List of Muslim Nobel laureates

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Distribution of Muslims in Nobel Prizes between 1901–2015: twelve Nobel Prize laureates have been Muslims or a total of 1.4% of all Nobel prizes.

As of 2018, twelve Nobel Prize laureates have been Muslims, more than half in the 21st century. Seven of the twelve laureates have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, while three have been for the sciences. The recipient of the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics, Abdus Salam, was a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community of Pakistan. Aziz Sancar is the second Turkish Nobel laureate and was awarded Nobel prize in the field of molecular biology in 2015.[1]


Year image Laureate Country and profession Rationale comment
1978 Anwar Sadat cropped.jpg Anwar al-Sadat (1918–1981) Egypt Egyptian President He, along with Menachem Begin was awarded 1978 Nobel Peace Prize "for their contribution to the two frame agreements on peace in the Middle East, and on peace between Egypt and Israel, which were signed at Camp David on September 17, 1978".[2] The first Muslim to receive a Nobel Prize.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9]
1994 ArafatEconomicForum.jpg Yasser Arafat (1929–2004) State of Palestine Palestinian politician The 1994 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin "for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East".[10][11] The first Muslim Palestinian to receive a Nobel Prize.[3][12][13][14][15][16]
2003 Shirinebadi001.jpg Shirin Ebadi (b. 1947) Iran Iranian Human Rights Activist The 2003 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Ebadi "for her efforts for democracy and human rights. She has focused especially on the struggle for the rights of women and children".[17] The first and only Iranian to receive a Nobel Prize. She was also the first Muslim woman to receive such an honor.[3][18][19][20][21] Note that Doris Lessing born and raised for 5 years in modern day Iran is a fellow laureate.
2005 Mohamed ElBaradei, Davos 1.jpg Mohamed El Baradei (b. 1942) Egypt Egyptian diplomat The 2005 Nobel Peace Prize was jointly awarded to El Baradei and IAEA "for their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way".[22][23] He was the second Egyptian to be awarded Nobel Peace Prize (2005).[3][24][25][26][27]
2006 Muhammad Yunus - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012.jpg Muhammad Yunus (b. 1940) Bangladesh Bangladeshi economist and founder of Grameen Bank. The 2006 Nobel Peace Prize was jointly awarded to Yunus and Grameen Bank "for their efforts to create economic and social development from below".[28] The first Bangladeshi and Bengali Muslim Nobel laureate, and overall, the third person from Bengal to win a Nobel prize.[3][29][30][31][32][33][34]
2011 Tawakkol Karman.jpg Tawakel Karman (b. 1979) Yemen Human rights activist based in Yemen. A prominent leader in the Arab Spring. The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize was jointly given to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Karman "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work".[35] The first Arab woman and first and only Yemeni to receive a Nobel Prize.[36][37][38][39][40]
2014 Malala Yousafzai at Girl Summit 2014.jpg Malala Yousafzai (b. 1997) Pakistan Pakistani activist, working for rights to education for children in Pakistan. The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize was jointly given to Kailash Satyarthi and Yousafzai, "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education".[41] At the age of 17, Yousafzai is the youngest Nobel Prize recipient ever.[42] She is also the second Pakistani and first ethnic Pashtun to be awarded a Nobel Prize.[43]


Year image Laureate Country and profession Rationale comment
1988 Necip Mahfuz.jpg Naguib Mahfouz


Egypt Egyptian author, noted for his contribution to modern Arabic literature The 1988 Nobel Prize in Literature was given to Naguib Mahfouz "who, through works rich in nuance—now clear-sightedly realistic, now evocatively ambiguous—has formed an Arabian narrative art that applies to all mankind".[44][45] The first Muslim author to receive such a prize.[3][46][47]
2006 Pamuk.jpg Orhan Pamuk (b. 1952) Turkey Turkish author famous for his novels My Name Is Red and Snow The 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Orhan Pamuk "who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures".[48][49] The first Turk to receive the Nobel Prize, He describes himself as a Cultural Muslim who associates the historical and cultural identification with the religion while not believing in a personal connection to God.[3][50][51][52]



Year image Laureate Country and profession Rationale comment
1979 Abdus Salam 1987.jpg Mohammad Abdus Salam

(1926– 1996)

Pakistan Pakistani physicist The 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to Sheldon Lee Glashow, Salam, and Steven Weinberg "for their contributions to the theory of the unified weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles, including, inter alia, the prediction of the weak neutral current".[53] He is the first and only Pakistani scientist to be awarded the Nobel Prize.[54][55] He was a member of the world wide Ahmadiyya Muslim community and as such not considered a Muslim by the government of Pakistan.[56]


