|Biographical detail : ||Sudanese ideologue, intellectual, scholar, politician and revolutionary.
Al-Tubari was no stranger to prison – two stints during the Nimeiri regime and two under the National Salvation regime, which he himself brought into power. The third detention happened in 1989. The fourth came about in February 2001 until October 2003. This was the result of a conceptual and tactical split within the revolution itself.
Britain, the colonial power, compounded the division, first by reinforcing the inequalities of development between the centre and outlying regions, and then by hastily granting Sudan independence in 1956, without taking the interests of the southern Sudanese into account. “One amazing feature of the Sudanese conflicts is its tenacity,” writes Mansour Khalid (himself a former foreign minister) in his book, War and Peace in Sudan and notes. “Like the mythical phoenix, whenever the flames of war die down, it surprises friend and foe by emerging from the ashes reinvigorated, more vicious and ready to inflict greater causalities.”
He authored al-Siyasah wal-Hukm: al-Nuzum al-Suttaniyah bayn al-Usool was Sunan al-Waqi (‘Politics and Power: Rules of Governance between Practice and Reality’), a voluminous book.
A lifelong scholar of Islam, Al-Turabi had a profound influence in the Islamising the policies of Sudan. A soft-spoken cleric, he argued for greater recognition of non-Arab and non-Muslim rights. He even suggested Muslim women could marry Christian or Jewish men, or lead prayers as an Imam, and stated that he could accept a Christian woman as president of Sudan.
Born in Kasala, an eastern province, the son of a religious judge, Al-Turabi studied jurisprudence in Khartoum, and then at the University of London (1955-57), later gaining his doctorate in constitutional law from the Sorbonne in Paris in the early 1960s.
He passed away in Khartoum after losing consciousness at his office. Al-Turabi often cut an avuncular figure, with his white turban, scholastic spectacles, amiable smile and ever –present smile and ever-present chuckle.