A source of pride for Algeria, Abou el Kacem Saadallah is a prominent scientific scholar and one of its immortal cultural icons, as Djurdjura and Aurès mountains witness it. He was born in 1930, in the town of Guemar, Oued Souf’s ancient oasis which is known for its brilliant scholars whose knowledge illuminated Algeria and other parts of the world.
He received his primary education in his hometown, memorized the Holy Quran, fed off authenticity values and drawn inspiration from authentic culture. Thus, his love for Algeria for which he spent his entire life looking for its progress and sovereignty, is engraved in his heart, whether by defending it, presenting its heritage or contributing in its revolution. “Revolution was pumping through my veins, accompanying me in my travels and feelings”, he said.
Seeking knowledge, he had been to different parts of the world, such as Tunisa, Egypt, the United States of America and many other countries. He has always been superior to his peers and excelled among them. His genius appeared at an early age. Knowledge and work were sacred for him and considered as the best way to reach his lofty goals, about which he said “My pen is relentless. Writing for me is my sickness and remedy, my nourishment and my breath. I am contented when I write, and get angry with my person when I don’t, and the day goes as if it was stolen from my life.”
In 1965, he got his PhD in Modern and Contemporary History from the University of Minnesota in USA. He came back to his homeland and worked at the Department of History at Algiers University as a teacher and trainer, researcher and supervisor of MA and PhD thesis as well as different historical researches. His activity did not impede him from moving between Arab and Western universities as a lecturer and contributing with his varied knowledge.
- His culture:
In the beginning, he was interested in literature and excelled in it. He wrote in different literary genres among which novel, poem, essay …etc. He was unique and even, an explorer, as confirmed by Dr. Ahmed Hamdi who described him: “he was the first to publish a collection of modern Algerian poems entitled " the Victory is for Algeria" in 1967 and the first to reveal that Mustafa Bin Ibrahim’s novel was the first novel to appear in Arabic literature and not “Zaynab”, the novel written by Hussein Heikel, as everyone believed”.
Afterwards, he studied history and got specialized in it. He carried out several researches and wrote different biographies, autobiographies and others. “Cultural history of Algeria” is one of his publications in that field, composed of 10 volumes and on which he said: “My research aims to yield a work that shows the contribution of Algeria in the Arab Islamic culture and humanity through the ages”.
- His qualities:
Saadallah has never been known for chasing positions. He was rather keeping a low profile and showing no arrogance among his fellows. However, he was self-assured. In this regard, he advises historians:
- To comply with the objective scientific method and not to use this speciality (history) as a means for quick profit and wealth, but to seek and reveal the truth, as well as to retrieve Algeria's glorious past.
- Not to be arrogant and to work hard and on a continuous basis to increase their knowledge, regardless of their status and academic degree. The historian’s mission is to seek the truth which is endless. In this regard, he said: “The historian should be a student at all times, not a teacher. The word “student” means a student seeking the truth”.
- Among his sayings:
" … I do not claim that I have studied and excelled in all disciplines, but I claim that I love and enjoy poetry, and I am keen on beautiful music. I have critical judgments on my readings of poetry and prose. I am fond of history and the march of nations and peoples as well as their struggle for survival in the name of civilization and intellectual advance. I enjoy reading books on ancient and new sciences: psychology - sociology, philosophy and politics ...».
“... We were hoping that our efforts would be in the service of the history of Algeria, and broader and deeper of the one of Arab and Islamic world in general, however, I lost my bag that contains all my documents and works, then came the political and economic crisis that knew Algeria, all this had an impact on the scientific and intellectual life which made our efforts - however doubled – in vain and our ambition far-fetched. Even though, we hope we are in the right path that we have drawn or Allah has drawn for us since we got aware of our role in life, which is to serve Algeria, Islam, Arabic and human knowledge in its broadest sense”.
He also recommended writing, saying: "Write even with your eyelids and nails if your pens fail to obey you, then go to Allah satisfied to have fulfilled your intellectual and human mission, and get my best wishes”.
- About him :
“He is an encyclopaedic author who masters different literary arts, including the short story, essay, poetry and investigation. He wrote biographies of different icons of Algeria, among them travelers, scholars and faqihs. He arabised and translated, he wrote press articles and various historical researches, as well as the free writing”.
