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Mohammed Hassen Ali

last king of the kingdom of Jimma in Ethiopia, scholar, was born in Jiren, the political capital and commercial center of southwestern Ethiopia. As a young man Abba Jobir received the best Muslim education under several prominent Muslim scholars who settled in Jimma during the reign of his famous grandfather Abba Jifar II (r. 1878–1932).

His grandfather was the most famous, wealthiest, and most popular Oromo king throughout Ethiopia during the second half of the nineteenth century. He was a very foresighted politician who had an excellent grasp of the importance of firearms in warfare. He sent agents to the expanding kingdom of Shewa and realized that King Menilek had superiority in weapons; therefore, he peacefully submitted to Menilek. Although four other Oromo kings who resisted Menilek were destroyed, Abba Jifar II signed a peace treaty with the Christian king of Shewa in 1882 In exchange for local ...

Article

Cathlyn Mariscotti

Egyptian Islamic scholar and prominent writer of Arabic literature, was born on 18 November 1913 into a conservative religious household in Dumyat (Damietta) in the Egyptian Delta. She was a descendent, on her mother’s side, of a shaykh of the Al-Azhar, the prestigious mosque and university in Cairo, and her father taught at Dumyat Religious Institute. Well acquainted with her family history, ʿAbd al- Rahman sought to continue this proud tradition. She began learning basic reading and writing skills before the age of five in a kuttab in her father s village This early instruction prepared her to read the Qurʾan ʿAbd al Rahman s later education became more difficult however as her father did not believe that girls should be educated outside the home because secular education did not provide proper instruction for them As a result ʿAbd al Rahman s mother would continually intervene to help her ...

Article

Mohammed Hassen Ali

Islamic scholar in the Oromo region of Ethiopia, was born in the village of Saphalo in Harerge. His real name was Abubakar Usman Oda. He was destined to make the village of his birth the most famous place in Harerge. In fact, “Bakrii,” the root form of which is cognate with “Abubakar,” came to be inseparably linked with the name of his village. Thus, he was generally known as Shaykh Bakrii Saphalo, and indeed, few of his admirers ever knew his real name.

He received twenty years of advanced Islamic education, becoming a shaykh (scholar-teacher). He opened his first center of teaching in Saphalo in 1927 Eventually he opened five centers of teaching in several places becoming the most famous teacher in eastern Ethiopia In addition to religious education and philosophy his teaching ranged over geography history mathematics astronomy Arabic and composition in the Oromo language During his long ...

Article

Efraim Barak

, Egyptian writer, journalist, politician, and intellectual, was born on 20 August 1945, to a middle-class family. The eldest of five children, Fuda spent his childhood in the village of Zarqa, which is located in the district of Dumyat, on the coast of the Mediterranean. His father, ʿAli, who was a devout Muslim and very involved in community life, studied mechanical engineering at the University of Alexandria; he then went on to a career overseeing maintenance at the iron and steel firm in Hilwan. Fuda’s mother died when he was fourteen.

Fuda finished high school in 1962 and began studying agriculture at university, at the decree of the governmental coordination office, which determined higher education placement. In 1967 he graduated with honors from ʿAin Shams University in Cairo and took a position teaching there A year later he was involved in student demonstrations and was detained for two ...

Article

Jonathan Miran

scholar of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), Muslim community leader, prolific writer, and first Italian-appointed Grand Mufti of Eritrea, was born in Anuqtu (on Mount Kindid in Akkele Guzay) in 1909. Shaykh Ibrahim belonged to the Saho-speaking Minifere group and more precisely the Faqih Harak clan. His father, Shaykh Ahmad Umar Kuri (d. 1924), received advanced religious education in the Hijaz (Arabia) and was a specialist in the Islamic legal sciences and the director of an Islamic school in eastern Akkele Guzay in Eritrea. Shaykh Ibrahim traveled to the Sudan in 1925 and studied in Omdurman before continuing on to Cairo in 1926 to pursue an advanced religious education. In the Egyptian capital he studied in several Al-Azhar secondary institutes (1926–1931) before enrolling at al-Azhar University. He graduated from al-Azhar in 1937 with a specialization in Hanafi jurisprudence and worked in various editorial capacities for Cairene publishers specializing ...

