Umar al-Tilmisani

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Umar al-Tilmisani
عمر التلمساني
Omar El-Telmesani.jpg
3rd General Guide of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood
In office
Preceded byHassan al-Hudaybi
Succeeded byMuhammad Hamid Abu al-Nasr
Personal details
Born(1904-11-04)November 4, 1904
Cairo, Egypt
DiedMay 22, 1986(1986-05-22) (aged 81)
Cairo, Egypt

'Umar al-Tilmisani (Arabic: عمر التلمسانى‎, IPA: [ˈʕomɑɾˤ et.telmeˈsæːni]; most often transliterated as Omar el Telmesany or Telmesani ) (4 November 1904 – 22 May 1986) was the third General Guide (Murshid al-'Am) of the Egyptian Muslim Brothers. He headed the Egyptian Islamist organization from 1972 until 1986. Al-Tilmisani (his name is a variation on Tlemceni, reflecting his family origin in the Western Algerian city of that name) headed the Muslim Brothers during a period of cooperation and, some observers suggest, cooptation by the Egyptian state. While the Brothers were not precisely legal during Tilmisani's term, they were tolerated and encouraged by President Anwar al-Sadat as a bulwark against both leftist opponents and more extremist Islamists.


Al-Tilmisani was born in the Darb al-Ahmar district of Cairo in 1904. A lawyer, al-Tilmisani joined the Brothers in 1933, and was inducted into the organization by its founding General Guide, Hassan al-Banna.[citation needed]

Al-Tilmisani was from a family of prominent landowners, which owned 300 feddans (acres) and seven houses.[citation needed] His deputy, and a later successor as General Guide, Mustafa Mashhur, was also from a family of wealthy landowners. Their prominence and social status led historian Robert Springborg to conclude at the end of the 1980s that, "It can reasonably be claimed that those currently in control of the Muslim Brothers are of the Islamic infitah bourgeoisie who 'bought' the organization with resources acquired through collaboration with the Sadat regime".[1]

Despite heading the group during this period of cooperation with the state, al-Tilmisani was imprisoned three times, once in 1954, as an activist during the difficult Nasser years, and twice while at the head of the group, during Sadat's mass roundup of opponents in 1981, and again under Hosni Mubarak in 1984.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Springborg, Robert (1989). Mubarak's Egypt: Fragmentation of the Political Order. Boulder: Westview Press. p. 236. ISBN 0-8133-7643-2.
Religious titles
Preceded by
Hassan al-Hudaybi
General Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood
Succeeded by
Muhammad Hamid Abu al-Nasr