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Abdelhamid Ben Badis
(Arabic: عبد الحميد بن باديس‎)
Full name Abdelhamid Ben Badis
(Arabic: عبد الحميد بن باديس‎)
Born Algeria.Qusantina,December 4, 1889
Died April 16, 1940
Era 19th century philosophy
Region Arab Philosophy
School Islamic philosophy

Abdelhamid Ben Badis (Arabic: عبد الحميد بن باديس‎;Also: Ben Badis) was born on December 4, 1889 at 16:00. His birth was recorded the following day, Thursday December 5, 1889, at the register of births, marriages and deaths in Constantine, a city in the North-East of Algeria. Sheikh Ben Badis was an emblematic figure of the Islamic Reform movement in Algeria. Albelhamid Ben Badis was of an old town middle-class family which claimed descent from the Zirids a Berber Muslim dynasty founded in the 10th Century by Bologhine ibn Ziri.

In 1931 Ben Badis founded the Association of Muslim Algerian Ulema. This was a national grouping of many Islamic scholars in Algeria from many different and sometimes opposing perspectives and viewpoints. The Association would be a great influence on Algerian Muslim Politics up to the Algerian War of Independence. In the same period it set up many institutions where thousands of Algerian children of Muslim parents were educated. The association also published a monthly magazine, the Al-Chihab and Ben Badis contributed regularly to it between 1925 and his death in 1940. The magazine informed its readers of the associations ideas and thoughts on religious reform and spoke on other religious and political issues. Ben Badis died on April 16, 1940 in Constantine.





Ibn Badis 2.jpg

Ben Badis grew up in a scholarly and religious household and as a result memorized the Quran at the age of thirteen.

He was still very young when he was placed under the tutorship of Hamdan Lounissi. Lounissi was a significant influence on the youth of Ben Badis. Ben Badis never forgot Lounissi's counsel. Lounissi remarked to him "science for the love learns from science, not for the duty." Lounissi was a stalwart defender of the rights of the Muslim Inhabitants of Constantine. Lounissi extracted from the youth Ben Badis a promise to never enter into the service of France (the Colonial Power in Algeria).

Pilgrimages & study

At the Zeitouna University

In 1908, Ben Badis, decided to begin his first voyage in order to advance his learning. He traveled to Tunis and therein the Zeitouna University. This was, at the time, a great center of learning and knowledge, particularly in the Islamic fields of studies.

At the Zietouna University Ben Badis horizons increased. He learned a great deal of the Islamic Sciences and Arabic Language. He met many Academics who left an indelible mark on his personality and his viewpoint on Islam. The teachings of Sheikh Mohammed Al-Nakhli were to convince him further of the Salafi or Wahabi ideas which were sweeping the Islamic world at the time and the need to purge Muslim communities of deviant or incorrect religious practises such as the saint cult. Sheikh Mohammed Al-Taher Ben Achour influenced Ben Badis in finding his appreciation of the splendor of the Arabic Language. Under Sheikh Al-Bachir Safer Ben Badis's interest developed in the contemporary and past problems of the Muslim Communities including finding a response to Western colonialism and dealing with its socio-economic after-effects.

In 1912 he obtained his diploma. He stayed on at the university for a further year teaching.

In Medina

Abd al Hamid Ben Badis (on the left) and Tayeb El Oqbi (on the right)

Ben Badis then emabarked on his pilgrimage or Hajj in Mecca and Medina Ben Badis stayed on in Madinah for three months and commenced to giving lessons to pilgrims and residents in the Prophets mosque, Al-Masjid al-Nabawi.

In Madinah Ben Badis encountered Muslim Reformist Sheikh Bachir Al Ibrahimi. They would regularly meet in order to formulate a clear plan for reform of Islam in Algeria. This was the start of a long friendship which spurred the Islamic Reform movement In Algeria into a position of prominence and influence. Another Reformist Sheikh Husain Ahmed Al-Hindi (Madani) also residing at Madinah was impressed by Ben Badis ability and knowledge. He urged Ben Badis to move permanently to Algeria and work against the ills of Maraboutic ideas, ignorance in Islamic Knowledge and against cultural and religious decline in the Muslim population of Algeria under French occupation.

After his departure Ben Badis visited Syria and Egypt. At the Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo he met with renowned academics of Literature and Islamic sciences.

Return to Algeria

In 1913 Ben Badis returned to Algeria and settled in Constantine. He commenced teaching at the Sidi Qammouch mosque. The courses were for men, women, children and adults. He gave people instruction in Islamic sciences, Arabic Language and literature and history. It was at this point that Ben Badis conceived the idea of establishing a Muslim organization of religious scholars and leaders.

In 1936, Ben Badis played a role in the founding of the "Algerian Muslim Congress" (CMA). This congress was disbanded the following year in the summer of 1937 and shortly after Ben Badis rose to the leadership of another organization the Association of Muslim Algerian Ulema.

As well as working against deviations in the correct practise of Islam Ben Badis and his assciates strived to save Algerian Culture from being eclipsed by French Values and morals.[1] Badis and other Islamic scholars resisted against the suppression of Algerian patriots; working as a journalist during those years he regularly denounced the fascist propaganda and the anti-Semitic intrigues of the French occupiers.

Ben Badis was one of the Algerias most prominent Islamic Scholars. With the aid of his contemporaries and associates he criticized Maraboutic practices and was a great influence in the creation of an Islamically conservative subsection of Algerian Society.[1]

April 16, 1940 Ben Badis died prematurely in his birthplace of Constantine. He was buried in the presence of 20,000 people and his funeral took the aspect of a gigantic humanistic demonstration; anti-colonialist and democratic; the very principles practiced in the life of this large Algerian hero.



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