Sign In . Don't have a World Wisdom ID? Sign Up

A Definition of the Perennial Philosophy
What is "Christian Spirit"?
The Fullness of God: Frithjof Schuon on Christianity
Books about Buddhism
The Sacred Worlds Series
The Universal Spirit of Islam: Keys for Interfaith Understanding
Exploring "Timeless in Time" - a biography of Sri Ramana Maharshi
Books on Hinduism
The Writings of Frithjof Schuon
The Perennial Philosophy Series
Emir Abd el-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam
“Emir Abd el-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam” — Book Details
Emir Abd el-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam
Emir Abd el-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam
Click cover for larger image.

Price:  $23.95

ISBN:  978-1-936597-17-8
Book Size:  6" x 9"
# of Pages:  296
Language:  English

This extraordinary biography of the Algerian warrior and Sufi saint, Emir Abd el-Kader (1807/8-1883), shows his dazzling spiritual qualities in the fight against the French colonial authorities. The New York Times called the Emir “one of the few great men of the century,” while Abraham Lincoln and Pope Pius IX both commended the Emir for rescuing 15,000 Christians while in exile in Damascus. In 1846, the town of Elkader, Iowa was named in his honor.


  • ForeWord  Book of the Year Award Finalist for “Biography” and “Religion”
  • Gold Midwest Book Award for “Biography”
  • Silver Midwest Book Award for “History”
  • Eric Hoffer Award/Montaigne Medal Finalist
More Information

Detailed Description
About the Author
Read Reviews
Table of Contents
Selections from our Library
Sorry: Our ordering system is being updated. For now, please call or email us, or use your favorite online bookseller to order.
eBook editions
Click on one of the sites below
to view or purchase an eBook

You may also be interested in

Page: 1 of 8

Details on “Emir Abd el-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam”

Abd el-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam is an exceptional and fascinating biography of the great Algerian hero and mystic Emir Abd el-Kader (c. 1807/8-1883), who was “one of the few great men of the century” (New York Times) and who “once filled the world with his name” (Chicago Daily Tribune). Such was the Emir’s popularity that, in 1846, the town of Elkader, Iowa was named in his honor.

Beginning with the childhood and youth of the Emir, the reader is carried along the entire course of his tumultuous life, from his idyllic early years in the almost biblical ambience of the desert, to his first battles against the colonizing French Africa Army, ending at last with his exile in Syria. In Damascus we see the hero-saint revealed once again during his rescue of some 15,000 Christians, an act that brought acclaim from such men as Abraham Lincoln and Pope Pius IX.

Throughout the biography, which contains 10 beautiful illustrations, the author never lets us forget the Emir’s deepest nature: the saint and mystic whose greatness of soul and deep inner life is the true subject of this biography, and the source of the great piety, forbearance, and chivalry for which he was so justly famous and revered during his time.


  • ForeWord  Book of the Year Award Finalist for “Biography” and “Religion”
  • Gold Midwest Book Award for “Biography”
  • Silver Midwest Book Award for “History”
  • Eric Hoffer Award/Montaigne Medal Finalist

About the author and the writer of the "Foreword"

Ahmed Bouyerdene

Ahmed Bouyerdene was born in Algeria in 1967, but emigrated with his family to France when he was five; he has both Algerian and French nationality. Dr. Bouyerdene is an independent researcher in history and a specialist on the great Algerian leader Emir Abd el-Kader. Bouyerdene completed his PhD on the life of Abd el-Kader at the Université Marc Bloch, Strasbourg, France, and has since published several books and articles on the Emir in his native French, including Abd el-Kader, l’harmonie des contraires (le Seuil, 2008, 2012) and Abd el-Kader par ses contemporains (Ibis Press, 2008). Ahmed Bouyerdene has also attended conferences around the world to present papers on the intellectual and spiritual qualities of the Emir, and has been a consultant on various media projects on the Emir. The World Wisdom book Emir Abd el-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam is his first work to be translated into English. Dr. Ahmed Bouyerdene lives in southern France.

Click here for more information

Eric Geoffroy

Éric Geoffroy is a scholar, translator, educator, and writer who is Professor of Islamic Studies in the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Strasbourg, France. He also teaches at the Open University of Catalonia, at the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium), and at the International Institute of Islamic Thought (Paris). Dr. Geoffroy specializes in Islam and its mystical dimension, Sufism, often focusing on aspects of sainthood. Among others areas, his research also extends to comparative mysticism, and to issues of spirituality in the contemporary world (e.g. spirituality and globalization; spirituality and ecology, etc.). In addition, he is a member of an international research group on Science and Religion in Islam, through the Université Interdisciplinaire of Paris.

