Photo: Emir Abd El-kader El Djezairi (top row in white turban) with Isma'il Pasha (Khedive of Egypt and Sudan) during the opening of the Suez Canal in Egypt; 1869.
The cup was so pure and the wine so clear that
they became similar to the point where one did not know
Whether there was wine without a cup,
or a cup without wine.
(Saheb Ibn 'Abbad quoted by Amir Abdul Qader Al Jazairi in his work Mawqif)
'Emir Abd El-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam'
By Ahmed Bouyerdene (Author), Eric Geoffroy (Foreword)
Abd el-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam is an exceptional and fascinating biography of the great Algerian hero and mystic Emir Abd el-Kader (c. 1807/8-1883). Ahmed Bouyerdene is a researcher in history, and a specialist on the Emir Abd el-Kader. He completed his PhD on the life of Abd el-Kader at the Universite Marc Bloch, Strasbourg. He has published two books and several articles on the Emir in his native French, including Abd el-Kader par ses contemporains (Ibis Press, 2008). This is his first work to be translated into English.
Groundbreaking, inspiring, and timely, this biography documents the life of the unsung hero of Algerian nationalism. Emir Abd el-Kader was a compassionate warrior and negotiator with the French, as well as a defender of religious minorities in the Ottoman Empire. Ahmed Bouyerdene s scholarly yet accessible work is an eloquent testimony that religion can be a galvanizing force for the greater good as we work toward building bridges between the Muslim world and the West.
(Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, author of 'What's Right with Islam' and 'Moving the Mountain')
Abd el-Kader s most renowned deed was the rescue, at great risk to his own life, of over 10,000 Christians who were under all-out onslaught from an army of Druze in Damascus in 1860, an act which attracted the warm acclaim of such figures as Abraham Lincoln, Pope Pius IX, and Napoleon III. The present book centers on Abd el-Kader s inner life, his knowledge of Sufi mysticism, and his practice of unceasing mental prayer. This book displays the real Islam to a world whose knowledge of Islam is Islamic terrorism.
(William Stoddart, author of 'What Does Islam Mean in Today's World?')
Few figures from the last centuries can be considered as embodying the breadth and depth of a whole spiritual tradition, indeed of an entire civilization, as did the Emir Abd el-Kader. Ahmed Bouyerdene s beautiful biography testifies to an Islam lived up to its most elevated and heroic reaches, an Islam that challenges the narrowness of too many of its fierce critics and zealots alike.
This biography of the great Algerian leader admired in his lifetime not only by his contemporaries such as President Lincoln, but also by his foes will help us to rediscover in our own times the true spirit of Islam and to gain a better appreciation of the meaning of the misunderstood term jihad, whose qualities of nobility and magnanimity in the face of strife, were exemplified by the Emir s life.
(M. Ali Lakhani, editor of Sacred Web, and author of The 'Timeless Relevance of Traditional Wisdom')
This book is an excellent overview of the Emir s life, spirituality, and times. In an era of widespread misunderstanding about Islam, this biography provides a refreshing portrait of a classic defender of the faith who was as fiercely dedicated to Muslim chivalry as he was to opposing colonial occupation, and who took full responsibility for the protection of the innocent and vulnerable, no matter their religion or birthplace.
This wonderful and much-needed translation conveys the beauty and majesty of the original. It is an accessible and at times exhilarating account of a seemingly legendary individual. The translator s excellent introduction situates the life of the Emir in the political crosscurrents of his time and spiritual undercurrents of Islam, demonstrating how the former never compromised the latter. Through this work, one gains a true vision of the chivalry and sanctity that defines Islam when practiced in all its depth and breadth.
(Joseph Lumbard, editor of 'Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition')
Emir Abd el-Kader was one of the most remarkable figures in recent Islamic history, combining perfection in both the active and the contemplative life, an achievement that remains of great significance today for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The study of this figure by Bouyerdene is one of the best in the field and is likely to draw even greater attention to this hero and saint.
(Seyyed Hossein Nasr, The George Washington University, author of 'Sufi Essays' and 'The Heart of Islam')
In this superb biography of the life and teachings of the Emir Abd el-Kader one finds brilliantly manifested the deepest ideals of the Islamic faith. It is for this reason that he continues to be regarded in our times as the Muslim hero par excellence a hero in whom the most noble chivalry was combined with the metaphysical insights of a true sage, and the spiritual graces of a realized saint.
(Reza Shah-Kazemi, Managing Editor, Encyclopaedia Islamica, author of 'Paths to Transcendence and The Other in the Light of the One')