Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Supplement: 'Abbas ibn 'Ali, al- - Ali Pasha


'Abbas ibn 'Ali, al-
646-680
Son of the fourth Sunni caliph (and the first Shi'a imam), 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, and Fatima bint Hezam, commonly known as Ummul Baneen. 

Al-'Abbas is particularly revered by Shi'a Muslims for his loyalty to his half-brother and third Shi'a imam, Husayn ibn 'Ali; his respect for the Ahl al-Bayt; and his role in the Battle of Karbala.  Al-'Abbas was married to Lubaba bint Ubaydullah ibn 'Abbas ibn Abdil Muttalib.  He had three sons, and their names are al-Fadl ibn al-'Abbas, Qasim ibn al-'Abbas, and Ubaydullah ibn al-'Abbas.  Two of them (al-Fadl ibn al-'Abbas and Qasim ibn al-'Abbas) were killed during the Battle of Karbala.

It is said that the Angel Gabriel informed Muhammad what would happen to his grandson Husayn ibn 'Ali at Karbala.  Muhammad, Fatima Zahra (Muhammad's daughter), and 'Ali were saddened by this, so 'Ali wished for a son to help Husayn ibn 'Ali at Karbala.  He asked his brother, Aqeel ibn Abi Talib, to search for a wife from courageous descent.  Aqeel discovered Fatima Qalabiyya, better known as Ummul Baneen.  Ummul Baneen was descended from the honored lineage of Hezam ibn Khalid ibn Rabi'e ibn Amer Kalbi.  However, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib did not marry Ummul Baneen (or any other woman) until after the death of Fatima Zahra. 

Al-'Abbas ibn Abi Talib was born on 4 Shaban 26 A.H. (646).  He was the son of 'Ali ibn Abi Talib and Fatima bint Qalabiyya (Ummul Baneen).  It is said that he did not open his eyes after he was born until his half-brother Husayn ibn 'Ali took him in his arms.  This was a sign of the devotion that al-'Abbas would have for Husayn throughout his life.

Al-'Abbas showed his loyalty to Husayn at the Battle of Karbala.  After succeeding his father Muawiya ibn Abu Sufyan as caliph, Yazid ibn Muawiyah required Husayn to pledge allegiance to him.  Husayn refused to do so.  In 680, Husayn left Medina with a small group of his companions and family, to travel to Kufa.  The people of Kufa said that they would support Husayn if he claimed the caliphate.  On the way, Husayn and his group were intercepted.  They were forced into a detour and arrived in Karbala on the 2nd of Muharram.  Husayn's camp was surrounded and cut off from the Euphrates River.  The camp ran out of water on the 7th of Muharram.

On the 8th and 9th of Muharram, Husayn refused to send al-'Abbas to fight for water.  Al-'Abbas was extremely eager to fight.  Husayn asked al-'Abbas to dig a well.  Al-'Abbas and some of the Banu Hashim men began digging.  But there was no success.

On the eve the tenth of Muharram, Husayn was passing through a camp in which his nephew Qasim ibn Hassan, his son 'Ali Akbar ibn Husayn and half-brother al-'Abbas were sitting and were discussing their situation.  Husayn stood beside the campfire and heard their conversation.  'Ali Akbar said that tomorrow (the tenth of Muharram) he would be the first person to sacrifice his life for Husayn.  Al-'Abbas interrogated him and said, "You are the son of my Master.  How can you fight before me?"  'Ali Akbar replied, "Uncle, you are the strength of my father.  If you go first and die my father will be destroyed.  And also you are the commander and the commander should not go first."  Al-'Abbas replied to 'Ali Akbar replied, "Nephew! A son is the light of his father's eyes.  If you die first, my brother will be visionless.  Most of all, I cannot bear to see you dying."  Qasim interjected, "My dear Uncle!  And my dear cousin!  I will proceed first so that the strength and vision of my uncle Husayn remains.  After all, I am an orphan."  At this Husayn burst upon the group, held Qasim in his arms and replied, "Oh, my nephew don't ever consider yourself to be an orphan.  I am your father." 

Despite the offers of others, al-'Abbas could not stand for anyone else entering the field of battle before he did.  But Husayn reminded him, "We have not entered Karbala for war."  He added, "We could win because we have Banu Hashim men like you.  However, our mission here is to serve Islam and now Islam requires our sacrifice.  We are here to sacrifice our lives for this pure and noble religion."

Access to the Euphrates River was blocked by Yazid's army and prevented the camp of Husayn from getting water.  Shi'as believe that al-'Abbas, because of his skill and bravery, could have attacked Yazid's army, gained access to the river, and retrieved water for Husayn's camp.  However, al-'Abbas was not allowed to fight.  He was only allowed to get water.  Thus, al-'Abbas went to the river to get water for Husayn's four year old daughter Sukayna bint Husayn.

Sukayna was very attached to al-'Abbas, who was her uncle.  To Sukayna, al-'Abbas was the only hope for getting water.  Al-'Abbas could not stand to see Sukayna thirsty and crying.   He had to get her some water.

Al-'Abbas entered the battlefield with only a dagger and a bag for water.  He was also given the authority to carry the standard in the battle. Somehow he made it to the river and began filling the bag with water.  Shi'as emphasize that al-'Abbas' loyalty to Husayn was so great that al-'Abbas did not drink any water because he could not bear the thought that Sukayna was thirsty.  After gathering the water, al-'Abbas rode back towards the camp.  On his way back, he was struck from behind and one of his arms was amputated.  Then, he was struck from behind again, amputating the other arm.  Al-'Abbas was now carrying the waterbag in his mouth.  The army of Yazid started shooting arrows at him.  One arrow hit the bag and water poured out of it.  At that moment, al-'Abbas despaired.  One of Yazid's men hit al-'Abbas on his head with a mace and al-'Abbas fell from his horse without the support of his arms.  According to Shi'a tradition, al-'Abbas fell first onto his face before he let the standard fall.

Al-'Abbas tossed on the burning sand with excruciating pain.  Al-'Abbas called for his master.  Husayn immediately came to him lifting his head and taking it into his lap.  Al-'Abbas lifted his head off Husayn's lap.  Husayn put al-'Abbas' head onto his lap, but al-'Abbas lifted his head again.  Husayn asked al-'Abbas, "Why are you preventing me from comforting you?"  Al-'Abbas replied, "O master, why should I be comforted in death by you, while no one will be there to comfort you when you die?  Husayn eventually talked al-'Abbas into putting his head on the imam's lap. 

Husayn asked al-'Abbas, "My brother what have they done to you?"  Al-'Abbas replied, "My Master, I thought I was not destined to have a last look at you but, thank God, you are here."  Then he said, "My Master, I have some last wishes to express.  When I was born, I had first looked at your face and it is my last desire that when I die, my gaze may be on your face.  My one eye is pierced by an arrow and the other is filled with blood.  If you will clear the eye I will be able to see you and fulfill my last dying desire.  My second wish is that when I die, you should not carry my body to the camp.  I had promised to bring water to Sukayna and since I have failed in my attempts to bring her water, I cannot face her even in death.  Besides, I know that the blows that you have received since morning have all but crushed you and carrying my body to the camp will be back-breaking work for you.  My third wish is that Sukayna may not be brought here to see my plight.  I know the love and affection she has for me.  The sight of my dead body lying here will kill her."  Husayn fulfilled his wishes.  Husayn asked him for one last thing.  Husayn said, "Abbas, I too have a wish to be fulfilled.  Since childhood you have always called be Master.  For once at least call me brother with your dying breath."  Al-'Abbas closed his eyes while repeating, "Husayn, my brother, my imam."

Shi'a historians say that this was the first time in his life that he called Husayn his brother.  Al-'Abbas was killed on Friday, 10th Muharram, on the banks of the Euphrates River.  Al-'Abbas is called the Hero of Al-Qamah (another name for the Euphrates River).  His death is generally mourned on the 8th night of Muharram.  Shi'a Muslims mourn the death of all martyrs of Islam associated with Husayn in the month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, mainly in the first ten days. 

After the Battle of Karbala ended, the dead bodies of the slain warriors were lying about without heads.  The enemy forces decided to run their horses over the bodies.  They did this in order to inflict the maximum possible humiliation on the households of Muhammad and 'Ali.

Al-'Abbas was buried at the ground where he fell from his horse at Karbala, Iraq.  Millions of pilgrims visit the shrine and pay homage to it every year.  The grave of al-'Abbas is beneath the mausoleum and is present in the shrine.  However, environmental effects caused the Euphrates to shift location.  Today, nearly 1400 years after the Battle of Karbala, the Euphrates flows across the grave of al-'Abbas, making a circle around it.  It is said that the Euphrates has come to al-'Abbas now.




'Abbas, Mahmoud
1935-
Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and  President of the Palestinian National Authority.

Also known by the kunya, Abu Mazen, Mahmoud 'Abbas was born on March 26, 1935 in Zefat in what is now northern Israel.  During the war that followed the establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948, 'Abbas fled to Syria with his family. 

In the mid-1950s, 'Abbas became heavily involved in underground Palestinian politics, Joining a number of exiled Palestinians in Qatar, where 'Abbas was Director of Personnel in the emirate's Civil Service. 'Abbas and Arafat helped found al-Fatah ("the Conquest"), a militant Palestinian group that became part of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), a political body that represented the Palestinian people.  In the late 1950s, Arafat was establishing the groundwork of Fatah by enlisting wealthy Palestinians in Qatar, Kuwait, and other Persian Gulf States.

In 1958, 'Abbas earned a bachelor's degree in law from the University of Damascus in Syria. 

As head of the PLO’s international department in the late 1970s, Abbas was instrumental in forging contacts with Israeli peace groups.  'Abbas efforts with Israeli peace groups were ironic in that Abu Daoud, the man who planned the 1972 Munich Massacre of members of the Israeli team at the Munich Olympic Games which ended with the murder of eleven Israeli athletes and coaches and a West German policeman, later claimed that the funds for the operation were provided by 'Abbas, although without 'Abbas' knowing what the money would be used for.

In 1980, he became head of the PLO's national and international relations department. 

'Abbas earned a doctorate in history from the Institute of Oriental Studies (Moscow State University) in Moscow in 1982.  The theme of his doctoral dissertation was "The Other Side: The secret relations between Nazism and the leadership of the Zionist movement".  This dissertation, which examined Nazism and Zionism, later was decried by Jewish groups as a work of Holocaust denial, and in the 1990s 'Abbas distanced himself from some of its more controversial elements.

'Abbas opposed the 1987 intifada (the armed Palestinian uprising against Israel).  He also performed diplomatic duties, presenting a moderating face for PLO policies.

In the early 1990s Abbas shaped Palestinian negotiating strategy at both the peace conference in Madrid (1991) and in secret meetings with the Israelis in Norway. Through the resulting Oslo Accords (1993), Israel and the Palestinians extended mutual recognition to each other, and Israel ceded some governing functions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to a Palestinian Authority.

Abbas was the first PLO official to visit Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War in January 1993 to mend fences with the Gulf countries for the PLO's support of Iraq during the Persian Gulf War. At the 1993 peace accord with Israel, Abbas was the signatory for the PLO on 13 September 1993. He published a memoir, Through Secret Channels: The Road to Oslo (1995).

In 1995, 'Abbas returned to live in Palestine for the first time since leaving for exile and, in 1996, he became secretary-general of the PLO Executive Committee.

'Abbas again opposed the intifada -- the second intifada -- which began in 2000.  'Abbas was a senior member of the Palestinian delegation to the Camp David peace talks in July 2000. 'Abbas adamantly rejected Israel’s peace offer but opposed the violent Palestinian uprising called the intifāḍa (Arabic: “shaking off”) that followed.

By early 2003, as both Israel and the United States had indicated their refusal to negotiate with Yasser Arafat, 'Abbas began to emerge as a candidate for a more visible leadership role. As one of the few remaining founding members of Fatah, he had some degree of credibility within the Palestinian cause, and his candidacy was bolstered by the fact that other high-profile Palestinians were for various reasons not suitable (the most notable, Marwan Barghouthi, was under arrest in an Israeli jail after being convicted of multiple murders). 'Abbas's reputation as a pragmatist garnered him favor with the West and certain elements of the Palestinian legislature, and pressure was soon brought on Arafat to appoint him prime minister. Arafat did so on March 19, 2003. Initially, Arafat attempted to undermine the post of prime minister, but was eventually forced to give 'Abbas some degree of power.

However, the rest of 'Abbas's term as prime minister continued to be characterised by numerous conflicts between him and Arafat over the distribution of power between the two. 'Abbas had often hinted he would resign if not given more control over the administration. In early September 2003, he confronted the Palestinian parliament over this issue. The United States and Israel accused Arafat of constantly undermining 'Abbas and his government.

In addition, 'Abbas came into conflict with Palestinian militant groups, notably the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement and Hamas because his pragmatic policies were opposed to their hard-line approach. However, he made it perfectly clear that he was forced to abandon, for the moment, the use of arms against Israeli civilians inside the green line due to its ineffectiveness.

Initially he pledged not to use force against the militants, in the interest of avoiding a civil war, and instead attempted negotiation. This was partially successful, resulting in a pledge from the two groups to honor a unilateral Palestinian cease-fire. However, continuing violence and Israeli "target killings" of known leaders forced 'Abbas to pledge a crackdown in order to uphold the Palestinian Authority's side of the road map for peace. This led to a power struggle with Arafat over control of the Palestinian security services. Arafat refused to release control to 'Abbas, thus preventing him from using them on the militants.

Abbas resigned as prime minister in October 2003, citing lack of support from Israel and the United States as well as "internal incitement" against his government.

On November 11, 2004, Yasser Arafat died.  On that same day, Mahmoud 'Abbas was appointed chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO.  Although 'Abbas had little popular support among Palestinians, he was highly regarded in the international community for his moderate stance and peacemaking efforts.

After Yasser Arafat's death, Mahmoud 'Abbas was seen, at least by Fatah, as his natural successor. On November 25, 2004, 'Abbas was endorsed by Fatah's Revolutionary Council as its preferred candidate for the presidential election, scheduled for January 9, 2005.

On 14 December 14, 2004, 'Abbas called for an end to violence in the Second Intifada and a return to peaceful resistance. However, he refused to disarm Palestinian militants or tp use force against groups that Israel, the United States and the European Union designated as terrorist organisations.

With Israeli forces arresting and restricting the movement of other candidates, Hamas' boycott of the election, and his campaign being given 94% of the Palestinian electoral campaign coverage on TV, 'Abbas' election was virtually ensured, and on January 9, 2005 'Abbas was elected with 62% of the vote as President of the Palestinian National Authority.

Despite Abbas' call for a peaceful solution, attacks by militant groups continued after his election, in a direct challenge to his authority. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement launched a raid in Gaza on January 12, 2005 that killed one and wounded three military personnel in Gaza. On January 13, 2005, Palestinians from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Hamas, and the Popular Resistance Committees launched a suicide attack on the Karni crossing, killing six Israelis. As a result, Israel shut down the damaged terminal and broke off relations with 'Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, stating that 'Abbas needed to show a gesture of peace by attempting to stop such attacks.

'Abbas was formally sworn in as the Chairman of the Palestinian National Authority in a ceremony held on January 15, 2005 in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

On January 23, 2005, Israeli radio reported that 'Abbas had secured a thirty-day ceasefire from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. On February 12, 2005,  Palestinians attacked Israeli settlements and 'Abbas quickly fired some of his security officers for not stopping the attacks in a ceasefire.
 
In May 2005, 'Abbas travelled to the White House and met with his American counterpart, George W. Bush. Bush, in return for 'Abbas' crackdown on terrorists, pledged 50 million United States dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority and reiterated the United States pledge for a free Palestinian state. It was the first direct aid the United States had given to the Palestinian, as previous donations had gone through non-governmental organizations. The next day Prime Minister Paul Martin of Canada pledged 9.5 million Canadian dollars in new aid for judicial reform and housing projects, monitors for the Palestinian elections, border management and scholarships for Palestinian refugee women in Lebanon.

On July 25, 2005, 'Abbas announced that he would move his office to Gaza until the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops in order to coordinate the Palestinian side of the withdrawal, mediating between the different factions.

On August 9, 2005, 'Abbas announced that legislative elections, originally scheduled for July 17, 2005, would take place in January 2006. On January 15, 2006 'Abbas declared that despite unrest in Gaza, he would not change the set date of the elections (January 25), unless Israel decided to prevent Arabic speakers in East Jerusalem from voting. Hamas won a majority of votes in this election.

On January 16, 2006, 'Abbas said that he would not run for office again at the end of his current term. On May 25, 2006, 'Abbas gave Hamas a ten-day deadline to accept the 1967 ceasefire lines.

On June 2, 2006, 'Abbas again announced that if Hamas did not approve the prisoners' document—which called for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict according to the 1967 borders—within two days, he would present the initiative as a referendum. This deadline was subsequently extended until June 10, 2006. Hamas replied that a change in their stance would not occur, and that 'Abbas was not constitutionally permitted to call a referendum, especially so soon after the January 2006 elections.

'Abbas warned Hamas on October 8, 2006 that he would call new legislative elections if it did not accept a coalition government. To recognize Israel was a condition 'Abbas presented for a coalition. However, it was not clear if Abbas had the power to call new elections.

On December 16, 2006, Abbas called for new legislative elections, to bring an end to the parliamentary stalemate between Fatah and Hamas in forming a national coalition government.

On March 17, 2007, a unity government was formed incorporating members of both Hamas and Fatah, with Ismail Haniyeh as Prime Minister and independent politicians taking many key portfolios.