Recently, World Wisdom published the first full book in English to appear by Dr. Eric Geoffroy. Introduction to Sufism: The Inner Path of Islam, is a translation of his French book Initiation au soufisme. An excerpt from that book was also included in the World Wisdom collection Sufism: Love and Wisdom .

Click here for more information

Reviews of “Emir Abd el-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam”

Comments on the subject of this book, the Emir Abd el-Kader

“There are few names in the list of modern notabilities which are better known than that of the ‘Arab Napoleon,’ the warrior who, in defense of his native soil, successfully defied, during several campaigns, the whole power of France, and kept her armies in a state of almost unremitting warfare for more than fifteen years. . . . [The Emir Abd el-Kader] was one of the few great men of the century.”
The New York Times

“The most redoubtable adversary that France encountered on African soil, the man who for sixteen years of heroic battles fought for his faith and for the independence of his country, Abd el-Kader is, unquestionably, the most important personage that has arisen in the last century among the Muslim populations.”
Le Figaro, French national newspaper

“Abd el-Kader disquieted Paris and challenged all the might of France in the reign of Louis Phillipe. The history of the French conquest of Algeria is in substance the record of the conflict which Abd el-Kader waged almost single-handed against the foremost military nation of Europe.”
The London Times

“America owes even a more absolute debt to this illustrious son of the desert. For the Americans in Syria owe all that they have saved from the storm which so lately swept with fiery breath from the Lebanon to the Levant, not to the terror of the American name or the vigor of American policy, but to just such humane and fearless action as that of the exiled chieftain of Algiers [Abd el-Kader]. . . . Today the Christian world unites to honor in the dethroned Prince of Islam, the most unselfish of knightly warriors, risking limb and life to rescue his ancient foes, his conquerors and the conquerors of his race and his religion, from outrage and from death.”
The New York Times, October 20, 1860, reporting on the Emir’s rescue of over 10,000 Christians in Damascus, Syria

“All the representatives of the Christian powers then residing in Damascus, without one single exception, had owed their lives to [Abd el-Kader]. Strange and unparalleled destiny! An Arab had thrown his guardian aegis over the outraged majesty of Europe. A descendant of the Prophet had sheltered and protected the Spouse of Christ.”
Charles H. Churchill, biographer of the Emir

“There is broad ground of respect and friendship between Abd-el-Kader and the allies—that the cause is one of indigenous rights and liberties against foreign aggression—a cause in which he has shown himself the most heroic leader of his nation, and the true compeer of the patriot heroes of all time.”
The New York Daily Times, May 15, 1854

“He had the genius to engraft on the traditionary tactics of the Arabs a regular method for fighting civilized troops, and he showed himself as careful of the stomachs of his men, and the marching powers of his columns, as the scientific general of a European army.”
The Fortnightly Review, London, 1867

“His career was divided into two periods: the first was a true heroic epic; the second was a renunciation of all the tumult of the past. Judged from the standpoint of history, and aside from all the prejudices of our civilization, Abd el-Kader will appear as one of the most extraordinary men of our times.”
Le Temps, Swiss daily newspaper

“Such is the history of the man for whom our town is named. A scholar, a philosopher, a lover of liberty; a champion of his religion, a born leader of men, a great soldier, a capable administrator, a persuasive orator, a chivalrous opponent; the selection was well made, and with those pioneers of seventy years ago, we do honor the Shaykh.”
Elkader High School, Elkader, Iowa, class of 1915

Reviews of Emir Abd el-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam

“Emir Abd el-Kader was one of the most remarkable figures in recent Islamic history, combining perfection in both the active and the contemplative life, an achievement that remains of great significance today for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The study of this figure by Bouyerdene is one of the best in the field and is likely to draw even greater attention to this hero and saint.”
Seyyed Hossein Nasr, The George Washington University, author of The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity

“Groundbreaking, inspiring, and timely, this biography documents the life of the unsung hero of Algerian nationalism. Emir Abd el-Kader was a compassionate warrior and negotiator with the French, as well as a defender of religious minorities in the Ottoman Empire. Ahmed Bouyerdene’s scholarly yet accessible work is an eloquent testimony that religion can be a galvanizing force for the greater good, and a compulsory guide as we work toward building bridges between the Muslim world and the West.”
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, author of What’s Right with Islam and Moving the Mountain

“Abd el-Kader’s most renowned deed was the rescue, at great risk to his own life, of over 10,000 Christians who were under all-out onslaught from an army of Druze in Damascus in 1860, an act which attracted the warm acclaim of such figures as Abraham Lincoln, Pope Pius IX, and Napoleon III. The present book centers on Abd el-Kader’s inner life, his knowledge of Sufi mysticism, and his practice of unceasing mental prayer. This book displays the real Islam to a world whose knowledge of Islam is ‘Islamic’ terrorism.”
William Stoddart, author of What Does Islam Mean in Today’s World?

