Jabal ’Amil and the Arab Awakening: Political Culture and Education Prior to the Mandate

  • Tamara Chalabi


Shaykh Sulayman Dahir, Shaykh Ahmad Rida, and Muhammad Jabir Al Safa were part of Nabatieh’s intellectual elite. All three played leading roles in the region’s cultural progress. They were often referred to as the ‘Amili Trio. Shaykh Ahmad ’Arif al-Zayn, an inhabitant of Saida, was closely associated to this group and was also a leading cultural figure. They were well educated, but not exceptionally so when one compares them to the ulama returning from Najaf. Their elevated status is related more to their political activism and certainly to their links with a Sunni milieu that gave them approval, in addition to their cultural and political activities. These men were also small merchants who primarily dealt with the Saida Sunni bourgeoisie. They were particularly close to the Sulh family, whose lands in Tul, Tamra, and Sharqieh were near Nabatieh, and one can argue that their position in the community can also be attributed to their urban connections. This is evident by the membership of both Sulayman Dahir and Ahmad Rida in the Arab Academy in Damascus. Both men were invited to join the Academy in 1920, at a time when the Faysal government was heavily promoting an Arab kingdom that would include Jabal ’Amil; hence the nomination can be seen as part of a propaganda effort.


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  • Tamara Chalabi

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