Professor Wilferd Madelung was born on December 26th, 1930 in Stuttgart, Germany. After finishing primary and secondary educations, he went to the University of Cairo and received B.A. in Islamic History and Literature in 1953.
He then continued his higher education in his country and in 1957, received his PhD in Islamic Studies from University of Hamburg. Madelung finished his thesis under German Islamic scholars R. Strothmann and B. Spuler. He was the cultural agent of Western Germany in Baghdad for three years (1958 – 1960) and then continued his scientific life in Islamic Studies.
- 1963: Assistant professor in Islamic Studies in University of Texas in Austin.
- 1964 – 1969: Assistant professor and associate professor in Islamic Studies in University of Chicago.
- 1969 – 1978: Professor of Islamic Studies in University of Chicago.
- 1978 – 1998: Professor of Laudian chair in Arabic and Islamic Studies in University of Oxford. Laudian chair is the highest chair of Islamic studies in the UK and one of the most important chairs of its kind in the world. Teaching Arabic in highest levels is among the conditions of this chair.
- Madelung taught in University of Colombia and many other universities in the United States and Europe as a guest lecturer. He is a member of many international communities of Islamic studies.
- The Succession to Muhammad (s) is his famous work.
- Religious schools and sects in medieval Islam
- Religious and ethnic movements in medieval Islam (variorum collected studies series)
- Studies in medieval shi'ism (variorum collected studies series)
- Studies in medieval Muslim thought and history (variorum collected studies series)
- Religious trends in early Islamic Iran (Columbia lectures on Iranian studies)