He was born in Fes, Morocco. He studied at the University of Al-Qarawiyyin. For many years, his professor and mentor was Abdeslam Serghini. He founded the nationalistIstiqlal party which was a driving force in the Moroccan struggle for independence from Frenchcolonial rule. He broke with the party in the mid-1950s, siding with armed revolutionaries and urban guerrillas who waged a violent campaign against French rule, whereas most the nationalist mainstream preferred a diplomatic solution. In 1956, as Morocco gained independence, he reentered the party, and famously presented his case for reclaiming territories that have once been Moroccan in the newspaper al-Alam. In 1959, after the left-wingUNFP split off from Istiqlal, he became head of the party.
In 1962, he briefly served as Morocco's Minister of Islamic Affairs. He was elected to the Parliament of Morocco in 1963, and served there as an Istiqlal deputy. He then went on to become a main leader within the opposition during the 1960s and the start of the 1970s. He died in 1974, on a visit to Romania where he was scheduled to meet with Nicolae Ceauşescu.