About - Who was Kawaakibi

Who was Kawaakibi?

Abdulrahman al-Kawaakibi (1855-1902)

Abdulrahman al-Kawaakibi (1855-1902), was a leading Syrian Muslim intellectual of the Arab renaissance of the 19th century. Born in Aleppo, Syria, he worked in publishing and local government before starting his own journal, which was shut down by the authorities.

He was a fierce advocate of liberty, constitutionalism and free speech, his outspoken criticism of the Ottoman government leading him to be harassed, intimidated and imprisoned. He left into exile, where he wrote his magnum opus “The Nature of Tyranny”, which continues to inspire over a century after it was published.

His eloquent writings demonstrate a connection to his Islamic heritage but also deep familiarity with the ideas of the world beyond, an openness to rational argument and human wisdom, and above all a burning concern for the suffering of his community.

The state of living under tyranny is unnatural and runs counter to God’s intent for humanity”
Tyranny of the majority is worse than the tyranny of the few, for it has a semblance of legitimacy”
Political reform always leads to religious reform, and religious reform always leads to political reform”