Abdessalam Yassine

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Abdessalam Yassine ( Arabic عبد السلام ياسين, DMG ʿAbd as-Salām Yāsīn ; * September 20, 1928 in Marrakech ; † December 13, 2012 in Rabat , Morocco ) was a Moroccan Islamic scholar. He was the author of more than 25 books on various topics and founded the Ǧamāʿat al-ʿAdl wa-l-Isān ("Association for Justice and Spirituality") in the 1980s . According to Amnesty International, this association is one of the forbidden Islamist associations.


Yassine's ancestry was Berber - Arabic . In his childhood he attended a private school in Marrakech before starting his education at the age of 15 at the Ben Youssef Institute, a secondary school for Arabic and Islamic studies. Yassine only learned French at the age of 19 when he completed a year-long teacher training course in Rabat in 1947. In 1948 he began his career in the public education sector. He worked as an Arabic teacher in El-Jadida and Marrakech. In 1955 he became the official inspector for primary education in Casablanca and from 1956 to 1960 he worked in the same function at the regional level in Beni-Mellal . Yassine returned to Marrakech in 1960 as the director of the primary school teacher training center. In 1963 he worked as a supervisor for secondary schools in Casablanca. Between 1965 and 1967 he was the director of the Center for Teacher Training in Rabat . He traveled to France (1959, 1961), the USA (1959), Lebanon (1961), Tunisia , Algeria and Nigeria (1968).

In 1968 he prematurely ended his long career as a civil servant due to an illness. Yassine subsequently joined a spiritual teacher. After his death, Yassine resigned from the brotherhood of his late teacher in order to pursue a direction that was more in line with his concept of Islam, namely an increased commitment to the common good of society instead of a life of seclusion. In 1974 Yassine wrote an open letter entitled "Islam or the Flood" ( al-Islām au aṭ-ṭūfān ) to the Moroccan King Hassan II , in which he strongly criticized the political direction of the king. Thereupon the king had him imprisoned without a final judgment for a total of three and a half years, of which he had to spend two years in a psychiatric institution.

In March 1978, Yassine was released from custody. In February of the following year he published the first issue of Al-Gama'a magazine , of which a total of 16 issues had been published by 1983. However, some of these issues were confiscated by the Moroccan authorities. The magazine was officially banned after its 16th issue. In September 1981, Yassine founded the Usrat Al-Gama'a (Family of the Community) Association. The association was not officially recognized. In July 1982 he wrote an article in the 10th issue of Al-Gama'a magazine , in which he referred to the letter addressed to all heads of state of Islamic countries under the title Al-qawl wa-l-fiaal (The speech and the plot) of the Moroccan king answered, which was written on the occasion of the Islamic turn of the century. The issue was also confiscated. In November 1983, Yassine brought out the magazine Al-Subh (The Morning), which was banned after the second edition was published. Because of an article published in the magazine, Yassine was arrested again in late December and sentenced to two years in prison and a fine of 500 euros today.

In September 1987, the charity under the leadership of Yassin took the name "Association for Justice and Spirituality" ( Ǧamāʿat al-ʿAdl wa-l-Isān ). Despite numerous repression by the Moroccan regime, the association gained increasing popularity in Morocco. From December 30, 1989, Yassine was placed under house arrest, during which time he was only allowed visits from family members. On January 28, 2000, Yassine published a letter entitled Memorandum to the Beneficiary , which was addressed to the new King Muhammad VI. who had succeeded Hassan II in 1999 as the son of his late father Hassan II. In this letter, Yassine criticized the miserable socio-economic situation of the majority of the population and asked the king to use the misappropriated assets to pay off national debts. House arrest was lifted by the king on May 19, 2000. On this occasion, Yassine gave a press conference on May 20, 2000, paying attention to the international media, in which he pointed out the continuing repression and the arbitrariness of the judiciary.


Yassine has presented his spiritual, social and political ids in more than 25 books. This includes:

  • al-Islām au aṭ-ṭūfān ("Islam or the Flood"), the 1974 open letter to the Moroccan king.
  • Miḥnat al-ʿaql al-muslim baina siyādat al-waḥy wa-saiṭarat al-hawā ("The test of Islamic reason between the rule of revelation and the hegemony of arbitrariness"), published in Rabat in 1994. An English translation of the book made by Muhtar Holland under the title “The Muslim Mind on Trial. Divine Revelation Versus Secular Rationalism ”was published in 2002 by Justice and Spirituality Publishing, Iowa City, Iowa.
  • Al-Minhāǧ an-nabawī, tarbiyatan wa-tanẓīman wa-zaḥfan ("The Prophetic Path, Regarding Education, Planning, and Advancement"), published in 1982 in Beirut.
  • aš-Šūrā wa-dīmūqrāṭīya (“The Consultation and Democracy”), published in 1996 in Casablanca.
  • Islamiser la modernité (1998), translated into German by Yunus Khan under the title Islamischer Vernunftappell an die Moderne (2000).
  • al-Ḫilāfa wa-l-mulk ("Caliphate and Kingship"), published 2000.


