Abdallah Guennoun: The Moroccan Genius

Abdallah Guennoun is considered one of the pioneers among Moroccan authors who have set the rules for the literary, cultural and scientific renaissance in Morocco and the Arab world since the 1920s. Although his education and training focused on the Islamic Shariah, the man was open to science and foreign publications. This enabled him to combine authenticity and modernity at a time when attachment to the principles of his ancestors was the rule.

Abdallah Guennoun was born in Fez in 1908. At the age of six, he moved with his family to Tangier, an international city at that time. He did not attend school, but it was mainly his father, the jurist and scholar Abdessamad Guennoun, as well as other jurists and religious scholars officiating in the mosques of Tangier, who provided him with his education. And it is thanks to his personal efforts that he managed to master the French and Spanish languages. He was eager to learn and read great authors such as Taha Hussein, Abbas Mahmoud Al Akkad and Ibrahim Al Mazni.

Abdallah Guennoun’s fame soon reached the East, thanks in particular to the high-level articles he published in Moroccan and Oriental newspapers and magazines such as “Arrissala”, “Al Mithaq” and “Lisan Eddine” which he edited, and thanks to his forward-looking ideas in relation to his time, he was entrusted with the position of Secretary General of the Alliance of Moroccan Ulemas. His scientific contributions were recognized by the Ulemas, historians and jurists in Morocco and the East, who welcomed him as a member of all the research organizations that brought them together.

Abdallah Guennoun, a descendant of the Idrissid chorfas “Ouled Guennon” from Ouazzan, was active in many fields such as Islamic law, history, literature, journalism, university research and politics. He was also active in the ranks of the national movement against the colonizer. He was among the personalities who refused to recognize Ibn Arafa, the puppet king who was appointed by the French colonizer in place of Sultan Mohammed V.

Abdallah Guennoun is the author of numerous books and publications. His work is part of the curricula taught in many universities, just as his thought has been the subject of many doctoral theses.

He has held several posts, including that of professor at the Higher Institute of Religious Sciences in Tetouan, as well as a Minister of Justice between 1954 and 1956, and he also was Governor of Tangier in 1957.

He was honored by the late HM King Hassan II in 1969. He died in 1989.

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