The late Abbas Hamdani, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, was born in Surat, India in 1926, received his B.A. (Hons.) and L.L.B. degrees from Bombay University in 1945 and 1947 respectively and his PhD from the University of London (School of Oriental and African Studies) in 1950, in Arabic and Islamic Studies. He taught Islamic History at the University of Karachi from 1951-62; at the American University in Cairo from 1962-69, and since then at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee until his retirement in 2001.

His publications focused on the following four fields:

  • Medieval Islamic philosophical thought, especially with regard to the Brethren of Purity and their encyclopaedia.
  • Heresiological literature, especially with regard to the 12th century text the Tuhfat al-qulub.
  • The Islamic background to the voyages of Discovery.
  • The conflict between the Abbasid and Fatimid caliphates.

The late Professor Hamdani's fellowships and awards include a fellowship from the Fulbright Commission and the American Research Centre in Egypt, and an award for distinction in Teaching, Service, and the promotion of Peace from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He had lectured at several universities including the American University in Cairo, the Cairo University and the Hebrew University. Dr Hamdani spoke several languages (English, Arabic, French, Urdu, Gujrati) and travelled widely - attending and speaking at numerous conferences in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, North Africa, Australia, and Asia. Professor Hamdani had donated around 300 manuscripts inherited through seven generations of his family to The Institute of Ismaili Studies, which has been catalogued in the IIS publication Arabic, Persian and Gujarati Manuscripts: The Hamdani Collection.