Irfan Arif Shahîd (Arabic: عرفان عارف‎; Nazareth, Mandatory Palestine, January 15, 1926 – Washington, D.C., November 9, 2016),[1] born as Erfan Arif Qa'war (عرفان عارف قعوار), was a scholar in the field of Oriental studies. He was from 1982 until his death professor emeritus at Georgetown University,[2] where he had been the Oman Professor of Arabic and Islamic Literature. Shahîd was also a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America since 2012.[3]

Erfan Arif
Erfan Arif

(1926-01-15)January 15, 1926
Died November 9, 2016(2016-11-09) (aged 90)
CitizenshipUnited States
EducationSt John's College, Oxford (B.A.)
Princeton University (Ph.D.)
Known forProfessor emeritus at Georgetown University


Erfan Arif was born in Nazareth, Mandatory Palestine to a Palestinian Christian family. He left in 1946 to attend St John's College, Oxford, where he read classics and Greco-Roman history. He studied under renowned antiquities historian A. N. Sherwin-White.[2]

He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in Arabic and Islamic Studies. His doctorate thesis was “Early Islam and Poetry.” Erfan's research was primarily focused on three major areas: the area where the Greco-Roman world, especially the Byzantine Empire, meets the Arabic and Islamic worlds in the late antique and medieval times, Islamic studies, particularly the Quran and Arabic literature, especially classical and medieval Arabic poetry.[4] In 2012 Erfan Arif became a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America[5]

Selected worksEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Oral History Interview with Irfan Shahîd". Dumbarton Oaks. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Association of Main-Campus Retired Faculty". Georgetown University. Archived from the original on 2015-06-12.
  4. ^ "Lectures by Irfan Shahid". University of California-Los Angeles. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  5. ^


  1. ^ As enacted, S. 1483 is Private Law 536, 84th Congress (70 Stat. A18). "59 - Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill for the Relief of Irfan Kawar.", The American Presidency Project, Washington DC, 19 March 1956. Retrieved on 22 August 2015.