Dr. Sufi Abu Taleb

Dr. Sufi Abu Taleb

Reviewed by: Wafaa El-houseiny 

Translated by: Nour Elhoda Abdel Ghaffar

Dr. Sufi Abu Taleb

Dr. Sufi Abu Taleb was born on January 27, 1925, at Tamiya Center in Fayoum Governorate. He graduated from the Faculty of Law, Cairo University in 1946, then received a diploma in public law in 1947, and sent a mission to France in 1948.

Abu Taleb received his doctorate in law from Paris in 1950. He rose through Cairo University’s academic posts until he assumed the position of president of Cairo University, and received the award of the best doctoral thesis from the same university. He was appointed as an advisor to Assiut University. Dr. Sufi received the "Diploma of Mediterranean Law" from the University of Rome in 1959.

After returning to Cairo, he was appointed as an advisor to Cairo University from 1967 to 1973, then as Vice President of Cairo University from 1973 to 1975, and then as President of Cairo University from 1975 to 1978. During this period, Dr. Abu Taleb was an elected member of the Central Committee of the Socialist Union in 1975. Abu Taleb also won membership in the People's Assembly for the Tamiya constituency in Fayoum governorate in 1976. He was also elected as head of the Education Committee of the Council.

Dr. Sufi assumed the presidency of the People's Assembly in 1978 and was able to issue a presidential decree establishing a branch of Cairo University in Fayoum. The Faculty of Education was the first faculty established in Fayoum, and he was honored for his prominent role in the university, so the largest lecture hall in the Faculty of Education was named after him. Then the faculties increased until Fayoum University became independent. It was known that he was the leading force behind the Islamic law validation project on which the People's Assembly committees worked in the late 1970s, and finished in the early 1980s. He fought battles to ensure the continuation of "Islamic law" as a source of legislation in Article 2 of the Constitution, influenced by the subject of Islamic law, which he was studying at the university.

At the time of the assassination of President Sadat on October 6, 1981, Abu Taleb held the position of Speaker of the People's Assembly. According to the Constitution of 1971, the President of the Republic was chosen by the People's Assembly through the selection of a name or a candidate for the presidency and put the candidate to a referendum for the people to vote. It also stipulated that the Speaker of the People's Assembly shall assume the presidential position of the Republic in the event of the death of the President of the Republic. If the Assembly is dissolved, he shall be replaced by the President of the Supreme Constitutional Court, provided that neither of them are nominated for the presidency.

In his first statement after assuming the presidency temporarily, Abu Taleb demanded the people vote in the referendum, saying, "Today's referendum is not just a referendum on the mere election of a president of the republic, but a referendum on the policy of all Egypt, which was established by the late President Anwar Al-Sadat."

Dr. Abu Taleb left the House of Representatives in February 1983 after the end of his term. After that he continued to work as an academic professor of Islamic law at the Faculty of Law, Cairo University, and then as a member of the Islamic Research Academy.

He also held other positions as a member of the "National Council of Education", a member of the "Higher Council for Arts and Literature", a rapporteur of the Law History Committee of the Higher Council for Arts and Literature, a member of the Board of Directors of the Economics and Legislation Association, and a secretary of the Student Welfare Association.

Dr. Abu Taleb has several publications, the most famous of which is his book entitled "Principles of Jurisprudence". He was an active and eloquent man who continued to refute the arguments of those who objected to the application of Islamic law until the end of his life. He received many awards and honors during his life, including:

  • The Nile Sash from Egypt.
  • The Order of the Republic from Sudan.
  • The Legion of Honor from the French Government in 1977.
  • The State Appreciation Award in 1990.

Dr. Sufi Abu Taleb passed away at dawn on February 21, 2008, when he was participating in the third global meeting of the Al-Azhar Alumni Association around the world in the Malaysian city of Kuala Lumpur.