Ibrahim Abu-Rabi, the chair of Islamic Studies at the University of Alberta, died suddenly in Jordan Saturday after suffering a heart attack.

"He'll be missed beyond measure," said David Goa, director of the Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life at the University of Alberta. "We'll never see his like again."

Abu-Rabi, 55, received his bachelor of arts from Birzeit University on the West Bank. He earned two master's degrees in the United States: one in political science at the University of Cincinnati and another in religious studies at Temple University.

He earned his PhD in Islamic Studies at Temple University in 1987.


Ibrahim Abu-Rabi, chair of Islamic Studies at the University of Alberta, died in Jordan on Saturday. (University of Alberta )

Abu-Rabi came to the University of Alberta in 2008 to hold the newly created Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities Chair in Islamic Studies.

Abu-Rabi had "this simply absolutely natural way of working collaboratively and then of understanding that many of these grave geo-political issues that we are so concerned about, that one of our tasks is to build friendships ... we must build friendships and find ways ... to push back the darkness in the world," Goa said.

Abu-Rabi and his wife liked to have large groups of people from different religions and universities at their house where speakers would address issues that mattered to them, Goa said.

Goa said he's received calls from Abu-Rabi's former students around the world.