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Cairo University and the Orientalists

  • Donald Malcolm Reid (a1)

Among the best books I read at this time… was Tarikh al-falak 'inda al-'Arab [The History of Astronomy among the Arabs] by Professor Nallino. I scrutinized it thoroughly, and I learned from it how the leading orientalists did their research, and how they persisted in their investigations, how they actually lived in the subject of their specialization, and how they proceeded carefully and deliberately from the simple to the complex in their research. It would scarcely be an exaggeration to say that I learned the methodology of research from this book.

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Author's note: A preliminary version of this article was presented at the conference of the Middle East Studies Association in San Francisco, November 28 to December 1, 1984. I would like to thank the Fulbright Fellowship program and Cairo University for making possible the research on which the article is based.

1 Amin, Ahmad, Hayati (Cairo, 1961), pp. 149–50.Cf. the translation by Boullata, Issa J., My Life: The Autobiography of an Egyptian Scholar, Writer, and Cultural Leader (Leiden, 1978), p. 99.

2 Nallino, Carlo, 'Ilm al-falak: Tarikhuh 'inda al-'Arab fi al-qurun al-wusta (Cairo, 1911).

3 The phrase also echoes Safran, Nadav's Egypt in Search of Political Community (Cambridge, Mass., 1961).

4 On the early years of the university, see 'Abd al Mun'im Ibrahim al-Dissuqi al-Jami'i, al-Jami'i al-Misriyya “al-Qadima” Nash'atuha wa dawruha fi al-mujtama', 1908–1925 (Cairo, 1980) and al-Jami'a al-Misriyya wa al-mujtama', 1908–1940 (Cairo, 1983), and Budayr, Ahmad 'Abd al-Fattah, al-Amir Ahmad Fu'ad wa nash'at al-jami'a al-Misriyya Cairo, 1950).

5 On Dar al-⊃Ulum, see Aroian, Lois A., The Nationalization of Arabic and Islamic Education in Egypt: Dar al-'Ulum and al-Azhar, Cairo Papers in Social Science, Vol. 6, Monograph 4 (12 1983), and al-Jawwad, Muhammad 'Abd, Taqwim Dar al-'Ulum (Cairo, 1952).

6 Husayn, Taha, A Passage to France: The Third Volume of the Autobiography of Taha Husain, trans. Cragg, Kenneth (Leiden, 1976), pp. 3435.

7 On Fu⊃ad see Cantalupo, Roberto, Fuad primo re d'Egitto (Milan, 1940);Shah, Sirdar Ikbal Ali, Fuad: King of Egypt (London, 1936); and Thabit, Karim, al-malik Fu⊃ad malik al-nahda (Cairo, 1944).

8 al-Jindi, Anwar, Ahmad Zaki, al-mulaqqab bi-shaykh al-⊂Uruba (Cairo, 1973); for Maspero, , Dawson, Warren R., Who Was Who in Egyptology (London, 1972), pp. 197–98.

9 On Guidi, Nallino, and Santillana, see al-⊂Aqiqi, Najib, al-Mustashriqun (Cairo, 19801981), Vol. I, pp. 425–26, 432–34, and 428, respectively.

10 Cairo University Archives (hereafter CUA), Records for 1908–1925 in the university's Central Library, Box 1, Folder 1, Minutes of the Technical Committee, April 19, 1910, pp. 4–5.

11 Husayn, Isma'il, “Safha min hayat al-Jami'a al-Misriyya al-Qadima,” Majallat al-tarbiyya al-haditha, 10, 4 (04 1937), 393. Husayn, , Passage, p. 44, mentions the walkout.

12 'Aqiqi, , Mustashriqun, Vol. 1, pp. 441–42.

