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About the Author


    Jamal Khwaja was born in Delhi in 1928. His ancestors had been closely connected with the Islamic reform movement, inaugurated by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the founder of the famous M.A.O. College, Aligarh in the second half of the 19th century, and the Indian freedom movement under Gandhi’s leadership in the first half of the 20th century. After doing his M.A. in Philosophy from the Aligarh Muslim University, India, he obtained an honors degree from Christ’s College University of Cambridge, UK. Later he spent a year studying the German language and European existentialism at Munster University, Germany.

At Cambridge he was deeply influenced by the work of C.D. Broad, Wittgenstein and John Wisdom, apart from his college tutor, I.T.Ramsey who later became Professor of Christian Religion at Oxford.

It was the latter’s influence, which taught Khwaja to appreciate the inner beauty and power of pure spirituality. Khwaja was thus led to appreciate the value of linguistic analysis as a tool of philosophical inquiry and to combine the quest for clarity with the insights and depth of the existentialist approach to religion and spirituality.

Khwaja was appointed Lecturer in Philosophy at the Aligarh Muslim University in 1953. Before he could begin serious academic work in his chosen field, his family tradition of public work pulled him into a brief spell of active politics under the charismatic Jawahar Lal Nehru; the first Prime Minister of India. Nehru was keen to rejuvenate his team of colleagues through inducting fresh blood into the Indian National Congress. He included young Khwaja, then freshly returned from Cambridge, along with four or five other young persons. Khwaja thus became one of the youngest entrants into the Indian Parliament as a member of the Lok Sabha (Lower House) from 1957 to 1962. While in the corridors of power he learned to distinguish between ideals and illusions, and finally chose to pursue the path of knowledge rather than the path of acquiring authority or power. Returning to his alma mater in 1962, he resumed teaching and research in the philosophy of religion. Ever since then Khwaja has lived a quiet life at Aligarh.

He was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and was a member of important committees of the University Grants Commission and the Indian Council for Philosophical Research before retiring as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Philosophy in 1988. He was a frequent and active participant in national seminars held at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla.

His works include, Five Approaches to Philosophy, Quest for Islam, Authenticity and Islamic Liberalism, Living The Quran In Our Times, and numerous articles and scholarly essays. He was invited to deliver the Khuda Bakhsh Memorial Lecture at Patna. He was one of the official Indian delegates at the World Philosophical Congress Brighton, UK, in 1988, and also at the International Islamic Conference Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1967, and the Pakistan International Philosophy Congress, Peshawar, Pakistan, in 1964.He has visited the USA and several countries in Western Europe.

He performed Hajj in 2005.

Major Published Works:

Jamal Khwaja has written seven major books. Anyone interested in the intersection of Islam and Modernity will find Khwaja to be a reliable guide. His work is magisterial in scope. It is full of passion but remains balanced in perspective. Readers of his work will be in turn, informed, inspired, and intellectually liberated.


As complex issues get illumined and perplexities whither away, Muslim readers in particular, will feel emotionally aligned with the Quran and find themselves empowered to live as authentic Muslims in the heart of the multi-cultural global village.

1. Five Approaches To Philosophy: A discerning philosopher philosophizes about the philosophy of philosophy with wisdom and clarity. (2nd Edition). 158 Pages. ISBN: 978-1-935293-51-4

2. Quest For Islam: A philosophers approach to religion in the age of science and cultural pluralism. (Significantly Enlarged 2nd Edition). 314 Pages. ISBN: 978-1-935293-69-9

3. Authenticity And Islamic Liberalism: A mature vision of Islamic Liberalism grounded in the Quran. (Significantly Enlarged 2nd Edition). 186 Pages. ISBN: 978-1-935293-68-2

4. Essays On Cultural Pluralism: A philosophical framework for authentic interfaith dialogue. 238 Pages. ISBN: 978-1-935293-52-1

5. The Call Of Modernity And Islam: A Muslim’s journey into the 21st century. 232 Pages. ISBN: 978-1-935293-94-1

6. Living The Quran In Our Times: A vision of how Muslims can revitalize their faith, while being faithful to God and His messenger. 266 Pages. ISBN: 978-1-935293-71-2

7. The Vision Of An Unknown Indian Muslim: My journey to interfaith spirituality. 320 Pages. ISBN: 978-1-935293-96-5

Khwaja’s work is the definitive contemporary discussion regarding the collision of Islam and Modernity. Explore it. You will be profoundly rewarded.

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Short Bio

Born in 1928, Jamal Khwaja, has devoted a lifetime to the challenge of living the Quran with integrity.

His forefathers worked closely with Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, and with Mahatma Gandhi.

Khwaja studied Philosophy in India, England, and Germany. In 1957 he was elected to the Indian Parliament.

His engagement with power politics was short lived. In 1962 he resumed his beloved, scholarly & contemplative lifestyle at the Aligarh Muslim University.

He retired as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Philosophy. He performed Hajj in 2005.

Jamal Khwaja has written seven major books. Anyone interested in the intersection of Islam and Modernity will find Khwaja to be a reliable guide. His work is magisterial in scope. It is full of passion but remains balanced in perspective. He believes in judicious modernization rooted in the Quran and firmly opposes shallow, unprincipled imitation of the West.

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