Citation for Fāsī, Muḥammad ʿAllāl al-

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Michalak, Laurence O. . "Fāsī, Muḥammad ʿAllāl al-." In The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. Oxford Islamic Studies Online. May 25, 2022. <>.


Michalak, Laurence O. . "Fāsī, Muḥammad ʿAllāl al-." In The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. Oxford Islamic Studies Online, (accessed May 25, 2022).

Fāsī, Muḥammad ʿAllāl al-

Muḥammad ʿAllāl al-Fāsī (1906–1973), Moroccan intellectual, historian, legal scholar, teacher, poet, and political leader, was a founder of the Istiqlāl Party. Son of the muftī of Fez, al-Fāsī was born into a prominent religious and literary family claiming descent from Arabia through Andalusian Spain. He studied Islamic law at al-Qarawīyīn University. In the late 1920s al-Fāsī criticized the French Protectorate from a perspective of Islamic modernism and reform. In 1927 he was a founder of the Moroccan Action Committee, a loose coalition of intellectuals in Fez and Rabat. In 1930 the Committee criticized the French authorities for the Berber Decree, which they saw as an attempt to divide Arabs and Berbers.

Al-Fāsī received his diploma in Islamic law in 1930, remaining at al-Qarawīyīn to teach Islamic history. In 1934 al-Fāsī and his activist compatriots publicly issued a Moroccan Reform Plan. When there were no reforms, despite the coming to power of the Popular Front in France in 1936, they turned to organizing public protests, and al-Fāsī and others were arrested. Under al-Fāsī 's presidency the group split over tactical questions in 1937, with al-Fāsī remaining as the leader of its largest contingent. His group was banned in March 1937 but reorganized as the National Reform Party. Following new demonstrations, al-Fāsī and other leaders of the party were arrested.Al-Fāsī was exiled by the French to Gabon until 1946, although he remained an influence on Morocco. The National Reform Party was reorganized as the Istiqlāl (Independence) Party in 1943. In January 1944 the Istiqlāl issued a manifesto for Moroccan independence under the sultan. Al-Fāsī returned from Gabon as head of the Istiqlāl Party in 1946; in April 1947 the sultan gave a speech that reflected the growing influence of al-Fāsī and the Istiqlāl.

Al-Fāsī again fled Morocco in May 1947, this time to Cairo, where he remained in exile until Moroccan independence in 1956. From Cairo he traveled and lectured in the Middle East, South Asia, Europe, and North America. His most important writings date from this period, including The Independence Movements in Arab North Africa (1947), Self-Criticism (1951), and two collections—From the Occident to the Orient (1956) and The Call of Cairo (1959).

The independence movement grew steadily during al-Fāsī's exile. Upon Morocco 's independence in 1956 al-Fāsī returned as president for life of the Istiqlāl and professor of law at the new University of Rabat. He joined the government only in June 1961, after the death of King Muḥammad V and the accession of King Ḥasan II. He resigned as Minister of Islamic Affairs in January 1963 because of policy differences with the king. The Istiqlāl became the major opposition party under the leadership of al-Fāsī, who wrote and taught until his death in 1973.Al-Fāsī was above all an Islamic modernist and reformer, advocating Islamic renewal, a return to original sources, Arabic language reform, and avoidance of imitating the West. He was an early critic of the protectorate and an early advocate of Moroccan independence. As a nationalist al-Fāsī claimed that Morocco includes the Western Sahara, Mauritania, and territories that had been included in western and southern Algeria by the French. Al-Fāsī consistently supported the ʿAlawī monarchy and sought to influence successive monarchs, but he was also a constitutionalist who did not hesitate to criticize royal policies when he felt they compromised Moroccan independence or social justice.

See also ISTIQLāL and MOROCCO.


  • Charrad, Mounira M.States and Women's Rights: The Making of Postcolonial Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. Berkeley, Calif., 2001.
  • Cohen, Amnon. “ʿAllāl al-Fāsī: His Ideas and His Contributions towards Morocco 's Independence.”Asian and African Studies3 (1967): 121–164.
  • Eickelman, Dale F.Knowledge and Power in Morocco: The Education of a Twentieth-Century Notable. Princeton, N.J., 1992.
  • Fāsī, ʿAllāl al-. The Independence Movements in Arab North Africa (1947). Translated by Hazem Zaki Nuseibeh. Washington, D.C., 1954.
  • Fāsī, ʿAllāl al-. “Mission of the Islamic ʿUlema.” Translated from Arabic by Hassan Abdin Mohammed. In Man, State, and Society in the Contemporary Maghrib, edited by I. William Zartman, pp. 151–158. New York, 1973. Short speech by al-Fāsī delivered in 1959 to a conference of Islamic clergy.
  • Gaudio, Attilio. Allal El Fassi, ou, l ’histoire de l ’Istiqlal. Paris, 1972. Laudatory biography with a short preface by Jacques Berque and a useful 122-page appendix of statements, letters, articles, and interviews of al-Fāsī, in French translation.
  • Gellner, Ernest. “The Struggle for Morocco 's Past.” In Man, State, and Society in the Contemporary Maghrib, edited by I. William Zartman, pp. 37–49. New York, 1973.

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