Year image Laureate Country and profession Rationale comment
1999 Ahmed Zewail.jpg Ahmed Zewail


Egypt Egyptian scientist The 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Ahmed Zewail "for his studies of the transition states of chemical reactions using femtosecond spectroscopy".[58] He is the first Muslim chemist to be awarded the Nobel Prize and the second Muslim scientist.[3][59][60][61][62]
2015 Aziz Sancar 0060.jpg Aziz Sancar

(b. 1946)

Turkey Turkish scientist The 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Aziz Sancar "for mechanistic studies of DNA repair"[63] He is the first Turkish chemist, and the second Turkish to date to be awarded the Nobel Prize and the third Muslim scientist.[dubious ][64][65]

Further reading



  • The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times by Mohamed El Baradei.[68]
  • Islam, Orientalism and Intellectual History: Modernity and the Politics of Exclusion since Ibn Khaldun (Library of Middle East History) by Mohammad R. Salama ISBN 1848850050, 1848850050.[69]
  • Orhan Pamuk and the Politics of Turkish Identity: From Islam to Istanbul by Erdag Goknar, ISBN 0415505380, 978-0415505383, Routledge Publication.[70]



See also


The year of receiving Nobel Prize is given after each Nobel Laureate in this article. For verification of candidacy of above listed Nobel Laureates, please go to,[77] and search the corresponding year of reception of Nobel Prize in the respective field.

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    "he is a Muslim"
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    "a pious moslem believer"
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  64. ^ Aziz Sancar won 2015 Nobel prize
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External links

  • [61] “Muslim Nobel Prize Winners”, 'BZNotes'
  • [62] “Muslim Nobel Prize Winners”, Scribd
  • [63] “Nobel Laureates and the Muslim World” by Saleem H. Ali, Newsvine, February 14, 2010
  • [64] “Nobel laureates of the Islamic world” - S Iftikhar Murshed, The News International, April 3, 2011,l
  • [65] “Professor Abdus Salam
  • [66] “No Nobels for the Muslim World” by Aziz Akhmad, The Express Tribune, October 6, 2011
  • [67] “Muslim Nobel laureates: Muslim economist, writer win Nobel prizes”
  • [68] “Abdus Salam, 'First Muslim Nobel Laureate'”, ‘The Culture Trip’. (Abdus Salam was a theoretical physicist who became the first Pakistani and the first Muslim to be awarded the Nobel Prize in the sciences.)
  • [69] “Dr. Abdus Salam: Nobel Laureate in Physics”
  • [70]Tawakul Karman speaks: Islam Supports Democracy”, 'Onislam', December 10, 2011
  • [71][permanent dead link] “A Muslim woman's place is in society: Nobel Laureate”, France 24, November 2, 2009
  • [72] “Nobel Prize reflects women's struggle in the Muslim world”
  • [73] “Nobel Peace Prize Winner Tawakkul Karman Profile: The Mother of Yemen's revolution”, The Huffington Post, October 7, 2011
  • [74] “Dear ‘World Community’: You Are Not Our Equals” by William A. Levinson, American Thinker, May 31, 2011
  • "Nobel Prize winner highlights women’s role in Arab Spring" The Michigan Daily. November 15, 2011
  • [75]Nobel Peace Prize Winner Tawakul Karman: Islam No Threat to Democracy”, reprinted ‘Positive Islam’, December 12, 2011, 1st printed Reuters[76] December 9, 2011
  • [77] “The Nobel Prize – Muslim Winners”, by Sadaqat
  • [78] “Women Nobel Peace Laureates Congratulate Three New Women Laureates”, Nobel Women's Initiative, October 7, 2011
Karman joins Shirin Ebadi, who won the Nobel Peace prize in 2003 for her work to bring equal rights to women in Iran, as the second Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace prize.
“As a Muslim woman, I am well aware of the difficult and severe conditions of your work and struggle,” said Ebadi in her letter today to Karman. Karman receives frequent death threats, and was thrown in jail last January. “I admire your tremendous work and courage. This victory will certainly inspire and reassure the million of Muslim women who suffer from discrimination and who fight for equality of rights between men and women—and also sends a message to countries going through the Arab Spring that true democracy will only be achieved if women also receive equal rights.”
It is not Islam or poverty that succours terrorism, but the failure to be heard
How closely have the changes and developments detailed in Mahfouz’s descriptions of ordinary Egyptian lives paralleled what the world has witnessed as ageneral growing “Islamization” of the Muslim world? In my research, I have found that other Muslim writers, such as Leila Ahmed (Egypt), Mohsin Hamid (Pakistan/India), and Orhan Pamuk (Turkey) have also observed and commented on the Islamization of the culture.
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