Wilferd Ferdinand Madelung (born 26 December 1930) is a scholar of Islam. He was born in Stuttgart, Germany, where he completed his early education at Eberhard-Ludwigs-Gymnasium.
His family moved to the United States in (or after?) 1947, and he studied at Georgetown University. In 1952, he went to Egypt and stayed there for a year. During his stay the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, initiated by the Free Officers, occurred. He also met Ihsan Abbas, the famous scholar of Islamic History, there.
On leaving Egypt he went back to Germany and completed his Ph.D in 1957, working with Spuler. In 1958 he was sent to Iraq by the German government to work at its embassy there. Shortly after his arrival in Baghdad, Brigadier Abd al-Karim Qasim overthrew the regime in the bloody military coup known as the 14 July Revolution. Madelung stayed in Iraq two more years. Subsequently, he taught at the University of Chicago.
Madelung was Laudian Professor of Arabic at the University of Oxford from 1978 to 1998. He has written extensively on the early history of Islam, as well as on Islamic sects such as the Shi'a and the Ismailis. He has served on the editorial boards of several academic journals including the Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies. He is currently a Senior research fellow at the Institute for Ismaili Studies in London
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