Schimmel, Annemarie (Brigitte) 1922-2003 (Cemile Kiratli)
SCHIMMEL, Annemarie (Brigitte) 1922-2003 (Cemile Kiratli)
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born April 7 (some sources cite April 2), 1922, in Erfurt, Germany; died January 26, 2003, in Bonn, Germany. Islamic scholar, educator, editor, translator, and author. Schimmel was often acknowledged to be one of the most prominent scholars of Islamic religion, culture, and thought. She spoke multiple languages, including Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish, and was a welcome guest throughout the Islamic world. Schimmel was the first woman to teach theology at the University of Ankara in the late 1950s. In about 1967, she was a founding faculty member of the Indo-Muslim studies program at Harvard University; she remained at the university until her retirement in 1992. Afterward she returned to Germany as an honorary professor of Islamic studies at the University of Bonn. Schimmel's particular specialties were Persian poetry and the mystical segment of Islam known as Sufism. Though she was sometimes criticized for her avoidance of the political issues surrounding Islam, for the sheer breadth and depth of her knowledge and understanding Schimmel received many accolades, including the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade and the Hilal-i Pakistan, Pakistan's most distinguished civilian honor. Schimmel was enormously prolific as the author, editor, or translator of more than seventy books in several languages plus hundreds of pamphlets and journal articles. A representative sample of titles reveals her wide range of subject matter: Mystical Dimensions of Islam, As through a Veil: Mystical Poetry in Islam, Calligraphy and Islamic Culture, Deciphering the Signs of God: A Phenomenological Approach to Islam, My Soul Is a Woman: The Feminine in Islam, Rumi's World: The Life and Work of the Great Sufi Poet, and an autobiography published in German not long before her death. Some of Schimmel's writings in Turkish appeared under the pseudonym Cemile Kiratli.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Los Angeles Times, February 3, 2003, p. B9.
New York Times, February 2, 2003, obituary by Stephen Kinzer, p. A31.
Times (London, England), February 6, 2003.
Washington Post, February 3, 2003, obituary by Richard Pearson, p. B6.