Remembering Egyptian Philosopher Mustafa Mahmoud: The Man Behind ’55 Love Problems’

Today marks the 102nd birth anniversary of the modern Muslim philosopher, playwright, doctor, poet, and journalist Mustafa Mahmoud (1921-2009). The man who authored 89 books, ranging from short stories and novels to scientific, philosophical, social, and religious books, and is known for his program Science and Faith, and his books My Journey from Skepticism to Faith 1970, My Dialogue with an Atheist, and The Devil Rules.

Mahmoud is the epitome of a great deconstructionist and truth seeker. He wrote a lot about his skepticism and religious disbelief, his 400-episode Science and Faith program is the best example of that. His legacy remains in how he offered a new transcendental understanding of religion, taking from sufi concepts that paved the way for other philosophers and skeptics to come, and helped answer questions that were left unspoken of.

In addition to his extensive writing in philosophy, Mahmoud also wrote about social issues in the Egyptian context. Most notably, his book 55 Love Problems 1966-which deals with real love stories that were anonymously delivered to him-has recently been turned into a TV series of the same title directed by Mohamed Lotfy.

Mahmoud was awarded in 1995 the State Appreciation Award, and during the reign of Al Sadat, a mosque and a square were named after him. His controversial character, someone who came from a religious family but yet deviated from religious norms to music and atheism has marked a new secular concept that surpassed many Western modern philosophers.

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