Al-Hayat, which means “Life”, is a leading pan-Arab daily newspapers. It is based in the UK, printed in London, Beirut, New York, and Riyadh, and is popular among Arab diaspora communities. Al-Hayat has a number of regional offices across the Middle East. Its main competitor is the other big pan-Arab newspaper published in London, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.
Al-Hayat’s motto is a line taken from Egyptian poet Ahmed Shawki: “Life is belief and jihad”, meaning that expressing one’s opinions is as noble as spiritual struggle. The newspaper was founded in Beirut in 1946 but was forced to shut down in 1976, one year after the onset of the Lebanese civil war. It was refounded in 1988 and bought by the Saudi prince Khalid bin Sultan in 1990.
The newspaper is still widely read in Lebanon and many of its journalists and editors are Lebanese. Editorials are left-wing or liberal, and the paper often reflects an Arab nationalist view. The Saudi ownership means that the paper refrains from criticizing the Kingdom. In 2007, after a number of columns critical of the Saudi government, the paper's distribution was halted for several days.
Al-Hayat is known for its influential and qualitative cultural section, and for providing a space for opinions ranging from religious and conservative voices to ultra-liberal and progressive writers. The late Edward Said was a frequent contributor.