Tarif Khalidi طريف الخالدي
Born January 24, 1938(1938-01-24)
Residence Beirut, Lebanon
Nationality Palestinian
Alma mater

University College, Oxford

University of Chicago
Occupation Scholar of Islamic history and Arabic studies
Known for His English translation of the Qur'an, and other Islamic scholarship including The Muslim Jesus, Arabic Historical Thought in the Classical Period and Images of Muhammad

Tarif Khalidi (Arabic: طريف الخالدي), born January 24, 1938 in Jerusalem, is a Palestinian historian who now holds the Shaykh Zayid Chair in Islamic and Arabic Studies at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.[1]


Khalidi is the son of Ahmad Samih Khalidi (1896–1951) and Anbara Salam (1897-1986), and the brother of historian Walid Khalidi. Palestinian-American historian Rashid Khalidi is Tarif's first cousin. Khalidi's son, Muhammad Ali Khalidi, is a philosophy professor at York University. The Khalidi family has lived in Jerusalem since the eleventh century and is noted for a long line of judges and scholars.[2] Tarif's father was principal of the Government Arab College in Jerusalem from 1925 until 1948.[3] He also served as Deputy Director of Education under the British Mandate. [4] He was the author of several pioneering works on educational theory and on Palestinian history. Khalidi’s mother came from a prominent Beiruti political family.[5] She was a pioneer feminist, activist and writer; and the first woman in Greater Syria (Syria, Lebanon and Palestine) to publicly remove her veil in 1927.[6] She also translated several literary works into Arabic, including Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, and published her memoirs in 1978.[7]

Khalidi and his family were "driven out of their home in April 1948 by advancing Zionist forces."[8] The family sought refuge in Beirut.[9]

Academic Career

In 1952, Khalidi attended Haileybury College in Hertford, England where he was on the classical side (Latin, Greek and Ancient History). He went on to University College, Oxford, where he received a B.A. in Modern History in 1960 and his Master’s degree three years later. Between 1960 and 1966, he was an instructor of Cultural Studies at the American University of Beirut.

Khalidi received a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of Chicago in 1970.[10] That year he returned to AUB as an Assistant Professor in the History Department. He taught at AUB through the Lebanese Civil War with a brief departure from 1985-1986 to become a Senior Research Associate at St. Antony’s College, Oxford.

In 1996 he was named the Sir Thomas Adams's Professor of Arabic and a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge as well as director of the Center of Middle Eastern Studies there.[11]

He returned to AUB again in 2002 to occupy his current position as Shaykh Zayid Chair at the Center for Arab and Middle East Studies.[12]



  • (Co-editor) Al-Jahiz: A Muslim Humanist for our Time (Wurzburg/Beirut: Ergon Verlag, 2009).
  • Editor, Land Tenure and Social Transformation in the Middle East ( Beirut: American University of Beirut, 1984). ISBN 9780815660712
  • A Study in the Meaning and Method of History (in Arabic; Beirut: Dar al-Tali`a, 1982).
  • Studies in the History of Arabic Islamic Culture (in Arabic; Beirut: Dar al-Tali`a, 1977).
  • Islamic Historiography: The Histories of Mas`udi (Albany: SUNY Press, 1975). ISBN 9780873952828


  • "A World Historian and his Vision: at-Tabari, the Qur’an and History”, Al-Abhath, vol.55-56 (2007-2008).
  • "Death and the Badi` in Early `Abbasid Poetry: The Elegy for al-Numayri by `Abdullah ibn al-Mu`tazz" (with Maher Jarrar), Al-Abhath, vol. 54 (2006).
  • "Jesus, Islam and World Dialogue", Concilium, 39/4 (October 2003).
  • "Poetry and Identity in the Umayyad Age" (with S.S.Agha), Al-Abhath, vol.50-51, (2002-2003).
  • Article "Arabs", Encyclopedia of the Qur’an, ed. J.D.McAuliffe , Leiden: Brill, 2002.
  • "Reflections on Periodisation in Arabic Historiography", The Medieval History Journal, vol.1, number 1 (Jan-June, 1998).
  • "Islamic Views of the West in the Middle Ages", Studies in Interreligious Dialogue (The Netherlands), 5/1995/1.


  1. American University of Beirut,Tarif Khalidi biographical sketch, Retrieved 2009-11-21.
  2. Jocelyn M. Ajami, Aramco World, November/December 1993, Volume 44/Number 6, A Hidden Treasure, 2009-11-21.
  3. Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs, Jerusalem, Palestinian Personalities.
  4. Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs, Jerusalem, Palestinian Personalities.
  5. S. Rami,,"Memoirs of Anbara Salam al-Khalidi", 2009-11-21.
  6. American University of Beirut, CAMES, March 21, 2007Interview with Anbara Salam al-Khalidi.
  7. ‘Jawalah fil Dhikrayat Baynah Lubnan Wa Filastin' (A Tour of Memories of Lebanon and Palestine),Beirut: al-Nahar, 1978.
  8. As stated by Tarif Khalidi in an interview with this article's author at his Beirut home in October 2009.
  9. See also: Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Oxford: Oneworld, 2007) Chapters 2-6; and Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).
  10. University of Chicago Magazine: Class Notes, Books by Alumni, 2009-11-21.
  11. American University of Beirut Press "About the Editor", 2009-11-21.
  12. American University of Beirut,Tarif Khalidi biographical sketch, Retrieved 2009-11-21.
  13. Refer to Khalidi's Curriculum Vitae for a complete list of his articles and other publications.

External links

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