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Zahi Hawass is an Egyptian Egyptologist and archaeologist who obtained a Bachelor's degree from Alexandria University, and his Doctoral Degree (Ph.D) from the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently the Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities; prior to that, he was the Director of the Giza Plateau and has also worked at archaeological sites in the Nile Delta, the Western Desert, and the Upper Nile Valley.
Hawass is currently spearheading a movement to return many prominent Ancient Egyptian artifacts, such as the Rosetta Stone, the bust of Nefertiti, the zodiac ceiling painting from the Dendera Temple, the bust of Ankhhaf (the architect of the Chephren Pyramid), and the statue of Hemiunu, nephew of the Pharaoh Khufu, builder of the largest pyramid, to Egypt from collections in various other countries.
In July 2003, the Egyptians demanded the return of the Rosetta Stone. Hawass, as secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Cairo, told the press, "If the British want to be remembered, if they want to restore their reputation, they should volunteer to return the Rosetta Stone because it is the icon of our Egyptian identity."
He is also a vocal opponent of the ancient astronauts theories about a previous worldwide civilization. He appeared on a History Channel show to dispel the theories, and provided evidence to show that the Egyptians built the pyramids of Egypt. Hawass is now a regular columnist for Egypt Today magazine.
Hawass was also alongside the Egyptologist Otto Schaden who opened Tomb KV63 in February 2006 — the first intact tomb to be found in the Valley of the Kings since 1922.
In June 2007, Hawass announced that he and a team of experts may have identified the mummy of Hatshepsut in KV60, a small tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
Dr Hawass was recently in the UK for the opening of the "Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs" exhibition in London.
He is the author of many books including one on "King Tutankhamen: The Treasures from the Tomb" published to coincide with this major exhibition in the UK.
His most recent article on Tutankhamen was published in Ancient Egypt magazine.
He has written several articles for this bi-monthly UK-based magazine on ancient Egypt.
He is opposed to the claims of Afrocentrists. According to Dr. Hawass "Tutankhamen was not black, and the portrayal of ancient Egyptian civilization as black has no element of truth to it."


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Mahmud Ali al-Bannah
Date of birth 1926;Minufiyah; Egypt
Memorized the entire Quran at 11 Studied at Tanta's Minshawi Religious Institute
Mini-biography
1945: Settled in Cairo
1948: Recited the Quran on the anniversary of the Prophet's birth
1976: Recorded his reading of the Quran at the Egyptian Radio
1985: Recorded the Quran in UAE
Took part in the ceremony marking the opening of the first mosque in Austria
Visited Muslim communities in Germany, Britain and France
Died on July 20, 1985
Awards
Order of Science and Art (1990)


Mostafa Lotfi El Manfalouti was born on December 30, 1877, in the city of Manfalout in Upper Egypt. Brought up in a family of Ulamas, he was motivated to finish his education at Al Azhar in Cairo. When first there, he met Imam Muhammad Abdou and became his student. He accompanied him throughout so that Imam Muhammad Abdou himself used to say that this student would be among the best to disseminate his principles which conformed entirely with El Manfalouti's reformatory thought. During that period, his literary talent cropped up. He began to write poetry at the age of 16, which made him the centre of attention. He was imprisoned, while still a student at Al Azhar, because he wrote a poem slandering Khedive Abbas II the then ruler of Egypt.
In disseminating his ideas, El Manfalouti relied heavily on essay-writing which he developed into a full art. El Manfalouti gained more renown from his essays than that from his novels. Orientalist Brookleman said that El Manfalouti is the most famous essay-writer in the 20th century. Moreover, he was a pioneer of the short story and the novel in general. His smooth style made his novels readable in successive editions all over the Arab world. El Manfalouti distinguished himself with:
First: Tenderness of feeling, which enabled him to visualize the miseries of society. He was known to be always seeking comfort for the miserable, the deprived and the bereaved.
Second: his ideal, moral inclination that was manifested in his call for righteousness, goodness and virtue.
El Manfalouti's most important reformatory principles were:
1. Education. 2. Social justice 3. Authenticity and modernity. 4. A special view of art. 5. Women's rights. 6. Religious reform


