10 Historical Philosophers

Al Ghazali

Al Ghazali was born in 1058 A.D in Iran but was orphaned following the death of his father when he was still a young boy. Despite the loss of his father, Al Ghazali was privileged to attain a basic education in school Baghdad. His journey of becoming a great philosopher in the world was accelerated by acquiringa great scholarship in religion and philosophy which enabled high to attain a high standard education (Garden, 2014). Upon accomplishing his higher education studies, he was privileged to be appointed as a professor at the Nizamiyah University of Bagdad which was among the highly reputable institutions during that era. Al Ghazali lived in the era whereby the Muslim faith was deteriorating and needed serious rejuvenation. There was the great need to deal with these problems, and it needed great philosophers to help in rebuilding the power of the Muslim faith. Al Ghazali became one of the greatest contributors in the renewal of the Muslim faith in the 11th century through his initiative to revive the lost Islamic scholarships(Garden, 2014).He actively participated in the fight against critical philosophies which were raised to undermine the Muslim during his era. His time was characterized the strong ancient Greek philosophy which was indeed a big threat to the Islamic religion. According to his autobiography known as Deliverance from Error, Al Ghazali described various ideas and concepts in a philosophical manner which created a lot of impacts even today. One of the great ideas was the philosophy based on the Ancient Greek, which presented models of Aristotle. He developed philosophies based on the Orthodox Islamic beliefs which other scholars found hard to dispute because of the expert and logic arguments of the ideas (Gharipour & Ozlu, 2015). His concept of denying the beliefs of an Imam on scriptural basis was accomplished through the analysis of the derivation of the Islamic law.

Malik Bennabi

Malik Bennabi was born in the year 1905 in Algeria, but he lived with his uncle in his childhood through an adoption which lasted upon the death of his uncle. His father was a great scholar in the country and, therefore, he encouraged his son to acquire high quality education through the provision of a study scholarship in France. A section of Malik Bennabi’s personality was shaped by his grandparents who continuously complained about the social and economic issues experienced in Algeria (Naylor, 2015). Upon studying in France, he appreciated the French language and literature through reading numerous novels which greatly influenced his thinking throughout his lifetime. Malik Bennabi developed great ideas and concepts that were essentialto the civilization of his people. During his lifetime, there was a series of wars such as the World Wars, the Algeria war, and the occupation of Algeria by the French colonies. Therefore, his input in the concepts of history and civilization made him be one of the great Muslim thinkers in the modern world. He actively participated in the liberation of his people from the hands of the Frenchmen through learning and understanding the French civilization (El-Mesawi, 2014). Through engagement in the secret association of Arab students, Malik Bennabi acted as the representative of Algeria in all political issues involving his people. Despite his academic background being engineering, Malik Bennabi expressed a lot of ideas on social perspective through his books. His deep thought on civilization was provoked by the poor social condition of his people amidst of the superiority of the French people who occupied Algeria. Malik Bennabi greatly condemned the Muslims who viewed the western civilization as holy and pure because ideally it was a mockery of the Muslim faith (El-Mesawi, 2014). He embarked on re-awakening the Muslims superiority through his scientific thinking and the approach towards the western civilization.

Ibn Khaldun

Ibn Khaldun was born in Tunisia 1332 A.D by his parents who originated from Yemen but migrated to Tunisia after the fall of Seville. Upon receiving his basic education, he joined the service of the Egyptian ruler Sultan Barquq before enrolling for higher education studies in Fez. Due to the long period of political conflicts that existed during his teenage period, his career was greatly affected forcing his to seek refuge in Algeria (Al-Azmeh, 2012). These happenings opened his way towards becoming a great historian, sociologist and philosopher through his first volume of world history known as Muqaddimah. The life of Ibn Khaldun was characterized by a series of movements from one country to another due to the political heat that existed during his time. He worked with different rulers in Tunisia, Morocco, Spain and the entire North Africa in an attempt to ease the political turmoil in North Africa. He lived in the period whereby the people of North Africa were in great need for human civilization and development (Al-Azmeh, 2012). Therefore, through his critical study of history provided a great insight to the people thus enabling him to be the founder of sociology and the sciences of history. The Maqaddimah provided a deep analysis of the historical events that happened during his time thus making him a significant contributor to the philosophy of history and sociology. The main aim of his work was to establish the best economic and social ideas that would suit the development of the human civilization and the prevalent history in his country (Al-Azmeh, 2012). Ibn Khaldun’s ideas focused on the role of group relationships towards the attainment of human civilization and political power which would have a remarkable impact on the people.