“Few figures from the last centuries can be considered as embodying the breadth and depth of a whole spiritual tradition, indeed of an entire civilization, as did the Emir Abd el-Kader. Ahmed Bouyerdene’s beautiful biography testifies to an Islam lived up to its most elevated and heroic reaches, an Islam that challenges the narrowness of too many of its fierce critics and zealots alike.”
Patrick Laude, Georgetown University, author of Pathways to An Inner Islam

“In this superb biography of the life and teachings of the Emir Abd el-Kader one finds brilliantly manifested the deepest ideals of the Islamic faith. It is for this reason that he continues to be regarded in our times as the Muslim hero par excellence—a hero in whom the most noble chivalry was combined with the metaphysical insights of a true sage, and the spiritual graces of a realized saint.”
Reza Shah-Kazemi, Institute of Ismaili Studies, author of My Mercy Encompasses All and The Other in the Light of the One

“This biography of the great Algerian leader—admired in his lifetime not only by his contemporaries such as President Lincoln, but also by his foes—will help us to rediscover in our own times the true spirit of Islam and to gain a better appreciation of the meaning of the misunderstood term jihad, whose qualities of nobility and magnanimity in the face of strife, were exemplified by the Emir’s life.”
M. Ali Lakhani, editor of Sacred Web, and author of The Timeless Relevance of Traditional Wisdom

“The Emir invalidates the theory of the ‘clash of civilizations,’ while having a foreboding of its advent. As an Abrahamic heir he warns us that humanity cannot be united, and therefore saved, except through spirituality.”
Éric Geoffroy, Marc Bloch University, author of Introduction to Sufism: The Inner Path of Islam

“This book is an excellent overview of the Emir’s life, spirituality, and times. In an era of widespread misunderstanding about Islam, this biography provides a refreshing portrait of a classic ‘defender of the faith’ who was as fiercely dedicated to Muslim chivalry as he was to opposing colonial occupation, and who took full responsibility for the protection of the innocent and vulnerable, no matter their religion or birthplace.”
Roger Gaetani, editor of A Spirit of Tolerance: The Inspiring Life of Tierno Bokar and co-editor of Sufism: Love and Wisdom

“This wonderful and much-needed translation conveys the beauty and majesty of the original. It is an accessible and at times exhilarating account of a seemingly legendary individual. The translator’s excellent introduction situates the life of the Emir in the political crosscurrents of his time and spiritual undercurrents of Islam, demonstrating how the former never compromised the latter. Through this work, one gains a true vision of the chivalry and sanctity that defines Islam when practiced in all its depth and breadth.”
Joseph Lumbard, Brandeis University, editor of Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition

“The author has accomplished a difficult and admirable work, giving us a balanced view of this great man who was at once an outstanding and chivalrous warrior and strategist, a leader of men, a hero, a man of profound learning, and a mystic and saint of the highest order. All these facets of the Emir come before the reader’s view, but at the same time, the author never loses sight of the essential: it is the virtues and the inner life of the spirit, which in this soul have precedence over all else and stamp the outward life to such an extent that even his enemies became his admirers because they perceived his extraordinary quality. Above all, the Emir is this fascinating combination of hero and mystic, this extraordinary combination of immense courage, magnanimity, and holiness that recalls the Prophets.”
Gustavo Polit, translator of Emir Abd el-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam, from the Introduction

“[In this book] Bouyerdene never lets readers forget his admiration for the man, but he does this without falling into hagiography; instead, he describes the life of the Emir from his origins to his final accomplishments. He does this using the vocabulary, values, and beliefs of someone who is close [to the Emir], someone who might be a disciple of Ibn Arabi’s brand of Sufism.”

“The human dimensions of this great man have never before been better portrayed than as we see him here, as an exemplar of incorruptibility and as a follower of Sufism [mystical Islam]. [Abd el-Kader], who was recognized as the Commander of the Faithful and who was a political and military leader, was praised even by his opponents. He never deviated from his pious belief in Islam, and was constantly in quest of the Absolute. Although he was very open to the world and understood the idea of​ progress, [the Emir] chose for himself a constant inner spiritual quest. He opted for reflection rather than passive submission to dogmatic law, preferring throughout his life an esoteric [spiritual] path. . . . This permits us to better understand everything that created the reputation of the man during his lifetime, such as the ‘aura’ about him, and this adds luster to the historical memory of the man: his temperate judgments, the fairness and goodness of his decisions, his propensity for mercy, and his love for all mankind.”
Tribune Bulletin Côte d’Azur

“In 1841, a French priest went to the camp of Abd el-Kader to negotiate the release of prisoners. The Algerian leader saw his cross and asked about the Christ and the Trinity. . . . Several hours later, they had to stop because the interpreter was exhausted. Sometime later, when the Emir was about to leave for Mecca, he considered passing through Rome in the hope of a conversation with the Pope. Abd el-Kader is one of the most fascinating figures of the nineteenth century. Born in 1808, he was first a war leader in Algeria, and then later a man of peace in the Middle East. Abd el-Kader was certainly not only a politician. In this biography, Ahmed Bouyerdene shows that throughout his entire life the core of [the Emir] was [his inner life as] a mystic. This is the ‘harmony of opposites,’ to use the words of Victor Hugo. One of the attractions of this smart and original book are the cultural roundtrips [that we the readers experience] between the two shores of the Mediterranean.”

