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Amin al-Husseini
Amin al-Husseini (1929)
Religion Islam
Denomination Sunni
School Hanafi
Born c. 1895–97
Jerusalem, Ottoman Syria
Died 4 July 1974(1974-07-04)
Beirut, Lebanon
Religious career
Profession Mufti
Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (in office 1921–1948)
In office
Preceded by Kamil al-Husayni
Succeeded by Hussam ad-Din Jarallah
President of the Supreme Muslim Council
In office
9 January 1922 – 1937
Preceded by Post established: President of the Supreme Muslim Council
President of All-Palestine
In office
September 1948 – 1953
Preceded by Post established
Succeeded by Post disbanded
Military service

Amin al-Husseini (Arabic: أمين الحسيني, romanized: ʾAmīn al-Ḥusaynī c. 1897 – 4 July 1974), or Amin al-Husayni, was a Palestinian Arab nationalist and Muslim leader in Mandatory Palestine.


Al-Husseini's mentor, Muhammad Rashid Rida, an Islamic scholar noteworthy for his vehement opposition to Zionist movement and Western ideals

Amin al-Husseini was born around 1897 in Jerusalem. He was the son of the mufti of that city and prominent early opponent of Zionism, Tahir al-Husayni. His relatives traced their origins to the eponymous grandson of Muhammad.

Al-Husseini received education in Islamic, Ottoman, and Catholic schools. In 1912, he went to pursue further studies in Cairo's Dar al-Da'wa wa al-Irshad, an Islamic seminary under the tutelage of Salafist theologian Muhammad Rashid Rida.

After studying there for two years, he went on to serve in the Ottoman army in World War I. At war's end he settled in Damascus. He was a supporter of the Arab Kingdom of Syria.

After the Franco-Syrian War and the collapse of Arab Hashemite rule in Damascus, he moved back to Jerusalem. From as early as 1920 he actively opposed Zionism, and was a leader of the 1920 Nebi Musa riots.

Al-Husseini was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment for incitement but was pardoned by the British. In 1921, Herbert Samuel, the British High Commissioner appointed him Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, a position he used to promote Islam. During the 1921–1936 period, he was considered an important ally by the British authorities.

Collaboration with the Nazis

His opposition to the British peaked during the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine. In 1937, fearing arrest, he fled Palestine and took refuge first in the French Mandate of Lebanon and then the Kingdom of Iraq. He ended up in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.

During World War II he collaborated with both Italy and Germany. He was making propagandistic radio broadcasts and helping the Nazis recruit Bosnian Muslims for the Waffen-SS (on the grounds that they shared four principles: family, order, the leader and faith). He met with Adolf Hitler and asked him to back for Arab independence and support in opposing the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish national home. Upon the end of the war he came under French protection, and then sought refuge in Cairo to avoid prosecution for war crimes.

Prior to the 1948 Palestine war, al-Husseini opposed both the 1947 UN Partition Plan and King Abdullah's designs to annex the Arab part of British Mandatory Palestine to Jordan. He built his own militia, al-jihad al-muqaddas.

In September 1948 he participated in the establishment of an All-Palestine Government. Seated in Egyptian-ruled Gaza, this government won limited recognition by Arab states but was eventually dissolved by Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1959. After the war and the 1948 Palestinian exodus, his claims to leadership were wholly discredited, and he lost most of his political influence.

He died in Beirut, Lebanon in July 1974.


Husseini was and remains a highly controversial figure. He is sometimes considered to be a nationalist, an antisemite, or a combination of both.

Interesting facts about Amin al-Husseini

  • When at school, he learned Turkish and French.
  • At the age of 16, al-Husseini accompanied his mother Zainab to Mecca and received the honorary title of Hajji.

Works by Amin al-Husseini

  • The Causes of the Palestine Catastrophe (1948 in Arabic). Asbab Karithat Filastin أسباب كارثة فلسطين
  • The Lie of the Palestinians Sold their Land (1954 in Arabic, a letter of response published from Egypt). Kithbat Bay' al-Filastiniyin li Ardihim (كذبة بيع الفلسطينيين لأرضهم)
  • Facts about the Palestinian Matter (1954 in Arabic, Cairo). Haqaiq 'an Qadiyat Filastin (حقائق عن قضية فلسطين)
  • The Memoirs of Amin al-Husseini, covering the period 1937 to 1948. (First published in 1975 in Arabic, republished in Syria as a whole book in 1999. Originally Published progressively as monthly articles in the Palestine Magazine between 1967 and 1975 over 75 episodes)

Biographies of Amin al-Husseini

  • 1988, Ibrahim Abu Shaqra, Al-Hajj Amin al-Husseini: From his Birth until the 1936 Revolt. الحاج أمين الحسيني منذ ولادته حتى ثورة 1936. (Lattakia: Dar al-Manara). Abu Shaqra also published a second edition in 1989 in Damscus with further details covering events post-1936.
  • 1998, Philip Mattar, The Mufti of Jerusalem, Al-Hajj Amin al-Husayni and the Palestinian National Movement, Columbia University Press
  • 1993, Zvi Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti: Haj Amin Al-Hussaini, Founder of the Palestinian National Movement, Routledge

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Amin al-Husayni para niños

  • Palestinian nationalism
  • Palestinian political violence
  • Army of Shadows: Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, 1917–1948
  • Relations between Nazi Germany and the Arab world
  • Collaboration with the Axis Powers during World War II
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