We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more Qaddafi, Mu'ammar al- - Oxford Islamic Studies Online
Select Translation What is This? Selections include: The Koran Interpreted, a translation by A.J. Arberry, first published 1955; The Qur'an, translated by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, published 2004; or side-by-side comparison view
Chapter: verse lookup What is This? Select one or both translations, then enter a chapter and verse number in the boxes, and click "Go."
:
  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Look It Up What is This? Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Next Result

Qaddafi, Mu'ammar al-

Source:
The Islamic World: Past and Present What is This? Accessible coverage of Islam from the seventh century to the twenty-first century

    Qaddafi, Mu'ammar al-

    1942 – Libyan ruler

    Mu'ammar al-Qaddafi was born to a Bedouin family in the Sirte region of the Libyan desert. Noting his intelligence, his father sent him to primary school. The first member of the family to receive an education, Qaddafi continued his studies at the University of Libya and the Military Academy of Benghazi. He opposed the weak, foreign-dominated monarchy in Libya and resented the Italian population that controlled most of the wealth in the country. Qaddafi admired the nationalist philosophy of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and sought to emulate him. At the academy, Qaddafi organized a Free Officers movement similar to the one created by Nasser to overthrow the Egyptian government in the 1950s. In 1969 the Libyan Free Officers led a successful military coup, ousting King Idris I and establishing Qaddafi as leader of the new Libyan Arab Republic. Qaddafi quickly evicted American and British military forces from Libya. He also deported most Italians and Jews and nationalized Libya's oil assets, banks, and other businesses. He built schools, hospitals, and housing complexes throughout the country, and greatly increased the standard of living. Qaddafi established a government organized into various committees representing the legislative and executive bodies of the state. He called his system of government jamahiriyah (rule by the masses), but the system maintained Qaddafi's position as all-powerful leader. His basic ideas on politics and society were presented in The Green Book, published in the 1970s.

    Qaddafi promoted Islamic values but accepted the Qur'an—not hadith or the sunnah—as the only authentic source of doctrine. He rejected the power of the ulama and the Sufi orders, giving himself supreme religious authority. He cracked down on extremist groups and banned gambling, alcohol, and Western music. Qaddafi also granted greater freedoms to Libyan women. In the early 21st century, most women in Libyan cities do not wear headscarves, and women comprise more than half of all university students.

    Qaddafi pushed an aggressive foreign policy, calling for jihad against imperialist powers and Israel. He repeatedly sought to form alliances with other Arab nations. Failing at this, Qaddafi gave financial support to freedom fighters and revolutionaries in other countries, such as Native Americans and the Nation of Islam in the United States. He also backed militant groups in such countries as Nicaragua, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and Turkey, helping to fund the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

    Libyan support for terrorist activities in Europe caused the United States to sever economic ties with the country in 1986 . Following a 1986 attack against a nightclub in Germany frequented by Americans, which was attributed to Libyans, U.S. warplanes bombed Benghazi and Tripoli. The raids killed or wounded dozens of Libyans, including some of Qaddafi's children. In 1988 Libya refused to turn over to an international court two Libyans suspected of blowing up an American airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland. The United Nations (UN) responded by imposing sanctions against Libya in 1992 .

    The loss of trade and the decline in oil prices hurt the Libyan economy. Food shortages created unrest in the 1990s, enabling certain Islamic groups to challenge Qaddafi's regime. Realizing that he had to end his country's isolation, Qaddafi ended his support for terrorism and paid settlements to Great Britain and France for past attacks. Qaddafi also denounced the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and supported the U.S. campaign against al-Qaeda. He delivered the two Lockerbie suspects to an international court, where one was convicted and the other was acquitted. Qaddafi still, however, refuses to admit responsibility for the bombing.

    Qaddafi's concessions have benefited his country. The UN lifted its sanctions against Libya in 1999 , and several European nations have renewed relations with the country. The nation enjoys a higher standard of living than many other African nations and has one of the highest per capita incomes on the continent. Distribution of wealth remains more equal in Libya than in most countries, including the United States. See also Libya; Palestinian Liberation Organization; Qutb, Sayyid; Terrorism.

    • Previous Result
    • Results
    • Highlight On / Off
    • Look It Up What is This? Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
    • Next Result
    Oxford University Press

    © 2020. All Rights Reserved. Cookie Policy | Privacy Policy | Legal Notice