13 On the academy see Hamzaoui, Rached, L'Académie de langue du Caire: Histoire et oeuvre (Tunis, 1975).

14 On Wiet see Rosen-Ayalon, Myriam, ed., Studies in Memory of Gaston Wiet (Jerusalem, 1977), pp. ixxii. On Massignon, see Madkur, Ibrahim, Majma' al-lugha al-'Arabiyya fi 'iduh al-khamsin: Ma'a al-khalidin (Cairo, 1981), pp. 97105;Bassetti-Sani, Guilo, Louis Massignon (1883–1962), Christian Ecumenist: Prophet of Inter-Religious Reconciliation, trans. Cutler, Allan (Chicago, 1974);Said, Edward, Orientalism (New York, 1979), pp. 265–83; Said, “Islam, the Philological Vocation, and French Culture: Renan and Massignon,” in Kerr, Malcolm, ed., Islamic Studies: A Tradition and Its Problems (Malibu, Calif., 1980), pp. 6672; and Waardenburg, Jean-Jacques, Islam dans le miroir de l'Occident (Paris, 1963), pp. 236–40.

15 For Galarza and Casanova, see ⊂Aqiqi, , Mustashriqun, Vol. 2, p. 203, and Vol. 1, pp. 219–20.

16 For Schaade, see Der Islam, 31, 1 (1953), 69–75. On the National Library see the pamphlet “Dar al-Kutub al-Qawmiyya” (Cairo, 1979), and Baedeker, Karl, Egypt and the Sudan (Leipzig, 1908), p. 60.

17 Autobiographical sketch in The Library of Enno Littmann, 1875–1958 (Leiden: Brill catalogue No. 307, 1959), pp. xiii–xx. For Bergsträsser, see ⊂Aqiqi, , Musrashriqun, Vol. 2, pp. 450–51. On Schacht, see Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 33 (1970), 378, and Journal of the American Oriental Society, 90 (1970), 163–67. For Krause, see ⊂Aqiqi, , Mustashriqun, Vol. 2, p. 472.

18 Lampson to FO, Nov. 28, 1938, FO395/ 567/ P3361; and Blackman to Scrivener, April 24, 1942, FO370/ 663/ L1714. (FO references are to the Foreign Office records of the I nited Kingdom, Public Record Office, London.) See also Dawson, , Who Was Who, pp. 154–55.

19 See Hamilton, R. W., “Keppel Archibald Cameron Creswell, 1879–1974,” Proceedings of the British Academy, 60 (1974), 120. His ignorance of Arabic makes him an oddity in the orientalist circles.

20 On Gibb see Hourani, Albert, “H. A. R. Gibb: The Vocation of an Orientalist,” in his Europe and the Middle East (Berkeley, Calif., 1980), pp. 104–34. See the notice on Arnold by 'Azzam, 'Abd al-Wahhab, Sahifat al-Jami⊂a al-Misriyya, 2, 1 (01 1931), 8285. On Minorsky, see ⊂Aqiqi, , Mustashriqun, Vol. 2, pp. 108–9. For Newberry, see Dawson, Who Was Who, p. 216. Autobiographical sketch by Arberry, A. J. in his Oriental Essays: Portraits of Seven Scholars (London, 1960), pp. 233ff.

21 Dawson, Who Was Who, pp. 118, 292–93. See also Vikentiev's appreciation of Golénischeff, Bulletin of the Faculty of Arts, Fouad I University, 13, 1 (May 1951), 1–9.

22 Budayr, Ahmad Fu⊃ad, pp. 195–207.

23 Minute by Peterson, May 5, 1933, FO371/ 17023/ J1080.

24 Lampson to Norton, March 1, 1940, FO371/ 24632/ J798.

25 Graves, Robert, Good-Bye to All That (London, 1931), p. 433.

26 'Allam, Muhammad Mahdi, Majma' al-lugha al-'arabiyya fi thalathin 'amman, Vol. 2, al-Majma'iyyun (Cairo, 1966), p. 228.

27 Storrs, Ronald, The Memoirs of Sir Ronald Storrs (New York, 1937), pp. 134–35, and Sahifat al-Jami⊂a al-Misriyya, 2 (Jan. 1931), 26.