On June 14, 2007, 'Abbas dissolved the Hamas-led unity government of Haniyeh, declared a state of emergency, and appointed Salam Fayyad in Haniyeh's place. This followed action by Hamas armed forces to take control of Palestinian Authority positions controlled by Fatah militias. The appointment of Fayyad to replace Haniyeh was challenged as illegal because, under the Palestinian Basic Law, the president could dismiss a sitting prime minister, but could not appoint a replacement without the approval of the Palestinian Legislative Council. According to the law, until a new prime minister is thus appointed, the outgoing prime minister heads a caretaker government. Fayyad's appointment was never placed before, or approved by the Legislative Council. For this reason, Haniyeh the Hamas prime minister continued to operate in Gaza, and was recognised by a large number of Palestinians as the legitimate acting prime minister.

On June 18, 2007, the European Union promised to resume direct aid to the Palestinian Authority, Abbas dissolved the National Security Council, a sticking point in the defunct unity government with Hamas. That same day, the United States decided to end its fifteen-month embargo on the Palestinian Authority and resume aid, attempting to strengthen 'Abbas's West Bank government. A day later, the Fatah Central Committee cut off all ties and dialogue with Hamas, pending the return of Gaza.

On March 2, 2008, 'Abbas stated he was suspending peace talks with Israel, while Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed to press on with military operations against militants who have been launching home-made rockets into southern Israel.

On May 20, 2008, 'Abbas stated he would resign from his office if the current round of peace talks had not yielded an agreement in principle "within six months". He also stated that the current negotiations were, in effect, deadlocked.

'Abbas was chosen as the President of the "State of Palestine" by the Palestine Liberation Organisation's Central Council on November 23, 2008, a job he had held unofficially since May 8, 2005.

On January 9, 2009, 'Abbas' term as president, at least as he was originally elected, ended. Elected to serve until January 9, 2009, 'Abbas unilaterally extended his term for another year and continued in office even after that deadline expired. 'Abbas justified the extension by stating that the Basic Law gave him the right to do so, so he could align the next presidential and parliamentary elections. Pointing to the Palestinian constitution, Hamas disputed the validity of this move, and considered 'Abbas' term to have ended, in which case Abdel Aziz Duwaik, Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council would have become acting president.

Questions about the legitimacy of 'Abbas' continued presidency did not appear to affect his acceptance by other world leaders.  In May 2009, 'Abbas welcomed Pope Benedict XVI to the West Bank, who supported 'Abbas' goal of a Palestinian State. Also, in May of 2009, 'Abbas made a visit to Canada, where he met with foreign affairs minister Lawrence Cannon and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

In February 2010, 'Abbas visited Japan for the third time as Palestinian President. In this visit, he met Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama. He also visited Hiroshima, the first such visit by a Palestinian leader, and spoke about the suffering of the people of Hiroshima, who he compared to the suffering of the Palestinians.

'Abbas married Amina 'Abbas and they had three sons, including Yasser Abbas, who was named after former PA leader Yasser Arafat.


 





'Abd al-Karim Qasim
1914-1963
Nationalist Iraqi military officer who seized pwer in a 1958 coup d'etat, wherein the Iraqi monarchy was eliminated. 

Also known as Abdel Karim Kassem, Abdul Karim Kassem, Abdulkarim Kasem, Abdel-Karim Qaasim, and 'Abdul Karim Qasem, during his rule, 'Abd al-Karim Qasim was popularly known as al-za'im or, "The Leader."

'Abd al-Karim Qasim's father was a Sunni Muslim of Arab descent who died shortly after his son's birth during World War I as a soldier for the Ottoman Khalifah.  Qasim's mother was a Shi'ite and the daughter of a Feyli Kurd farmer from Baghdad.

When Qasim was six years of age his family moved to Suwayra, a small town near the Tigris, then to Baghdad in 1926.  Qasim was an excellent student.  He entered secondary school on a government scholarship.  After graduation in 1931, he taught at Shamiyya Elementary School from October 22 of that year until September 3, 1932, when he was accepted into Military College.  In 1934, he graduated as a second lieutenant.  Qasim then attended al-Arkan (Iraqi Staff) College and graduated with honors in December 1941.  In 1951, he completed a senior officer's course in Britain.

Militarily, Qasim participated in the suppression of the tribal disturbances in the Middle Euphrates region in 1935, during the Anglo-Iraqi War in May 1941 and in the Kurdistan War in 1945.  Qasim also served during the Iraqi military involvement in the Arab-Israeli War from May 1948 to June 1949.  Toward the latter part of the mission, Qasim commanded a battalion of the First Brigade, which was situated in the Kafr Qasem area south of Qilqilya.  In 1956-57, Qasim served with his brigade at Mafraq in Jordan in the wake of the Suez Crisis.  By 1957, Qasim had assumed leadership of several opposition groups that had formed in the army.

On July 14, 1958, Qasim and his followers used troop movements planned by the government as an opportunity to seize military control of Baghdad and overthrow the monarchy.  This resulted in the brutal murder of several members of the royal family and their close associates, including Nuri as-Said.

The coup was triggered when King Hussein, fearing that an anti-Western revolt in Lebanon might spread to Jordan, requested Iraqi assistance.  Instead of moving toward Jordan, however, Colonel Arif led a battalion into Baghdad and immediately proclaimed a new republic and the end of the old regime.  Put in its historical context, the July 14 Revolution was the culmination of a series of uprisings and coup attempts that began with the 1936 Bakr Sidqi coup and included the 1941 Rashid Ali military movement, the 1948 Wathbah Uprising, and the 1952 and 1956 protests.  The July 14 Rebellion met virtually no opposition.

Prince 'Abdul Ilah did not want any resistance to the forces that besieged the Royal Rihab Palace, hoping to gain permission to leave the country.  The commander of the Royal Guards battalion on duty, Colonel Taha Bamirmi, ordered the palace guards to cease fire.

On July 14, 1958, the royal family including King Faisal II; the Prince 'Abdullah; Princess Hiyam, 'Abdullah's wife; Princess Nafisah, 'Abdullah's mother; Princess Abadiyah, the king's aunt; and several servants were attacked as they were leaving the palace.  When all of them arrived in the courtyard they were told to turn towards the palace wall, and were all shot down by Captain Abdus Sattar As Sab', a member of the coup led by Colonel 'Abd al-Karim Qasim.

King Faisal II and Princess Hiyam were injured.  The King died later before reaching the hospital.  Princess Hiyam was not recognized at the hospital and managed to receive treatment.  Later she felt for Saudi Arabia where her family lived and then moved to Egypt until her death.

The coup was discussed and planned by the Free Officers, but was mainly executed by Qasim and Colonel Abdasalaam Arif. 

By 1956, the committee of Free Officers included Qasim, Naji Talib, Abdul Wahab Ameen, Muhiddeen Abdalhamid, Abdasalaam Arif, Abdulwahaab Ash-Shawwaf, Abdal Karim Farhan, Rifat al-Hajj Sirri, Colonel Tahir Yahya, Rijab Abdul-Majid, Wasfi Tahir, Colonel Sabih Ali Ghaalib and Muhammad As-Sab'.

Qasim was Prime Minister from July 1958 to February 1963.

After the Military Uprising, Qasim assumed the post of Prime Minister and Defense Minister, while Colonel Abdul Salam Arif was selected Deputy Prime Minister.  They became the highest authority in Iraq with both executive and legislative powers. 

Despite a shared military background, the group of Free Officers that carried out the July 14 Revolution was plagued by internal dissension.  Its members lacked both a coherent ideology and an effective organizational structure.  Many of the more senior officers resented having to take orders from Arif, their junior in rank.  A power struggle developed between Qasim and Arif over joining the Egyptian-Syrian union.  Arif's pro-Nasserite sympathies were supported by the Baath Party, while Qasim found support for his anti-union position in the ranks of the communists.  Qasim, the more experienced and higher ranking of the two, eventually emerged victorious.  Arif was first dismissed, then brought to trial for treason and condemned to death in January 1959.  He was subsequently pardoned in December 1962.

Qasim soon withdrew Iraq from the pro-Western Baghdad Pact and established friendly relations with the Soviet Unin.  Iraq also abolished its Treaty of mutual security and bilateral relations with Britain.  Also, Iraq withdrew from the agreement with the United States that was signed by the monarchy from 1954 to 1955 regarding military, arms, and equipment.  On May 30, 1959, the last of the British soldiers and military officers departed the al-Habbaniyya base in Iraq.

On July 26, 1958, the Interim Constitution was adopted, proclaiming the equality of all Iraqi citizens under the law and granting them freedom without regard to race, nationality, language or religion.  The government freed political prisoners and granted amnesty to the Kurds who participated in the 1943 to 1945 Kurdish uprisings.  The exiled Kurds returned home and were welcomed by the republican regime.

Unlike the bulk of military officers, Qasim did not come from the Arab Sunni northwestern towns nor did he share their enthusiasm for pan-Arabism.  He was of mixed Sunni-Shia parentage from southeastern Iraq.  Qasim's ability to remain in power depended, therefore, on a skillful balancing of the communists and the pan-Arabists.  For most of his tenure, Qasim sought to counterbalance the growing pan-Arab trend in the military by supporting the communists who controlled the streets.  He authorized the formation of a communist-controlled militia, the People's Resistance Force, and he freed all communist prisoners.

Qasim lifted a ban on the Iraqi Communist Party, and demanded the annexation of Kuwait.   He was also involved in the 1958 Agrarian Reform, modeled ater the Egyptian experiment of 1952.

Qasim worked to improve the position of ordinary people in Iraq, after the long period of self-interested rule by a small elite under the monarchy that had resulted in widespread social unrest.  Qasim passed law No. 80 that seized 98% of Iraqi land from the British-owned Iraq Petroleum Company, distributed farms to more of the population.  This increased the size of the middle class.  Qasim also oversaw the building of 35,000 residential units to house the poor and low middle class.  The most notable example, and indeed symbol, of this was the new suburb of Baghdad named Madinat al-Thawra (revolution city), renamed Saddam City under the Baath regime and now widely referred to as Sadr City.  Qasim re-wrote the constitution to encourage women's participation in the society.

Qasim supported the Algerian and Palestinian struggles against France and Israel.

Qasim tried to maintain the political balance by using the traditional opponents of pan-Arabs, the right wing and nationalists.  Up until the war with the Kurdish factions in the north he was able to maintain the loyalty of the army.

During his term in office, 'Abd al-Karim Qasim is also blamed for paving the way for the Iran-Iraq war.  On December 18, 1959, 'Abd al-Karim Qasim declared:

"We do not wish to refer to the history of Arab tribes residing in al-Ahwaz and Muhammareh [Khurramshahr].  The Ottomans handed over Muhammareh, which was part of Iraqi territory, to Iran."

After this, Iraq started supporting secessionist movements in Khuzestan, and even raised the issue of its territorial claims in the next meeting of the Arab League, without any success. 

It was also during his rule as Prime Minister that confrontation with the Kurdish minority began.  The new government declared Kurdistan "one of the two nations of Iraq."  During his rule, the Kurdish groups selected Mustafa Barzani to negotiate with the government, seeking an opportunity to declare independence.

After a period of relative calm, the issue of Kurdish autonomy (self-rule or independence) went unfulfilled, sparking discontent and eventual rebellion among the Kurds in 1961.

During Qasim's term, there was a lot of debate over whether Iraq should join the United Arab Republic led by Gamal Abdel Nasser.  Having dissolved the Arab Union with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Qasim refused entry into the federation, although his government recognized the republic and considered joining it later.

A major pan-Arabist concern was the repressin of the Iraqi branch of the Baath Party.

An assassinatin attempt in 1959 by dedicated pan-Arabists (including Saddam Hussein) led to a harsh crackdown on domestic opposition and the development of a personality cult.   Qasim was a strong opponent of British military intervention in the Middle East, and repeatedly called for the removal of foreign troops.

Rebellions in Mosul and Iraqi Kurdistan, allegedly assisted by Nasser and the UAR, also complicated political matters.

Qasim was overthrown by the Ba'athist coup of February 8, 1963.

Qasim was given a short trial and he was quickly shot.  Later, footage of his execution was broadcast to prove he was dead. 

At least 5,000 Iraqis were killed in the fighting from February 8-10, 1963, and in the house-to-house hunt for Communists that immediately followed.  Ba'athists put the losses of their own party at around 80. 

In July 2004, Qasim's body was discovered by a news team associated with Radio Dijlah in Baghdad.




Abdelaziz al-Malzuzi
13th century
Poet. 

Also known as Abu Faris Abdelaziz ibn Abd ar-Rahman al-Malzuzi al-Miknasi, Abdelaziz al-Malzuzi is considered to be the greatest poet of the Marinid period.  He is also well-known as an historian.  There is little known about his life, besides that he was born in Meknes and was the court poet of Abu Yahya ibn 'Abd al-Haqq.  Among his many poetical works is a long didactic poem about the history of prophets.  According to Ibn al-Khatib (the biographer of Ibn 'Abd al-Haqq). Abdelaziz al-Malzuzi mixed his Arabic with Zenata elements.  He died encarcerated around 1298.


Abdel-Shafi, Haidar
1919-2007
Head of Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Conference of 1991. 

Born in Gaza on June 10, 1919, Abdel-Shafi graduated in 1943 from the American University College of Medicine in Beirut.  He was later appointed as head of medical services in the Gaza Strip from 1957 until 1960.

In 1962, Abdel-Shafi began a two year term as chairman of the first Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza.  Also a delegate to the first all-Palestinian conference (Palestinian National Council) which convened in Jerusalem in 1964 and helped establish the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Abdel-Shafi served as a member of the first PLO Executive Committee from 1964 to 1965.  He developed a constituency and a political base through the Gaza clinic system, and, by 1966, was a leading PLO figure in the Gaza Strip.

In 1970, Abdel-Shafi was deported to Lebanon for his activities with the PLO.  He returned to Gaza later in the same year.

From 1972 onwards, Abdel-Shafi served as the founder and director of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in the Gaza Strip, providing free medical care and a forum for cultural activities. 

Abdel-Shafi led the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Peace Conference in 1991, and subsequently led the Palestinian negotiation team for 22 months in the Washington talks (1992-1993).  He eventually made a final break with the Palestinian negotiating team over Oslo peace agreement.  Dr. Abdel Shafi was one of the first to predict that the Oslo process would collapse because it failed to tackle the issue of settlements. 

In 1996, Abdel-Shafi was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) with the highest number of votes as member for Gaza.  He took up leadership of the PLC's political committee.

In 1998, Abdel-Shafi initiated unity talks for all factions in Gaza.

Following the outbreak of the second intifada, Abdel-Shafi urged the Palestinian Authority (PA) to organize the intifada rather than distance itself from it, and to widen its democratic base by forming a government of national unity, part of his long-standing struggle to build a unified leadership, democracy and respect for human rights. 

Abdel-Shafi co-founded the Palestinian National Initiative in 2002 along with Edward Said, Mustafa Barghouthi, and Ibrahim Dakkak as a national platform for comining the struggle for national liberation and the return of refugees with the values of national unity, democracy and social justice.

Abdel-Shafi resigned as a deputy in the PLC two years ago in protest at what he described at the time as the failure to deal with corruption in the PA.

On April 8, 2007, was presented with the Palestinian star of honor by President Mahmoud Abbas in recognition of his long and distinguished service to the Palestinian people to obtain their national rights and to struggle for national unity, and for his role as founding member and President of the Palestinian National Initiative. 

Haidar Abdel-Shafi died on September 25, 2007, in Gaza and was survived by his wife, four children -- Hind, Khaled, Tarek, and Salah -- and seven grandchildren.


Abdul Kader
c.1723-1804
A ruler of Futa Toro.

Abdul Kader (c. 1723-1804), the ruler of Futa Toro (r. 1776-1804), died in 1804.  During his reign, Abdul Kader consolidated the Tukolor state after the Islamic revolution.

Abdul Kader was designated the successor of Suleiman Bal, leader of the Islamic revolution, who was killed in 1776.  Futa Toro was established as a federation.  Lands were distributed among the new clerical aristocracy (torobe), upon whom Abdul Kader called to provide soldiers for jihads (holy wars) against his Wolof neighbors in Walo and Cayor.  The lands that Abdul Kader controlled directly were governed along theocratic principles.  He built mosques in every village and appointed village religious and administrative officials himself.  However, the new aristocracy differed little from the one which it replaced.  Abdul Kader was assassinated by a group of nobles in 1804 at the age of eighty-one.



Abdullah ibn Abd al-Aziz
1924-
King of Saudi Arabia.

Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Bin Abdulrahman Bin Faisal Bin Turki Bin Abdullah Bin Muhammad Bin Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, succeeded to the throne and assumed the title of King upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd, on August 1, 2005. As Crown Prince, he had previously acted as de facto regent and thus ruler of Saudi Arabia after January 1, 1996, when Fahd was incapacitated by a major stroke. He was formally enthroned on August 3, 2005.

Abdullah was the fifth son (out of 37 sons) of King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saud (Ibn Saud), the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, to ascend to the throne.

King Abdullah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz Al Saud was born on August 1, 1924 in Riyadh to Ibn Saud's eighth wife, Fahda bint Asi Al Shuraim of the Abde section of the Shammar tribe. She earlier had been married to the 10th Rashidi Emir, Saud, who was killed in 1920.

Abdullah was given the position of Commander of the Saudi Arabian National Guard in August 1962, the position of Second Deputy Prime Minister in March 1975 and the position of First Deputy Prime Minister in June 1982. Abdullah had multiple wives, among them Princess Tadi Bint Mashan Al-Jarba, Princess Hessa Al Shaalan, Princess Haifa Al Mohana, Princess Aida Fostok, Anud, Princess Malka Al Jarba, and al-Jauhara.
 
Abdullah was a devout Muslim and was said to have meetings with leaders of Saudi Arabia's religious establishment on a weekly basis to garner advice and guidance.