Hannah Ardent

Hannah Ardent was born in Hannover Germany in the year 1906 but raised in Konigsberg as the only child in her family. Hannah Ardent began to show great readership passion at a young age through the inspiration of the theology and romantic ideas of Kierkegaard’s poetry. She studied theology at the University of Marburg where she gained a lot of knowledge about the National Socialist Party from the interaction with her lecturer (Mavrommatis, 2015). She also studied phenomenological method that enabled her to write a dissertation paper on the concept of love that builds her journey to be a great philosopher in the world. Hannah Arendt lived during the era of the National Socialism rise in Germany which was associated with the increased levels of the political activities in the country. She was involved in the hostile political activities of Nazism, which oppressed many people and hence she sought for exposure of the information about the victims of these activities. During her time, there was a serious conflict between the German Nationalism and the minority people, who she sought to, resolve (Mavrommatis, 2015). Her vibrant political activism through conducting research on the ant-Semitic propaganda made her be imprisoned but managed to escape the prison after a short period of detention. The publication of her work Eichmann in Jerusalem in 1963 created a lot of controversy in the country. This is because the work described the Eichmann’s trial in Israel after the Israel security bodies have captured the commander who was in charge of the transportation of Jews to the death camps. Herargument on the Eichmann trial led to a series of discussions about the role played by Hannah Arendt inspiration through her ideas and concepts expressed through her numerous publications (Mavrommatis, 2015).

Franz Fanon

Frantz Fanon was born in 1925 in Fort-de-France where he developed his career to become one of the greatest West Indian psychoanalyst and social philosopher. He became famous due to his series of theories on the social generation of neuroses, his numerous writings on national liberation and the influence he created on the different generations of thinkers and activists that existed after him (Gordon, 2015). Upon accomplishment of his basic education, he served in the Free French Army in the Second World War and thereafter undertook further studies in medicine and psychiatry at the University of Lyon. Frantz Fanon lived in the time of World War 2 and therefore he was exposed to different social set ups both in France and its colonies. Upon accomplishment of his university studies, he was then referred to Algeria where he treated the French soldiers and Algerians thus providing him with the opportunity to learn and observe the effects of colonial violence.As a result, he joined the Algerian liberation movement that championed for the recognition of the local culture of the Algerians by the colonizers (Gordon, 2015). Through the ideas and concepts presented in his book The Wretched of the Earth, he became the first intellectual to inspire the international decolonization movement. Frantz Fanon was a source of inspiration to the colonized people because he viewed colonization as the origin of violence which acted as a tool of social control. He cited the rise of corruption, ethnic division and racism which is even predominant today to have resulted from the effects of colonization (Gordon, 2015). His ideas were based on the need for the development of culture and social set up in the community through clearly outlined stages in order to ensure that the effects of colonization are not intense. He pointed out the great need for a country to achieve cultural maturity before attaining national liberation for the sake of smooth transition.


Voltaire was born in the year 1694 in Paris, France and lived for eight three years. Throughout his life, he wrote a series of works which involved philosophical concepts and works of history that greatly enlightened the French people. He also championed for various aspects of human beings such as religious freedom for all people, free trade and social reforms that increased his popularity among his country people (Aldridge, 2015). Through his works and the overall fight against the terrorization of the human rights institutions, Voltaire enlightened not only the French people but also led to the American revolutions which have shaped the modern America. Voltaire lived in the era of religious and political revolution across Europe, and his insight on the religious intolerance and the unfair government practices created a lot of tension with the authorities of that time (Aldridge, 2015). This forced him to exile and imprisonment severally but did not deter him from pressurizing for the freedom of the people. While in prison, Voltaire continued to monitor the freedom movements fighting for freedom of speech, religion and he actively pushed for aconstitutional monarchy in France instead of the absolute monarchy. Voltaire wrote the Essay on the Civil wars in France, which was meant to attack the high level of intolerance to religious freedom in the country. Despite the numerous establishments of religious centers in France, the government greatly opposed them which meant Voltaire to pressure for the separation of the state and the church. He is also renowned as the first philosopher to write a history of the world on the basis of cultural, political and economic concepts without any consideration of the theological framework set by theologists (Aldridge, 2015). Voltaire also expressed personal ideas criticizing slavery which was very rampant in his time especially among the European countries.

Ibn Rushd

Ibn Rushd was born in 1128 A.D in Cordoba, Spain where his grandfather served as a judge and imam of the Jamia Mosque of Cordoba. He undertook his education in the same city where he studies philosophy, law and then medicine. Through his prolific writing, Ibn Rushd made a tremendous contribution in philosophy, law and medicine which he had well versed knowledge of from his intense studies (Gómez-Rivas, 2014). Through the inspiration of his father and grandfather, he came out to be a very influential philosopher of the Islamic religion whereby he integrated Islamic traditions with the ancient Greek thoughts. Ibn Rushd existed during the era of after the revival of the Islamic religion by another philosophe known as Al Ghazali. Therefore, most of the works of Ibn Rushd were aimed at responding to the numerous works done by philosopher Al Ghazali, who had really transformed the deteriorating Muslim religion (Gómez-Rivas, 2014). During his time, there was the great need to develop quality philosophies, design laws and provision of medical diagnosis to cure and prevent numerous diseases which were developing. There also rose great influence on Jews and Christians which needed great philosophers like Ibn Rushd to analyzecritically and solve. One of the greatest worksof Ibn Rushd was the writing of the Tuhafut al-Tuhafut that was designed to respond to Al Ghazali’s philosophical work. Despite the numerous criticisms on Ibn Rushd by many Muslims due to his publications, he continued to develop his philosophical work until the modern philosophy took precedence. In music, Ibn Rushd wrote a commentary on the book De Amina while in astronomy he wrote on the movement of the sphere. All this ideas developed by this philosopher were clear indication of his intense contribution in philosophy and other fields affecting human life (Gómez-Rivas, 2014).