Political positions

In his book Islamic Reason Appeal to Modernity , Yassine makes it clear that he regards “freedom of thought”, “democratic pluralism” and “law as difference” as principles which only serve to enforce “atheistic rationalism” and which actually exist direct against Islam. As an Islamic alternative to democracy , he recommends the principle of shūrā . He warns against interpreting shūrā itself in terms of a modern democracy. Shūrā could include democratic procedures and methods, but the other side of democracy, the “secular religion”, was unacceptable. The instruments that democracy can adopt in an Islamic state are public and controversial debate and a pluralistic, free and responsible press.

In his book The Consultation and Democracy , he assigns a leadership role in the state to those who have the qualifications for ijtihad . In his opinion, the ijtihād should not be restricted to a certain class of people, since it is not the monopoly of professing graduates of the Azhar , al-Qarawīyīn or the ez-Zitouna . Nor is it a sacred area from which astute doctors are excluded. Rather, every pious scholar who is capable of ijtihad is also authorized to practice it.

In his book Caliphate and Kingship , Yassine outlines the caliphate as the ideal form of Islamic rule, while in his view hereditary kingship is undesirable in Islam. The determination of a successor by the ruler could be a directive for the selection of the umma , which would contribute to stability. But if it is done in a despotic way by the Imam , then there is a risk of sliding into catastrophe.

"School of the Prophetic Way"

Yassine saw himself as the founder of a "school of the prophetic way" ( Madrasat Al-Minhāǧ an-nabawī ), whose project is the reunification of Muslims on the model of the Prophet Mohammed . The project, which he explained in several books, is intended to include an authentic, yet modern and practical method of education and training to work for the rebuilding of the Muslim community. The basics of his project can be summarized as follows:

  • The method of change is supposed to be progressive, flexible and forgiving.
  • It needs a theoretical background in order to be effective in practice.
  • Violence and underground activity must be vehemently opposed and avoided at all costs.
  • Islam is not the sole property of the Arabs. So this message must be conveyed to the whole world in the most appropriate, mild, and peaceful way.
  • To make changes, the Muslim man and woman should start with themselves, cleanse their hearts and souls from the bad intentions and feelings, and educate their minds through the perfect model of the Prophet Muhammad - a model of grace, peace, human Respect, equality and brotherhood.
  • In a word: The aim of the project is to establish justice in society and spirituality in the hearts of its citizens. Justice and spirituality mean peace with the Creator and creatures, moral righteousness and decency, social justice, prosperity, and an acceptable life for all human beings - brothers and sisters in faith or in humanity.


  • Deina Ali Abdelkader: Islamic activists: the anti-enlightenment democrats . Pluto Press, London, 2011. pp. 88-106.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Mort d'Abdessalam Yassine, leader du mouvement Al Adl Wal Ihssane , English , accessed December 14, 2012
  2. Amnesty International, Annual Report 2000
  3. Hanspeter Mattes, wuquf.de, 2002
  4. Short Biography of Imam Abdessalam Yassine. Archived from the original on October 29, 2007 ; accessed on March 22, 2014 .
  5. Morocco: The "King of the Poor" fights for reforms - Mohammed VI climbed a year ago. the throne , Tagesspiegel from July 19, 2000
  6. A PDF of the second edition from 2000 is available here .
  7. A PDF is available here .
  8. A PDF is available here .
  9. PDF of the 2nd edition from 1989
  10. A PDF is available here .
  11. A PDF of the book is available here .
  12. PDF of the book
  13. Islamic Reason Appeal to Modernity . 2000, p. 253.
  14. Islamic Reason Appeal to Modernity . 2000, pp. 270f.
  15. Islamic Reason Appeal to Modernity . 2000, p. 274.
  16. Islamic Reason Appeal to Modernity . 2000, p. 279.
  17. Islamic Reason Appeal to Modernity . 2000, p. 279.
  18. aš-Sura wa-dīmūqrāṭīya . 1996, p. 72f.
  19. aš-Sura wa-dīmūqrāṭīya . 1996, p. 75.
  20. ^ Abdelkader: Islamic activists: the anti-enlightenment democrats . 2011, pp. 102-104.
  21. al-Ḫilāfa wa-l-mulk . 2000, pp. 74f.
  22. ^ The Guide. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010 ; accessed on March 22, 2014 .