Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni

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Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni
عبد القادر الحسيني
Born1907 (1907)
Jerusalem, Ottoman Empire
Died8 April 1948(1948-04-08) (aged 40–41)
Al-Qastal, Mandatory Palestine
AllegianceKingdom of Hejaz Palestinian Arab irregulars
Service/branchKingdom of Hejaz Army of the Holy War
Years of service1936–1948
Battles/warsArab revolt in Palestine
Civil war in Palestine
RelationsMusa al-Husayni (father)
Faisal Husseini (son)

Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni (Arabic: عبد القادر الحسيني), also spelled Abd al-Qader al-Husseini (1907 – 8 April 1948) was a Palestinian Arab nationalist and fighter who in late 1933 founded the secret militant group known as the Organization for Holy Struggle (Munathamat al-Jihad al-Muqaddas),[1][2] which he and Hasan Salama commanded as the Army of the Holy War (Jaysh al-Jihad al-Muqaddas) during the 1936–1939 Arab revolt and during the 1948 war.

Family and early nationalist career[edit]

Abd al-Qadir's wedding, 1934

Husayni was born to the prominent and influential al-Husayni family of Jerusalem. He was a son of Musa al-Husayni. He lost his mother a year and a half after his birth. Subsequently, his grandmother took care of him and his seven other siblings, three girls, four boys.

His father, Musa al-Husayni, held various senior positions in the Ottoman Empire, working in Yemen, Iraq, Najd and Constantinople (Istanbul) in addition to Palestine. Because of his valuable service to the Ottoman Empire, the government granted him the title (Pasha). He was mayor of Jerusalem (1918–1920), before he was dismissed as mayor by the British authorities. He then became head of the nationalist Executive Committee of the Palestine Arab Congress from 1922 until 1934. Musa was the first to raise his voice in the face of the British Mandate, and the first to call the people of Palestine to protest, demonstrate and show their discontent and anger against the Balfour Declaration. He participated in many demonstrations, the last of which was the large demonstration in Jaffa on 27 October 1933, in which he was severely beaten with batons by the British soldiers. Musa's injuries were so serious that he remained bedridden until he died in March 1934.

Abd al-Qadir completed his secondary education in Jerusalem with distinction and then started at the College of Arts and Sciences at the American University of Beirut, but did not continue his studies there. Instead he went to and later graduated in chemistry at the American University in Cairo while organising the Congress of Educated Muslims.

Initially, he took a post in the settlement department of the British Mandate government but eventually moved to the Hebron area during the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine to lead the struggle against the British. A member of the Palestine Arab Party, he served as its secretary-general and became editor-in-chief of the party's paper Al-Liwa'[3] and other newspapers, including Al-Jami'a Al-Islamiyya.

Abd al-Qadir married in 1934. In 1940 his son Faisal al-Husayni was born who would go onto being the founder and leader of Arab Studies Society, head of Fatah organization in the West Bank and Palestinian Authority Minister for Jerusalem Affairs.

Battle of al-Qastal[edit]

In 1938, Abd al-Qadir was exiled and in 1939 moved to Iraq where he took part in the Rashid Ali al-Gaylani coup. He moved to Egypt in 1946, but secretly returned to Palestine to lead the Army of the Holy War in January 1948. Husayni was killed while personally reconnoitring an area of Qastal Hill shrouded by fog, in the early hours of 8 April 1948.[4] His forces later captured al-Qastal from the Haganah, which had occupied the village at the start of Operation Nachshon six days earlier with a force of about 100 men.[5] They retreated to the Jewish settlement of Motza.[6] Palmach troops recaptured the village on the night of 8–9 April, losing 18 men in the attack;[7] most of the houses were blown up and the hill became a command post.[8][9] Huseyni's death was regarded as a factor in the loss of morale among his forces.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Swedenburg, 1999, p. 150
  2. ^ Sayigh, 2000, p. 35
  3. ^ Levenberg, 1993, p. 6.
  4. ^ Morris, 2008, p.123.
  5. ^ Morris, 2003, p. 234.
  6. ^ Dana Adams Schmidt, "Arabs Win Kastel But Chief is Slain", The New York Times, 9 April 1948, p. 8 (A brief biography and account of the battle).
  7. ^ "דף הבית". Archived from the original on 1 June 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  8. ^ Benveniśtî, 2002, p.111.
  9. ^ Morris, 2003, p. 235.
  10. ^ Time, "War for Jerusalem Road"


External links[edit]