Yahya Christian Bonaud known as Yaḥyā Alawī

Yahya Christian Bonaud was making a visit to the African country to address Muslims about the month of Muharram and ideologies of Imam Hussein.

Early life

He was making a visit to the African country to address Muslims about the month of Muharram and ideologies of Imam Hussein.

He was born in 1957 into a Catholic family in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany and lived in Germany and Algeria until he was ten-years-old, and then moved to Strasbourg. Bonaud converted to Islam in 1979 after being influenced by works of famous French Muslim philosopher René Guénon.

He then began studying Arabic which eventually made him acquainted with works of Henry Corbin, who had introduced Shia Islam to the West.

Under the guidance of Sheikh Amadou Hampâté Bâ (c. 1900-1 – 1991), an African gnostic and spiritual leader, he re-converted to Shia Islam and adopted the name of ‘Yahya’. Bonaud did his doctoral dissertation in Sorbonne University in French on the late Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khomeini, entitled “The Philosophical Works of ʾImām Khumaynī”, which was chosen as the year’s best research in 1999.

While writing his thesis, he spent seven years in Iran studying under the guidance of Seyyed Jalal-ed-Din Ashtiani in Mashhad. He lived in the northeastern Iranian city for 15 years. Bonaud has left behind valuable translations, writings and interpretations in French about Quranic verses. His French translation of the Holy Quran was published in Qom in 2000.

He died at sea in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in a marine accident on Monday, 26 August 2019. He was making a visit to the African continent to address Muslims about the month of Muharram and the guiding principles of Husayn ibn Ali. His body was transferred to Mashhad, Iran (where he had lived for fifteen–years prior) for his funeral rites and burial. He was 62–years old.

Works:

  • L’Imam Khomeyni, un gnostique méconnu du XXe siècle [Imam Khomeini, an unknown gnostic of the 20th century] (in French).
  • French translation of the Qur’an
  • Le soufisme: Al-tasawwuf et la spiritualité islamique (in French). 1991
  • Rituals of the Islamic Revolution