28 Zaydan, Jurji, Tarikh adab al-lugha al-'arabiyya (Cairo, 1968), Vol. 4, p. 158.Jansen, G. H., Militant Islam (New York, 1979), pp. 7781, confirms this picture, but note the contrary view in Benda, Harry J., “Snouck Hurgronje,” International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Vol. 14, pp. 340–42, which portrays him as sympathetic to Indonesians and opposed to die-hard Dutch colonialists. See also Waardenburg, Islam, pp. 18–27. Because Hurgronje was invited to the Egyptian University, he is occasionally included in the analysis in this article although he did not take up the invitation.

29 'Ali, Muhammad Kurd, “Aghrad al-mustashriqin,” al-Risala, 3, 114 (09 9, 1935), 1477.

30 Ign. Guidi, , L'Arabie antéislamique (Paris, 1921), p. 31.

31 Nallino, Carlo, La littérature arabe des origines à l'époque de la dynastie umayyade, trans. Pellat, C. (Paris, 1950).

32 A religious invocation with which Muslims traditionally opened speeches or books. CUA, Box 19, Folder 544, contains Massignon's daily lesson outline, written in Arabic in his own unusual hand. Massignon, L., “L'histoire des doctrines philosophiques arabes à l'Université du Caire,” Revue du Monde musulman, 21 (1912), 149–57, is the French text of his first lecture.

33 See CUA, Box 6, Folder 86, Syllabus (1910–1911) for the course “Histoire des Doctrines Philosophiques.”

34 Sir Chirol, Valentine, The Egyptian Problem (London, 1920), p. 225.

35 Products of these efforts included Hanotaux, Gabriel, ed., Histoire de la nation égyptienne, 7 vols. (Paris, 19311940); the Précis de l'histoire d'Egypte, 4 vols. (Cairo, 1932–1935) by various historians; Douin, Georges, Histoire du règne du Khédive Ismaïl, 3 vols. (Rome, 1933- ); and publications of archival documents edited by J. Deny, G. Douin, H. Nahoum, E. Driault, and others.

36 Husayn, Passage, pp. 5–6.

37 Amin, My Life: The Autobiography of an Egyptian Scholar, Writer, and Cultural Leader, p. 68.

38 Husayn, al- Tarbiyya al-haditha, 386, 392–93.

39 Husayn, Passage, p. 44, which also mentions ridicule of the orientalists' Arabic.

40 'Allam, Majma⊂iyyun, p. 228.

41 Husayn, al-Tarbiyya al-haditha, 386–87.

42 Ibid., p. 392.

43 Husayn, Passage, p. 35.

44 Ibid., p. 54, and Husayn, al-Tarbiyya al-haditha, 392.

45 Husayn, al-Tarbiyya al-haditha, 391–92.

46 ' Azzam, Sahifat 2: 83, 84.

47 al-Nowaihi, Mohammed, “Towards a Reappraisal of Classical Arabic Literature and History: Some Aspects of Taha Husayn's Use of Modern Western Criteria,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, 11, 2 (1980), 192–93.

48 Amin, My Life, pp. 45, 52. The following three quotations are from pp. 73, 89, and 149–50.

49 Farid, Salim, “Ahdath ma⊂a al-asatidha al-mustashriqin bi-l-Jami⊂a al-Misriyya,” Sahifat al-Jami⊂a al-Misriyya, 1 (05 1, 1929), 114.

50 Husayn, Passage, p. 55, and interview with Dr. Suhayr al-Qalamawi, Cairo, Feb. 16, 1983.

51 Zaydan, Jurji, Tarikh al-tamaddun al-Islami (Cairo, 1968), Vol. 1, p. 12. (Original edition: 5 vols., Cairo, 19021906.) For Zaydan generally see Philipp, Thomas, Gurgi Zaidan: His Life and Thought (Beirut, 1979).

52 Zaydan, , Tamaddun, and Tarikh adab al-lugha al-⊂aribiyya, 4 vols., (Cairo, 19101914). (Reprinted, with introduction by Shawqi Dayf, Cairo [1960s].)

53 Zaydan, letter to his son Emile, October 12, 1910, translated in Philipp, , Zaidan, p. 212. Analysis of incident by Philipp, , pp. 63–65. See also the accounts in al-Hilal, 19 (December 1910), 177–81, and CUA, Box 2, Folder 126, Minutes of the Council of Administration, Nov. 8, 10, and 12, 1910.