Born on April 15, 1905, Abdel-Fattah al-Qossari is considered one of Egypt's most distinguished comedians. He was almost always cast as an illiterate, who thinks that he knows everything when turns out that he does not. He graced Egyptian cinema in over 60 films which include:Sokkar hanemIsmail Yassin in the madhouseIbn HamidoIsmail Yassin meets Rya and SakinaMiss HanafiAs you wishShamshoun and LiblebHouse of ghostsHe wants to get marriedFriday nightThe black marketIf you were richThe accusedSi Omar
Al-Qossari died in 1965


Amal Abul-Qassem Donqol (b. 1940 - d. 1983)
Donqol was known for his politically-colored poetry. At the beginning, Greek mythology dominated his writing.Later, however, he relied more on pre-Islamic and Islamic imagery to modernize Arabic poetry.
Donqol's father, an Azhar graduate, who wrote classic poetry, possessed a library full of books in the various Islamic disciplines of which his son took advantage.He died, however, when Donqol was ten years old and at such an early age,the son became responsible for a mother and two younger brothers.
He completed his secondary education in Qena in 1957. In 1958, he enrolled in the Faculty of Arts,Cairo University. Before the end of his first year, he dropped out to work for a living as an employee at the Qena Court of Justice,the Customs Departments in Suez and Alexandria and the Afro-Asian Solidarity Organization.But he was always running away to poetry.
Donqol died in 1983 after a long illness.
Famous works : Al-bokaa bayn yadai Zarqaa al-Yamama (Crying on the Shoulders of Zarqaa al-Yamam) – Beirut 1969 Taaliq alla ma hadeth (Commenting on What Happened) – Beirut 1971 Maqtal al-qamar (Death of the Moon) – Beirut 1974 Al-'ahd al-aati (The Forthcoming Epoch) – Beirut 1975 Aqwaal gadida an harb al-Bassous (New Statements Regarding the Bassous War) – Cairo 1983 Awraq al-ghorfa 8 (Documents of Room No. 8)


Architecture is the art that people live in. They see it everyday. So if you live in a beautiful city, it affects your manners, style and attitude. Farghali Abdel Hafiz, a seasoned modern Egyptian artist, has lately been working on a series of exhibits in which he tries to show the relationships of love, passion and art between himself and certain cities.
He started with Venice, moved on to Aswan, and last year he presented a series of astoundingly sensitive and nostalgic works on Cairo. This month he pays homage to Florence, a city that he first visited back in 1964, and which, since then, has become a living, breathing creature in his imagination.
The most conspicuous feature of Abdel Hafiz's city series is the successful use of several media. With oils, crayons, watercolors and acrylics, he creates exquisite, multi-layered works. The works that grab your attention in this exhibit are two huge canvases placed on two adjacent walls. The first initially gives the impression of a beautiful, bustling city. Using pastel crayons on top of the painted background, Abdel Hafiz adds in architectural details.
Every window and every line is accounted for. But these lines are not rigid; they are soft and malleable, as if they were breathing. The third layer of this work presents three human figures. On the left is a huge female figure blown out of proportion.
She seems like some ancient vestige from the past, dressed in Roman attire. On the right, another woman takes over the scene. She is swathed in a gauzy fabric and is holding a flower. Is she love, is she beauty, is she art? Maybe. In the middle, a third element is imposed over the painting. It is the image of a couple walking arm-in-arm. Executed in red and blue, the two people look like elegant fashion models judging from the stylized way they seem to be moving.
In this work, Abdel Hafiz tries to assemble all the elements that make Florence special to him, whether it is history, beauty or modernity. He recalls his first impressions of the city upon stepping off the train: "I paused and examined her profile and her features. She stood proud of her historic background and dignified beauty. I shared such pride, since I hail from a land steeped in history and civilization. It was a friendly encounter full of emotions teeming with waves and vibrations that stem from the depth of history."
To him, Florence soon becomes a woman to be wooed and loved. And in the adjacent canvas, he tries to put a shape to this woman. The canvas is transformed into a map of the city with a rich earth-colored background on which buildings and streets are drawn in thick yellow brushstrokes. Superimposed on a large section of the work is a voluptuous woman dressed in fashionable modern clothes. Although she is blond, her profile portrays an Ancient Egyptian face similar to those beauties engraved in our 5,000-year-old temples.
The smaller works are also fascinating because of the spontaneity and intensity of feelings divulged through the vibrant, powerful lines. And in these works, you also begin noticing some Florentine landmarks. Here the artist makes interesting use of white, which becomes more than just a color.
Abdel Hafiz utilizes a thick, dry brush to lay on the white, and then adds lines of blue and black on top of it. The result is new and fresh. Through his loving eyes we see lovers, we see joy, we see art in progress, and in every single painting, the elegant architecture of Florence is there. Sometimes it encircles the work, as if it is embracing anyone who reciprocates her love.
Scattered throughout the works are the sweet horse-drawn carriages Florence is known for. One of the most romantic of these is a drawing of a park in which the artist reveals the beauty of black wrought-iron designs. The curves and lines intimate movement and in the center he paints three pink roses. The juxtaposition is simply breathtaking.
Abdel Hafiz portrays the classic sculptures of Florence in a way that makes you forget these figures are statues, not the people of Florence. "Sounds emanating from its profound history and chants of its artistic glory found their way to my ears," the artist says. "I heard dialogues by Michelangelo and Da Vinci."
For Abdel Hafiz, "Florence is part of the spiritual energy that feeds my mind." After seeing the exhibit, his comment seems to crystallize.


