|Biographical detail : ||Arab, nationalist and Islamic.
Abu al-Tayyib, as he was lovingly known, was a eminent Palestinian figure and an Arab-Islamic thinker, historian, linguist, and influential writer – his life is a record of the Palestinian people’s rise from the ashes of the 1948 catastrophe and its aftermath. The combination of Islam and Arab nationalism shaped his political and intellectual outlook for the rest of his life.
Al-Dajani also took active part in the Arab-European dialogue, from 1975 to 1989, and became closely involved in the founding of several Arab forums and civil rights organisations including the Centre of Arab Unity Studies (1975), the Arab Organisation for Human Rights (1982), the Arab Thought Forum (1985), the Arab Council for Childhood and Development (1987), and the Arab nationalist Congress (1989).
Abu al-Tayyib’s disagreement with the PLO’s leadership came to a loggerhead after the signing of the Oslo agreement in September 1993, which he openly and forcefully opposed in his writings and speeches.
Al-Dajani’s outstanding achievement was the vital role he played in the founding of the Arab nationalist-Islamist conference in 1994 – the idea born out of the climate created by the divisive Kuwaiti crisis of 1990 and the subsequent American war on Iraq the following year and the signing of the Oslo agreement. He believed that the changing international situation was confronting the Arab and Muslim world. The first Arab nationalist-Islamist conference, in Beirut, in 1994 which turned into a permanent entity elected Abu al-Tayyib as the first co-ordinator general of the conference.
Abu al-Tayyib published thousands of essays and short commentaries in various Arab newspapers and journals and authored many books. His contributions to modern Arab thought, language and culture earned him honours from Arab Language Academy, Cairo, the Kingdom of Morocco Academy, and the Royal Foundation for Islamic Research in Amman.
Ahmad Sidqi al-Dajani was born at the Mediterranean city of Yafa in a prominent family. His husky voice and his fusha (proper, high Arabic) spoken Arabic made him a recognisable speaker throughout the Arab world. For decades he was an essential part of the cultural and political life of Cairo where he passed away.