Like many Saudi rulers before him, Abdullah was considered by many in the West to be a relatively moderate ruler. However, his image was compromised as Saudi Arabian schools continued to teach anti-Semitism and Saudi Arabia's Royal Family continured to fund madrassahs around the world that offered no compromise regarding the West's support of Israel and lack of support of Palestinian people. Saudi Arabia was also a major backer of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Although after the September 11, 2001, attacks, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates withdrew recognition of the Taliban government.

Abdullah (ʿAbd Allāh) was committed to preserving Arab interests, but he also sought to maintain strong ties with the West, especially with the United States. In 2001 relations between the two countries grew strained over Saudi claims that the U.S. government was not evenhanded in its approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The situation worsened later in the year, following the September 11 attacks against the United States and the subsequent revelation that most of the attackers were Saudi nationals. Abdullah condemned the attacks and, in a move to improve relations, proposed a peace initiative that was adopted at the 2002 Arab summit meeting. The plan called upon Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories (the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Golan Heights) and promised in return a full Arab normalization of relations with the Jewish country. Tensions between the United States and Saudi Arabia resurfaced, however, after Abdullah refused to support a United States-led attack on Iraq or to allow the use of Saudi military facilities for staging such an attack.

After May 12, 2003, Saudi Arabia faced several serious attacks from organizations that Saudi Arabia officially had declared terrorist, targeting primarily Western expatriates and also Saudi security forces. The attacks included car and truck bombings as well as raids by gunmen against civilians.

Several international groups, such as al-Qaeda, were linked to the attacks, with the common motivation being resentment of the perceived pro-Western stance of the King and royal family, and their encouragement of Westerners residing in Saudi Arabia. The militants believe that the Islamic prophet Muhammad commanded that non-Muslims should be expelled from the Arabian peninsula. The militants are especially outraged at the presence of the United States military in Saudi Arabia, which the militants view as sanctioned by the royal family.

The response of King Abdullah's administration to the insurgency was a series of crackdowns including raids by security forces, arrests, torture and public beheadings. King Abdullah vowed to fight terrorist ideologies within the country.

In 2002, Abdullah floated the so-called Arab Peace Initiative, what many considered at the time to be an opening salvo in a Saudi attempt to make peace with Israel. The plan called for Israel to cede almost the entirety of the Occupied Territories to the Palestinian Authority and to recognize the Palestine Authority's sovereignty, with the Authority's capital in East Jerusalem. In exchange, Abdullah offered unprecedented consessions, including the ending of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a peace treaty with Israel, recognition of the state of Israel and the establishment of "normal relations" between Arab states and Israel.

The plan was dropped after criticism from both Arab states and Israel.

On the domestic front, Abdullah introduced a program of moderate reform to address a number of challenges facing Saudi Arabia. The country’s continued reliance on oil revenue was of particular concern, and among the economic reforms he introduced were limited deregulation, foreign investment, and privatization. He originally sought to placate extreme Islamist voices—many of which sought to end the Saʿūdī dynasty’s rule.  However, the specter of anti-Saudi and anti-Western violence within the country’s borders led him, for the first time, to order the use of force by the security services against some extremists. At the same time, in 2005 Abdullah responded to demands for greater political inclusiveness by holding the country’s first municipal elections, based on adult male suffrage. Uncertainty surrounding succession in the kingdom was a further source of domestic concern, and late the following year Abdullah issued a new law refining the country’s succession policies. Among the changes was the establishment of an Allegiance Commission, a council of Saudi princes meant to participate in the selection of a crown prince—previously the task of the king alone—and to oversee a smooth transition of power.

In November 2007, King Abdullah visited Pope Benedict XVI in the Apostolic Palace. He was the first Saudi monarch to visit the leader of Catholicism.

King Abdullah and his government were responsible for the 'Peace of Culture' which took place on November 2008 at the United Nations General Assembly. It brought together Muslim and non-Muslim nations to eradicate the preconception of Islam and Terrorism. It brought together leaders including former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair, Israeli President Shimon Peres, George W Bush and King Abdullah II of Jordan.

In February 2009 Abdullah enacted a series of broad governmental changes, which affected areas such as the judiciary, armed forces, and various ministries. Notable among his decisions were the replacement of senior individuals within the judiciary and the religious police with more moderate candidates and the appointment of the country’s first female deputy minister, who was charged with overseeing girls’ education.



Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Umawi
844-912
Seventh emir of Cordoba (r. 888-912). 

The Umayyad dynasty came to power forty-five years after Muslim forces swept through Iberia, led by 'Abd ar-Rahman I.  The Umayyad were already a very distinguished family, a branch of which once led the Islamic Caliphate.  Also, the family could proudly claim descent from the Quraysh, the tribe of the Islamic prophet Muhammad himself.

Contemporary historians were quick to accuse Abdullah ibn Muhammad of orchestrating the death of his elder brother, al-Mundhir, whereby he ascended to power.  This is unlikely, as Abdullah ibn Muhammad showed very little interest in governing, becoming a neurotic recluse who was only interested in hunting and his faith.

Once in power, however, he showed no reluctance to dispose of those he viewed as a threat, even if they were family.  Two of his brothers were executed on his orders, and he commanded one of his sons (al-Mutarrif) to kill his own brother.  However, even this extreme display of loyalty was not enough to save al-Mutarrif, as he too was executed for treason a few years later.

The apathy Abdullah ibn Muhammad showed towards ruling had disastrous consequences for his emirate.  By the time he died, he was ruler in name only, as local warlords had seized control throughout his kingdom.  For instance, the second largest city under his rule, Seville, fell under the control of Ibrahim bin al-Hajjaj.

Nevertheless, Abdullah ibn Muhammad was a strong patron of literature.


Abdullah Mujahid

Citizen of Afghanistan who was held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba.

Abdullah Mujahid is a citizen of Afghanistan who was held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba. His Guantanamo Internment Serial Number was 1100.

The allegations against Mujahid, as set forth in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal, allege that Mujahid was head of security for the city of Gardez and for Paktia province. He was accused of ties to al Qaeda and of attacking United States forces, and was arrested in July 2003.

Mujahid claimed he was loyal to the coalition.

Abdullah Mujahid is militia leader from Afghanistan's Tajik ethnic group, who rose up against the Taliban in the closing days of its administration of Afghanistan. The Afghanistan Transitional Authority rewarded Mujahid, and other militia leaders who had risen up against the Taliban, with the control of security forces. Both Mujahid and Pacha Khan Zadran, a Pashtun from the Zadran tribe, were rewarded with security appointments in Paktia province.

Mujahid and Zadran struggled to consolidate greater shares of control over Paktia's security forces. Mujahid and Zadran's forces were reported to have engaged in gun battles during their disputes. Both men's forces were accused of abusing their authority and routinely robbing civilians at their roadblocks.

By 2003 both men were regarded as renegades and enemies by US forces.

A high-level delegation from Kabul visited Mujahid, and offered him a nominally more senior position in Kabul as a "Highway Commander". Mujahid accepted this offer, and yielded up his position as Chief of Police of Gardez, and traveled to Kabul. But the promised promotion never materialized. When Mujahid returned home to Gardez, he was sent to Guantanamo.

Zadran's nephew, and Lieutenant, Jan Baz, was also apprehended and sent to Bagram Theater detention facility. But Zadran remained at large, and later represented Paktia in the Afghan Parliament.

Mujahid faced a number of allegations during his Combatant Status Review Tribunal and Administrative Review Board hearings: notably that he was fired for corruption and collusion with the opposition, that he was a senior commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani militant group based in Kashmir. He was also accused of being a member of Harakat-e-Mulavi, a group which American intelligence analysts believe is now allied with the rebels.

Mujahid's lawyers assert that the Lashkar-e-Taiba connection is a case of mistaken identity. A senior commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, also named Abdullah Mujahid, was killed in 2006. Mujahid's lawyers acknowledge that he fought with Harakat-e-Mulavi, against some of Afghanistan's foreign occupiers—during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, during the 1980s.

All of the allegations against Mujahid were dropped in early 2007, and he was cleared for release.

On November 25, 2008 the Department of Defense published a list of when Guantanamo captives were repatriated. According to that list he was repatriated on December 12, 2007.

It was reported that all of the Afghans repatriated to Afghanistan from April 2007 were sent to Afghan custody in the American built and supervised wing of the Pul-e-Charkhi prison near Kabul.


Abdul-Majid
1942-2007
Governor of Mecca. 

Abdul-Majid ibn Abdul-Aziz was the born the 33rd son of the King Abdul-Aziz.  Abdul-Aziz had 36 sons.  In 1985, King Fahd appointed Abdul-Majid as governor of the holy city of Medina.  Fifteen years later, in 2000, he became the governor of Mecca.  Abdul-Majid was the half brother of King Abdullah and he was the father of Faisal.


Abdul, Paula Julie
1962-
American pop singer, record producer, dancer, choreographer, actress and television personality.

In the 1980s, Abdul rose from being a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers to being a sought-after choreographer at the height of the music video era, then to being a Pop-R&B singer with a string of hits in the late-1980s and early-1990s. She has scored six number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100, placing her in a tie for fifth among the female solo performers who have reached #1 there. She won a Grammy for "Best Music Video - Short Form" for "Opposites Attract" and twice won the "Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography."

After her initial period of success, she suffered a series of setbacks in her professional and personal life, until she found renewed fame and success in the 2000s as a judge on the television series, American Idol.

Paula Julie Abdul was born on June 19, 1962, in the San Fernando Valley, to Harry Abdul, a former livestock trader and owner of a sand and gravel business, and Lorraine Rykiss, a concert pianist who once worked as film director Billy Wilder's assistant. Her father, a Syrian Jew, was born in Syria, raised in Brazil, and subsequently immigrated to the United States. Abdul's mother, also Jewish, is originally from Saint Boniface (now part of Winnipeg), Manitoba, Canada. Her mother's birth in Canada makes Abdul a Canadian citizen.

An avid dancer, Abdul was inspired towards a show business career by Gene Kelly in the classic film Singin' in the Rain as well as Debbie Allen, Fred Astaire, and Bob Fosse.

Abdul began taking dance lessons at the age of eight and showed a natural talent. She attended Van Nuys High School, where she was a cheerleader and an honor student. At 15, she received a scholarship to a dance camp near Palm Springs, and in 1978 appeared in a low-budget independent musical film, Junior High School.

Abdul studied broadcasting at California State University, Northridge. During her first year, she was selected from a pool of 700 candidates for the cheerleading squad of the Los Angeles Lakers — the famed Laker Girls. Within three months, she became head choreographer. Six months later, she left college to focus on her choreography career.

Abdul was discovered by The Jacksons, after a few of the band members had watched her while attending a Laker game. She was signed to do the choreography for the video to their single "Torture".  The success of the choreography in the video helped lead to Abdul's then new career of choreographer in music videos. It was also due to the success of the video that Abdul was chosen to be the choreographer for the Jacksons' Victory tour.

Abdul choreographed videos for several singers throughout the 1980s, including many videos for Janet Jackson during her Control album. In 1995, Abdul released a dance workout video entitled Paula Abdul's Get Up and Dance! (re-released on DVD in 2003), a fast-paced, hip-hop style workout. In 1998 she released a second video called Cardio Dance (re-released on DVD in 2000). In December 2005, Abdul launched a cheerleading/fitness/dance DVD series called Cardio Cheer, which is marketed to children and teenage girls involved with cheerleading and dance.

In film, Abdul choreographed sequences for the giant keyboard scene involving Tom Hanks’s character in Big. Further credits include Coming to America, Action Jackson, Jerry McGuire, The Running Man, American Beauty (1999 film), and Oliver Stone's, The Doors. Television credits include The Tracey Ullman Show, American Music Awards, the Academy Awards, and several commercials, such as The King's touchdown celebration, as seen in a string of popular Burger King television commercials that aired during the 2005-2006 NFL season.

In 1987, Abdul used her savings to make a singing demo. Although her voice was relatively untrained, her exceptional dancing proved marketable to the visually-oriented, MTV-driven, pop music industry.

In 1988, Abdul released her pop debut album, Forever Your Girl. The album took 62 weeks to hit #1 on the Billboard 200 album sales chart — the longest an album has been on the market before hitting #1 — and spent 10 weeks there. The album eventually became multi-platinum in the spring and summer of 1989, and it spawned five American Top Three singles, four of them #1s (three in 1989 and one in 1990): "Straight Up", "Forever Your Girl", "Cold Hearted", "(It's Just) The Way That You Love Me", and "Opposites Attract". A remix album, Shut Up and Dance, was also released and reached #7 on Billboard's album chart, becoming one of the most successful remix albums to date. The Grammy award-winning video for "Opposites Attract" featured an animated cat named MC Skat Kat. Abdul also went on a Club MTV tour where she performed songs from her album. Several other acts were also on the tour.

In the early 1990s, Yvette Marine, backing vocalist on Forever Your Girl, claimed that she sang lead vocals on the album and sued Paula and Virgin Records for compensation. After one month of court proceedings, Abdul and Virgin won the case.

Abdul's follow-up album, 1991's Spellbound, contained another string of hits, and sold 13 million copies worldwide. The first single from Spellbound was the ballad, "Rush, Rush", which topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for five consecutive weeks, and was noted for its music video and Rebel Without a Cause motif featuring Keanu Reeves in the James Dean role. "Promise of a New Day," the second release from the album, also hit No. 1, and it was followed by the Top 10 hit "Blowing Kisses in the Wind" and two Top 20 hits: "Vibeology" and "Will You Marry Me?." The album, Spellbound, retained much of the dance-oriented formula heard on her debut album. The track "U" was written for Paula by Prince. "U" was supposed to be the final single from the album, but was never actually released.

Abdul promoted the album through the "Under My Spell Tour", which was named by an MTV contest for fans. This tour was nearly cancelled due to an accident during rehearsals. The tour began on schedule and ran from October 1991 to the summer of 1992. In 1991, Abdul embraced advertising and starred in a popular Diet Coke commercial in which she danced with a digital image of her idol, a young Gene Kelly.

By 1995 Paula Abdul had recovered from her battle with the eating disorder bulimia nervosa and prepared to return to the spotlight with her new album Head Over Heels. The album received mixed reviews, and its singles became modest radio hits. The first single off the album, "My Love Is for Real" featured a fusion of R&B and traditional Middle Eastern instruments, and was performed with Yemeni-Israeli singer Ofra Haza. Its accompanying Lawrence of Arabia-inspired music video was played in theaters across the world as a preface to the film Clueless. It was a hit in the clubs (peaking at #1 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart), but the single stalled at #28 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. Despite the lack of mainstream chart success, the single was nominated for several MTV Video Music Awards.

The second single, "Crazy Cool" became a minor hit in the U.S. yet managed to peak at #13 on the dance charts. "Ain't Never Gonna Give You Up" served as the third and final single but failed to chart in the Hot 100.

After the low sales of Head Over Heels and conquering her personal problems, Abdul took a hiatus from the music industry. In 2000, Abdul’s Paula Abdul: Greatest Hits CD was released by Virgin Records (with whom Abdul was already no longer affiliated). It featured all of her hit singles and other noteworthy tracks. The song "Bend Time Back 'Round" had previously been heard only on the 1992 soundtrack for the hit television series Beverly Hills 90210. The album was not a commercial success; however, it did sell more than one million copies worldwide.

In 1997, Abdul co-wrote "Spinning Around" along with fellow American Idol judge, Kara DioGuardi; a dance-pop track intended to be the lead single off her new album. The album never materialized and "Spinning Around" was given to Kylie Minogue as a single. The song became highly successful and re-launched Minogue's career, as it was intended to do for Abdul, and reached #1 in numerous countries.

In 2002, Abdul appeared as one of three judges for the reality television music competition show American Idol. Abdul, along with fellow judges Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson (joined by Kara DioGuardi in 2009) were to evaluate the talent of a large group of young amateur singers, eliminate most of them in various audition rounds, and then judge the finalists as American television viewers voted on which finalists would continue to each successive round, until all but the winner were eliminated. Abdul won praise as a sympathetic and compassionate judge. She seemed especially kind compared to fellow judge Simon Cowell, who was often very blunt in his appraisals of the contestants' performances. When she realized that Cowell's over-the-top judging style was heartbreaking for many young contestants, Abdul was so horrified, she considered leaving the show. Although their differences often resulted in extremely heated on-air exchanges and confrontations, Cowell says he played a major role in convincing Abdul not to leave the show.

On March 28, 2006 FOX announced that Abdul had signed to stay on American Idol as a judge for at least three more years. Later that year, fellow American Idol judge Simon Cowell invited her to be a guest judge at some of the early auditions for the third series of his similar UK talent show The X Factor. Abdul was present at the initial audition of the eventual winner, Leona Lewis.

In January 2008, Paula returned to the music charts for the first time in nearly 13 years with the single "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow", which was the first track on the album Randy Jackson's Music Club Vol 1. The song debuted on On Air with Ryan Seacrest. The song was a modest comeback hit for Paula, peaking at #62 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.

Paula's MTV show "RAH!" premiered in January 2009. The 90-minute special featured eight collegiate cheerleading squads, which competed in a series of challenges in order to be crowned the winner by Paula. A snippet of Paula's latest single "Boombox", a cover of a Kylie Minogue song, also premiered on the show.

On May 5, 2009, Paula debuted her new song "I'm Just Here for the Music" (originally an unreleased song from Kylie Minogue's ninth album Body Language) on the Ryan Seacrest Radio KIIS-FM show. On May 6, 2009, Paula performed her new song on the American Idol results show. On May 8, 2009, Paula released "I'm Just Here For The Music" to the US iTunes Store.

