Born and raised in Andernach, Halm studied Islamic and Semitic studies, and medieval and modern history at the University of Bonn, where he was a scholar of Annemarie Schimmel. Following his Ph.D. and a traineeship in journalism at Hessischer Rundfunk, he joined the scholarly project of the Tübinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients (Tuebingen Atlas of the Near & Middle East), a bilingual (German/English) collection of geographical and historical maps. In 1980, he was appointed Professor for Islamic Studies at the University of Tübingen.
Halm's book The Shiites was reviewed in the International Journal of Middle East Studies by Said Amir Arjomand who remarked that "Halm’s historical perspective is a welcome corrective to the ahistorical shallowness of the vast majority of the accounts of the Islamic Revolution." Arjomand recommends the book as "a short historical introduction to Shi`ism, it is serviceable to the general public and has no rival or substitute.”
- Halm, Faroqhi, Gronke, eds. (2012). "The Arabs". History of the Middle East. Markus Wiener Publishers. ISBN 9781558765702.CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)
- Die Araber: Von der vorislamischen Zeit bis zur Gegenwart (in German) (4th ed.). C.H. Beck. 2015. ISBN 978-3-406-68284-1.
- Institute page of Heinz Halm at Tübingen University at the Wayback Machine (archived July 9, 2012) (in German)