Irfan Shahîd

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Irfan Arif Shahîd (Arabic: عرفان شهيد‎‎; born January 15, 1926) as Irfan Arif Kawar عرفان عارف قعوار is a scholar in the field of Oriental studies. He is currently a professor emeritus at Georgetown University,[1] where he has been the Oman Professor of Arabic and Islamic Literature since 1982. Shahîd became a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America in 2012.[2]


Shahîd was born in Nazareth, Mandatory Palestine to an Arab Christian family. He left in 1946 to attend St John's College, Oxford, where he read classics and Greco-Roman history. He studied under renowned antiquities historian A. N. Sherwin-White.[1]

He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in Arabic and Islamic Studies. His doctorate thesis was “Early Islam and Poetry.” Shahîd's research has been primarily focused on three major areas: the area where the Greco-Roman world, especially the Byzantine Empire, meets the Arabic and Islamic worlds in the late antique and medieval times, Islamic studies, particularly the Quran and Arabic literature, especially classical and medieval Arabic poetry.[3]

Select works[edit]

  • Byzantium and the Arabs in the Sixth Century, Volume 2, Part 2, 2010
  • Byzantium and the Arabs in the Sixth Century, Volume 2, Part 1, 2002
  • Byzantium and the Arabs in the Sixth Century, Volume 1, 1995
  • Byzantium and the Arabs in the Fifth Century, 1989
  • Byzantium and the Semitic Orient Before the Rise of Islam (Collected Studies Series: No.Cs270), 1988
  • Byzantium and the Arabs in the Fourth Century, 1984
  • Rome and the Arabs: A Prolegomenon to the Study of Byzantium and the Arabs, 1984
  • Omar Khayyám, the Philosopher-Poet of Medieval Islam, 1982



  1. ^ As enacted, S. 1483 is Private Law 536, 84th Congress (70 Stat. A18). "59 - Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill for the Relief of Irfan Kawar.", The American Presidency Project, Washington DC, 19 March 1956. Retrieved on 22 August 2015.