard to the various disciplines of religion: Fundamentals of Religion, Study of Hadith, Sharia (Islamic Law), and Comparative Religion. He has also written many books on Islamic sects as well as social life. Elkhosht’s writings, marked by moderation and rationality, reveal his thorough study of the humanities and legal sciences. His style is clear and logical. He also acts as a cultural adviser to Cairo University.
Elkhosht has rewritten the Studies of Hadith in a modern way and re-interpreted the position of Sharia (Islamic Law) on women's issues since the eighties of the twentieth century, with regard to women’s right to take positions in the judiciary, the fatwa (authoritative ruling on a religious issue), taking the stand in court of law, equality between men and women in political and civil rights, etc. He has an upright stance on issues that have to do with the state, civil society, freedom of expression, and democracy. He has fought corruption and extremism in many of his books and articles, such as "Civil Society and the State," and "Ethics and the Conducts of Progress". Elkhosht has also established philosophical tolerance in his books "Common Minimum" and "Rationality and Intolerance" in which he criticizes those closed, lifeless and dogmatic doctrines.
On the other hand, M. O. Elkhosht’s works offer a new vision of the history of western philosophy that goes beyond the traditional conflict, since the beginning of modern times, between rationality and emotions, idealism and realism, formalism and materialism. Moreover, some other messages are generated from Elkhosht’s works to combine the thoughts of Descartes and Bacon, Leibniz and Locke before Kant and Hume, and after Hegel and Marx. He has criticized Descartes’ theological undertones and unravelled his counterfeit rationality. Elkhosht’s also criticized Leibniz’s resort to theology, Hegel’s absolutism, and Hume’s sensual world and scepticism.
Furthermore, Elkhosht , in his book "The Major Faiths”, has called for spiritual rationality, as a methodology, and, at the same time, a vision for the universe and life. He has managed to distinguish between rational and irrational elements of religions, depending on the rational critical approach, in his book "The Reasonable and the Unreasonable in Religions". There are references to his writings in Western studies and websites which have many quotations from them. His name is mentioned in those studies as follows: "Muhammad Othman Al-Khasht", "Muhammad Al-Khasht", or "Alkhasht".
In that pre-university stage, Elkhosht received prizes in many research and Qur’an competitions and at the level of the Arab Republic of Egypt. As a university student, Elkhosht had many books and research works published. His first book was published while he was still a freshman. And then his writings kept coming and were published by major Egyptian and Lebanese publishing houses while he was still a university student: his first book on the Qur’an was published while he was a freshman. Later, major Lebanese publishing houses published his writings while he was still a student, such as Dar Alkitab Alarabi. Whoever read his writings at that time would believe that Elkhosht was such an old, experienced scholar.
Some leading magazines in Egypt and the Arab world have published and reviewed his works. Elkhosht always topped his classes during his college years.
Some thinkers and scholars’ views on M. O. Elkhosht :
- The Egyptian philosopher Prof. Hassan Hanafi, in his introduction to his book "Mind and Metaphysics", published by Dar Al-Tanweer in Beirut, described Elkhosht saying, “It is as if the soul of Al-Farabi is back again in Muhammad Osman Elkhosht who belongs to a comprehensive civilization that unites instead of stirring sources of differences. It is also as if Elkhosht is heading for a second reconciliation between Salafism and secularism, in an attempt to bring that bloodshed between brothers, in modern time, to a halt.”
- When Dr. Yasin Abdel Ghaffar, the greatest hepatologist in the Arab world, listened to the twenty-one year old’s Friday sermon (On the Qur’an and Progress), he said: “There is no doubt that Muhammad Osman Elkhosht is a new modern religious scholar who speaks a new language and tackles modern topics with clear rationality. Therefore, he is not like other sheikhs, he is a rational thinker who believes in religion.”
- Sheikh ‘Amer Osman said: “He recites the Qur’an in an extremely accurate way.”
- Sheikh Mahmoud Khalil Al-Hosary commended Elkhosht’s excellent articulation of the sounds of the Qur’an.
- Prof. Yahya Howaidy, former Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Islamic thinker, said: “Muhammad Osman Elkhosht is a new model of philosopher who has managed to offer a new vision of the history of philosophy that has changed the traditional view of modern and contemporary philosophy.”
- The great professor of philosophy Prof. Murad Wahba Said, “Despite my difference with Prof. Mohamed Osman Elkhosht in ideology, I see that his writings are not research works in philosophy, but they are original, philosophical texts based on genuine creativity.”
- Prof. Sobhi Saleh, a scientific author and professor of sciences at the University of Alexandria, said, “He has a bright mind.”
- The renowned researcher Mr. Abdul Qadir Ata said: “He is one of the best researchers and is full of ideas.”
- Abu Abdul Malik Alsakandari, a Salafi scholar, said: “Prof. Muhammad Osman Elkhosht is a great researcher and scholar.”
