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Mahmoud Ali Al-Ghoul

Personal Info

  • Country of residence: Palestine
  • Gender: Male
  • Born in: 1923
  • Age: 99
  • Curriculum vitae :


Mahmoud Ali Al-Ghoul (May 3, 1923 - December 12, 1983) was a Palestinian academic who specialized in the study of Semitic languages. He studied at a number of Arab and international universities.


His upbringing and first studies

Mahmoud Ali Khader Al-Ghoul was born in the village of Silwan, from the works of Jerusalem in Palestine, on May 3, 1923. He studied in the elementary and secondary schools of Jerusalem. From 1938 to 1942 he studied at the Arab College in Jerusalem, where he learned Latin, and during his studies there he studied Syriac under one of the Syriac fathers in Amman. Among his teachers there are Ahmad Sameh Al-Khalidi, Ishaq Musa Al-Husseini, George Fadlo Al-Khoury, and among his colleagues are Nasser Al-Din Al-Assad, and Mahmoud Al-Samra.


Undergraduate studies

In 1943, he moved to Egypt, on a mission from the knowledge of Palestine, to Fouad I University (currently Cairo University). He graduated from the Department of Arabic Language and Literature in 1946, and obtained an excellent BA in Arts. During his studies there, he was influenced by a number of professors, the most important of whom were Professor William Gillian Wadell and Dr. Muhammad Salim Salem in the field of classical studies.


In 1954, he began studying at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. He studied Semitic languages, especially the languages of southern Arabia, from which he obtained in 1962 a doctorate in Semitic languages. During that time, he studied with a number of professors, the most important of whom were Sidney Smith and Robert Bertram Sergent.


his career

After graduating from King Fouad I University, Mahmoud Al-Ghoul returned to Palestine and worked as a lecturer at the Arab College in Jerusalem for two years (1946-1948). After the Nakba, he left Palestine, moving between Arab countries, teaching each year in a new school. He taught between 1948 and 1954 in Suez, Aleppo, Beirut, Kuwait, Damascus, and Amman.

In 1954 he moved to Britain to work as a teacher of Arabic at the Institute of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and worked there between 1954 - 1959. He moved in various teaching positions in Britain, namely:

Semitic language teacher at the University of St. Andrews. Andrews, Scotland (1959-1964).

Assistant Professor of Semitic Languages and Arabic Studies at the same university (1964-1968).

In 1968, Mahmoud Al-Ghoul chose to return to the East. He was appointed professor of Arabic at the American University of Beirut, where he remained for nine years until 1977.

In 1977, the Lebanese civil war intensified, and this coincided with the work to establish Yarmouk University in Jordan, so Mahmoud Al-Ghoul decided to return to Jordan, to work as a professor of the Arabic language there, and to be one of its founders.

During his career, Mahmoud Al-Ghoul worked as a visiting professor at a number of Western universities: University of California - Los Angeles (1962-1963),

Columbia University - New York (1972),

Harvard University (1973-1974).

His writings

- Horatius: His life, poetry and translation of his book "The Art of Poetry" from Latin. Al-Bada’i Series, Part One, pp. 160-229, Al-Nahda Library, Egypt, Cairo, 1945.

- About thirty articles in criticism and literature published in Palestinian, Lebanese, Syrian and Kuwaiti newspapers from 1946-1954.

The short story in contemporary literature. In Thoughts in Our Contemporary Literature, a collection of studies presented to Professor Anis Al-Maqdisi on the occasion of his retirement from the American University of Beirut, 1951.

The emergence and development of the idea of East and West. Al-Hadith Magazine, Aleppo, Year 24, Issue 6, 1950, pp. 362-420.

The following articles in the Islamic Encyclopedia: Bihan Al-Qassab, Bafadl, Fadli, Bafaqih. And that was in 1956./> - The Maltese tongue, a colloquial Arabic language. Al-Arabi Magazine, Issue 10, pp. 16-120, 1959

Arabic dialects in Central Asia. Al-Arabi Magazine, Issue 9, pp. 72-76, 1959

- Al-Hamdani, The Lisan of Yemen and Its Greatest Pride, Al-Arabi Magazine, No. 23, pp. 48-52, 1960.

The Arab state in the Congo. Al-Arabi Magazine, No. 33, pp. 14-23, 1961.

The Arabs in the coasts of East Africa to the advent of the Portuguese. Al-Arabi Magazine, No. 35, pp. 108-112, 1961.

- From the history of the police in Islam. Defenders of the Homeland Magazine, No. 8, pp. 6-7, 1961.

- Hesba in Islam. Defenders of the Homeland Magazine, Issue 10, pp. 14-15, 1961.

The conflict between the Arabs and the Portuguese. Al-Arabi Magazine, No. 44, pp. 99-104, 1962.

- Was the Ancient South Arabian Mdqnt the Islamic Mihrab? Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies XXV.

- Connections of the island's Arabs abroad before Islam. Al-Arabi Magazine, No. 59, pp. 58-62, 1963.

- The granddaughters of Bilqis. Great Arab Muslim queens who ruled Yemen in the ancient days. Al-Arabi Magazine, No. 62, pp. 24-31, 1964.

- History of Arabia: Pre-Islamic Arabia, to the 7th century AD. Encyclopedia Britannica 15th Edition. pp. 1043–1046.

- Yemen. Encyclopedia Britannica 15th Edition. pp. 1079–1084.

The status of ancient Yemen inscriptions in the heritage of the classical Arabic language. Al-Hikma Magazine, Issue 38, Fourth Year, 1975.

- The Sabian Dictionary (together with Alfred Beeston, Jack Rickmans, and Walter Muller), Louvain Dar Peters, Beirut Lebanese Library, 1982.

- with I. Qattan: The Arabian Background of Monotheism in Islam. In: The Concept of Monotheism in Islam and Christianity.

Rome. And issued to him after his death: - Gaza in the inscriptions of the south of the Arabian Peninsula. The Third International Conference on the History of the Levant “Palestine”. Volume Two, pp. 367-376, 1983.

Early Southern Arabian Languages and Classical Arabic Sources. A Critical Examination of Literary and Lexicographical Sources by Comparison with the Inscriptions, Yarmouk University, 1993.

This last work is his doctoral dissertation which he had submitted to the University of London in 1963.


- The Enayada for Virgil: translated by Mahmoud Al-Ghoul from Latin in 1942, when he was nineteen, and re-examined it several times until 1951, and it was prepared for publication and submitted to it by Dr. Culture, Abu Dhabi.

his death

On December 10, 1983, Mahmoud Al-Ghoul left this world in London, where he was receiving treatment for a terminal illness he had suffered, and left his wife and one daughter, Rayya, and was buried in Amman.



Achievements and Awards

Honors and Certificates of Appreciation

Membership certificate from King Hussein bin Talal in the Royal Academy for Research on Islamic Civilization “Aal al-Bayt Foundation” in appreciation of his intellectual standing and his participation in building cultural life.

- Yarmouk necklace in appreciation of his services and efforts in establishing Yarmouk University (June 1982).

The Order of Arts and Letters from the Republic of Yemen, which was awarded after his death, in 1989.




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