He was born on April 18, 1934, and studied Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Islamic studies among others from 1953 to 1957. After obtaining a Ph.D. at Goethe University Frankfurt, he made visits to universities in California and Beirut and in 1968, became chair of Islamic studies at Tübingen University.
He was a member of several scientific academies including Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Iraqi Academy of Sciences, Tunisian Academy of Sciences, Medieval Academy of America, and Iran’s philosophy association.
The Islamologist received Pour le Mérite in 2009, an award for Outstanding Contributions to Middle Eastern Studies from World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES), and Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2010.
He has penned dozens of books and articles on Islamic studies. One of his major works is a six-volume series entitled “Theology and Society in the Second and Third Centuries of the Hijra” that he wrote between 1991 and 1997.