|Native name||عباس محمود العقاد|
|Born||28 June 1889
|Died||13 March 1964
Abbās Mahmūd al-Aqqād (Arabic: عباس محمود العقاد ʿAbbās Maḥmūd al-ʿAqqād; 28 June 1889 – 12 March 1964) was an Egyptian journalist, poet and literary critic, and member of the Academy of the Arabic Language in Cairo. More precisely, because "his writings cover a broad spectrum, including poetry, criticism, Islamology, history, philosophy, politics, biography, science, and Arabic literature", he's perceived to be a polymath.
Al-'Aqqad was born in Aswan, a city in Upper Egypt, in 1889. His father was a money-changer originally from Damietta while his mother had Kurdish roots. He received little formal education, completing only his elementary education; he later supplemented his learning by buying books and reading on his own. 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 was also particularly well-read in German literature.
Al-'Aqqad was also an outspoken political thinker, and was jailed for a time between 1930 and 1931 for his criticism of his country's government. In 1942 when the forces of Adolf Hitler advanced on Egypt, al-'Akkad fled to Sudan due to fear of reprisal for his criticism of Hitler. At the height of Hitler's military advances, al-'Akkad wrote his scathing work Hitler in the Balance in June 1940 in which he lambasts Nazism as the greatest threat to freedom, modernity and the very existence of man. In addition to his general opposition to both fascism and communism, al-'Akkad was also both a member of the Egyptian parliament for a time as a member of the Wafd Party, and later a member of the Chamber of Deputies.
He wrote more than a hundred of books about philosophy, religion, and poetry, along with a philosophical study of the Qur'an and various biographies of historic Muslim leaders. 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.
Al-Aqqad experienced two major romantic relationships in his life. The first was 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.
A "prolific writer, he authored over a hundred books and several thousand articles", including:
- Sārah (in Arabic). Cairo: Dār Nahḍ̣at Miṣr lil-Nashr. 1999. ISBN 9771409174.
- Abqarīyat al-Imām ʻAlī (in Arabic). Cairo: Dār Nahḍ̣at Miṣr lil-Nashr. 2003. ISBN 9770186961.
- Abqarīyat Muḥammad (in Arabic). Cairo: Dār Nahḍ̣at Miṣr lil-Nashr. 2004. ISBN 9771426672.
- Abqarīyat ʻUmar (in Arabic). Cairo: Dār Nahḍ̣at Miṣr lil-Nashr. 2007. ISBN 9771421069.
- Abqarīyat Khālid (in Arabic). Cairo: Dār Nahḍ̣at Miṣr lil-Nashr. 2011. ISBN 9771425587.
- Dhū al-nūrayn : ʻUthmān ibn ʻAffān (in Arabic). Cairo: Dār Nahḍ̣at Miṣr lil-Nashr. 2012. ISBN 9771423967.
- Allah (in Arabic). Cairo: Dār Nahḍ̣at Miṣr lil-Nashr.
- The genius of Christ (2001) translated F. Peter Ford, ISBN 1586841041.
- About Arabic books Nur Sherif – 1970 "WITH AL-AKKAD By Shawqi Daif. 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 ...
- ʿAbbās Maḥmūd al-ʿAqqād, Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Accessed 22 December 2015.
- A.C. Brown, Jonathan (2014). Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy. Oneworld Publications. p. 146. ISBN 978-1780744209.
- 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."
- Matti Moosa, The Origins of Modern Arabic Fiction, Lynne Rienner Publishers (1997), p. 339
- Pierre Cachia, An Overview of modern Arabic literature, Edinburgh University Press (1990), p. 90
- Wen-chin Ouyang, Politics of Nostalgia in the Arabic Novel: Nation-State, Modernity and Tradition, Edinburgh University Press (2013), p. 63
- 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'"
- Arthur Goldschmidt, Biographical Dictionary of Modern Egypt, Lynne Rienner Publishers (2000), p. 24
- Nadav Safran, Egypt in Search of Political Community: An Analysis of the Intellectual and Political Evolution of Egypt, 1804-1952, Harvard University Press (1961), p. 135
- Israel Gershoni, Liberal Democratic Legacies in Modern Egypt: The Role of the Intellectuals, 1900–1950 Archived 22 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine., Institute for Advanced Study, Summer 2012 issue. Accessed 22 December 2015
- Ali Abdel Mohsen, Streets of Cairo: Abbas al-Akkad . Egypt Independent, 18 December 2010. Accessed 29 December 2015.
- F. Peter Ford, Jr., "Preface" in Abbas Mahmud al-Aqqad, The Genius of Christ, Global Academic Publishing (2001), p. viii