Muhammad Jaber Al Safa

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Muhammad Jaber Āl Safa
Mohamed jaber safa.JPG
Born 1875
Nabatiye, Ottoman Syria
Died 1945
Nabatiye, Lebanon
Occupation Historian, writer, poet, politician
Notable works Tārīkh Jabal ʻAmil (The History of Jabal Amil)
Relatives Ahmad Rida (father-in-law)

Muhammad Jaber Āl Safa (also spelled Jabir Al Safa) (1875–1945) (Arabic: محمد جابر آل صفا‎) was a historian, writer and politician from Jabal Amel (in modern-day Lebanon), known for his founding role in the anti-colonialist Arab nationalist movement in turn-of-the-century Levant.[1]


Born in Nabatiye into an illustrious family of scholars descended from the Safavids, he studied language and history under renowned scholars Hassan Yusuf al-Makki and Muhammad Ibrahim al-Husseini. Jaber Al Safa and his companions Sheikh Ahmad Reda (also his father-in-law) and Sheikh Sulaiman Daher, having formed an intellectual gathering known as "the Ameli Three", also known as the "Amili Trio" or "Nabatieh Trio", played a principal role in forming Jabal Amel's political and cultural history,[2] and were also the first in that region to speak of an Arab nation and of an Arab state.[3]

Because of the group's violent opposition to the Ottoman rule, they were arrested in 1915, along with other Arab nationalist leaders such as Rida Al Solh and his son Riad, and imprisoned in Aley's military prison.[4][5] They were liberated as the Ottomans left the country during the First World War.

He was a major supporter of King Faisal's rule in Greater Syria, following the Arab Revolt, having been a leading nationalist since before the outbreak of the First World War.[6] Nationalists, prior to the revolt, were not secessionist. Rather, they called for decentralization and discussed nationalist ideas, while still positioning themselves within the Ottoman entity.[7] Jaber Al Safa credited the Ottoman state with losing people's support because of the harsh measures it implemented regarding conscription and, before that, its suppression of Arabic as an official and administrative language and related Turkification policies brought forth by the Committee of Union and Progress.

Jaber, as part of the "Amili Trio", lobbied for Lebanon's union with Syria and opposed the French Mandate in Lebanon (he was briefly arrested by the French authorities for subversive activities but was released following widespread protests in Nabatiye in his support), remaining a supporter of pan-Arab unity until his death in 1945.[8]

He wrote "Tārīkh Jabal `Amil", or "The History of Jabal `Amil", which is used as a main reference on the history of the Levant and Lebanon, and Jabal Amel in particular.[9]

Āl Safa is a descendant of the Safavids, a branch of whom left Iran following civil strife and settled in Jabal Amel.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chalabi, Tamara (2006). The Shi'is of Jabal `Amil and the New Lebanon: Community and Nation-State, 1918-1943, p.34
  2. ^ Chalabi (2006), p.33
  3. ^ Chalabi (2006), p.34
  4. ^ Harris, William (2012). Lebanon: A History, 600-2011, Oxford University Press, p.173
  5. ^ Chalabi (2006), p.52
  6. ^ Nakash, Yitzhak (2011). Reaching for Power: The Shi'a in the Modern Arab World, Princeton University Press, p.39
  7. ^ Chalabi (2006), p.50
  8. ^ Chalabi (2006), p.108-9
  9. ^ Chalabi (2006), p.163, p.36

External links[edit]