“Until his surrender on December 24, 1847, the Emir Abd el-Kader was the soul of Arab resistance to the French occupation of Algeria. His concept of that resistance was that it should be not only military but also spiritual. Born in 1808, the Emir had been raised in the Sufi tradition, a mystical interpretation of Islam. . . . Without the [colonialist] intrusion of the West, [the Emir] probably would never have taken up arms. Nonetheless, he knew how to extract philosophical and religious lessons from this clash, and although these add less to his legend as the Emir-warrior, they have made him the apostle of a particular humanism that is analyzed [in this book] by Ahmed Bouyerdene, one of the major specialists on the Emir. As the protector of the Christians of Damascus, who were threatened with a pogrom in 1860, Abd el-Kader believed in peace to men of good will, not submission by force.”
Luxemburger Wort

“His bravery and chivalry in war would garner the admiration of even his enemies, but his strength of character and spirituality would extend that admiration to the whole world. The Emir Abd el-Kader rose to prominence in the 1830s as the Commander of the Faithful in the war with France in Algeria. His world-wide acclaim would come later in life, though, when he saved thousands of Christians from being massacred in Damascus, Syria, in 1860.

“Bouyerdene, a specialist on the Emir Abd el-Kader and author of two books and several articles about him in France, introduces those unfamiliar with the Emir to a man who was charismatic and strong in his leadership, able to bring together diverse forces to reach a common goal, but also humble, curious, and deeply spiritual. He spent his early life studying Islam in the religious institution of his father, but was thrust into the world of politics when jihad was declared on the invading French. After that war he returned to the spiritual life that he had envisioned for himself since childhood, vowing to stay out of politics. But when tensions between religious groups led to a massacre of Christians in 1860, the Emir felt it his “sacred duty” to stand against it. Among the thousands he saved were heads of the French, Russian, Greek, and American consulates, earning him gratitude and honors from around the world.

“Through these experiences he found himself believing that men of all faiths were simply ‘children of two different mothers, but of the same father.’ He believed that despite the differences in religious practice, there was but one God, and all religions could be unified in that belief while simultaneously respecting and tolerating their differences.

“This book was originally written in French and presented as an academic thesis by Bouyerdene. The English translation, by Gustavo Polit, pulls many of the original footnotes into the text in order to make for smoother reading by a new audience. Those with an interest in historical figures with an international impact as well as those wanting to learn about Islam will find this book to be highly informative. While some works on the Emir have focused on a part of his eclectic character, Bouyerdene gives a well-rounded look at the man himself, not just the hero and saint. As Abd el-Kader once said, ‘I have not made the events: it is the events that have made me what I have been.’”
ForeWord Review

Emir Abd el-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam provides a fine biography of an Algerian Islamic Sufi leader who was a warrior and negotiator with the French who also defended the religious minorities in the Ottoman Empire. He personally rescued over 10,000 Christians who were under onslaught from an army in Damascus in 1860, and his many achievements as well as his Sufi mystic contemplations are revealed in a focus on el-Kader's inner life and mental practices. Any interested in a different focus on an Islamic figure will find this compelling.”
——California Bookwatch (a publication of The Midwest Book Review)

Table of Contents of “Emir Abd el-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam”

Foreword by Éric Geoffroy

Introduction by Gustavo Polit

Chapter 1: The Last Breath

Chapter 2: His Roots

Chapter 3: The Warrior-Saint

Chapter 4: A Liberating Ascesis

Chapter 5: An Ethic Tested by Deeds

Chapter 6: A Man of His Time

Chapter 7: The Accomplishment

Chapter 8: The Man of Unity

Conclusion: The Legacy of Abd el-Kader




Suggestions for Further Reading

Biographical Notes


Selection from our Library about Emir Abd el-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam
 TitleSourceAuthor 1Author 2Subject WW HTMLWW PDFExternal Link
The Last BreathEmir Abd el-Kader: Hero and Saint of Islam (chapter 1)Bouyerdene, Ahmed History, Islam, Sufism
 1 entries (Displaying results 1 - 1) View : Jump to: Page: of 1 pages

Home | Books | DVDs | Authors | eProducts | Members | Slideshows | Library | Image-Gallery | Links | About Us

Privacy Statement
Copyright © 2008