Educated first at Safi, then at Marrakesh. Sent on a royal scholarship to France and graduated as a doctor at Nancy.
On returning to Morocco in 1954 he practised as a doctor at Ahad Kourt for two years before being appointed Director of the Royal Cabinet. In 1959 he became Secretary-General at the Ministry of Public Health. In April 1960 he was appointed Governor of Agadir. He entered the cabinet in June 1961 as Minister of Public Works and a year later became Minister of Commerce, stamping out corruption and dismissing some officials. Back at the Ministry of Works in June 1963 despite his defeat at the elections as an independent candidate at Meknes—he continued his campaign against corruption over transport licences.
In June 1965 he was appointed Minister of Education, Fine Arts, Youth and Sport. He allocated funds for the French language teaching in face of protests that he was slowing down Arabisation. He began a brief third period as Minister of Public Works in May 1967 which ended on August 6, 1967, on his appointment as Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs. Undaunted at following King Hassan, who had just terminated the emergency role of Premier, he set himself a vigorous programme for economic stability and government free of corruption.
On October 6, 1969, he handed over the premiership and accepted the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform but 10 months later he was dismissed for criticising a statement by his successor as Prime Minister. From August 1970 he remained out of politics until he came back as Minister of the Interior in April 1972. He was the strong man at the King’s side during the Oufkir crisis and held the Press conference on August 18, 1972, when he described the treason of the man he had called until then “one of my best friends for 15 years". When the Prime Minister was replaced and a new government under Ahmed Osman was formed in November 1972, he was one of the few ministers retaining his post. On May 11, 1973 he left the cabinet for health reasons.
As a vigorous campaigner against corruption he set himself the target of cleaning up the contract system which roused strong feelings when he took over the Ministry of Works. At the Education Ministry his “Benhima doctrine” of supporting the French language landed him in trouble with Arab nationalists. His ability to survive strong opposition was proved by his recall to government in 1972 after being dismissed in 1970.
It was his coolness in a crisis which King Hassan relied upon in the tense period after the assassination attempt in August 1972. He was given the responsibility of announcing “the incredible treason behind the suicide” of General Mohammed Oufkir, former Defence Minister—and facing the tough grilling at a Press conference.