Abdul was married to Emilio Estevez from April 29, 1992 to May 1994. In a June 19, 2005 interview with People magazine Abdul stated that they broke up over the issue of children; she wanted them to have a child together, while Estevez (who already had two children from a prior relationship) did not. She later married sportswear designer Brad Beckerman in 1996. They divorced in 1998. Having recovered from her eating disorder after treatment in 1994, she later became a spokeswoman for NEDA, and was presented with the Profiles In Living Award in late 2005. She then continued her work by recording Public Service Announcements in 2006.

In April 2005, she revealed that she suffered from a rare neurological disorder called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (CRPS) that caused chronic pain.

Abdul practiced Judaism and was proud of her heritage.





Abdul Rahman Ibrahima ibn Sori
1762-1828
Prince from West Africa who was made a slave in the United States and who, in 1828, was freed after spending 40 years in slavery by the order of President John Quincy Adams and Secretary of State Henry Clay after the Sultan of Morocco requested his release.

Abdul Rahman Ibrahima ibn Sori (also known as Abdul-Rahman) was born in 1762 in Timbo, West Africa, (in present day Guinea, Futa Djallon). He was known as the "Prince of Slaves" or "Prince." He was a Fulbe or Fulani, (Fula) from the land of Futa Djallon. Ibrahim left Futa in 1774 to study in Mali at Timbuktu. Ibrahim was leader of one of his father's army divisions. After winning a battle against a warring nation, he took with him a few soldiers to report back to his father, when he was ambushed, captured, and sold to slave traders in 1788 at the age of 26. He was bought by a Natchez, Mississippi cotton plantation owner, and eventually became the overseer of the plantation of Thomas Foster. In 1794 he married Isabella, another slave of Foster’s, and eventually fathered a large family: five sons and four daughters.

By using his knowledge of growing cotton in Futa Djallon, Abdul Rahman rose to a position of authority on the plantation and became the de facto foreman. This granted him the opportunity to grow his own vegetable garden and sell at the local market. During this time, he met an old acquaintance, Dr. John Cox. Dr. Cox was an Irish surgeon who had served on an English ship. He was the first white man to reach Timbo after being stranded by his ship and falling ill. Cox stayed ashore for six months and was taken in by the family of Abdul Rahman. Cox appealed to Foster to sell him "Prince" so he could return to Africa. However, Foster would not budge, since he viewed Abdul Rahman as indispensable to the Foster farm (among other reasons). Dr. Cox continued, until his death in 1816, to seek Abdul Rahman's freedom, to no avail. After Cox died, Abdul Rahman continued the cause.

In 1826, Abdul Rahman wrote a letter to his relatives in Africa. A local newspaperman, Andrew Marschalk, who was originally from New York, sent a copy to Senator Thomas Reed in Washington, who forwarded it to the United States Consulate in Morocco. Since Abdul Rahman wrote in Arabic, Marschalk and the United States government assumed that he was a Moor. After the Sultan of Morocco read the letter, he asked President Adams and Secretary of State Henry Clay to release Abdul Rahman. In 1828, Thomas Foster agreed to the release of Ibrahim, without payment, with the stipulation that Ibrahim return to Africa and not live as a free man in America.

Before leaving the United States, Ibrahim and his wife went to various states and to Washington, D.C. He solicited donations, through the press, personal appearances, the American Colonization Society and politicians, to free his family back in Mississippi. Word got back to Foster, who considered this a breach of the agreement. Abdul-Rahman's actions and freedom were also used against President John Quincy Adams by future president Andrew Jackson during the presidential election.

After ten months, Abdul Rahman and Isabella had raised only half the funds to free their children. They made arrangements to leave America. He went to Monrovia, Liberia with his wife. Abdul Rahman lived for four months before he contracted a fever and died at the age of 67. He never saw Futa Djallon or his children again.

The funds that Abdul Rahman and Isabella raised bought the freedom of two sons and their families. They were reunited with Isabella in Monrovia. Thomas Foster died the same year as Abdul Rahman. Foster's estate, including Abdul Rahman's other children and grandchildren, was divided among Foster's heirs and scattered across Mississippi and the South. Abdul Rahman's descendants still reside in Monrovia and the United States. In 2006, Abdul Rahman's descendants gathered for a family reunion at Foster's Field.

Abdul Rahman wrote two autobiographies. A drawing of him is displayed in the Library of Congress.

In 1977, history professor Terry Alford documented the life of Ibn Sori in Prince Among Slaves, the first full account of his life, pieced together from first-person accounts and historical documents.

Early in 2008 PBS showed a Spark Media Incorporated and Unity Productions Foundation film directed by Andrea Kalin titled Prince Among Slaves, portraying the life of Abdul Rahman.


Abdul-Rauf, Mahmoud
1969-
Professional basketball player. 

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was born Chris Wayne Jackson on March 9, 1969 in Gulfport, Mississippi.  Abdul-Rauf changed his name in 1993 upon his conversion to Islam. After a record-setting college career at Louisiana State University, he was selected with the third pick in the 1990 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets. He played with Denver until 1995, and was a key player on that team, winning the Most Improved Player award in 1993. Abdul-Rauf later went on to play for the Sacramento Kings and later still with the Vancouver Grizzlies. He led the league in free throw percentage in 1994 and 1996, narrowly missing (by one missed free throw) the NBA all-time record for free-throw percentage in a single season in 1993-94 (he went 219-229 from the line for a 95.6 percentage as opposed to Calvin Murphy's 95.8 percentage (206-215), the all-time record dating back to 1980-81).

After leaving the NBA, Abdul-Rauf played professional basketball in Europe, retiring at the end of 2004-05 season. For the 2006-07 season, he came out of retirement for the third time in his career to play for Aris Thessaloniki. He later played for Al-Ittihad in the Saudi Arabian league.

One notable accomplishment, Abdul-Rauf overcame the challenge of Tourette syndrome to have an athletic career.

Abdul-Rauf is perhaps best known for the controversy created when he refused to stand for "The Star-Spangled Banner" before games, stating that the flag was a "symbol of oppression" and that the United States had a long "history of tyranny". He said that standing to the national anthem would therefore conflict with his Islamic beliefs. On March 12, 1996, the NBA suspended Abdul-Rauf for his refusal to stand, but the suspension lasted only one game. Two days later, the league was able to work out a compromise with him, whereby he would stand during the playing of the national anthem but could close his eyes and look downward. He usually silently recited a Muslim prayer during this time.





Abdul Samad
1804-1898
The fourth Sultan of Selangor.

Abdul Samad (Almarhum Sultan Sir Abdul Samad ibni Almarhum Raja Abdullah) (1804 - February 6, 1898), the fourth Sultan of Selangor, was born in 1804 at Bukit Melawati in Selangor to Raja Abdullah ibni Ibrahim Shah, younger brother of Sultan Muhammad Shah. His reign lasted 41 years from 1857 until his death in 1898. His time on the throne saw the only civil war in Selangor, the establishment of Kuala Lumpur, the introduction of the Selangor flag and coat of arms and the start of British involvement in Selangor state affairs.

Before becoming the Sultan of Selangor, Abdul Samad held the title of Tengku Panglima Raja and held authority over Langat. The third sultan of Selangor, Sultan Muhammad Shah, died on January 6, 1857 without appointing an heir. This started a dispute between the royal court and dignitaries of Selangor to choose the next sultan. To select the next sultan Malay customs dictated that the son of a royal wife takes precedence over the sons of other wives. This made Raja Mahmud the next legitimate heir but he was too young and was unable to exert his right. Sultan Muhammad's older and more competent sons, Raja Laut and Raja Sulaiman were sons of concubines, the Sultan's sons-in-law, Raja Jumaat and Raja Abdullah, were from the Riau branch of the family, hence they were all ineligible. This left Raja Abdul Samad, the nephew and son-in-law of the late Sultan, as the candidate with the strongest claim. Raja Jumaat and Raja Abdullah became convinced that they could become the power behind the throne if they supported Raja Abdul Samad to take the throne. With their patronage and the support of four other state dignitaries, a consensus was made to select the nephew of Sultan Muhammad Shah, Raja Abdul Samad Raja Abdullah.

Following the successful establishment of the Ampang tin mines by Muhammad Shah, Sultan Abdul Samad used the tin ore to trade with the states of the Straits Settlements. The mines in turn attracted even more Chinese miners with the help of Raja Abdullah bin Raja Jaafar, one of his son-in-laws and Yap Ah Loy, a Chinese Kapitan.
In 1866, the Sultan gave Raja Abdullah the power and authority over Klang. This fueled the feud between Raja Abdullah and Raja Mahadi, who was the previous administrator of Klang. The dispute led to the Klang War.

The Sultan appointed his son-in-law, Tengku Dhiauddin Zainal Rashid (a.k.a. Tengku Kudin), as Vice Yamtuan and arbitrator twice during the war; first on June 26, 1868 and again on July 22, 1871. At the same time, he handed over management of the entire state. He also provided Langat to Tengku Kudin to help him fund the handling of the war. Tengku Kudin in turn engaged the help of Pahang, mercenaries and Sir Andrew Clarke of the British Empire. This marked the first British involvement in local politics. The Sultan later handed over the ruling power of Klang to Tungku Kudin after the war was won in 1874. In 1878 Tengku Kudin stood down from this post.
After a number of piracy attacks took place in Selangor, Andrew Clarke assigned Frank Swettenham as a live-in advisor to Sultan Abdul Samad in August 1874. Sultan Abdul Samad accepted James Guthrie Davidson as the first British Resident of Selangor in 1875. In October the same year, Sultan Abdul Samad sent a letter to Andrew Clarke requesting that Selangor to be placed under a British protectorate.

During his reign, the areas of Semenyih, Beranang and Broga went under Selangor jurisdiction. Lukut, however, was handed to Dato' Kelana of Sungai Ujong on July 30, 1880. The Sultan was awarded the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) conferring the title Sir. Jugra became the royal capital of Selangor when Sultan Abdul Samad built the Jugra Palace and moved there in 1875. The state capital was moved from Klang to Kuala Lumpur in 1880.

In 1893, Abdul Samad helped found one of Malaysia's premier schools, Victoria Institution in Kuala Lumpur along with Kapitan Yap Kwan Seng, K. Thamboosamy and Loke Yew. Sultan Abdul Samad was made one of the first two patrons of the school.

Sultan Abdul Samad was a member of the Council of Rulers for the Federated Malay States, under the British colonial regime. The sultans of the four Federated Malay States of Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, and Pahang were represented at the first Durbar, which convened in 1897 at Kuala Kangsar, Perak.

Sultan Abdul Samad interacted openly with his people as observers noted that he mingled by chatting in local markets, while taking his daily walks or while watching a cockfight.

Sultan Abdul Samad died on February 6, 1898 at the age of 93 after reigning for 41 years. He was laid to rest in his own mausoleum in Jugra.  He had 12 children, 6 princes and 6 princesses from two wives.

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building in Kuala Lumpur, Sultan Abdul Samad Secondary School in Petaling Jaya and the Sultan Abdul Samad Library in Universiti Putra Malaysia are named after him.



Abdur-Rahim, Shareef
1976-
Professional basketball player. 

Shareef Abdur-Rahim was born on December 11, 1976 in Marietta, Georgia. He last played for the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association (NBA). On the basketball court, he played both forward or center positions. Abdur-Rahim was a standout player during his high school collegiate days. He left the University of California after one year to enter the 1996 NBA Draft.

In his early NBA career, Abdur-Rahim was the star of the Vancouver Grizzlies franchise for five seasons. He was traded by the Grizzlies in 2001 and then played for the Atlanta Hawks and Portland Trail Blazers before joining his last team, the Sacramento Kings. Nicknamed "Reef", Abdur-Rahim was named an NBA All-Star in the 2001–02 season. He also played on the United States men's national basketball team that won the gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Prior to joining the Kings, despite the fact that he achieved solid statistics throughout his career, Abdur-Rahim held the NBA record for most number of games played without making a playoff appearance. Following persistent injuries to his right knee, Abdur-Rahim announced his retirement from basketball on September 22, 2008.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim was the second eldest sibling in a family of twelve children born to Aminah and William Abdur-Rahim.  Abdur-Rahim, whose first name means "noble" and whose last name means "servant of the most merciful one," was a devout Muslim. He valued his parents for their guiding influence on him during his youth and credited them with his life philosophy: "remember how you came on all your accomplishments and stay humble."

From an early age, Abdur-Rahim was surrounded by family members who played basketball; his brother, Muhammad, played at the University of Detroit while his younger brother, Amir, played at Southeastern Louisiana University.  Abdur-Rahim started playing competitive basketball at Joseph Wheeler High School in Marietta, Georgia. At Wheeler, he was named "Mr. Basketball" in back-to-back seasons, and he led the school to a state title as a junior in 1994.

Abdur-Rahim later attended college at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a bona fide student athlete maintaining a grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. At California, Abdur-Rahim averaged 21.1 points per game (ppg) and 8.4 rebounds per game (rpg) in 28 games. He was the first freshman in Pac-10 history to win Conference Player of the Year honors, and was named Third Team All-America by the Associated Press. Abdur-Rahim also set single-season freshman records for points, scoring average, field goals, and free throws. However, after a year at California, Abdur-Rahim decided to leave college to enter the 1996 NBA Draft.

Abdur-Rahim was selected third overall by the Vancouver Grizzlies in the 1996 Draft, behind Allen Iverson and Marcus Camby. He made an immediate impact playing for the Grizzlies, becoming the team's leading scorer while setting a franchise record of 18.7 ppg. He also averaged 6.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 35 minutes per game. He finished third in balloting for the Schick NBA Rookie of the Year behind Philadelphia's Allen Iverson and Minnesota's Stephon Marbury, and he was picked for the All-Rookie First Team. By the end of the 1996–97 season, Abdur-Rahim led the team in scoring on 33 occasions, and in rebounding on 23 occasions.

For the next few seasons, Abdur-Rahim remained the centerpiece of the Grizzlies team. In his sophomore season, he averaged 22.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg and 2.6 assists per game (apg). The following season, he elevated his performance with 23.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg, and 3.4 apg. Despite his best efforts, the Grizzlies remained grounded at the bottom two spots of the Midwest Division in his first four seasons. For the 2000–01 season, Abdur-Rahim finished with a 20 ppg-plus average for the fourth straight season and was ranked in the top 20 in 13 NBA statistical categories, once again leading the Grizzlies in both ppg and rpg. Abdur-Rahim's importance to the team was highlighted in a game against the Indiana Pacers on December 1, 2000, when he scored all of the 20 points scored by the Grizzlies in the final quarter of the game.

On June 27, 2001, the Atlanta Hawks reached an agreement to acquire Abdur-Rahim and the 27th overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft from the Vancouver Grizzlies in exchange for Brevin Knight, Lorenzen Wright and Pau Gasol, the third overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. Abdur-Rahim's return to his hometown, and expected partnership with Jason Terry, provided a significant amount of buzz around the league. While the Hawks finished the 2001–02 campaign with a 33–49 win-loss record, Abdur-Rahim's performances, including a career-high 50-point game, ensured that he would be selected to the NBA All-Star game for that season.

In his second season with the Hawks, Abdur-Rahim achieved another personal milestone on December 28, 2002, when his jump shot against the Washington Wizards made him the fifth-youngest player in NBA history to reach 10,000-points. Although Glenn Robinson, Jason Terry and Abdur-Rahim combined to average 57.9 ppg and became the highest-scoring trio in the league for the 2002–03 season, the Hawks failed to make the playoffs again. With an average of 19.9 ppg and 8.4 rpg, Abdur-Rahim played in all but one of the Hawks' games. By the end of the season, Hawks General Manager Billy Knight decided major changes had to be made for the franchise to move forward, and Abdur-Rahim was traded the next season.

Along with Theo Ratliff and Dan Dickau in exchange for Rasheed Wallace and Wesley Person, Abdur-Rahim was sent to the Portland Trail Blazers on February 9, 2004. His impact in the two seasons with the Trail Blazers was considerably less than in previous seasons. His average was 16.3ppg/7.5rpg and 16.8/7.3rpg for the 2003–04 and 2004–05 campaigns respectively. At the end of the 2004–05 season, Abdur-Rahim became a free agent.

During the 2005 off-season, he was traded via a sign and trade agreement (in principle) to the New Jersey Nets for a first-round draft pick (which Portland planned to trade to the Phoenix Suns for Leandro Barbosa). On August 4, 2005, though the news conference was planned to announce the postponement of his arrival, it was revealed that he failed a required physical due to scar tissue found in his knee. The trade was put on hold, pending a second opinion from other medical sources. On August 7, Abdur-Rahim was quoted saying: "I don't feel I want to be a Net". He felt the knee was a non-issue, claiming that he never missed a game in his entire career because of the knee injury. Two days later, it was announced that New Jersey decided to rescind the trade.

On August 12, 2005, Abdur-Rahim signed a free-agent contract with the Sacramento Kings. In his first season with them, Abdur-Rahim started in 30 of the 72 games he played. As a starter, he averaged 16.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg and 3.0 apg. He shot .543 for field goal percentage, .417 from the three-point range, and almost .800 from the free throw line. The Kings went on to qualify for the 2006 playoffs. Abdur-Rahim made his postseason career debut against the San Antonio Spurs. At the same time, he ended a streak of having played the most number of games in NBA history without participating in the post-season. In his second season with the Kings, Abdur-Rahim continued to be deployed as a sixth man.  However, the Kings failed to secure a playoff berth as Abdur-Rahim recorded a career-low ppg average. The 2007–08 season proved to be Abdur-Rahim's last, as he played only six games and his persistent knee injury forced him to announce his retirement on September 22, 2008. He joined the Sacramento Kings' coaching staff as an assistant the following week.