Abdelaziz Bouteflika – Ex-President of the Republic –
If Emir Abdelkader was the founder of the Algerian State, Abou Al Kacem Saâdallah is the one who founded the Algerian culture through his writings and Encyclopedia “Algeria’s cultural history”. Thus, all of professors, students and staff of Algiers University are proud of this name, which is the pride of the university that must inspire teachers and students to work and follow the footsteps of the late legend.
Professor Khemissi Hamidi – Ex-University Rector
“When Sheikh El Bachir El Ibrahimi sought refuge in Cairo in the early 1950s, he was introduced to the Egyptians as the erudite of Algeria”, then he replied: “I am not the erudite of Algeria but its symbol of pride”. On this occasion, I consider that this description applies completely to Professor Saâdallah who is not only its erudite, but also its symbol”.
Touhami Majouri – Author
The Publications of this towering cultural figure are too numerous to list in such a brief statement but I will state a few such as:
- Mohamed El Aid Al Khalifa, 1961.
- Studies in Modern Algerian Literature, Dar El Adab, Beirut, 1966.
- Experiences in Literature and journey, Book National Foundation, Algeria, 1982 .
- Green ringworm, Book National Foundation, Algeria, 1986 .
- The golden age, Diwan Saadallah, Algeria, 1985 .
- Unbridled Ideas, Algeria, National Book Foundation, 1988 .
- Cultural Concerns, Dar Al Umma, Algeria, 1993 .
- Research and Views in the History of Algeria( 5 parts), Dar al-Gharb al-Islami, Beirut, 1993 .
- Encyclopedia: Algeria’s Cultural History (9 volumes), Dar al-Gharb al-Islami, Beirut, 1998 .
- Algerian National Movement (4 parts), Dar al-Gharb al-Islami, Beirut, 1969 .
- Lectures on the Algerian modern history (the beginning of the occupation), I 1, Egypt, 1970, I 3, Algeria, 1982 .
- Research in Arab Islamic History, Dar Al-Gharb Al-Islami, Beirut, 2003 .
- Unbridled Ideas, Algeria, National Book Foundation, 1988 .
- Investigation :
- The story of lovers in love and longing, Prince Mustafa bin Ibrahim Pasha, Algeria, 1982 .
- The Journey of Ibn Hammadouche of Algeria, Abdel Razak Ben Hammadouz of Algeria, 1982 .
- Al-Hidayah in the discovery of the case of the claimed science and state, Abdul Karim al-Fakun, Dar al-Gharb al-Islami, Beirut, 1987 .
- Selected anthology of Arabic poetry, collection of Mufti Ahmed bin Ammar, Dar al-Gharb al-Islami, Beirut, I, 2, 1991 .
- The History of Al-Adwani, Mohammed Bin Omar Al-Adwani, Dar Al-Gharb Al-Islami, Beirut, 1996 .
- The Letter of the Stranger to the Beloved, by Ahmed Bin Abi Asida Al-Bajai, Dar Al-Gharb Al-Islami, 1991 .
- A'ayan of the Orientals and Moroccans (History of Abdel Hamid Bey), Dar al-Gharb al-Islami, Beirut, 2000 .
- Peoples and nationalisms, Algeria, 1958.
- Algeria and Europe, John B Wolf, Algeria, 1986.
- The life of Emir Abdelkader, Charles Henry Churchill, Algeria-Tunisia, 1982.
His articles cannot be listed for they are counted in hundreds.
- He received the Resistance Medal for his active contribution in the Algerian Revolution, Algeria, 1984.
- He was honored by the President of the Republic In 1987 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Independence of Algeria.
- He received “Emir Abdelhamid Ben Badis Award” from the Center of Islamic Studies in London, 1991.
- He was guest of Honor in the Janadriya cultural celebration (Saudi Arabia) 1992.
- On 1 November 2014, the University of Algiers 2 was named after Dr. Abu Qasim Saadallah.
- He received several honors in the USA, Tunisia and other countries.
He died in his hometown and buried in the cemetery of his family in a majestic atmosphere.
On Safar 11th, 1435 corresponding to December 14th, 2013, Abu EL Qasim Saadallah left this world to the Hereafter , God willing, after being transferred to the military hospital of Ain Naadja “Mohamed Seguir Nekache” at the age of 85, after suffering from illness.