Papers of Nabih Al-Azmah and Adil Al-Azmah

Scope and Content

This collection contains photocopied documents, reports and correspondences covering several Arab countries. The majority of the collection consists of letters and responses to Nabih Al-Azmah from renowned personalities of the period, such as Hajj Amin Al-Husayni, Amir Shakib Arslan, Shaykh Rashid Rida, Amir Adil Arslan, Sultan Pasha Al-Atrash, Asad Daghir, Shukri Al-Quwatli, Riyad Al-Sulh, Yasin Al-Hashimi, Fawzi Al-Qawuqji, Rashid Ali Al-Kaylani, and others. Also included is correspondence from King Abdul-Aziz Al-Sa'ud and Prince (King) Abdullah, and President Gamal Abdul-Nasser. Copies and drafts of some of Nabih's own letters are also found in the collection.

The collection also includes some papers originating from Adil Al-Azmah, who is known to have kept a large collection of private papers and official documents, although most of these were lost during his travels. What remains is a collection of personal diaries in which Adil noted his daily memoirs and comments while in various government positions. Also included is his rich correspondence with Fawzi Al-Qawuqji, which covers important chapters of the relations between the Arab countries and the Axis Powers during the Second World War.

Administrative / Biographical History

Nabih Al-Azmah was born in Damascus in 1886 and graduated from the Military Academy in Istanbul in 1917. Soon afterwards, he left his military upbringing under the Ottoman Empire behind, moving to political activism in 1918 when he committed himself to the principles of Al-Fatat Society. In the 1920s and 1930s, he left an impact on politics in Transjordan and Palestine, Hijaz, Najd and Saudi Arabia, without distancing himself from the national movement in Syria. He was also an important member of the Syrian nationalist party Hizb al-Istiqlal al-Arabi. He spent much of his life in prison and in exile in a series of Arab countries, and died in 1972.

Throughout his struggles, Nabih Al-Azmah was accompanied by his younger brother, Adil (?1888-1952). Adil Al-Azmah did not have a military background, graduating instead from the Royal Academy in Istanbul, which produced senior state officials. He worked as a lawyer in the early 1920s.

Nabih Al-Azmah and Adil Al-Azmeh are uncles of the depositor of the collection, Professor Aziz Al-Azmeh.


The collection is arranged into subject-based files (presumably by Professor Aziz Al-Azmeh).

Access Information

Restricted access. Please contact the Archivist for further details.


Description compiled by Charlotte Berry, Archivist, 20 April 2004, and encoded into EAD 18 June 2004.

Other Finding Aids

Currently unlisted.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL restrictions apply.

Custodial History

The collection was deposited at the University Library by Professor Aziz Al-Azmeh, who was a member of the Islamic Department at Exeter University between 1983-1996 when he was a Research Fellow (1983-1984) and Sharjah Professor of Islamic Studies (1985-1996). The precise date of deposit is unknown, although this presumably took place between 1983 and 1996.

Related Material

None known.


Al-Ra'il al-'arabi al-awwal hayat wa-awraq Nabih wa-Adil al-'Azmah ('The Vanguard'), Khayriyah Qasimiyah (London, 1991). Also: Jawanib min siyasat al-Malik 'Abd al-'Aziz tujaha al-qadaya al-'arabiyah dirasah tahililiyah min khilala awraq Nabih al-Azmeh, Khayrirah Qasimiyah (1999).

Additional Information

It is not known if the originals from which this collection was copied still exist, or where they are located if so.