Plato was born in Athens Greece in the year 428 BCE in a family with a great history of politics. He had a great passion for music and poetry while he was young before joining the military between 409 BC and 404 BC. Plato is a well renowned early Greek philosopher whose influence on the Western reflection is experienced even today. Being a apprentice of Socrates and a trainer of Aristotle, Plato majorly focused his writings on fair dealing, beauty and fairness within the society. He was the founder of the initial body of advanced learning in the entire western world where political philosophy, theology, and cosmology were taught (Cornford, 2014). Plato lived during the era of the execution of the Socrates in Greece. Thus his writings were inspired by such incidents and he focused on revealing the Socrates philosophy and teachings. He usually wrote to respond to the injustices done to the people by the authorities of those times since there was no developed democracy in the society (Cornford, 2014). During that time, paganism was a great threat to Christianity and hence Plato established the academy to teach theology, political theory, philosophy and other subjects which could impact on the lives of the people. Plato’s most catching work was The Republic, which critically discussed the virtues of justice, courage, and wisdom in the society as the pillars of social development either as an individual or as the entire society. He provided insightinto an ideal person or state regarding the education of the people and the formation of formal governments as the way forward towards attainment of a successful republic (Cornford, 2014). Through the creation of the academy, Plato gained the chance to teach the best virtues for an individual. His ideas on what makes an educated person have a great influence on the education theory even in today’s world.


Socrates was born in 470 BC in Athens Greece, and he was a philosophical teacher of Plato. Most of life of Socrates is contained in the writings of his students such as Plato and Xenophon, who described him in their successive works. Socrates is believed to be the most interesting thinker and most influential philosopher in the fifth century. He embarked on critical reasoning with the aim of changing the entire enterprise (Colaiaco, 2013). His perfect Socratic method created the stable ground for the establishment of the European logic systems and philosophy. Socrates lived in the era when the transformational ideas where highly criticized by the authorities. His critical reasoning in the development of logic and philosophical concepts led to his death which he preferred to face rather than fleeing to exile (Colaiaco, 2013). During his era also there were a series of wars that meant the Athenian law to compel all able bodied men between the ages of 18 to 60 years to serve as citizen soldiers (Colaiaco, 2013). Through the exposure in the series of wars, Socrates developed logic thinking and great philosophies which helped in the positive aggression on the enemy. Socrates was well known for his courage during battles with his masculine physical appearance which is described as a competitive advantage during the wars. He was also known for his perfect conversational skills and eloquent public teaching, character traits recorded by his students (Colaiaco, 2013). However, one of the students, Plato also became a philosopher and, therefore included his own theories when expressing the teachings of the Socrates. During his trial by the Athenian democracy over the accusation of lack of respect to the state religion, he delivered a defense speech which clearly expresses the Socrates perception in philosophy.

Mohammed Iqbal

Mohammed Iqbal was born in 1877 in Punjab, India in a family of small scale merchants and attained education in a government institution. He is a renowned poet and a great philosopher who made a strong contribution in influencing the Muslims in the British occupied idea. He pressured for theestablishment of a separate Muslim state that eventually came out to be the republic of Pakistan (Sevea, 2012). Due to his contribution to the establishment of Pakistan, Mohammed Iqbal he is regarded to as a great politician in the BritishIndiawho inspired the Pakistan movement. He is also an icon in Urdu literature having done numerous writings in Urdu and Persian languages. Mohammed Iqbal lived in the era of British aggression on India, and there was a great need for political awareness and empowerment among the people in order to counter the British oppression. There was also the need to develop the Islamic culture and strive for Islamic civilization which would help the Muslim political movement (Sevea, 2012). Iqbal also existed during the era of the First World War, which mostly involved the European countries. Despite its political supremacy in the British-India, Mohammed Iqbal was against Indian participation in the world war. Instead, he remained in touch with other Muslim political leaders in India to protect the interests of his people. Mohammed Iqbal managed to acquire a scholarship to study way of life in England where he begun to compose poems in the Persian language. He used this poetry to express his philosophical thoughts to readers across the world. Iqbal was inspired by the poetry and philosophy of MawlanaRumi, which always clicked in his mind (Sevea, 2012). Upon him having a strong religious background since childhood, Iqbal focused on studying Islam, narration of Islamic development and Islamic affairs of state. Through this knowledge, he was able to influence the entire Muslim community in India, which led to the establishment of many Muslim nations.

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