The Autobiography of Muhammad 'Izzat Darwaza as Extracted from His Memoris (1887-1984 AD/1305-1404 AH)
Contributors :
Edited and Introduced by
Walid Khalidi
Copyedited and Indexed by
Samir el-Deek
مؤسسة الدراسات الفلسطينية والمكتبة الخالدية
Publication Year: 
Number of Pages: 

Darwaza began his daily diary in 1932 then turned it into fair copy in the late Seventies in Damascus. It was then published by the celebrated Tunisian publisher Al-Habib al-Lamasi and appeared in Beirut in 1993 in six volumes of 4242 pages, under the title The Memoirs of Muhammad `Izzat Darwaza (1305-1404 AH/1887-1984 AD) and published by Dar al-Gharb al-Islami.

 These memoirs are considered among the most important primary sources for history of Palestine and of Arab nationalism in the Greater Syria region in the Twentieth Century. In seeking to introduce the new Arab generations to this author, we removed from these six volumes what we considered to be non-autobiographical material and thus recovered the genuinely autobiographical material to be found in these excerpts. We further prepared an Introduction which explains the principles employed in our selection and which contains a brief sketch of some of Darwaza’s political and literary activity throughout his long life.


Muhammad 'Izzat Darwaza was born in Nablus in 1887 and became one of the most prominent figures in Palestine and the Arab East in the Twentieth Century. He lived through the Ottoman and Syrian Faisal periods (1919-1920) as well the British Mandate period and beyond. He joined the secret Al-Fatat Society in 1915, and took part in creating the Independence Party in Damascus in 1919 and in Jerusalem in 1932. His entire life was devoted to combatting French, British and Zionist imperialisms, both before and after the Nakba of 1948. He helped to found the Al-Najah College in Nablus in the Twenties and became Director of Islamic Waqfs in Jerusalem in the Thirties. From his exile in Damascus, he directed the Great Armed Rebellion of 1937-1939, led by al-Hajj Amin al-Husaini, which fought against the partition of Palestine. In the Sixties and Seventies, he advocated Arab unity in his writings and unified guerrilla action against Israel and took part in the creation of the United Arab Republic (1958-1961), and had suffered both imprisonment and exile. He authored some fifty books in addition to hundreds of articles about Arab, Islamic and Palestinian history, both ancient and modern, and treated subjects like religion and Judaism. His Memoirs were the crowning achievement of his writings.

Darwaza belonged to a generation of Arab leaders who were totally devoted to their cause, a generation now being replaced by another in some Arab countries which advocates “Abrahamic normalization” at the expense of Jerusalem, the first direction of prayer and the site of the Prophet’s Night Journey and Ascension; and at the expense too of a brother Arab nation in terrible suffering. He died in 1984, in Damascus, where he was buried.