Prior to joining the NBA, Abdur-Rahim was the USA's leading scorer and rebounder at the 1994 COPABA Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament held in Santa Rosa, Argentina. He averaged a double-double of 16.8 points and 10.1 rebounds. While maintaining a team high in blocked shots averaging 1.6 blocks per game, he helped push the American squad to an 8–0 record, the gold medal, and a qualifying berth in the 1995 FIBA Junior World Championship. The following May he was named to the USA Basketball 1995 Junior Select Team that captured an 86–77 victory over an International Select Team in the inaugural Hoop Summit Game.

While playing for the Grizzlies, together with several NBA stars such as Kevin Garnett and Tim Hardaway, Abdur-Rahim was selected to be part of the USA Men's basketball team which won the gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

Abdur-Rahim and his wife Delicia had two children: a son, Jabri, and a daughter, Samiyah. Abdur-Rahim started his own foundation, the Future Foundation, which provided after school and other support services for youth at-risk in Atlanta.




Abdus Salam
1926-1996
Pakistani nuclear physicist who was a co-recipient the 1979 Nobel Prize for Physics.

Abdus Salam,  (b. January 29, 1926, Jhang Maghiāna, Punjab, India [now in Pakistan] — d. November 21, 1996, Oxford, England), was a Pakistani nuclear physicist who was the co-recipient with Steven Weinberg and Sheldon Lee Glashow of the 1979 Nobel Prize for Physics for their work in formulating the electroweak theory, which explains the unity of the weak nuclear force and electromagnetism.

Salam attended the Government College at Lahore, and in 1952 he received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of Cambridge. He returned to Pakistan as a professor of mathematics in 1951–54 and then went back to Cambridge as a lecturer in mathematics. He became professor of theoretical physics at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, in 1957. Salam was the first Pakistani and the first Muslim scientist to win a Nobel Prize. In 1964 he helped found the International Centre for Theoretical Physics at Trieste, Italy, in order to provide support for physicists from Third World countries. He served as the center’s director until his death.

Salam carried out his Nobel Prize–winning research at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in the 1960s. His hypothetical equations, which demonstrated an underlying relationship between the electromagnetic force and the weak nuclear force, postulated that the weak force must be transmitted by hitherto-undiscovered particles known as weak vector bosons, or W and Z bosons. Weinberg and Glashow reached a similar conclusion using a different line of reasoning. The existence of the W and Z bosons was eventually verified in 1983 by researchers using particle accelerators at CERN.



Abu Nasr Mansur
c.960/970-1036
Persian Muslim mathematician.

Abu Nasr Mansur ibn Ali ibn Iraq is well known for his work with the spherical sine law.

Abu Nasr Mansur was born in Gilan, Persia, to the ruling family of Khwarezm, the "Banu Iraq". He was thus a prince within the political sphere. He was a student of Abu'l-Wafa and a teacher of (and also an important colleague of) the mathematician, Al-Biruni. Together, they were responsible for great discoveries in mathematics and dedicated many works to one another.

Most of Abu Nasr's work focused on math, but some of his writings were on astronomy. In mathematics, he had many important writings on trigonometry, which were developed from the writings of Ptolemy. He also preserved the writings of Menelaus of Alexandria and reworked many of the Greek's theorems.

He died in the Ghaznavid Empire (modern-day Afghanistan) near the city of Ghazna.


Abu Zayd, Nasr Hamid
1943-2010
Egyptian Qur'anic thinker and one of the leading liberal theologians in Islam who became famous for his advocacy of a humanistic Qur’anic hermeneutics.

Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd was born in Quhafa, some 120 kms from Cairo, near Tanta, Egypt on July 10, 1943. He died on July 5, 2010 in Cairo as a result of an unidentified virus infection and was buried in his birthplace, on the same day. He was 67.

At the age of 12, Abu Zayd was imprisoned for allegedly sympathising with the Muslim Brotherhood. After receiving technical training he worked for the National Communications Organization in Cairo. At the same time, he started studying at Cairo University, where he obtained his bachelor of arts degree in Arabic Studies (1972), and later his master's (1977) and doctorate degrees (1981) in Islamic Studies, with works concerning the interpretation of the Qur'an. In 1982, he joined the faculty of the Department of Arabic Language and Literature at Cairo University as an assistant professor. He became an associate professor there in 1987.

Zayd suffered major religious persecution for his views on the Qur'an as a religious, mythical, literary work. In 1995, he was promoted to the rank of full professor, but Islamic controversies about his academic work led to a court decision of apostasy and the denial of the appointment. In a hisbah trial started against him by Muslim scholars, he was declared an apostate (murtadd) by an Egyptian court, and consequently was declared to be divorced from his wife, Cairo University French Literature professor Ibtihal Younis. The basis of the divorce decree under Sharia law was that since it is not permissible for a Muslim woman to be married to a non-Muslim man, and since Zayd was an apostate, he therefore could not remain married to his wife. This decision, in effect, forced Abu Zayd to leave his homeland.

The Nasr Abu Zayd case began when he was refused a promotion for the post of full professor. In May 1992, Abu Zayd presented his academic publications to the Standing Committee of Academic Tenure and Promotion for advancement. Among his thirteen works in Arabic and other languages were Imam Shāfi‘ī and the Founding of Medieval Ideology and The Critique of Religious Discourse. The committee presented three reports, two were in favor of the promotion of Abu Zayd. But the third one accused Abu Zayd of "clear affronts to the Islamic faith," and recommended the rejection of his promotion.

Despite the two positive reports, the Tenure and Promotion Committee voted against the promotion (seven votes to six), arguing that his works did not justify a promotion. The Council of the Arabic Department objected tp the committee's decision, and the Council of the Faculty of Arts criticized the committee's report. Despite the objections and criticisms, the Council of Cairo University confirmed the decision of the committee report on March 18, 1993.

The case expanded beyond Cairo University after a lawyer filed a lawsuit before the Giza Lower Personal Status Court demanding the divorce of Abu Zayd from his wife, Dr. Ibtihal Younis. The case was filed on the grounds that a Muslim woman cannot be married to an apostate. But, on January 27, 1994, the Giza Personal Status Court rejected the demand because the plaintiff had no direct, personal interest in the matter.

However, the Cairo Appeals Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff and declared the marriage of Abu Zayd and Ibtihal Younis null and void in 1995.

The principle behind hisbah gives all Muslims the right to file lawsuits in cases where an exalted right of God has been violated. The hisbah principles are stated in Article 89 and 110 of the Regulations Governing Sharia Courts. In 1998, however, this law was amended by the Egyptian government, making it impossible for individuals to file lawsuits accusing someone of apostasy, leaving the issue to the prerogative of the prosecution office.

The 1995 Abu Zayd decision provoked a great debate, and human rights organisations criticized the decision because of several perceived offenses to fundamental human rights.

The decision was not isolated. It was made during a period of several assaults on liberal intellectuals and artists in the Muslim world in the 1990s. Dr. Ahmed Sohby Mansour was dismissed from Al-Azhar University and imprisoned for six months. This was based on a verdict reached by the university itself on the grounds that he rejected a fundamental tenet of Islam in his research of truth of some of Muhammad's sayings, or Hadith. Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz was stabbed in the neck by an Islamist in 1994, leaving him incapable of using his hand to write. Egyptian courts were the theatre of different lawsuits brought against intellectuals, journalists, and university professors such as Atif al-Iraqi, Ragaa al-Naqash, Mahmoud al-Tohami, and Youssef Chahine (for his film El-Mohager, The Emigrant).

In Kuwait in 1996, Ahmed al-Baghdadi, a journalist and professor of political science, was jailed for one month for making offensive remarks about Muhammad. Laila al-Othman and Aliya Shoeib, two of Kuwait's top female authors, as well as publisher Yahya al-Rubayan, stood trial on November 10, 2000 for allegedly insulting Islam in their novels. They were convicted of indecent language and defamatory expressions, and sentenced to two months in prison for moral and religious offenses. In Lebanon, in 2003, Marcel Khalife, a well-known Lebanese singer, faced up to three years in jail after Beirut's newly appointed chief investigating judge reopened a case that accused him of insulting Islam in 1996, and again in 1999, by singing a verse from the Qur'an in one of his songs (Ana Yussef, I am Josef). He was found innocent.

After the verdict, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization (which assassinated Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981) said that Abu Zayd should be killed because he had abandoned his Muslim faith. Abu Zayd was protected by the police, but soon rejected the security. On July23, 1995, the couple flew to Madrid, then decided to go from Spain to the Netherlands, where he was invited to teach as a Visiting Professor at the Leiden University. On November 8, 1999, he filed a suit against the Egyptian justice minister, demanding that the 1995 ruling which annulled the marriage be declared illegal.

Abu Zayd held the Ibn Rushd Chair of Humanism and Islam at the University for Humanistics, Utrecht, The Netherlands, while still supervising master degree and doctoral degree students at the University of Leiden as well. Abu Zayd also participated in a research project on Jewish and Islamic Hermeneutics as Cultural Critique in the Working Group on Islam and Modernity at the Institute of Advanced Studies of Berlin (Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin). In 2005, he received the Ibn Rushd Prize for Freedom of Thought. His wife returned several times to Egypt for discussion on master's and doctoral theses at the French department at Cairo University, but Abu Zayd did not return to Egypt after 1995, until he was hospitalized in Cairo in 2010. He died at a Cairo hospital on July 5, 2010.

From the beginning of his academic career, Abu Zayd developed a renewed hermeneutic view of the Qur'an and further Islamic holy texts, arguing that they should be interpreted in the historical and cultural context of their time. The mistake of many Muslim scholars was to see the Qur'an only as a text, which led conservatives as well as liberals to a battle of quotations, each group seeing clear verses (when on their side) and ambiguous ones (when in contradiction with their vision).

This vision of the Qur'an as a text was the vision of the elites of Muslim societies, whereas, on the other hand, the Qur’an as an oral discourse played the most important role in the understanding of the masses.  Abu Zayd called for another reading of the holy book through a humanistic hermeneutics, an interpretation which sees the Qur’an as a living phenomenon, a discourse. Hence, a full understanding of the Qur’an could be the outcome of dialogue and debate. This liberal interpretation of Islam could lead to new perspectives on the religion and could precipitate social change in Muslim societies.

Abu Zayd promoted a view on modern Islamic thought by critically approaching classical and contemporary Islamic discourse in the fields of theology, philosophy, law, politics, and humanism. The aim of his research was to substantiate a theory of humanistic hermeneutics that might enable Muslims to build a bridge between their own tradition and the modern world of freedom of speech, equality (minority rights, women's rights, social justice), human rights, democracy and globalization.


'Aflaq, Michel
1910-1989
Syrian politician and founder of the Ba'th Party.   

Michel 'Aflaq was born in Damascus into a Greek Orthodox family.  He studied at the University of Paris between 1929 and 1934.  In 1946, he established Al-Ba'th Arab Socialist Party, based on the themes of unity, freedom and socialism.  The party began to play a major role in Syrian politics in the mid-1950s and, in 1958, it supported the merger of Syria and Egypt to form the United Arab Republic (UAR).  Alliance with the Egyptian President Nasser of the UAR began to weaken when Nasser reduced the influence of Ba 'th in Syria.  In 1961, the UAR collapsed, and 'Aflaq's Ba 'th led the opposition to the so-called secessionist regime.  In 1963, the Ba'th came to power with a bloodless coup.  'Aflaq held unity talks with Nasser and the newly established Ba 'thist government of Iraq.  The talks reached a deadlock, and relations with Egypt worsened.  In 1966, the right-wing factions of al-Ba'th Party took over in the Syrian government, and 'Aflaq was forced to leave the country.  He died in Paris, France on June 23, 1989, and was buried in Baghdad, Iraq. 


Agha Khan I
1800-1881
The leader of the Isma‘ili Shi‘a Muslims of India and Pakistan.

Agha Khan (Hasan Ali Shah Mahallati) (1800-1881) is believed to have been a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.  Agha Khan was governor of the province of Kerman, Iran, until 1840, when he fled to India after an unsuccessful attempt to seize power in Iran. Agha Khan then helped the British government in India in its attempts to control frontier tribes.  Agha Khan became leader of the Isma‘ilis in India, Pakistan, Africa, and Syria.

Agha (Aga) Khan I, personal name Ḥasan ʿAlī Shāh (b. 1800 — d. April 1881), was the imam, or spiritual leader, of the Nizārī Ismāʿīlīte sect of the Shīʿite Muslims. He claimed to be directly descended from ʿAlī, the son-in-law of the Prophet Muḥammad, and ʿAlī’s wife Fāṭimah, Muḥammad’s daughter, and also from the Fāṭimid caliphs of Egypt.
Agha Khan I was the governor of the Iranian province of Kerman and was high in the favor of Fatḥ ʿAlī Shāh. The title Agha Khan (Aga Khan - -chief commander) was granted him in 1818 by the shah of Iran.  Under Moḥammad Shāh, however, he felt his family honor slighted and led a revolt in 1838 but was defeated and fled to India. In India, he helped the British in the first Anglo-Afghan War (1839–42) and in the conquest of Sindh (1842–43) and was granted a pension. After he had settled in Bombay, he encountered some opposition from a minority of his followers, who contested the extent of his spiritual authority and in a lawsuit challenged his control over the community’s funds, but he won his case (1866).



Aghayan, Ray
1928-2011
Costume and Fashion Designer.

Ray Aghayan (b. July 28, 1928 - d. October 10, 2011) designed his first dress, at 13, for a member of the royal court of the shah of Iran, which at the time employed his mother as a couturier, a sort of in-house designer for the personal and ceremonial needs of the Reza Pahlavi family.

Aghayan spent most of the rest of his life designing clothing for another house of royals, the one in Hollywood, as the costume designer for stars like Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross and Julie Andrews.
 
Aghayan was nominated for the Academy Award three times, and in 1967 he and his life partner Bob Mackie shared the first Emmy ever awarded for costume design, for their partnership in the TV movie “Alice Through the Looking Glass.”

Aghayan and his former assistant (and life partner of almost 50 years), Bob Mackie, received Oscar nominations for “Funny Lady,” with Barbra Streisand and James Caan, above, and “Lady Sings the Blues,” with Diana Ross. The partners received Oscar nominations for the 43 ensembles worn by Diana Ross in “Lady Sings the Blues,” the 1972 Billie Holiday biopic, and for the 1930s-style dresses, hats, gloves and shoes worn by Barbra Streisand in “Funny Lady,” the 1975 sequel to “Funny Girl.” Aghayan received his first Oscar nomination for “Gaily, Gaily,” a 1969 comedy set in Chicago in 1910.

Costuming Judy Garland for her 1963-64 musical variety show on CBS was one of Aghayan’s premier assignments. One of only a handful of professionals who lasted the year with Garland, who had become famously difficult to work with, Aghayan was admired in the profession for giving the visibly disintegrating star a convincingly well put-together look.

Gorgen Ray Aghayan was born on July 28, 1928, in Tehran to a wealthy family of Armenian heritage. His father died when he was young. When he was a teenager, his love for American movies made him beg his mother, Yasmine, to send him to California to study, instead of to Paris, where most wealthy Iranians sent their children. She agreed, and made the arrangements. She followed him there in the early 1970s.

Besides his work in television and movies, Aghayan designed the costumes for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and was the costume consultant for actors presenting awards at the Oscars from the late 1960s until 2001.

“What he taught me about designing,” Mr. Mackie said, “was that it was always about the stars, about making them look good — making the audience excited to see them even before the star opens her mouth.”




Ahmad al-Bakkai al-Kunti
1803-1865
A West African Islamic and political leader.

Ahmad al-Bakkai al-Kunti (b. 1803 in the Azawad region north of Timbuktu – d. 1865 in Timbuktu) was one of the last principal spokesmen in pre-colonial Western Sudan for an accommodationist stance towards the threatening Christian European presence, and even provided protection to Heinrich Barth from an attempted kidnapping by the ruler of Massina (Ahmad Ahmad ibn Muhammad Lobbo). In a letter to the ruler, which was rather a fatwa, he denied the former's right to have Barth arrested or killed and his belongings confiscated, as the Christian was neither a dhimmi (a non-Muslim subject of a Muslim ruler) nor an enemy of Islam, but the native of a friendly country, that is Great Britain.

Al-Bakkai was also one of the last Kunta family shaykhs, whose prestige and religious influence were interwoven with the Qadiri brotherhood and the economic fortunes of the Timbuktu region. His voluminous correspondence provides a rare, detailed glimpse into political and religious thought in 19th century West Africa regarding the primary concerns about the nature of the imamate/caliphate in Sahelian and Sudanese communities, issues surrounding the encroaching Christian powers, and the growing politicalization of Sufi tariqa affiliation.




Ahmad Faris ash-Shidyaq
1804-1887
A Lebanese scholar and linguist.

Ahmad Faris ash-Shidyaq (1804-1887) was born in ‘Ashqut, Lebanon, to a Maronite family. He studied Arabic and Syriac at the famed ‘Ayn Waraqah school.  He moved to Egypt in 1825 and wrote for the Egyptian publication Al-Waqa’i’ Al-Misriyyah.  Also in 1825, his brother, As‘ad, was seized and later tortured to death by Maronite clerical authorities for converting to Protestantism.  Because of this personal tragedy, Ahmad Faris developed a hatred for the clerical establishment that remained with him for the rest of his life.

He achieved a rare mastery of the Arabic language and in 1834 was invited by American Protestant missionaries to Malta, to manage the American Printing House.  Ahmad Faris stayed with them for 14 years, teaching in their school, improving their Arabic, and eventually converting to the Protestant faith.  He wrote the first manual of Arabic intended for non-Arabic speaking people and a book on the social and cultural situation in Malta.

Ahmad Faris traveled for ten years in Europe, meeting Orientalists and visiting libraries.  He made his living from translations of the Bible and tutoring students of Arabic.  He wrote a book on European affairs, probably the second book of its kind (after a similar one by the Egyptian R. Tahtawi).  In Paris, he wrote and published his major satirical work, As-Saq ‘Ala-s-Saq.  This unique book is part biography, part observations, and part commentary on the intricate linguistic details of the Arabic language. 

