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Abd al-Qadir

From Academic Kids

`Abd al-Qādir al-Jazā'irī.
`Abd al-Qādir al-Jazā'irī.

`Abd al-Qādir al-Jazā'irī (6 September 1808 - 26 May 1883) was an Algerian military leader who led a struggle against the French invasion in the mid-nineteenth century, for which he is seen as a Algerian national hero. (He is frequently known only by his first name, `Abd al-Qādir, which is variously spelled Abd al-Kadir, Abdel Kader, Abdelkader, etc.; he is also given the titles Amir, prince, and Shaykh.)

He was born in the town of Muaskar in the area of Oran. His father was a shaykh in the Qadiri sufi order. In his childhood he learned to memorize the Qur'an and was well trained in theological and linguistic studies, having an education far better than that of his peers. In 1825 he set out for hajj with his father. While in Mecca he encountered Imam Shamil; the two spoke at length on different topics. He also traveled to Damascus and Baghdad, and visited the graves of famous Muslims. This experience cemented his religious enthusiasm. On his way back to Algeria, he was impressed by the reforms carried out by Muḩammad `Ali in Egypt. He returned to his homeland a few months before the arrival of the French.

In 1830, Algeria was invaded by France; French dominion over Algeria supplanted that of the Ottoman Empire. Within two years, `Abd al-Qādir was made an amir and with the loyalty of a number of tribes began a rebellion against the French. He was effective at using guerrilla warfare and for a decade, up until 1842, he had many victories. He often signed tactical truces with the French, but these did not last. His power base was in the western part of Algeria, where he was successful in uniting the tribes against the French. He was noted for his chivalry; once he released his French captives simply because he had insufficient food to feed them.

However, `Abd al-Qādir was eventually forced to surrender. The French armies grew large, and brutally suppressed the native population and practiced a scorched-earth policy. `Abd al-Qādir's failure to get support from eastern tribes, apart from the Berbers of western Kabylie also contributed to the quelling of the rebellion. On December 21, 1847, after being denied refuge in Morocco (strangely parallelling Jugurtha's career two thousand years earlier), `Abd al-Qādir was forced to surrender. Two days later, his surrender was made official to the French Governor-General of Algeria, Henri d'Orlans, duc d'Aumale. `Abd al-Qādir was exiled to France, in violation of the promise that he would be allowed to go to Alexandria or St Jean d'Acre, on the faith of which he surrendered.

`Abd al-Qādir and his family were detained in France, first at Toulon, then at Pau, being in November 1848 transferred to the chteau of Amboise. There he remained until October 1852, when he was released by Napoleon III on taking an oath never again to disturb Algeria. The emir then took up his residence in Brusa, removing in 1855 to Damascus. In July 1860, when the Muslims of that city, taking advantage of disturbances among the Druzes of Lebanon, attacked the Christian quarter and killed over 3,000 persons, `Abd al-Qādir helped to repress the outbreak and saved large numbers of Christians. For this action the French government, which granted the emir a pension of L. 4000, bestowed on him the grand cross of the Legion of Honour.

He thereafter devoted himself to writing and philosophy until his death in Damascus in 1883.There is a Mosque in Constantine, Algeria dedicated to him. His remains were returned to Algeria in the 1970's.

See also

External link

de:Abd el-Kader fr:Abd El-Kader ru:Абд аль-Кадир+

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