Meet Abd al-Qadir

Born near the town of Mascara in Algeria which was then part of the Ottoman Empire on the 6th September 1808, was a legend. He was named Abd al-Qadir ibn Muhieddine al-Hasani. His family was very religious ad growing up, he dedicated his life to God and planned to live a life in accordance to the principles of Sufism-Islam’s mystical dimension. In 1830, the role of emir-commander was thrust upon him.

The emir had to deal with terrorism since the French arrived. The Government Inquiry Commission report of 1883 states “We massacred people carrying [French] passports, in suspicion we slit the throats of entire populations who were later on proven to be innocent; the ears of Arabs were worth ten francs a pair and their women remained a perfect prey.”

To respond to this cruelty, the emir held firm laws of Islamic welfare.

“Every Arab who has in his possession a Frenchman is bound to treat him well and to conduct him to either the khalifa or the emir himself, as soon as possible. In cases where the prisoner complains of ill treatment, the Arab will have no right to any reward”. Quoted by soldiers.

The emir also showed the world how to deal with the enemies. There was a Christian priest who was available to prisoners. He provided the priest in order for the prisoners to fulfill their spiritual needs and, in one instance, even freed some prisoners due to an inability to feed them. To him, “An eye for an eye did not exist in his world” and that led to the reason why many soldiers converted to Islam.

“We were in consternation, all of us quite convinced that our last hour had arrived […]. In that expectation of death, in those indescribable moments of anguish, heaven, however, sent us a savior! Abd el-Kader appeared, surrounded by his Algerians, around forty of them. He was on horseback and without arms: his handsome figure, calm and imposing, made a strange contrast with the noise and disorder that reigned everywhere.”

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