While in Paris, Ahmad Faris met the Tunisian ruler, Ahmad Bey, whom he praised in a long poem.  Ahmad Faris accompanied him to Tunisia and, while in Tunisia, converted to Islam and added “Ahmad” to his name.  He was invited to Istanbul in 1857, and there enjoyed the respect of the political and cultural elite.  He produced the journal Al-Jawa’ib, in which he published his observations and linguistic opinions, in addition to official statements.  He wrote a long book in which he criticized a classical Arabic dictionary by Fayruz-abadi.  He also wrote, but did not publish, at least two books against Catholicism. In his old age, Ahmad Faris visited Egypt, where he was honored by its rulers.  He returned to Istanbul, where he died.

Ahmad Faris is considered a liberal thinker and reformer. He coined many of the modern technical and political terms used in Arabic and expressed enlightened – albeit inconsistent – views on women, a propensity not common among men of the age. 

Ahmad Faris Shidyaq was born in 1804 in Ashqout ('Ashqut), a mountain village of the Keserwan District in the modern Mount Lebanon Governorate. At birth, his given name was Faris. His father's name was Youssef. His mother came from the Massaad family, from Ashqout.

His family, Shidyaq, was a notable family, tracing its roots to the Maronite muqaddam Raad Bin Khatir from Hasroun. His family was very well educated and its members worked as secretaries for the governors of Mount Lebanon.

In 1805, the family was obliged to leave Ashqout following a conflict with a local governor that cost the life of Butrus Ash-Shidyaq, the grandfather of Faris. The family settled in Hadath, in the suburbs of Beirut at the service of a Shihabi prince.

Faris joined his brothers, Tannous (1791–1861) and Assaad (1797–1830) and his cousin Boulos Massaad (1806–1890), in Ayn Warqa school, one of the most prestigious Maronite schools of the 19th century. Again, a conflict opposing the family Shidyaq to the Prince Bashir Shihab II obliged Youssef Ash-Shidyaq to take refuge in Damascus where he died in 1820. Faris left school and continued his studies with his brothers Assaad and Tannous. He joined his brother Tannous, as a copyist at the service of Prince Haydar Shihab, his brother Assaad being the secretary of the Sheikh Ali Al-Emad in Kfarnabrakh, in the Chouf District.

What was to determine the career and life of Faris was the tragic destiny of his brother Assaad.

Around 1820, an encounter of Assaad Shidyaq with Jonas King, a missionary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, was to lead him to become Protestant. He was excommunicated under the automatic excommunication edicted by the Maronite Patriarch Youssef Hobaish (1823–1845) against all dealings with the evangelical missionaries. Assaad was later detained in the Monastery of Qannoubine in the Qadisha valley where he died in 1830.

In 1825, being tormented by the ordeals of Assaad, Faris left Lebanon for Egypt. The death of his brother would influence permanently his choices and his career. He never forgave his brother Tannous and his cousin Boulos Massaad (who became later Maronite Patriarch (1854–1890)) for their role in the tragic events that led to the death of Assaad.

In 1826, Faris married Marie As-Souly, daughter of a wealthy Christian Egyptian family, originally from Syria. They had two sons: Faris (1826–1906) and Fayiz (1828–1856).

From 1825 to 1848, Faris lived between Cairo and the island of Malta. He was the editor in chief of an Egyptian newspaper, Al Waqa'eh Al Masriah and in Malta, the director of the printing press of the American missionaries. He also studied Fiqh in Al-Azhar University in Cairo. It is thought that it was during this period that Faris converted to Protestantism. It was a period of solitude and study that was interrupted in 1848 when he was invited to Cambridge by the Orientalist Samuel Lee (1783–1852) to participate in the Arabic translation of the Bible.
The translation of the Bible was published in 1857, after the death of Samuel Lee. This translation is still considered one of the best Arabic translations of the Bible.

Faris stayed in England for almost 7 years. He settled first in Purley and then moved to Cambridge. At the end of his English stay, he moved to Oxford where he became a British citizen and kept trying in vain to secure a teaching post. Disappointed by England and its academics, he moved to Paris, France around 1855.

Faris stayed in Paris until 1857. His stay in Paris was one of his most prolific periods of thinking and writing, along with also having an intense social nightlife. It was in Paris that Ahmad Faris wrote and published his major works. It is also in Paris that he was introduced to Socialism and where he became a Socialist.

A keen admirer of Shakespeare, Faris argued that Othello suggests a detailed knowledge of Arabic culture. Faris even suggested that Shakespeare may have had an Arabic background, his original name being "Shaykh Zubayr". This theory was later developed in all seriousness by Safa Khulusi.

After his wife died in 1857, Faris married an English woman. Her name was Safia and she was one of the few English ladies to embrace Islam. They had one daughter, Rosalinde Faris. The couple moved to Tunisia.
Called upon by the Bey of Tunis, Faris was appointed as editor in chief of the newspaper Al Ra'ed and supervisor of the Education Directorate. It was while in Tunisia that he converted to Islam from the Maronite Church in 1860 and took the name Ahmad. He soon afterwards left Tunis for Istanbul, Turkey, being invited by the Ottoman Sultan Abdel Majid I.

Ahmad Faris spent the last part of his life in Istanbul where, in addition to his position as an official translator, he amplified his journalistic talents founding in 1861 an Arabic newspaper Al Jawa'eb, supported financially by the Ottomans, as well as by the Egyptian and Tunisian rulers. It was modeled on the modern Western newspapers and continued appearing until 1884. Ahmad Faris was a keen defender of the Arabic language heritage and Arabic culture against the Turkization attempts of the Turkish reformers of the 19th Century. Ahmad Faris Shidyaq died on September 20, 1887 in Kadikoy, Turkey and was buried in Lebanon on October 5, 1887.

Although Ahmad Faris Ash-Shidyaq is considered one of the founding fathers of modern Arabic literature and journalism, many of his works remain unpublished and some manuscripts are definitely lost.

Since 2001, a rediscovering of Ahmad Faris Shidyaq seems to have taken place among scholars around the world. Several books were dedicated to his life, thought and unpublished works.
Shidyaq’s major works were dedicated to
• the modernization of the Arabic language,
• the promotion of the Arab culture in opposition to the turkization movement of the 19th Century Ottoman Empire, and
• the modernization of the Arab societies.



Ahmad ibn Abi Diyaf
1804-1874
The author of a chronicle of Tunisian history.

Ahmad ibn Abi Diyaf (1804, Tunis – 1874), (known colloquially as Bin Diyaf), was
Ahmad ibn Abi Diyaf was alsoa long-time and trusted official in the Beylical government of Tunisia. His multi-volume history, while it begins with the 7th-century arrival of the Arabs, spends more attention on details of the Husainid dynasty (1705–1957), during the 18th and 19th centuries. His writing is informed by his experience as chancellery secretary during the reigns of five Beys in succession. Bin Diyaf himself eventually favored the reform position, which became current in Tunisian politics. His letter in reply to questions about Tunisian women has also attracted notice.
Bin Diyaf was born into a prominent family, his father being an important scribe for the ruling regime. Trained thoroughly in traditional religious studies, Bin Diyaf in his early 20s entered government service (1827).  He was soon promoted to the post of private (or secret) secretary, a position he held under successive beys until his retirement only a short time before his death.
Other tasks were also assigned to Bin Diyaf. In 1831 Bin Diyaf was sent to the Ottoman Porte in Istanbul due to the fall-out from the 1830 French occupation of Algiers. In 1834 the Bey appointed Bin Diyaf as liaison between the quasi-independent al-Majlis al-Shar'i (supreme religious council) and the Bey's own vizier, regarding a civil war in neighboring Tarabulus and the designs of the Ottoman Empire there. He returned on business to Istanbul in 1842, and accompanied Ahmed Bey to Paris in 1846. His letter on the status of women was written in 1856.  As part of his duties, Bin Diyaf also served as a mediator, e.g., to assist in resolving a dispute between two imams at the Zitouna Mosque. Bin Diyaf composed the Arabic version of the Ahd al-Aman [Pledge of Security] (prepared originally in French), a version which proved acceptable to the Muslim community, and which Muhammad Bey issued in 1857.
From his insider perscpective, Bin Diyaf came to understand that the Beys, in common with other Maghriban rulers, governed as functional autocrats. Even though the personal exercise of power was tempered and circumscribed by religious and traditional restraints, it continued to be arbitrary and total.  Bin Diyaf became a "partisan" of the reforms being advanced, off and on, in Tunisia. From 1857 to 1861 and from 1869 to 1877 Khayr al-Din, the high government official, was strongly advocating reform policies. Bin Diyaf collaborated with Khayr al-Din to establish the famous, though short-lived, Constitution of 1861—opposed by the conservative ulama. For awhile, as premier (1873–1877), Khayr al-Din managed to initiate institutional changes. Nonetheless Bin Diyaf was personally familiar with, and adept at, the practice of traditions, of the customary etiquette expected of him in his situation. Bin Diyaf performed his official position in close proximity with the Bey and the conservative elite, with old distinguished families and with the Muslim ulama who followed an elaborate code of politesse.
Bin Diyaf rendered his official services under Husain Bey (1824–1835), Mustafa Bey (1835–1837), Ahmed Bey (1837–1855), Muhammad Bey (1855–1859), and Sadok Bey (1859–1882). His death in 1874 occurred while Khayr al-Din was serving as the premier. The reigning monarch and head of state, under whom Bin Diyaf had labored, attended the funeral ceremony.
Bin Diyaf’s principal work was written in Arabic, Ithaf Ahl al-zaman bi Akhbar muluk Tunis wa 'Ahd el-Aman which is translated as: Presenting the History of the Rulers of Tunis and the Fundamental Pact.  A complete version, newly-edited, of the Arabic text was published in eight volumes by the Tunisian government during 1963-1966. 
Of the eight volumes, the first six address Tunisian history from the arrival of the Muslim Arabs forward. The account is summary until 1705, when the Husainid dynasty commences; here Bin Diyaf draws on his study of the archives and background of the Beys from the 18th century, and on his own experiences as a beylical official during the 19th. These 'Husainid' volumes present "an abundance of personal and accurate information".  For example, Bin Diyaf sheds light on the circumstances surrounding the notorious trial of Batto Sfez in 1857. The last two volumes contain over 400 biographies of leading statesmen and religious figures who died between the years 1783 and 1872. Included are the careers of many ulama and others, holding such offices as: shadhid (witness), katib (clerk), qaid (judge), mufti (jurisconsult), and imam (prayer leader). He labored over the details of this chronicle more than ten years.
Bin Diyaf's description of dynasty politics and of the lives of officials "make the work a major reference source for the period."

His Risalah fi al'mar'a [Epistle on Women] was a response to a list of 23 questions posed by Léon Roches, then French Consul General in Tunis. Written longhand in 1856, the thirty-page manuscript addresses the social role of women in Tunisia, their legal rights and duites, regarding family and conjugal relations: marriage, divorce, polygamy, public presence (veiling, seclusion, segregation, repudiation), household tasks and management, and lack of education. It was perhaps the most informative writing from the 19th century on the everyday life of the Muslim woman and on the Tunisian family structure. Although in politics a contemporary reformer, here Bin Diyaf appears as "highly conservative".










Ahmadinejad, Mahmoud
1956-
Sixth President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the sixth President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the main political leader of the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran, a coalition of conservative political groups in the country. An engineer and teacher from a poor background, Ahmadinejad joined the Office for Strengthening Unity after the Islamic Revolution. Appointed a provincial governor, he was removed after the election of President Mohammad Khatami and returned to teaching. Tehran's council elected him mayor in 2003. He took a religious hard-line, reversing reforms of previous moderate mayors. His 2005 presidential campaign, supported by the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran, garnered 62% of the runoff election votes, and he became President on August 3, 2005.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also spelled Maḥmūd Aḥmadī-Nejād, was born on October 28, 1956, in Garmsār, Iran, Ahmadinejad, the son of a blacksmith, grew up in Tehrān, where in 1976 he entered the Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST) to study civil engineering. During the Iranian Revolution (1978–79), he was one of the student leaders who organized demonstrations. After the revolution, like many of his peers, he joined the Revolutionary Guards, a religious militia group formed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Parallel to his service with the Revolutionary Guards in the Iran-Iraq War (1980–88), he continued his studies at IUST, eventually earning a doctorate in transportation engineering and planning. Following the war, he served in various positions until 1993, when he was appointed governor of the newly established Ardabīl province. After his term as governor ended in 1997, he returned to IUST as a lecturer.

Ahmadinejad helped establish Ābādgarān-e Īrān-e Eslāmī (Developers of an Islamic Iran), which promoted a populist agenda and sought to unite the country’s conservative factions. The party won the city council elections in Tehrān in February 2003, and in May the council chose Ahmadinejad to serve as mayor. As mayor of Tehrān, Ahmadinejad was credited with solving traffic problems and keeping prices down.

In 2005 Ahmadinejad announced his candidacy for the presidency of Iran. Despite his service as mayor of the capital city, he was largely considered a political outsider, and opinion polls showed little support for him prior to the first round of elections. Through a massive nationwide mobilization of supporters and with the support of hard-line conservatives, however, Ahmadinejad managed to secure one-fifth of the vote, which propelled him into the second round of balloting, in which he easily defeated his more moderate rival, former president Hashemi Rafsanjani. He was confirmed president on August 3, 2005 by the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

As president, Ahmadinejad presented himself as a populist, initially focusing on issues such as poverty and social justice. His first months in office were characterized by internal challenges brought about by a sweeping changing of the guard in all key positions. In contrast to his reform-oriented predecessor, Mohammad Khatami, Ahmadinejad generally took a more conservative approach domestically, in 2005 prohibiting state television and radio stations from broadcasting music considered “indecent,” though under his leadership women symbolically were allowed for the first time since the revolution into major sporting events. Ahmadinejad was very active in foreign affairs, vigorously defending Iran’s nuclear program against international criticism, particularly from the United States and the European Union. He also prompted international condemnation with comments calling for Israel to be “eliminated from the pages of history” (sometimes translated as calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map”) and for labeling the Holocaust a myth. His confrontational style was sometimes subject to criticism internally as well, and in local elections in December 2006 his allies lost ground to moderates.

Iran’s nuclear efforts and Ahmadinejad’s provocative foreign policy continued to generate conflict as his term progressed. In April 2007 Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had begun to produce nuclear fuel on an industrial scale, and international sanctions meant to penalize the country for the opacity and the persistence of its nuclear program mounted. In September 2007 Ahmadinejad—in New York City to address the United Nations General Assembly—sparked considerable controversy in a speech given at Columbia University in which he suggested the need for further research on the Holocaust and denied the presence of any homosexual individuals in Iran. On the same trip a request to pay his respects at the site of the September 11, 2001, attacks proved politically inflammatory and was denied by New York City police, ostensibly due to security concerns and construction at the site. By contrast, in March 2008 Ahmadinejad visited Iraq, becoming the first leader of Iran to do so since the Iranian Revolution. In November 2008 he extended his congratulations to Barack Obama for his victory in the 2008 United States presidential elections, and in a speech the following February Ahmadinejad announced that he would not be averse to mutually respectful talks with the United States.

Domestically, Ahmadinejad’s economic policies also proved to be a source of increasing polarization. Inexpensive loans and heavy spending on infrastructure and other projects—combined with subsidies on fuel, foodstuffs, and other items, meant to strengthen political support—contributed to a high rate of inflation that increased some 10 percent during Ahmadinejad’s first term, reaching nearly 25 percent in 2009. At the same time, the international sanctions imposed on Iran in response to its nuclear program made it difficult to attract foreign investment. As a result, the economic situation became not only a point of criticism but an important campaign issue leading up to the 2009 presidential elections.

Although no Iranian president had yet failed to win a second term, as the 2009 presidential election approached, some observers believed that Ahmadinejad’s economic policies and his confrontational style abroad might have rendered him susceptible to a challenge. Ahmadinejad appeared at particular risk of being unseated by one of his moderate challengers, former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, around whom much of the country’s moderate contingent had coalesced; pre-election polls suggested a tight contest. However, shortly after the polls closed on June 12, officials indicated that Ahmadinejad had secured an outright victory in the first round, achieving more than 60 percent of the vote. Mousavi and his supporters protested the results, charging electoral irregularities, and demonstrations unfolded in the capital and elsewhere in the days that followed; opposition detainments were also reported. Amid debate over the nature of the election—opponents alleged electoral fraud and called for the results to be annulled—Khamenei, as the country’s supreme leader, initially upheld the election results, strengthening Ahmadinejad’s position. Shortly thereafter, however, he also called for an official inquiry by the Council of Guardians (a body of jurists that reviews legislation and supervises elections) into the allegations of electoral irregularities. The decision was quickly followed by an announcement by the Council of Guardians that the vote would be subject to a partial recount, a motion that fell short of the annulment the opposition had sought.

On June 19, following nearly a week of opposition demonstrations against the election results, Khamenei issued his first public response to the unrest before a crowd of supporters—including Ahmadinejad himself—at Friday prayers, where he again backed Ahmadinejad’s victory and warned the opposition against further demonstrations. Subsequent protests were greeted with increasing brutality as well as threats of further confrontation. On June 22, little more than a week after the election, the Council of Guardians confirmed that 50 constituencies had returned more votes than there were registered voters (a figure well below what the opposition alleged). Although the irregularities bore the potential to affect some three million votes, the Council of Guardians indicated that this would not change the outcome of the election itself. Following the completion of its partial recount, the council solidified Ahmadinejad’s victory by confirming the election results, and in early August Ahmadinejad was sworn in for his second term as president.




Ahmad Pasha al-Jazzar
?-1804
An Ottoman governor.

