Abdalla El Tayib
Arabic scholar from Sudan.
Professor Tayib presented his ideas through his power to communicate with people and inspired his audience for 35 years by his interpretations of Qu'ran into colloquial Arabic on the radio. He devoted his life to enhance the intellectual life of the Arab world and Africa.
Professor Tayib was awarded, in 2000, the King Faisal Literature Prize for his Murshid: A Guide to the Understanding of Arabic Poetry, giving an insightful analysis of Arabic poetry from the pre-Islamic period, as well as dealing with its impact on European poets such as Dante, Marvell, Blake and the Romantics. He had an extensive command of English poetry.
Professor Tayib published several collections of his own poems, plays and stories and, in English, scholarly pieces such as the chapter on pre-Islamic poetry in the 'Cambridge History of Arabic Literature' and 'Heroes of Arabia and Stories from the Sands of Arabia.'
Abdalla having taken his doctorate in Arabic literature at London's School of Oriental and African Studies, in 1950, returned to Sudan and held several positions in academic institutions - head of the department of Arabic at the Teachers' Training Institute of Bakht al-Ruda (1951), professor of Arabic at the University of Khartoum (1956), vice chancellor of the University (1974) and Professor Emeritus of Arabic Literature for life (1977). He also played an active part in developing other Sudanese institutions such as founding of the University of Juba.
Professor Tayib's academic interest extended in other countries too such as being a full member of the Arab Academy in Cairo (1961), held a chair of higher studies at the College of Arts and Humanities of Sidi Muhammad bin Abd Allah University in Fez (Morocco) from 1977 to 1986, founded Abd Allah Bayero College of Ahmadu Bello University, Kano (Nigeria) and was also being a member of the editorial board of the African Encyclopaedia in Ghana.
Abdalla El Tayib was born at Timairab on the west bank of the Nile in northern Sudan. He suffered a cranial haemorrhage in 2000 and never regained his power of speech. He was buried in the Hillat Hamad cemetery in Khartoum where hundreds of thousands of people flocked to pay him homage ranged from the president of the republic to ministers, politicians, university professors, students and ordinary people.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan