Dr Ibrahim Ghuloom
Dr Ibrahim Ghuloom Image Credit: Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation

Dubai: Prominent Bahraini critic, writer, and academic, Dr. Ibrahim Ghuloom, passed away on Friday, September 29, 2023, at the age of 71 after struggling with a prolonged illness.

With a literary career that began in the 1970s, Dr Ghuloom made significant contributions to short story criticism, theatre, the novel, heritage, and cultural and intellectual studies. From an early age, Ghuloom was immersed in the world of writing. Since the 1970s, he published various essential studies, essays, and critiques in various fields.

Educated at the University of Tunisia, where he earned an international doctorate from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities in 1983, Ghuloom was a respected figure in academia. He served as the former Dean of the College of Arts at the University of Bahrain and founded the Arabic Language Department there. As a professor, he specialised in modern criticism, not only contributing to the University of Bahrain but also as a visiting professor at Kuwait University, focusing on Gulf and Arabian Literature in 1986.

Throughout his career, Dr Ghuloom was committed to fostering culture and education. He founded numerous theatres, cultural associations, and local and Arab unions. Besides, he took on the role of editor-in-chief for various intellectual and cultural magazines. His significant contributions to the literary and cultural field did not go unnoticed.

In 2012, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain honoured him with the Order of Efficiency of the First Class, and he received the Medal of Honoring Creators from the GCC countries, as well as the Bahrain Book Award in modern criticism.

The Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities expressed its deep sorrow at the passing of Dr Ghuloom, noting that his extensive contributions to literature and culture would leave an indelible mark on the Arab library, serving as a valuable reference for researchers, writers, and readers alike.

Abdul Hamid Ahmed, Secretary General of the Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation, expressed his condolences, saying, "We mourn the loss of Dr Ibrahim Abdullah Ghuloom, a luminous figure in the Gulf and Arab cultural landscape. His critical contributions, intellectual engagements, and participatory dialogues will always be remembered."

"Dr Ghuloom was known for his significant presence in Arab criticism, deep and diligent research, and careful work on texts. Beyond his professional acumen, he was also celebrated for his gentle and open personality within cultural circles. We shared memorable moments with him, including engaging seminars and discussions characteristic of the 1980s, a time that brought together the elite in Arab culture and literature. His legacy will undoubtedly continue to influence and inspire the realms of culture and literature in the Arab world," Abdul Hamid said.

Many others from the Arab literary and academic community have mourned the loss and paid tribute to Dr Ghuloom’s enduring legacy. Notable figures like novelist Talib Al Rifai, Dr Abdullah Al Ghamami, Omani poet Saif Al Rahbi, and Qatari academic Dr. Ahmed Abdulmalik shared their heartfelt condolences and celebrated his lasting impact on the culture and intellectual life of Bahrain and the broader Arab world.

They said that Dr Ghuloom’s passing is indeed a profound loss for his family, friends, students, and the global community of thinkers and writers who admired and respected his work. His lifelong dedication to literature and criticism leaves behind a legacy of intellectual richness and cultural depth that will undoubtedly continue to inspire and guide future generations of writers, critics, and scholars in Bahrain and beyond.