|Sheikh Abdul Qadir al Jazairi|
Name: Abdul Qadir. Born: 1808 Mascara, Algeria. Died: 1883 Damascus, Syria. |
Abdul Qadir was an Algerian Islamic scholar, Sufi and political and military leader who led a Jihad against the French in the 19th century.
His father was a Sheikh in the Qadiri sufi order. He was a Banu Ifran Berber and a descendant of Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wa sallam. He memorized the Quraan as a child and was trained in horsemanship, theology and linguistics.
In 1825 he went on Hajj and met Imam Shamil, the Chechen Mujahid leader. He also traveled to Damascus and Baghdad. The French invaded Algeria in 1830. By 1832 Abdul Qadir began a Jihad against them. He used guerrilla warfare effectively and until 1842 scored many victories. On one occasion he released his French captives because he had insufficient food to feed them.
He was defeated after Berber mountain tribes refused to join the Arabs against the French. Abdul Qadir surrendered in 1847 after the French brutally suppressed Muslims and practiced a scorched-earth policy. He and his family were exiled to France until 1852. He then went to Bursa and Damascus. He devoted himself to theology and philosophy and wrote a book on the Arab horse.
In 1860 when the Druze attacked Christians in Syria, Abdul Qadir saved many Christians in his house. For this the French and Abraham Lincoln honoured him. In 1865 he was invited to Paris by Napoleon III and was greeted with respect. His green and white standard became the flag of independent Algeria.
The town of Elkader, USA was named after him. One of his sons, Saeed ran the government of Syria when the Ottomans evacuated in 1918.
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