54 Philipp, Zaidan, p. 236, mentions a manuscript in the archives of the American University of Beirut entitled “Misr al-'Uthmaniyya.” Zaydan had prepared it for his Egyptian University course.

55 CUA, Box 2, Folder 126, Minutes of the Council of Administration, Nov. 10, 1910, and Husayn Mu⊃nis in his introduction to the 1968 edition of Zaydan, , Tamaddun, Vol. I, p. 9.

56 Husayn, Passage, pp. 40–41.

57 The following analysis is based on Zaydan, , Tamaddun, Vol. 1, pp. 2179.

58 al-Nu'mani, Shibli, “Naqd tarikh al-tamaddun al-Islami,” al-Manar, 15, 1 (01 2, 1912), 5867. (Reprinted by al-Manar with other reviews as Kitab intiqad tarikh al-tamaddun al-Islami [Cairo, 1912], and reprinted in al-Jindi, Anwar, al-Islam wa al-thaqafa al-⊂arabiyya fi muwajahat tahdid al-isti⊂mar wa shubhat al-taghrib [Cairo, n.d.].) Much has been written on Rida; see for example, Kerr, Malcolm H., Islamic Reform: The Political and Legal Theories of Muhammad 'Abduh and Rashid Rida (Berkeley, 1966).

59 Jami⊂i, al-Jami'a al-Misriyya wa al-mutjama', p. 10. Zaydan first called for a “madrasa kulliyya Misriyya” in al-Hilal, 8, 9 (Feb. 1, 1900), 264–67. For Marshall, see Marshall to Tyrrell, August 1907, F0371/ 249/ 28843, and Marshall, J. E., “A Plea for a University for Egypt Made by the Author in December 1904,” L'Egypte contemporaine, 13 (1922), 625–28. See also Artin, Jacoub, Considérations sur l'instruction publique en Egypte (Cairo, 1894), pp. 166–67.

60 Husayn Mu'nis, introduction to Zaydan, Tamaddun, Vol. 1, pp. 8, 10.

61 In Muslim doctrine dhimmis were Christian and Jewish subjects who enjoyed protection and certain rights but were not legally equal to Muslims.

62 Fahmy, Mansour, La condition de la femme dans la tradition et l'évolution de l'Islamisme (Paris, 1913), p. v. For Fahmi and Nagib Mahfuz's fictional portrait of him, see Reid, Donald M., “The ‘Sleeping Philosopher’ of Nagib Mahfuz's Mirrors,” The Muslim World, 74, 1 (1984), 111. Biographical notices on Fahmi include Ahmad Fu⊃ad al-Ahwani, Majallat Kulliyat al-Adab, Cairo University (December 1959), pp. 1–6; Majma⊂ al-lugha al-⊂aribiyya fi thalathin ⊂Amman, Vol. 2: al-Majma⊂iyyun (Cairo, 1966), 225–27; al-Zirikli, Khayr al-Din, al-A⊂lam, 5th ed. (Beirut, 1980), Vol. 7, p. 302;Jami⊂, at Fu⊃ad al-Awwal, al-Kitab al-fiddi li-Kulliyyat al-Adab 1925–1950 (Cairo, 1951), pp. 2526; and Adams, Charles, Islam and Modernism in Egypt (London, 1933), pp. 250–51.

63 This and the following paragraph are based on CUA, Box 2, Folder 129, Minutes of the Administrative Council, Dec. 5, 1913; and Box 2, Folder 130, Minutes, Jan. 14, 1914. The attempt to impound the offending thesis failed at least in part. The National Union Catalogue, Pre-1956 Imprints, 165: 543, lists six American libraries that hold copies. One would hardly expect more for what was, after all, only a Sorbonne thesis by an unknown doctoral candidate.

64 Budayr, Ahmad Fu⊃ad, p. 152.

65 Hourani, Albert, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age 1798–1939 (London, 1962), pp. 164–70, analyzes Qasim Amin's ideas.