Born in Bosnia, Ahmad Pasha began his rise to prominence in Istanbul by attracting the notice of an Ottoman official. He later entered the company of the Mamelukes in Egypt, but in 1768 he fell out with his patron and went to Syria, where the Ottomans appointed him governor of the coastal province of Sidon in 1775.  Various circumstances allowed Ahmad Pasha to become the dominant figure in southern Syria for nearly three decades.  One was the increase in trade to Europe in agricultural products. His control over Syrian ports enabled him to skim a rich revenue in customs taxes, which he used to enlarge the military resources at his disposal.  He also benefitted from Istanbul’s declining ability to exercise authority over the provinces.  In the face of challenges from the insubordinate Mamelukes in Egypt, Wahhabi raids from Arabia, wars with Russia, and Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion, the Ottomans experimented with different administrative solutions to the problem of keeping order in Syria.  One option was to place the usually separate provinces of Sidon and Damascus under a single governor.  Thus, Ahmad Pasha was governor of southern Syria from 1785 to 1786, 1790 to 1795, and 1801 to 1804.  He established himself at the port of Acre and built up its fortifications to make it a formidable stronghold.  In the 1790s he maneuvered to extend his authority over Lebanon, but his endeavors were interrupted by Napoleon’s 1799 invasion.  Following his successful defense of Acre against a French siege, in 1801 the Ottomans again appointed him governor of Damascus, which he remained until his death in 1804.  His brutal methods of extracting revenues, extorting wealth and keeping order gained him the nickname "al-jazzar,” the butcher.



Ahmed bin Zayed al-Nahyan
1968-2010
Emirati businessman and Managing Director of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), the world's biggest sovereign wealth fund. 

In 2009, Sheikh Ahmed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was ranked as the 27th most powerful person in the world by Forbes, while his eldest brother Khalifa, President of United Arab Emirates and Chairman of ADIA, was listed second in Forbes The World's Richest Royals in 2008 and third in 2009.

Ahmed was one of the sons of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and in 2007 was appointed the Under Secretary of Ministry of Finance and Industry. He served as Interior Minister of United Arab Emirates in 2004. Sheik Ahmed was also known for his charitable activities and served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the influential Zayed Foundation for Charitable and Humanitarian Works.

Ahmed was reported missing on March 26, 2010 after the ultralight aircraft in which he was learning to fly disappeared while flying in Morocco. Soon afterwards, the plane was found to have crashed into the lake Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah, near the Moroccan capital, Rabat. Sheikh Ahmed's family, the Al Nahyan, have a residence on the shore of that lake, where Ahmed used to come often. The craft's Spanish pilot, his flight instructor Julio López, survived the accident and was quickly rescued. Ahmed's body was only recovered from the crash site four days later on 30 March, despite an intensive search by helicopters and divers from several countries.


Ahmed Faraz
1931-2008
One of the greatest modern Urdu poets of the 1900s, Faraz is his pseudonym "takhallus," whereas his real name is Syed Ahmad Shah. 

Ahmed Faraz was born in Nowshera village, near Kohat, in Pakistan on January 14, 1931.  His father Agha Syed Muhammad Shah Bark Kohati was a leading traditional poet.  Ahmed Faraz studied at Edwards College in Peshawar and was greatly influenced by progressive poets like Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Ali Sardar Jafri.  They became his role models.  Ahmed Faraz initially worked as a script writer at Radio Pakistan Peshawar and then moved on to teaching Urdu at Peshawar University.  In 1976, he became the founding Director General (later Chairman) of Pakistan Academy of Letters.

Ahmed's first volume of poetry Tanha Tanha, was published in the late 1950s, when Ahmed was an undergraduate student, and became an instant hit.  Ahmed had a tendency to create controversies about himself or about various issues.  He spoke against marriage, saying it was "a sort of prostitution through a contract on paper."  He also said Urdu was "a dying language," prompting outrage among Urdu speakers. 

In 1976, Ahmed Faraz became the founding director general of the Pakistan Academy of Letters.   He was its chairman in 1989 and 1990.  His last official position was as the chairman of National Book Foundation based in Islamabad. 

Awarded one of Pakistan's greatest civilian honors, the Hilal-e-Imtiaz, in 2004 for his literary achievements.  He returned it in 2006 after becoming disillusioned with President Pervez Musharraf's government. 

Ahmed Faraz died in Islamabad on August 25, 2008.  The cause of death was kidney failure.

Popular among both the cognoscenti and the general public, Ahmed Faraz was one of the few poets from the subcontinent whose verses were read as well as sung.  He was in great demand at the mushaira -- social gatherings, usually after dusk, at which Urdu poets recite their poems.

Often compared to legends of the past like Muhammad Iqbal and Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ahmed Faraz was as popular in India as he was in Pakistan.   He enjoyed a near cult status in the pantheon of revolutionary poets.  In India and other countries outside Pakistan, he was best known for his ghazals -- poems expressing the writer's feelings, especially about love -- which were popularized by leading singers like Ghulam Ali, Mehdi Hasan, Runa Laila and Jagjit Singh.

A passionate voice for change and progress, Ahmed Faraz was usually at his best when writing the poetry of love and protest.  His romantic poetry made him particularly beloved by the young.  The establishment was not so fond of his verses since they were often mocking and at times exposing of the authorities. 

An advocate for the poor and downtrodden, Ahmed Faraz raised his voice against capitalists, usurpers and dictators.  In the 1980s, he went into a six-year self-imposed exile in Canada and Europe during the era of General Mohammad Zia ul-Haq, whose military rule of Pakistan Ahmed Faraz had condemned at a mushaira and whose power seemed to drive Ahmed Faraz to heights of inspiration.




Ahsa'i, al-
1753-1826
Founder of the heterodox Shi'ite Muslim Shaykhi sect of Iran.

Al-Aḥsāʾī (Shaykh Aḥmad) (Shaykh Aḥmad Ibn Zayn Ad-dīn Ibn Ibrāhīm Al-aḥsāʾī) (Shaykh Ahmad ibn Zayn ad-Dín ibn Ibráhím al-Ahsá'í) (b. 1753, Al-Hasa, Arabia [now in Saudi Arabia] — d. 1826, near Medina), founder of the heterodox Shīʿite Muslim Shaykhī sect of Iran.

After spending his early years studying the Islāmic religion and traveling widely in Persia and the Middle East, al-Aḥsāʾī in 1808 settled in Yazd, Persia, where he taught religion. His interpretation of the Shīʿite faith (one of the two major branches of Islām) soon attracted many followers but aroused controversy among the orthodox religious leaders of the day. A central idea of Shīʿite Islām is that the greater imam, the leader of Islām, is descended from the male offspring of ʿAlī (the Prophet Muḥammad’s son-in-law) and Fāṭimah (the Prophet’s daughter) and is divinely appointed and divinely inspired. After 874 the spiritual functions of the imam were performed by wakīls, or agents, who were in contact with the mahdi, the last imam and a messianic deliverer. However, following the death of ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad as-Sāmarrīʾ in 940, this direct contact between the community and the mahdi ceased. The Shīʿites believed that some day prior to the apocalyptic end of the world, the mahdi would establish a reign of justice.

Al-Aḥsāʾī taught that at all times there must be direct human contact between the mahdi and the community and probably believed himself to be the medium of that contact. The doctrine brought him into conflict with the orthodox Shīʿite theologians of Basra, Baghdad, and Mosul, who regarded themselves as the spiritual caretakers of the community during the mahdi’s absence. Al-Aḥsāʾī’s final breach with the established and orthodox Shīʿite theologians occurred in 1824, when he was formally denounced as an infidel. Following his ex-communication, the Shaykh left the area and died during a pilgrimage to Mecca. He was succeeded as the leader of the Shaykhī sect by Sayyid Kāẓim Rashtī (d. 1843).

al-Ahsá'í was a native of the Al-Ahsa region (Eastern Arabian Peninsula).  He was educated in Bahrain and the theological centers of Najaf and Karbala in Iraq. Spending the last twenty years of his life in Iran, he received the protection and patronage of princes of the Qajar dynasty.




Alemdar Mustafa Pasha
1765-1808
Ottoman grand vizier, ayan, and military commander.

Alemdar Mustafa Pasha was also known as Bayrakdar Mustafa Pasha.  Born in Khotin (western Ukraine), he entered the Janissary corps and took part in the Russo-Ottoman war of 1787-1792.  Subsequently, he took service with Tirsiniklioglu Ismail Aga, the ayan of Ruscuk (Ruse, Bulgaria).  When his master was killed, Alemdar Mustafa Pasha replaced him as ayan (1806).  Alemdar Mustafa’s success in defeating the Russian troops in Moldavia and Wallachi (1806) led to his appointment to the governorship of Silistria (1807).

When Selim III was deposed, Alemdar Mustafa Pasha took the reformist bureaucrats under his protection.  With the aim of restoring the rule of Selim III, Alemdar Mustafa Pasha and his troops moved to Istanbul, where he usurped the office of grand vizier.  Alemdar Mustafa Pasha could not prevent the murder of Selim III by the opponents of the reforms.  He deposed Mustafa IV and arranged the accession of his young brother, Mahmud II. Alemdar Mustafa Pasha invited the ayans of Anatolia and the Balkans to Istanbul, where they accepted the Sened-i Ittifak (“Deed of Agreement”). This legitimized the political status of the ayans and imposed limitations on the absolute power of the sultan (1808).  He also established the basis of a modern army corps.  However, his harsh measures against the Janissaries, together with the policy of limiting the power of the palace, alienated both of these power groups.  When the Janissaries attacked his office at the Sublime Porte, Mahmud II failed to send guards to protect him, and Alemdar Mustafa Pasha committed suicide.





Alfasi
1013-1103
Jewish Talmudist. 

Isaac ben Jacob Alfasi ha-Cohen (1013 - 1103), also known as Alfasi or by his Hebrew acronym Rif (Rabbi Isaac al-Fasi), was a Talmudist and posek (decisor in matters of halakha - Jewish law). He is best known for his work of halakha, the legal code Sefer Ha-halachot, considered the first fundamental work in halakhic literature. He was born near Fes in Morocco, and spent the majority of his career there, and is therefore known as "Alfasi" ("of Fes" in Arabic).

Alfasi was born in 1013 in Kalatt ibn Hammad, a village near Fes, Morocco. He studied in Kairouan, Tunisia, under Rabbeinu Nissim Ben Jacob and Rabbeinu Chananel Ben Chushiel, the recognized rabbinical authorities of the age. Rabbeinu Chananel trained Alfasi to deduce and to clarify the Halakha from Talmudic sources, and Alfasi then conceived of the idea of compiling a comprehensive work that would present all of the practical conclusions of the Gemara in a clear, definitive manner. To achieve this goal, he worked for ten consecutive years in his father-in-law's attic.

In 1045, the “heterodox sects in the city were severely persecuted, and the Jews, with the rest, suffered greatly". As a result, the city's Jewish residents fled. Alfasi moved to Fes with his wife and two children. Fes' Jewish community undertook to support him and his family so that he could work on his Sefer Ha-halachot undisturbed. They also founded a yeshiva in his honor, and many students throughout Morocco came to study under his guidance. The most famous of his many students was Rabbi Judah Halevi, author of the Kuzari.  He also taught Rabbi Joseph ibn Migash (the Ri Migash), who was in turn a teacher of Rabbi Maimon, father and teacher of Maimonides (Rambam).

Alfasi remained in Fes for 40 years, during which time he completed his Sefer Ha-halachot. In 1088, when Alfasi was seventy-five, two informers denounced him to the government on some trumped up charge.  Subsequently, Alfasi left Fes for Spain, eventually becoming head of the yeshiva in Lucena in 1089.

In a sense, Alfasi brought the geonic period to a close.  The last of the Babylonian geonim, Rav Hai Gaon, died when Alfasi was 25 years old. Alfasi himself was called Gaon by several early halachic authorities. His "magnanimous character" is illustrated by two incidents. When his opponent Rabbeinu Isaac Albalia died, Alfasi adopted Albalia's son. When Alfasi was himself on the point of death, he recommended as his successor in the Lucena rabbinate, not his own son, but his pupil Rabbi Joseph ibn Migash.

Alfasi's Sefer ha-Halachot (also referred to as "the Hilchot of the Rif") extracts all the pertinent legal decisions from the three Talmudic orders Moed, Nashim and Nezikin as well as the tractates of Berachot and Chulin - 24 tractates in all. Alfasi transcribed the Talmud's halakhic conclusions verbatim, without the surrounding deliberations.  Alfasi also excludes all Aggadic (non-legal, homiletic) matter as well as discussion of the halakha practicable only in land of Israel. Maimonides wrote that Alfasi's work "has superseded all the geonic codes…for it contains all the decisions and laws which we need in our day…".

The Sefer ha-Halachot plays a fundamental role in the development of Halakha. Firstly, "the Rif" succeeded in producing a Digest, which became the object of close study, and led in its turn to the great Codes of Maimonides and of Rabbi Joseph Karo. Secondly, it served as one of the "Three Pillars of Halakha", as an authority underpinning both the Arba'ah Turim and the Shulkhan Arukh. Rabbi Nissim of Gerona (the RaN) compiled a detailed and explicit commentary on this work. In yeshivot "the Rif and the RaN" are regularly studied as part of the daily Talmudic schedule.

The Sefer ha-Halachot was published prior to the times of Rashi and other commentaries, and resulted in a profound change in the study practices of the scholarly Jewish public in that it opened the world of the gemara to the public at large. It soon became known as the Talmud Katan ("Little Talmud"). At the close of the Middle Ages, when the Talmud was banned in Italy, Alfasi's code was exempted so that from the 16th to the 19th centuries his work was the primary subject of study of the Italian Jewish community. Alfasi also occupies an important place in the development of the Sephardi method of studying the Talmud. In contradistinction to the Ashkenazi approach, the Sephardim sought to simplify the Talmud and free it from casuistical detail.

Alfasi also left many responsa. These were originally written in Arabic, and were soon translated into Hebrew as "She'elot u-Teshuvot ha-Rif".



Alia, Ramiz Tafe
1925-2011
The second and last communist leader of Albania from 1985 to 1991, and the President of the People's Socialist Republic of Albania from 1991 to 1992, and also the first President of the post communist Albania elected in 1991 until 1992.

Ramiz Tafe Alia (b. October 18, 1925, Shkodër, Albania — d. October 7, 2011, Tirana, Albania), president of Albania (1982–92) and head of the communist Party of Labor of Albania (1985–91), renamed the Socialist Party of Albania in 1991.

Alia, the son of Muslim parents from the Albanian-speaking region of Kosovo in what was then Yugoslavia, attended a French secondary school in Tirana, Albania. During World War II, he joined the communist-led National Liberation Movement, and he became a member of the Albanian Communist Party in 1943. At age 19, he was appointed a political commissar, with the rank of lieutenant colonel, in a combat division of the Albanian Partisan forces.

Immediately after the war, Alia occupied leadership posts in the party’s youth organization and in its Office of Propaganda and Agitation, and he was elected a member of the Central Committee in 1948 (when the Communist Party was renamed the Party of Labor). After completing advanced studies in the Soviet Union in 1954, Alia rose rapidly under party boss Enver Hoxha’s patronage, serving as minister of education from 1955 to 1958. He became a candidate member of the party’s powerful Politburo in 1956, and in 1961 he joined Hoxha’s inner circle by becoming a full member of the Politburo and a member of the party’s Secretariat.

As the party’s chief spokesman on ideological and cultural issues, Alia played a prominent role in bitter disputes over the “revisionism” of Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, and China—three communist allies from which Hoxha broke away in 1948, 1961, and 1978, respectively. At home Alia led campaigns to purge the artistic and intellectual communities of “bourgeois humanism” and other “alien influences” that threatened Albania’s independence and the purity of its official Marxist-Leninist ideology.

Alia became the titular head of state in 1982 when he was elected president by the People’s Assembly, and he became the effective ruler of Albania upon his election as the party’s first secretary two days after Hoxha’s death in April 1985. Although constrained by Hoxha’s legacy of isolation, Alia began to expand ties with neighbors in western as well as eastern Europe in order to acquire foreign exchange, technology, and technical expertise. Faced with chronic inefficiencies in both industry and agriculture, he also instituted limited economic reforms and relaxed the party’s tight grip on Albanian society. This liberal policy led to the unexpected electoral successes of democratic parties. On April 3, 1992, he resigned as president.

In 1993 Alia, along with other former leading communist officials, was convicted of corruption and sentenced to nine years in prison. He was released in 1995, and his conviction was overturned in 1997.

Ramiz Tafë Alia died on October 7, 2011 in Tirana due to lung complications at the age of 85.




Ali Baba

Fictional character based in Ancient Arabia.

Ali Baba is described in the adventure tale of "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves." Some critics believe that this story was added to One Thousand and One Nights by one of its European translators, Antoine Galland, an 18th-century French orientalist who may have heard it in oral form from an Arab story-teller from Aleppo.  However, Richard F. Burton claimed it to be part of the original One Thousand and One Nights. This story has also been used as a popular pantomime plot—perhaps most famously in the pantomime/musical Chu Chin Chow (1916).

Pursuant to the story, Ali Baba happens to overhear a group of forty thieves visiting their treasure store in the forest where he is cutting wood. The treasure is in a cave, the mouth of which is sealed by magic. It opens on the words "Open, stupid head" (commonly written as "Open Sesame" in English), and seals itself on the words "Close, Simsim" ("Close Sesame"). When the thieves are gone, Ali Baba enters the cave himself, and takes some of the treasure home.

