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Abdeslam Serghini (also written as Abdessalam Serghini) is a well-known figure in Moroccan history of late 19th century to mid 20th century.
His father died before he was born. And then his mother died when he was about 5 years old. At that early age, Abdeslam Serghini started looking for sufi masters to teach him the Quran and religion. At the age of 7, Abdeslam memorized the whole Quran. At the age of 10, he memorized the Quran in 7 riwayat (the Quran was revealed in 14 ways of reading it, each way, called "riwaya" or "reading" targeted the accent of a certain Arab tribe). When he learns everything from one master, his current master would send him to go and learn from another greater master.
Serghini continued going from one master to another and learning until he was 14 years old or so. His knowledge was encyclopedic. He also memorized all the hadiths (sayings of Prophet Muhammad) and he could recite each hadith with all the chain of narrators. His knowledge of the old Arabic language (Arabic language as was used 1400 years ago at the time of the Prophet) was extraordinary.
Abdeslam had a very dark skin and was very tall (about 2 meters). It was almost impossible for him to go inside a car. He became a professor at the University of Al-Qarawiyyin (in Fes city) at a young age. He became famous very quickly, and the Moroccan King Moulay Youssef used to come to listen to his lectures.
Lecturing and tutoring
About 80 kilometers north-west of the city of Fes, lived the governor Driss Al-Anbari (a descendant of Prophet Muhammad). Driss Al-Anbari was passionate about knowledge and used invite the best scholars to his palace to give lectures. Since Abdeslam was the greatest scholar at that time, he was invited many times by the governor Driss Al-Anbari to give lectures. Years later, Abdeslam married Fatima Al-Anbari, granddaughter of Driss Al-Anbari.
The Moroccan King Moulay Youssef asked Abdeslam to become the private teacher for his son (the prince Mohammed V of Morocco, the grandfather of the current Moroccan King Mohammed VI of Morocco). Abdeslam taught at Al-Qarawiyyin University for more than 30 years. Al-Qarawiyyin is one of the oldest Universities in the Arab World, older than Al-Azhar University in Egypt. After the independence of Morocco from the French occupation, prince Mohammed V of Morocco became King and appointed Abdeslam as the president of the Supreme Court in Rabat.
Abdeslam wrote many books, all of them kept at the University of Al-Qarawiyyin, although many of them were later published by other scholars under their own names. Many well-known Moroccan figures of the 20th century were students of Abdeslam Serghini. One of his students was Allal al-Fassi, a well-known Moroccan scholar who founded the nationalist Istiqlal Party (independence party) and played a role in fighting the French occupation.
Resistance to France
Abdeslam used all his means to fight the French occupation. "La bibliotheque nationale de France" (the French equivalent of the Library of Congress) contains books on the life of Abdeslam Serghini. Abdeslam was well known to the French occupiers and although he was against their occupation, they respected him and allowed him to give public lectures in the evenings. Allal al-Fassi learned activism from his professor Abdeslam Serghini and later became a well-known Moroccan figure in activism.
There is a street in the city of Fes that is named after Abdeslam Serghini: as a google search of "Rue Abdeslam Serghini" would indicate plenty of places in that street (HI youth hotel, Menzeh Fes. In an article published in Moroccan newspaper lopinion, Abdellah Naguib talks about the history of his town and briefly mentions Abdeslam Serghini, using the expression "fkih Serghini". Fkih means "Expert in jurisprudence, a man of law".
Many famous Moroccan figures were students of Abdeslam Serghini. Some of his students were the following persons:
1. Allal al-Fassi: Nationalist, founder of the nationalist istiqlal party and Morocco's Minister of Islamic Affairs in 1962.
2. Malika al-Fassi: Moroccan writer and nationalist.
3. Ahmed Bahnini: Prime minister of Morocco from 1963 to 1965.
4. M'hammed Bahnini: Secretary General of Morocco Government (Ministre des Affaires administratives, Secrétaire général du gouvernement) from 1967 to 1971.
5. Farouki Rahhali: A great Moroccan scholar, born on 1907 and died on 1985. There is boulevard and a high school in casablanca named after him. Here is a web page mentioning him: http://www.maroc-quran.com/vb/t8676.html
6. The jurist Ben al-bahloul ben Omar Rahhali: http://www.djelfa.info/vb/archive/index.php/t-33550.html
7. Boudali: his son is the current president of the Counsel of Scholars of the city El Kelaa des Sraghna
Among Abdeslam Serghini's close friends was his colleague Bouchta Jamai, a Moroccan scholar and nationalist (the father of the Moroccan journalist Khalid Jamai). Aboubakr Jamaï, the son of Khalid Jamai is also a Moroccan journalist.
- HI youth hotel
- Menzeh Fes
- Pour une sauvegarde de la mémoire de Derb As-Soltane
- Menzeh Fes: http://www.roomleader.es/hotel-menzeh-fes-en-fez.htm
- Pour une sauvegarde de la mémoire de Derb As-Soltane: http://www.lopinion.ma/def.asp?codelangue=23&id_info=23381