Shaikh Ali bin Mustafa Al-Tantawi’s roots are from Egypt. He was born in Syria in 1909 and educated in Damascus University, graduating in 1932 with a law degree. The Shaikh combined formal education with private learning under renowned Syrian Islamic and Arabic language scholars.
Shaikh Al-Tantawi served as a teacher in different parts of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon before joining the Judiciary system in Syria, and was involved in formulating family laws during the unity between Egypt and Syria. He was also a journalist since 1926, and one of the first Arab broadcasters serving in radio stations in Java, Baghdad and Damascus. In addition, he was involved in activities relating to the struggle for independence of various Arab nations from British and French rules, and was therefore subjected to continuous harassments, particularly in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
In 1963, he moved to Saudi Arabia where he taught for some years at the Shari’a and Arabic Language Colleges in Riyadh and Makkah, before dedicating his full time to writing, counseling and preaching activities. Shaikh Tantawi’s efforts to spread the spiritual and cultural values of Islam in a simple and compelling manner extended over several decades. He impressed a vast audience with his rich knowledge, wisdom and moderation. He anchored a daily radio program and a weekly television program continuously for 25 years, and both of them were extremely popular. He also authored many books and articles on a wide range of topics and published his memoirs in eight volumes. He died in Jeddah in 1999 at the age of 90.