Sign In . Don't have a World Wisdom ID? Sign Up

Books Featuring

Ahmed Bouyerdene - Life and Work
This site includes Ahmed Bouyerdene’s biography, photos, online articles, and more.
Ahmed Bouyerdene
Ahmed  Bouyerdene
Detailed Information on Ahmed Bouyerdene
WW’s Books / DVDs
Author’s Writings On-line
Excerpts and Videos

Biography of Ahmed Bouyerdene

Ahmed Bouyerdene is a French scholar, author, and researcher. He has specialized in the life and thought of the great Algerian leader Emir Abd el-Kader.

Ahmed Bouyerdene was born in Algeria in 1967, but emigrated with his family to France when he was five; he has both Algerian and French nationality. Bouyerdene has kept touch with his Algerian roots and is well familiar with the challenge posed to people ‘exiled’ from their ethnic and spiritual traditions. This gives him a special insight into the world of Emir Abd el-Kader, who, many believe, exemplified a sound way of balancing a vibrant contact with one’s spiritual tradition with life in a modern society.

Bouyerdene completed his PhD on the life of Abd el-Kader at the Université Marc Bloch, Strasbourg, France, and has since published several books and articles on the Emir in his native French, including Abd el-Kader, l’harmonie des contraires (le Seuil, 2008, 2012) and Abd el-Kader par ses contemporains (Ibis Press, 2008).

Dr. Bouyerdene also collaborated with Éric Geoffroy and Setty G. Simon-Khedis in producing Abd el-Kader, un spirituel dans la modernité (2012), a book that deals with how the Emir faced the issue of being a spiritually devout person in a time of religious narrowness and enormous societal shifts toward the material and psychological changes brought about by modern times.

Ahmed Bouyerdene is also an accomplished photographer and filmmaker. His outstanding photographs on scenes of rural people and holy places in Algeria have been shown in various venues. Bouyerdene has participated in the production of several films and video productions, some concerning the life and work of the Emir. He continues to work on multimedia projects as well as other scholarly efforts.

Dr. Bouyerdene has also attended conferences around the world to present papers on the intellectual and spiritual qualities of the Emir.

Dr. Ahmed Bouyerdene lives in southern France.

The World Wisdom book Emir Abd el-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam is his first work to be translated into English.

Books/DVDs containing the work of Ahmed Bouyerdene

Books contributed by Ahmed Bouyerdene:

  • Emir Abd el-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam, by Ahmed Bouyerdene
    • ForeWord  Book of the Year Award Finalist for “Biography” and “Religion”
    • Gold Midwest Book Award for “Biography”
    • Silver Midwest Book Award for “History”
    • 2012 Eric Hoffer Award/Montaigne Medal Finalist

Ahmed Bouyerdene’s Writings Online
 TitleSourceAuthor 1Author 2SubjectWW HTMLWW PDFExternal Link
The Last BreathEmir Abd el-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam (chapter 1)Bouyerdene, Ahmed History, Islam, Sufism
 1 entries (Displaying results 1 - 1) View : Jump to: Page: of 1 pages

Excerpts from or videos of  Ahmed Bouyerdene

The following is an excerpt from pages 5-7 from the book
Emir Abd el-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam
by Ahmed Bouyerdene

Abd el-Kader bin Muhyi ad-Din was born seventy-five years earlier, in 1808,[1] in the West of the Ottoman Regency of Algiers, in a family of the religious nobility. In the religious and spiritual institution led by his father, seat of the Qadiriyya Sufic brotherhood of which he was also a representative, he acquired a classical knowledge that destined him to be dedicated to a religious career. The landing of French troops at the outskirts of Algiers in June of 1830 decided otherwise. In the fall of 1832, at the insistence of his father, he was placed at the head of the tribes of the province of Oran and acquired the title of Commander of the Faithful: that date marked his entry into history. Starting from almost nothing, without experience, within the space of a few years, the Emir Abd el-Kader developed a military organization and established the basis of a fledgling State. For more than fifteen years he held off the foremost army in the world and was able to impose two peace treaties allowing him to consolidate his administration. His refusal to compromise, his strength of soul in the face of setbacks, his magnanimity, aroused a current of sympathy in the very ranks of his adversaries. Already at that time, numerous testimonies emphasized the paradoxical character of the personage, at once warrior and saint: the Emir had chosen to nourish his political action by continual meditation. However, the scorched earth policy practiced by his emblematic adversary Marshal Bugeaud, reduced years of efforts to naught. Abandoned by a party of his own, harassed on all sides by French and Moroccan troops, Abd el-Kader agreed to give himself up, and in December of 1847 signed a treaty of surrender with the French Africa Army. Thereupon ended the first phase of his life. Victim of a perjurer, he was placed in captivity with a hundred of his companions. First held in Toulon, then in Pau, he spent four of his five years in captivity in Amboise, which in many respects was like a spiritual retreat, revealing a dimension that until then had been masked by the man of politics. It was also a period rich in dialogues at once cultural, intellectual, and religious. In October of 1852, the Emir was set free, and he definitively renounced political action.

