He was born in 1848 in Tlemcen, a descendant of Abdelkader Medjaoui ,Ibn Abd Allah ,Ben Mohamed Ben Abd El karim ,Ibn Abderrahman, Ben issa Ben Daoud, Ben Abi Hennech ,Ben Khamlich Ben Ali ,Ben Mohamed Ibn Abd El Djalil El Mehssni named El Medjaoui in reference to the Medjaoua tribe in the city of Taza in extreme Maghreb(morocco) , his grandfather settled in Tlemcen and worked as a scribe there.
He was born in a family known for its scientific status, his father Mohamed Abdelkarim was a judge In Tlemcen for about 25 years, after studying in his hometown he moved to study in Tetouan and tanja in morocco , he focus on the religious sciences, Arabic and literature , he then joined Kairouane to continue his studies in where he studied the Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) and its origins , the inheritance jurisprudence (al faraid), koranic explications (the tafssir) , the hadith (prophet’s sayings) and tasawwuf as well as the science of logic and astrology ,history and literature despite his own abilities in understanding the Farouk newspaper affirmed that he doesn’t read again any book he read once . And we can see from above that the environment Abdel kader medjaoui lived in and the quality of courses he got as well as his predisposition and the influence of the situation in which his country was living which was getting worse during the effective control of the settlers, all these things played a decisive role in determining his way and his means in the field of reform work .
His sheikhs (professors) in fess have realized his scientific competences and perseverance in his work, this is why they allowed him to teach knowing that is something only scholars were able to do. he was known for his purity, generosity ,boldness and courage, and his determination as well as his eloquence and humility he was religious and proud of his Islamic personality and protective of his religion and language even when surrounded by Europeans
The reform call in the Arab Mashreq (Levant) had a great effect on his personal formation due to his contact with it when doing pilgrimage, before settling in Algeria without forgetting the impact of the renaissance in the Levant especially in its literary aspect; it had a great effect on El Medjaoui’s life. Especially the cultural enrichment and his linguistic interests, and the evidence that he focused in most of his books on the Arabic language and its sciences.
As for his reform activities we find his educational and reform efforts has evolved in many fields like education, journalism and writing books regarding education , after his return to Algeria and settlement in Constantine around 1869 will undertake a prominent cultural activity. he started teaching in its mosques and zawaia and was able to contribute with his action in reviving a scientific renaissance in the region “you revived souls and refreshed spirits”.
The teaching in mosques was necessary to achieve the goal of preserving the Islamic identity especially with the attempts of the colonial integrative administration, and the growing danger of Christian education.
his work was not only limited to teaching in a mosque but also he also contributed on revitalize independent schools ,his activity focused on the work offered by the French administration as the imam in the mosque of Sidi Ktani so that he will be under France’s control ,he accepted this offer and worked also as a teacher in ktania school .In 1878 he reached different sciences like memorization of Quran ,the hadith, jurisprudence, logic ,literature ,astronomy and arithmetic.
Around 1898 he was appointed by the French administration in the Thaalibia School to perhaps put him under its direct control in the capital. He continued his activity in the capital and contributed in supporting the cultural atmosphere in it, Along with some professors like Abd elhamid ben soumia
The mufti Ben Zakri El Hanfaoui ….Algiers during this period was suffering from ignorance and its consequences and the widespread of corruption .He had to double his reform efforts and paid attention to the religious and moral education to instill the correct Islamic faith in the hearts of his students he influenced the cultural life in the capital through institutions, clubs and associations .
El Mejaoui formed reformers and scholars who continued his reform activity like: Said Ben Zakari ,
Chiekh Omar ben Deraji was a judge of el Hanafia in Algeria, his most prominent student was Mohamed el Mouloud Ben Mouhoub. El Medjaoui contributed to the journalistic movement in parallel with his educational activity. He contributed to El Mountakhab, El maghreb newspaper1903 He participated in the newspaper “planet Africa” in the period between 1908-1909 .
As for the topics he dealt with in his reform articles, they varied from articles calling for reforms in the belief and worshiping .He called for fighting heresies and held scholars responsible in facing heresies through guidance .He took his responsibility as a scholar in this. Regarding the social side he was like other reformers and fought different social diseases that spread among the Algerians, he treated many subjects like gambling which led the player to perish financially and morally. This shows in his saying (you will not find a gambler well-dressed let alone enjoying other necessities; god has combined it with drinking alcohol in its prohibition since it is one of Al kabair (unforgivable sins).
One of the most important cases he focused on was education, his personality as a teacher in the education field was prominent. He tried to give an approach to education Based on new sciences he dedicated a part of his interest to the educator as an important condition in the educational operation. El Madjaoui was also interested in the economic aspects and urged Algerians to follow westerners on what they have achieved in this field and new sciences.He died in Constantine on October 6th 1914, leaving behind him a good trace: his students and scholars who followed his path as well as deeds represented in books and writings which varied in type and quality.