Dr. Murad Hofmann was a regular contributor to our journal, Muslim World Book Review and presented seminars at the Foundation. As an intellect, author, former German ambassador, and a director of information at NATO his contribution and service to his country and to the Ummah will not be forgotten. It was an honour for the Islamic Foundation to publish his book, Journey to Islam: Diary of a German Diplomat, 1951-2000. This 'Diary' is, however, much more than a recorded soliloquy. It is a lively introduction to Islam as such - developed in the spiritual confrontation of a Muslim intellectual of European background with the ideology and value system of post-industrial Western society. When asked to share the reasons for his conversion to Islam, the former diplomat explained in his inimitable style: “If a man or a woman can explain why he or she has fallen in love, then it is not love. Similarly, I cannot pinpoint any single incident, encounter or sudden awakening that led to my becoming a Muslim.“Yes, my diplomatic postings to Muslim countries and my readings of the Islamic literature during those years, and my experience with my Muslim brothers and my friendship with Brother Mohammed Asad, whose translation of the Holy Qur’an is well known all over the world, did assist me in seeing light,” he added. “It was in 1980 that I took the shahada [affirmation that ‘there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet’] with Mohammed Asad as my witness.”
He also authored Islam: the Alternative, which introduces Islam for 'westerners who seek to understand Islam on a personal level.' The book caused a public scandal when it first appeared in Europe because of people's shock that the prominent author had accepted Islam. Hoffman's primary objective had been building bridges between Islam and the West.
Murad Wilfred Hoffman was born into a Catholic family on July 6, 1931 in Aschaffenburg, Germany, where he spent the war years, experiencing strategic bombing and military occupations. His university studies began in 1950 at Union College in Schenectady, New York. He completed his studies of German law with a doctorate in jurisprudence at Munich University (1957) and his bar exam. His subsequent studies of American law led to a master's degree at Harvard Law School (1960). From 1961 until 1994, he was a member of the German foreign service and a specialist on issues of nuclear defense. He also served as Director of Information for NATO at Brussels (1983-87), Ambassador to Algeria (1987-90), and Ambassador to Morocco (1990-94). In 1980, the author embraced Islam, performing 'umrah in 1982 and hajj in 1992.