66 Haykal, Muhammad Husayn, Mudhakkirat fi al-siyasa al-Misriyya (Cairo, 1951), Vol. I, p. 46. Roger Allen called my attention to the Haykal-Fahmi connection.

67 Fahmy, Condition, p. 166.

68 Ibid., p. 6, n. 5.

69 Ibid., pp. 15–16.

70 Ibid., p. 23.

71 CUA, Box 3, Folder 136, Minutes of the Council of Administration, July 22, 1920; and Box 3, Folder 137, Minutes, April 18, 1921.

72 Philipp, Zaidan, p. 44. On Taha Husayn generally see Cachia, Pierre, Taha Husayn: His Place in the Egyptian Literary Renaissance (London, 1956), and al-Sakkut, Hamdi and Jones, Marsden, A'lam al-adab al-mu'asir fi Misr, Vol. 1: Taha Husayn (Cairo, 1975).Ibrahim, 'Abd al-Mun'im al-Dissuqi al-Jami'i, Taha Husayn wa al-Jami'i al-Misriyya (Cairo, 1981), focuses specifically on Taha's role in the university.

73 Husayn, Taha, Hadith al-araba⊂a⊃ (Beirut, 1980), pp. 638–45, and Husayn, Passage, pp. 41–42. al-Khudari, Muhammad, Muhadarat fi bayan al-akhta' al-'ilmiyya wa al-tarikhiyya allati ishtamal 'alayha kitab “Fi al-shi'r al-jahili” (Cairo, 1928), attacks Taha's book.

74 Husayn, Passage, pp. 64–65.

75 Husayn, Taha, Falsafat Ibn Khaldun al-ijtima'iyya wa naqd, trans. 'Inan, M. 'Abdallah (Cairo, 1925), p. 8, and Passage, pp. 120–21.

76 Husayn, Passage, p. 137.

77 For the On Pre-Islamic Poetry affair and its aftermath, see Jami⊂i, Taha Husayn, pp. 26–46; Al-Nowaihi, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 189–207; and the sources on Taha cited above.

78 Analyzed in Hourani, Arabic Thought, pp. 183–92.

79 Jami'i, Taha Husayn, pp. 51–67, follows Taha's career crisis in the 1930s.

80 “Islah 'azim fi wizarat al-ma'arif,” al-Manar, 34 (April 1932), 299–305. Al-Manar, 27 (May 13, 1926), 120, contrasts “the religious university of al-Azhar” with the “godless Egyptian University.”

81 See the lists of delegates in Proceedings of the Seventeenth International Congress of Orientalists, Oxford, 1928 (London, 1929), and subsequent Proceedings (in various languages) of the congress.

82 Primary documents on the Khalaf Allah affair are Allah, Muhammad Ahmad Khalaf, al-Fann al-qasasi fi al-Qur⊃an al-Karim, 3rd ed. (Cairo, 1965) and the running debate between Khalaf Allah and his critics in al-Risala beginning September 15, 1947. My account also relies on Jomier, J., “Quelques positions actuelles de l'exégèse coranique en Egypte révélées par une polémique récente (1947–1951),” Mélanges, Institut Dominicain d'Etudes Orientales de Caire, Vol. 1 (1954), 3972, and Haddad, Yvonne Yazbeck, Contemporary Islam and the Challenge of History (Albany, N.Y., 1982), pp. 4653.

83 Sa'fan, Kamal, Amin al-Khuli (Cairo, 1982), pp. 166–67, 172, 176.

84 The short quotation appears in Jomier, Mélanges, p. 48, and the long, in Haddad, Contemporary Islam, p. 50.

85 Majallat al-Azhar, 19 (Muharram 1367 [1947]), 89.

86 Bahi's, massive polemic is al-Fikr al-Islami al-hadith wa salatuh bi-al-isti'mar al-gharbi (Cairo, 1975). The book was in its eighth edition in 1975, showing heavy and continuing demand for it.

87 Hamzaoui, Académie, p. 107.

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