The new stage of his life unfolded in the East. After a stay of two years in Bursa, Turkey, which he left in the spring of 1855, Abd el-Kader settled in Damascus, where he would end his days. He returned to France three times, notably in 1855 and 1867, on the occasion of the   Universal Expositions which were then held in Paris. His intervention in favor of the Christians during the uprisings which took place against them in the Syrian capital in July of 1860, emphasized his humanist dimension and, more fundamentally, his conviction of a supra-confessional brotherhood. Yet, while tributes poured in from the whole world, the Emir continued his quest of the inexpressible through the study and teaching of the religious and spiritual traditions of Islam. In particular, he embarked on a subtle exegesis of the spiritual works of Shaykh Muhyi ad-Din Ibn ‘Arabi, of which he became one of the first modern editors. During this time as well, the hidden face of the Sufi Abd el-Kader was fully revealed. In 1863, the encounter in Mecca with his spiritual master, Sidi Muhammad al-Fasi ash-Shadhili, gave a final decisive turn to his life. Under his direction, he entered into a spiritual retreat from which he emerged transfigured, full of an experience that illumined his view of the world, a view that was lucid and serene. Spiritual speculations did not, however, cut him off from the realities of his time, of which he became an enthusiastic and active witness. His support of the project to construct the Suez Canal, the inauguration of which he attended in November of 1869, attests to this. Proof of a resolutely modern thought, the support given to this project—the key event of its century—had also been a tangible manifestation of his faith in a reconciliation of the human family. In the 1870s, the man little by little withdrew into silence, ending “his years,” wrote a witness, “as he had begun them, in a retreat lit by his writings, and in the practice of his worship.”[2] Nonetheless, he was not to fade into oblivion. He who during his very life had become at once a legend and a major figure of history would leave a posterity which he did not suspect.


[1] According to numerous sources, the birth date of Abd el-Kader bin Muhyi ad-Din al-Hasani lies between the years 1221 and 1223 of the hegira, which corresponds to the years 1806-1808 of the Julian calendar. The biographical essay that his son Muhammad Sa‘id dedicates to him, Tuhfat az-zair fi tarikh al-Jazair wal-Amir (henceforth cited as Tuhfat; “Gift to the Pilgrim concerning the History of Algeria and the Emir” [Alexandria, 1903; Beirut, 1964]), indicates a precise date, 23 rajab 1222, which corresponds to the month of September, 1807. The same month and the same year are also indicated by another son of the Emir Abd el-Kader, al-Hashimi (Marie d’Aire, Abd el-Qader,p. 242). The family hagiography certainly draws from the same source as the English biography of the Emir: Charles Henry Churchill, in his biography The Life of Abd-el-Qader, ex-Sultan of the Arabs of Algeria (London: Chapman Hall, 1867),opts for the month of May 1807. Alexandre Bellemare, who in 1863 published his biography of the Emir, places his birth at the “beginning of the year 1223 of the hegira (1808)” (Abd-el-Kader, sa vie politique et militaire [Paris: Hachette, 1863], p. 10). The work of Léon Roches, Trente-deux ans à travers l’Islam (Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1884),mentions 15 rajab 1223, which corresponds to September 6, 1808. According to a biographical essay written under the supervision of Abd el-Kader during his captivity, it is the years 1221 and 1222 that are used, and thus repeat the data given by the sons and by Churchill. However, it is impossible to affirm anything on this question and to exclude one date over another. The only thing we are sure of is that everyone bases himself on an approximate oral tradition, hence subject to caution. Let us add finally that most of the later biographies published in France use the year 1808; such is the case, among others, of Paul Azan, or P. d’Estailleur-Chanteraine, to cite only the authors of the first half of the twentieth century.

[2] Lady Anne Blunt, Voyage en Arabie, pèlerinage au Nedjed berceau de la race Arabe,translated from the English by L. Derome (Paris: Librairie Hachette, 1882), pp. 27-28.

Home | Books | DVDs | Authors | eProducts | Members | Slideshows | Library | Image-Gallery | Links | About Us

Privacy Statement
Copyright © 2008