Abbas el-Akkad

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Abbas el-Akkad
Native name عباس محمود العقاد
Born 28 June 1889
Aswan, Egypt
Died 13 March 1964(1964-03-13) (aged 74)
Cairo, Egypt
Nationality Egyptian
Ethnicity Arab
Occupation writer
Religion Islam

Abbas Mahmud al-Aqqad (Arabic: عباس محمود العقاد'Abbās Maḥmūd al-'Aqqād; 28 June 1889 – 12 March 1964) was an Egyptian writer,[1] and member of the Arab Academy.[2]


Al-'Akkad was born in Aswan, a city in Upper Egypt, in 1889.[3] He received little formal education, completing only his elementary education. Unlike his schoolmates, he spent all his weekly allowance on books. He read about religion, geography, history and many other subjects. He was known for his excellent English and French.

He wrote more than 100 books about philosophy, religion, and poetry. He founded a poetry school with Ibrahim Al-Mazny and Abdel Rahman Shokry called Al-Diwan. He died in 1964 in Cairo. His most famous works were al-'Abkariat, Allah, and Sarah. Some of his books were translated into English. Al-'Akkad was known for his use of flowery and complicated prose.

Romantic relationships[edit]

Al-Aqqad experienced two major romantic relationships in his life. The first was with a Christian Lebanese lady, whom he called "Sarah" in his novel of the same name. The second was with the famous Egyptian actress Madiha Yousri. This relationship was ended by al-Aqqad himself, because of Yousri's career as an actress. Al-Aqqad wrote a poetry work about this relationship called Cyclones of a Sunset (A-Asiru Maghrib in Arabic).

It was reported by prolific Egyptian author Anis Mansour and various other attendees of Al-Aqqad's famous 'lounge' that he kept a painting in his bedroom that displayed a beautiful cake with cockroaches crawling over it. Supposedly, Al-Aqqad kept this in his room as 'the first thing he looked at in the morning and the last thing he saw in the evening'. It symbolized beauty and purity (the cake) that is wasted to the glamor of spotlights (the cockroaches) as was the case (as he perceived) with actress Madiha Yousri.


Al Aqqad died in the early morning of 13 March 1964. His corpse was transported by train to his hometown Aswan in southern Upper Egypt, where he was buried the same day.

In the early 1980s, an Egyptian television series was produced about the life of al-Aqqad, which was titled The Giant (Al Imlaq in Arabic). It starred Egyptian actor Mahmud Mursi.


  • al-'Abkariat
  • Allah
  • Sarah
  • The genius of Christ translated F. Peter Ford 2001


  1. ^ About Arabic books Nur Sherif – 1970 "WITH AL-AKKAD By Shawki DEIF. It is a few years since the Arabic-speaking world mourned the death of Abbas Mahmoud al-Akkad (1889–1964) at age 75. Nicknamed "the Giant", both for his physical and ...
  2. ^ Arab Observer Issues 185–197 1964 "ABBAS AL-AKKAD Yet another seat in the Arab Academy became vacant after the death last week of writer and man of letters, Abbas Mahmoud Al Akkad, at the age of 75."
  3. ^ The literature of ideas in Egypt Volume 1; Volume 1 Louis Awad – 1986 "'Abbas al-'Akkad 1889—1964 Introduction 'Abbas Mahmud al-'Aqqad was born in the town of Aswan on June 28, 1889. His father was a government clerk in charge of the deeds and property records of Aswan and Esna and died soon after 'Abbas'"