Article

Efraim Barak

, Egyptian Muslim cleric, Islamic leader, and well-known preacher and scholar, was born on 9 September 1926 in Sift Turab, a small village on the Nile Delta. His father, ʿAbdallah, who was, according to his son, “half peasant, half merchant,” died when Qaradawi was two years old, and he was raised by his mother and his uncle, Ahmad, a poor illiterate farmer. By the time he was nine years old, he had completed his studies of the Qurʾan at the traditional kuttab (Islamic elementary school) in his village. He then moved to a nearby city, Tanta, to continue his studies at the Islamic secondary school. Qaradawi completed the initial four years of religious studies in 1942, and that same year he joined the Muslim Brotherhood.

In 1944, Qaradawi resumed his studies at the Religious Institute in Tanta. At the beginning of 1949 following the assassination of the ...

Article

Ellis Goldberg

Egyptian author, literary critic, and activist who helped shape contemporary political Islam, was born in the Upper Egyptian village of Musha in Asyut province on 9 October 1906. His father, Qutb Ibrahim, was a farmer and member of the nationalist Watani party led by Mustafa Kamil. Qutb attended a state-run primary school, but had also memorized the Qurʾan in its entirety by 1916. Qutb experienced the massive 1919 revolt against British rule as a teenage activist. He left the village in 1921 and lived in the Cairo suburb of Zaytun with his mother’s brother for four years, while attending a high school associated with the modernist educational institution Dar al-ʿUlum (founded 1871). In 1929 he entered Dar al-ʿUlum itself and graduated in 1933.

After graduation Qutb first appeared on the Egyptian intellectual scene as a poet and literary critic He was then thought of as a ...

Article

Salah Trabelsi

Tunisian historian and Islamologist, has devoted the best part of his career to teaching and researching medieval Maghreb and Mediterranean history. His profile is that of an atypical intellectual. After a long career teaching in primary and secondary schools, Mohamed Talbi took and passed the Arab Studies competitive examination. On the eve of Tunisia’s independence, he joined the Institute of Higher Education of Tunis. In 1955 he became the first dean of the School of Letters and Human Sciences of Tunis. He also chaired the school’s history department before devoting his full energies as director of the scientific journal Les Cahiers de Tunisie. He was born in the city of Tunis and spent most of his life there.

In 1968 Talbi defended his PhD thesis at the Sorbonne. Entitled L’émirat aghlabide 186–296, 800–909: Histoire politique (Paris: Adrien Maisonneuve, 1966; English trans. The Aghlabid Emirate, a Political History: 184/860–296/909 ...

Article

Efraim Barak

Muslim activist, terrorist, and leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Osama Bin Laden’s second-in-command, and a qualified surgeon. Zawahiri was born on 19 June 1951, in Cairo’s Al-Maʿadi neighborhood, to a distinguished Egyptian family. Zawahiri is also known as Abu-Muhammad, Abu-Fatima, Muhammad Ibrahim, Abu-ʿAbdallah, Abu-al-Muʾis, The Doctor, The Teacher, al-Ustadh, Nur, and Nur al-Din. Zawahiri holds French and Swiss passports under the name of Amin Osman and a Dutch passport under the name of Sami Mahmud al-Hifnawi.

His father, Muhammad Rabi ʿAl-Zawahiri, who died in 1995, was a professor of Pharmacology at the University of ʿAin-Shams. His paternal grandfather, Shaikh al Ahmadi Al-Zawahiri, served as the ʾImam of the Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo. His maternal grandfather, Prof. ʿAbd Al-Wahab ʿAzzam (1894–1959 was a Professor of Oriental Languages at the University of Cairo and served as the dean of the Faculty of Humanities Furthermore he was ...