Murad Wilfried Hofmann, a writer and former German diplomat, passed away on Monday, January 13, after a long struggle with illness at the age of 88. Let’s take a closer look at Hofmann’s life journey, leaving behind an exemplary life and a story of guidance.
Murad Hofmann’s Journey to Islam
Hofmann was born in 1931 to a Catholic family in Germany. Despite a successful academic life, Hofmann’s spiritual heart was always in search. His life took a significant turn when he completed his law master’s degree at Harvard University in 1960 and started working at the German Foreign Ministry.
In 1962, Hofmann was appointed as a diplomat to Algeria, where the independence war had been raging for eight years. French settlers in Algeria had made an agreement with the local people, stating that if they observed a ceasefire for six months, they would gain sovereignty. However, during this period, the settlers resorted to various tortures and massacres to break the ceasefire and turn the Algerian people away from their commitment. The incredible discipline displayed by the Algerian people in sticking to their agreement intrigued Hofmann and led him to contemplate the source of their strength, realizing it stemmed from their faith. This realization sparked great curiosity in Hofmann, and to quench that curiosity, he acquainted himself with the Quran.
Hofmann did not convert to Islam at this point, but he had abandoned the ideology of Christianity and turned his attention to Muslim culture.
Inspiration from Islamic Art
Another factor that endeared Islam to Hofmann’s heart was his interest in Islamic art. Despite previously being involved in ballet, even traveling about 50 times a year to closely watch and critique ballet performances, Hofmann’s perception of ballet changed drastically when he encountered Islamic art in Granada, Cordoba, and Seville in Southern Spain and Andalusia.
Interest in Philosophy
While Hofmann had a keen interest in philosophy, he had not acquainted himself with Muslim philosophers for a long time.
However, in 1980, the German Foreign Ministry organized a comprehensive presentation on Islam for diplomats who would be serving in Islamic countries. At that time, Hofmann found it essential to note down every point he considered significant for his son’s meaningful birthday gift. Hofmann requested the imam in Düsseldorf to read these notes. The next day, when the imam told Hofmann that if he believed in what he had written, he was already a Muslim, Hofmann responded, “If you say I’m a Muslim, then I am,” and he embraced Islam by reciting the shahada. Thus, he was blessed to pass through the gate of guidance that had opened years ago.
Diplomacy with a Muslim Identity
His Muslim identity did not hinder Hofmann’s diplomatic career; on the contrary, he continued to make significant contributions. He served as NATO Information Director from 1983 to 1987 and later as the Ambassador to Algeria and Morocco. In 1994, he resigned from the German Foreign Service to focus on Islamic studies. Additionally, he became an honorary member and consultant for the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD), providing guidance to the Muslim world through his books and endeavors.
A Great Loss
Murad Wilfried Hofmann passed away on January 13 after a long battle with illness at the age of 88. Following the news of his death, many people who loved him and Muslim organizations sent condolences on social media.
After embracing Islam, Hofmann had the opportunity to perform Hajj, and he shared his impressions of the pilgrimage in his book, “Journey to Mecca.”
Despite being born and raised in a Catholic family, Murad Hofmann, who discovered Islam, the greatest blessing in the world, is wished mercy by Allah. We pray that the books, research, and exemplary lifestyle he left behind become a source of reward.