Ali Baba borrows his sister-in-law's scales to weigh this new wealth of gold coins. Unbeknownst to Ali, his brother's wife has put a blob of wax in the scales to find out what Ali is using them. To her shock, she finds a gold coin sticking to the scales and tells her husband, Ali Baba's rich and greedy brother, Cassim. Ali Baba tells Cassim about the cave. Cassim goes to the cave to take more of the treasure, but in his greed and excitement over the treasures forgets the magic words to get back out of the cave. The thieves find him there, and kill him. When his brother does not come back, Ali Baba goes to the cave to look for him, and finds the body, cut into many pieces and displayed just inside the entrance of the cave to discourage any similar attempts in the future. Ali Baba brings the body home and, with the help of Morgiana, a clever slave-girl in Cassim's household, Ali finds an old tailor known as Baba Mustafa whom he pays, blindfolds, and leads to Cassim's house. There, overnight, the tailor stitches Cassim back together, so that no one will be suspicious. Ali and his family are able to give Cassim a proper burial without anyone asking awkward questions.

The thieves, finding the body gone, realize that yet another person must know their secret, and set out to track him down. One of the thieves goes down to the town and asks around. He discovers that a tailor was seen leaving a house in the early morning, and guesses that the house must belong to the thieves' victim. The thief finds the tailor Mustafa and asks him to lead the way to the house. The tailor is blindfolded again, and in this state he is able to find the house. The thief marks the door with a symbol. The plan is for the other thieves to come back that night and kill everyone in the house. However, the thief has been seen by Morgiana and she, loyal to her master, foils the thief's plan by marking all the houses in the neighborhood with a similar marking. When the 40 thieves return that night, they cannot identify the correct house and the head thief kills the unfortunate man. The next day, the thieves try again, only this time, a chunk is chipped out of the stone step at Ali Baba's front door. Again Morgiana foils the plan by making similar chips in all the other doorsteps. The second thief is killed for his stupidity as well. At last, the head thief goes and looks for himself. This time, he memorizes every detail he can of the exterior of Ali Baba's house.

The chief of the thieves pretends to be an oil merchant in need of Ali Baba's hospitality, bringing with him mules loaded with thirty-eight oil jars, one filled with oil, the other thirty-seven with the other thieves (the two missing members were the scouts previously sent to find the house, who were killed for their failure). Once Ali Baba is asleep, the thieves plan to kill him. Again, Morgiana discovers and foils the plan, killing the thirty-seven thieves in their oil jars by pouring boiling oil on them. When their leader comes to rouse his men, he discovers that they are dead, and escapes.

To exact revenge, after some time the thief establishes himself as a merchant, befriends Ali Baba's son (who is now in charge of the late Cassim's business), and is invited to dinner at Ali Baba's house. The thief is recognized by Morgiana, who performs a dance with a dagger for the diners and plunges it into the heart of the thief when he is off his guard. Ali Baba is at first angry with Morgiana, but when he finds out the thief tried to kill him, he gives Morgiana her freedom and marries her to his son. Thus, the story ends happily for everyone except the forty thieves and Cassim.

In an alternative ending, Ali Baba fell in love with Morgiana, and after freeing her and marries her.




Ali, Dawud Wharnsby
1972-
Canadian singer-songwriter, poet, performer, educator and television personality best known for his pioneering efforts in the musical and poetic genre of English language nasheed.

Dawud Wharnsby Ali was born David Howard Wharnsby on June 27, 1972, in Kitchener, Ontario. David Wharnsby became active in local theatrical productions during his early teens, first performing on a world class theater stage at the age of 18 in a production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" (Annas). Other significant stage work of his late teens included roles in "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown" (Schroeder (Peanuts)) and "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead".

At the age of 19 Wharnsby began performing throughout Southern Ontario as a solo musical artist and as a member of various musical groups. His first professional work as a musician was with folk quartet Crakenthorpe's Teapot, hired to perform on street corners of their hometown. Wharnsby traveled extensively throughout Ontario, England and Scotland during 1993 and 1994 as a solo busker - singing informally on street corners and in parks to market and share his music. In 1993 he started his own independent recording entity, Three Keyed Maple Seeds, which in 1996 was re-named Enter Into Peace and registered with SOCAN as a music publishing entity.

During the early 1990s Wharnsby worked as a professional actor and puppeteer for two different educational theater troupes, touring public schools and folk festivals throughout Ontario. At the age of 20 he played lead in a short educational film "To Catch A Thief", distributed nationally in Canada to schools as part of the John Howard Society's anti-shoplifting program.

Wharnsby's first musical recording to see independent distribution, was a collection of cover songs entitled Three O'Clock Tea, recorded live in 1991 with the folk quartet Crackenthorpe's Teapot (Wharnsby / Corey Schmidt / Heather Chappell / Bill Kocher).

In 1993, Dawud (David) Wharnsby and fellow Crackenthorpe's Teapot vocalist Heather Chappell began touring and performing as a duo, releasing an independent album (Off To Reap The Corn) containing renditions of traditional Canadian and Irish folk music. The recording also featured Wharnsby's original lyrical adaptation of the traditional song "The Black Velvet Band". His comical version "The Black Velvet Band As Never Before" is still sung in folk music circles.

In 1994 the duo of Wharnsby and Chappell released a second independent recording through the Three Keyed Maple Seeds entity, entitled Fine Flowers In The Valley.

Dawud released several internationally distributed albums after 1995, including Blue Walls And The Big Sky, Vacuous Waxing (with Canadian writer Bill Kocher) and A Different Drum (with The Fletcher Valve Drummers). In May 2007 Dawud's 2005 album "Vacuous Waxing" was re-issued internationally with an amended track-listing under the title "The Poets And The Prophet".

On September 3, 2007, Dawud released "Out Seeing The Fields" composed of 12 tracks, co-produced with LA based pianist Idris Phillips. The 11th track of the album named "Rachel" was a tribute to Rachel Corrie who was killed by an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Caterpillar D9R armored bulldozer, during an ISM protest against the destruction of Palestinian homes by the IDF in the Gaza Strip.

In the mid 1990's Dawud rose to international recognition for his pioneering efforts in the genre of English language nasheed (spiritual hymns of a folk/world-beat style, drawn from Qur'anic tradition). He released over 10 popular albums of spiritual nasheed since 1996, including A Whisper of Peace (1996), Colors Of Islam (1998), Road To Madinah (1999) and The Prophet's Hands (2002), all released through United States based media company Sound Vision.Com. His spiritual songs for children are sung and taught in schools world wide.

During his career Dawud collaborated with the likes of Stephen Fearing, Irshad Khan, Danny Thompson, Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens), Chris McKhool, Sami Yusuf and Zain Bhikha. On the 2007 album "Man Ana?"by French singer/songwriter Khalid Belrhouzi, Dawud Wharnsby was featured as a lyricist and guest vocalist on the title track.

Wharnsby's songs have also found their way onto the recordings of other notable artists. His popular children's songs "Sing, Children of The World!" and "Al Khaliq" were both covered by Yusuf Islam & Friends on the 2004 CD "I Look I See" and his song "A Whisper of Peace" was included by Canadian children's performer Chris McKhool on the CD "Celebrate!".

Dawud has also frequently collaborated with South African artist Zain Bhikha on recordings, music videos, live performances and television appearances. Wharnsby appeared on Bhikha's album "Faith" in 2001, then again in 2006 on the album "Allah Knows", performing a cover of "Flowers Are Red" by Harry Chapin.

"Good Morning Sunday", a 2008 compilation recording presented by popular singer and radio personality Aled Jones, features Wharnsby's song "The Truth That Lies Inside" (from "Out Seeing The Fields") alongside songs by other notable performers such as Elvis Presley, Beth Neilsen Chapman, Alison Krauss, Kate Rusby, Julie Fowlis, Eric Bibb, Sarah McLachlan, Eva Cassidy, Louis Armstrong, and The Staple Singers. The album was released by Warner Music UK in spring of 2008, featuring material regularly played on the BBC Radio 2 program (also called "Good Morning Sunday") and hosted by Jones.

As a television personality, Dawud hosted programs produced in conjunction with Canada's Vision TV, the National Film Board of Canada, Al Huda TV (Saudi Arabia) and BBC Scotland.

Most notably, the internationally distributed documentary series "A New Life In A New Land: The Muslim Experience In Canada" (produced in Canada) and the educational children's program "Watch Celebrations: Ramadan" (produced by BBC Scotland) often air on television stations in their respective countries - both programs hosted, and partially scored, by Wharnsby.

After the mid 1990's, Dawud Wharnsby was a regular free-lance writer, actor, assistant puppeteer and musical soundtrack producer for video products produced by Chicago based educational media entity Sound Vision.Com (primarily, the globally popular children's video series "Adam's World").

Dawud also hosted community talk radio programs in both Canada and the United States. In 2004, he became a music director, pre-recorded segment producer/narrator, guest and occasional on-air host with the daily talk-radio program Radioislam, 1450 AM, in Chicago, Illinois.

Due to the popularity of Dawud's educational recordings for children, he frequently visits schools worldwide between his larger concert tours. Through music and unique discussion, Dawud's motivational primary and high school level presentations promote tolerance, diversity and social cohesion. Wharnsby has performed at schools in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Pakistan, Malaysia and South Africa.

As a social activist, Dawud Wharnsby Ali also lectured internationally at community events and universities, speaking on topics related to social justice, disability awareness, music, spirituality or Qur'anic philosophy, tradition and ideology.  Royalties from many of Dawud's musical recordings fed a private family trust supporting the Al-Imtiaz Foundation and school, located in Abbottabad Pakistan.

In honor of author, screenwriter and lecturer Rod Serling, Wharnsby (inspired as a child by Serlings' work) was also a supporter of the Rod Serling Memorial Foundation and contributor to The Foundation's scholarship fund. The fund is awarded annually to a student of Binghamton High School (in Binghamton, New York) who possesses skills in creative writing.

Married in 2003, Dawud Wharnsby Ali, his wife and their one child reside seasonally in Colorado; Abbottabad, Pakistan; and in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, Wharnsby's base for his music publishing entity Enter Into Peace. The couple also lived in Damascus, Syria (2005) and Cairo, Egypt (2006).

In addition to his full-time work as a professional musician and writer, Wharnsby also operated a private investigation and research agency based in Denver, Colorado.

Beginning in the early 1990s Dawud Wharnsby participated in numerous events and contributed overwhelmingly to the development of Islamic educational materials. However, his song-lyrics, lectures and poetry openly challenged and criticized institutions and movements of organized spirituality. These facts, when factored against misinformation about Wharnsby by unofficial biographers and quotes taken out of context from Wharnsby's numerous interviews, led to much controversy as to his religious affiliation.

In 1993, David Wharnsby embraced the teachings and philosophy of the Qur'an, changing his name to "Dawud" - the Arabic form of "David" - and adopted the name "Ali" as his surname.

Wharnsby made a strong differentiation between the application of Qur'anic teachings to his life-style and what he perceived as a general misconception that he "converted" from the "religion" of "Christianity" to the "religion" of "Islam" in 1993.

Rejecting the concept of organized religion in his teens, Wharnsby's music, writings, performances and numerous interviews consistently propagate an opinion that the development of spirituality should be intimate, personal and free of institutionalization. Wharnsby's views, however, on the implementation of positive social action (inspired by well-balanced spiritual development) tended to be collective, non-exclusive and community focused.

Though his writings and life-style openly reflected his respect of scripture, a belief in God, and implementation of Qur'anic teachings, Wharnsby did not consider himself a "member" of any organization, institution, movement or dogmatic school of thought. Beginning in 2005 Dawud Wharnsby lectured frequently on his personal spiritual philosophy and Qur'anic interpretation which defined "islam" as an Arabic gerund, derived from the Arabic root word for "peace" (describing and implying the action of "willfully surrendering to God" as a means of achieving and establishing peace holistically in one's life). While Wharnsby, after 1993, consistently stated public testimonies of belief in One Creator and an acceptance of all Prophets named in the Qur'an (Shahada), he also openly criticized the use of the word "islam" as a noun, or the proper name of a religion, organization and dogmatic institution. While he did not shy away from describing himself as a "muslim", he explicitly maintained, in public forums that his acceptance of the title, or personal use of the word "muslim" in relation to himself, was based upon the literal meaning of the Arabic word "muslim" (which he interprets as: "one who surrenders, submits or enters into peace") and does not signify that he accepts all of what has become associated with all those who call themselves "Muslims" or to all of the "traditions" associated with the 7th century Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). Dawud's religious ideology was inspired by transcendentalist philosophy and scriptures from all times and all places, including Native American spirituality, Unitarian Universalism, the teachings of the Buddha, the philosophy of Tao (“The Way”), the words of Al Qur’an and most importantly, through daily self-reflection and connection with nature."

Dawud Wharnsby's support of humanitarian efforts worldwide sees him working regularly with diverse institutions rooted in various traditions and faith communities. In the past, Wharnsby has been affiliated with, or assisted in fund raising efforts for, Red Cross/Red Crescent (Qatar/Pakistan), Islamic Relief (U.S./UK), Habitat For Humanity and the Mennonite Central Committee (Canada). Often associated with efforts to fight domestic violence and better the circumstances of women and children, on July 16, 2008 Dawud Wharnsby and fellow musician Idris Phillips performed at and inaugurated the Anderton Park Children's Center in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Year   Album
1995  Blue Walls and the Big Sky
1996  A Whisper of Peace
1997  Colours Of Islam
1998  Road To Madinah
2002  Sunshine, Dust And The Messenger
2003  The Prophet's Hands
2005  Vacuous Waxing
2006  The Poets And The Prophet
2007  Out Seeing The Fields

CD Singles and EP Releases
Year   Album
1999  The Letter - Songs of Struggle and Hope
2004  Love Strong

Selected Collaborations
Year   Album
1993  Off To Reap The Corn (With Heather Chappell)
1994  Fine Flowers in The Valley (With Heather Chappell)
2001  Light Upon Light (Various Artists)
2001  Faith (With Zain Bhikha)
2001  Bismillah (With Yusuf Islam and Friends)
2002  In Praise of The Last Prophet (With Yusuf Islam and Friends)
2003  Salaam (With Irfan Makki)
2004  Days of Eid (Various Artists)
2005  Expressions of Faith (Various Artists)
2005  Celebrate! Holidays of The Global Village (With Chris McKhool)
2005  I Look I See (With Yusuf Islam)
2006  Allah Knows (With Zain Bhikha)
2007  Man Ana? (With Khalid Belrhouzi)
2008  Aled Jones Presents: Good Morning Sunday (Various Artists)

Year          Album
2000  Gifts of Muhammad (Introduced by Dawud Wharnsby)
2000  40 Hadith (Introduced by Dawud Wharnsby)
2001  Timeless Wisdom Volume 1
2001  Timeless Wisdom Volume 2
2001  A Simple Guide To Prayer (With Yusuf Islam)
2004  Companions of The Prophet

Music videos
Year   Title
2006  You Can't Take It With You (With Zain Bhikha)
2006  Allah Knows (with Zain Bhikha)
2006  Midnight

Published works

    * Nasheed Artist (Books 4 Schools, UK, 2005, ISBN 0-9543652-6-7) (author/co-illustrator)
    * For Whom The Troubadour Sings (Kube Publishing Ltd, UK, 2009, ISBN 978-1-84774-011-3) (author)

Selected television and video appearances

    * As Salamu Alaikum! (Sound Vision, 2005) (Soundtrack and actor/puppeteer)
    * A New Life In A New Land (Milo Productions/University of Saskatoon/NFB, 2004) (Soundtrack and host)[13]
    * BBC Schools - Watch Celebrations: Ramadan And Eid (BBC Scotland, 2003) (Host)
    * Sing, Children of The World (Sound Vision, 2002) (Host)
    * Stories Behind The Songs (Sound Vision, 2002) (Host)
    * Rhythm of Islam (Sound Vision, 2002) (Host)
    * Alif Is For Allah (Sound Vision, 2000) (Soundtrack and actor/puppeteer)
    * The Humble Muslim (Sound Vision, 1999) (Soundtrack and actor/puppeteer)
    * Ramadan Mubarak (Sound Vision, 1998) (Soundtrack and actor/puppeteer)
    * To Catch A Thief (John Howard Society of Canada, 1990) (Actor)


Ali ibn Khalifa
1801-1884
The Qa’id of the Naffat.

Ali ibn Khalifa (1801-1884) was the Qa’id of the Naffat, a tribe from the region between Sfax and Gabes in Tunisia.  With beylical rule collapsing in the summer of 1881, he organized resistance against the invading French forces.  Ali’s hopes of Ottoman support did not materialize, nor was he able to persuade the settled communities of his region to join the struggle.  By the end of the year, French troops had defeated Ali’s warriors and driven them into Tripolitania.  There he and his followers proved an embarrassment to the Ottoman provincial authorities.  Wishing to avoid a conflict with France, they urged Ali and his supporters to accept the pardon offered by the protectorate government and return to Tunisia.  Ali died before agreeingto the offer of amnesty, but by 1885 virtually all of his supporters had done so.



Ali Pasha
1815-1871
Ottoman diplomat, grand vizier, and Tanzimat reformer. 

Ali Pasha's actual name was Mehmed Emin.  Born in Istanbul, he entered the civil service and worked at the Translation Office.  He was sent as a diplomat to Vienna, St. Petersburg, and London.  Being a protégé of Mustafa Resid Pasha, Ali was appointed minister of foreign affairs in 1846.  His first term as grand vizier was in 1852.  After the Crimean War (1853-1856), he signed the Treaty of Paris (1856) and encouraged Sultan Abdulmecid to issue the Imperial Rescript of Reforms, by which non-Muslims were granted additional rights.  During his fifth grand vizierate in 1867, Ali Pasha dealt with crises in Serbia and Crete that resulted in the withdrawal of Ottoman troops from Belgrade and conferment upon Crete of self-government.  Ali Pasha instituted reforms in the fields of administration, education, and law.  The goals of these reforms were the re-centralization of Ottoman administration and the promotion of the policy of Ottomanism.


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