- Sheikh Ibrahim Atwa Awad, a researcher, said: "Muhammad Osman Elkhosht is a researcher and scrutinizer who goes deeply into the heritage."
M. O. Elkhosht has dozens of books, research papers, and translations. He has also supervised many theses and helped many of his students who are members of the teaching staff of the Egyptian and Arab universities. Elkhosht is an arbiter in the Professor Promotion committees in many Arab universities.
Some of his contributions to the academic field are:
• 23 research papers in Arabic and English, published regionally and internationally.
• 57 books published by the major publishing houses, locally and regionally.
• Supervising tens of Master and PhD theses and scientific research papers in the philosophy of religion and philosophy of politics.
• Thousands of references to his works in the global search engines and Arab and foreign references.
• Taking part in 41 local and international conferences.
• As for his translation works, they include:
Translation of the Britannica Encyclopaedia of religions.
Translation of the Dictionary of World Religions.
Books and Papers
First : Comparative Religions and Philosophy of Religion
1- Development of Religion, Cairo, Shorouk Bookshop, 2010.
2- Grand Creeds, Damascus, Dar Al. Kittab Al-Arabi, 2010.
3- Reasonable and Non-Reasonable in Religions, Cairo, Dar Nahdat Misr, 2006.
4- Islam, Positivism and Orientalism in the Age of Ideology, Cairo, Dar Nahdat Misr, 2007.
5- Rationalism and Fanaticism, Cairo, Dar Nahdat Misr, 2007.
6- The Minimal Middle Ground among Religions and Asethics, Cairo, Dar Kibaa Al Haditha, 2007.
7- Hashashin Movement: History and Creeds of the Most Dangerous Secret Sect in the Islamic World, Cairo, Ibn Sina, 1988.
8- Philosophy of Christian Creeds, Cairo, Dar Kibaa, 1998. It was delivered in the Conference of the Egyptian Philosophical Association "Philosophical Discourse" held at the Faculty of Arts in cooperation with the Egyptian Philosophical Association on 22/12/1997.
9- Comparison of Religions: Vedic Religion, Abrahamic Religion, and Hinduism, Cairo, Ibn Sina Bookshop, 1996.
10- Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, Cairo, Dar Kibaa, first edition 2001, second edition 2002 and third edition which was double - sized and modified, 2003 and then, other editions.
11- Religion and Metaphysics in the Philosophy of Hume, Cairo, Dar Kibaa, 1997.
12- Roget Garoudi: Half Century Searching for the Truth, Cairo, Ibn Sina Bookshop, 1986.
13- Personality and Spiritual life in the Philosophy of Religion for Brightman, Cairo, Dar Kibaa Al Haditha, 2006.
14- Reason and Metaphysics between the Philosophies of Hume and Cante, Beirut, Dar Al-Tanweer, 2005
15- Modern Philosophy: New Readings. Cairo, Dar Al Thakafah Al Arabayya, 8th Edition, 2009.
16- Philosophy of Religion: in light of a New Interpretation of Cante's Criticism, Cairo, Gharib Bookshop, 1994.
17- Descartes' Masks, Cairo, Dar Kibaa, 1998. It was also published in the Faculty of Arts Magazine – Cairo University, Vol. 57, Issue No. 2, April 1997.
18- God and Man: Problem of Similarity and Difference, Cairo, Dar Kibaa Al Haditha, 2006. It was also published in the Faculty of Arts Magazine, Beni Sueif, Issue 10, April 2006.
19- Metaphysics: Critical Readings, Cairo, Dar Al Thakafah Al Arabayya, 2009.
Second: Political Field:
20- Civil Society for Hegel, Cairo, Dar Kibaa, 2002.
21- Civil Society and the State, Cairo, Nahdat Misr, 2006.
22- Civil Society, Cairo, Cultural Palaces Organization, 2004.
23- Future of Arab-Israeli Conflict, editor," Cairo, Dar Kibaa, 2001.
Third: Social Field
24- Ethics and Behaviors of Advancement, Cairo, Cultural Palaces Organization, 2004.
25- Rumors, Cairo, Ibn Sina Bookshop, 1996.
Fourth: Academic Research:
26- Art of Writing Academic Research and Preparation of University Theses, Cairo, Ibn Sina Bookshop, 1990.
27- How to Write Academic Research? Nahdat Misr, 2007.
28- Methods of Research, Beirut, Dar Al-Amir, 2010.
Fifth: Jurisprudent Sciences:
29- Jurisprudent Guide, Cairo Ibn Sina Bookshop, 1984.
30- Keys to Hadith Sciences and Methods of Its Presentation, Al-Qur'an Bookshop, 1987.
31- The Farewell Sermon, Cairo, Al- Mokhtar Al-Islami Bookshop, 1985.
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