Prof. Malik Bennabi (1905-1973) intellectual career begun with his seminal work, The Quranic Phenomenon, which appearing at a time when some Orientalists were making subtle and serious efforts to subvert Islam under the guise of scientific inquiry.
This master piece laid down the epistemiological and methodological foundations of Bennabi’s subsequent intelectual works in dealing with various issues pertaining to human society and culture. In it, he generally developed his philosophical argument concerning the place and function of religion in human life and existance. The central thesis of the book is religion appears as a cosmic phenomenon regulating human thought and civilization as gravity regulates matter and conditions its evolution.
His ideas was rather misunderstood in the 70s. At the time when struggle for independance in Algeria was gaining momentum, both militiarily and politically, Bennabi as an Algerian aspired to put himself at the service of the Algerian revolution by being closer to some of the its leadership who are operating in Cairo. He, therefoer moved from France to Egypt seeking political asylum. Upon arrival in Cairo in 1956 carrying with him the manuscript of his book L’Afro-Asiatisme he was well-received by Pres. Gamel Abdel Nasser and his book was published in 1957.
Seen from the atmosphere of bloody confrontation between Ikhwan and Nasserite regime, his association with Nasser had tarnished his image in the eye of those involved with Islamic movement.
However, from Prof Fahmi Jad’an view point, Binnabi was the most prominent Arab thinker, since the time of Ibn Khaldun to have concerned himself with the question of civilization.
Therefore, his legacy has been recovered during the 80s and 90s esp. those aspect with regard to the concept and meaning of culture, civilization, the cyclical conception of historical evolution and social change, and the relevant of all that to the present and immediate preoccupation of Muslims.
His work include the Memoirs of a Witness of the Century and the Origin of Human Society.