Date of birth April 5, 1917; Daqahliyah; Egypt
Mini-biography 1944: Graduated in the Faculty of Islamic Sharia, Azhar University 1946: Obtained his Alameya Degree
History of employment 1946: Judge, Islamic Sharia Courts 1953: Secretary of Fatwa, Dar al-Ifta, Egypt 1976: Counselor, Court of Appeals 1978: Mufti of Egypt (In his capacity as such, he sought to revive the role of the fatwa (opinion)-giving establishment) 1982: Appointed Minister of Waqf (from January to March 1982) 1982: Became Grand Imam of al-Azhar (His appointment marked a revival of al-Azhar's role) Under his tenure as Grand Imam, many Azhar Institutes were established throughout the country.
Awards Order of the Nile from Egypt (1983) Order of Intellectual and Scientific Excellence from Morocco The King Faysal International Prize (Service To Islam) (1995)
Died on March 15, 1996




Youssef Idrees
With a unique style, a distinct way of presenting ideas and commitment to the cause, aspirations and concerns of his country, Dr Youssef Idrees is a glittering star in the realm of contemporary Arabic literature, both as a short story and novel writer and playwright. He has left a rich legacy of writings, including novels, short stories, plays and essays. Youssef Idrees is considered a turning point in the history of Arabic short story and novel. Thanks to his contributions, the Arabic novel evolved from "pathetic" romanticism to realism. He was born on May 19, 1927. Throughout his school years, he was an intelligent, talented and distinguished student. He used to read stories, scientific and literary books where he got acquainted with major contemporary Arabic writers. He also read translations of foreign literature.
During his study at the Faculty of Medicine, he became more interested in literature, psychology, poetry and other arts such as music and painting. There, he started to write short stories and show them to his colleagues. In his last year at the Faculty, he participated in the students' demonstrations against British colonisation; he became the executive secretary of the committee defending students. He was engaged in clashes with the British soldiers. On account of his revolutionary activities, he was patsiotic from pursuing his study for several months.
While he practised medicine during the period from 1951 1960, he remained committed to the patriotic cause of his country and took part in the secret meetings of the liberation movement until the July, 1952 Revolution took place. He took part in editing "Al Tahrir", the first magazine published by the Army in September, 1952.
Landmarks along his career
Youssef Idrees started writing short stories, while still a student of medicine. His early short stories drew the attention of critics, many of whom foretold he would reach outstanding status especially after he wrote "The Strangers' Song" published in "Al Qissa" magazine in 1950.
Idrees' stories were published in "Rosel-Yousef" magazine , then Abdel Rahman Al Khamisi introduced him to "Al Masri" newspaper.
He published his first collection "Cheapest Nights" in 1954, which contained short stories previously published in "Al Qissa", "Rosel-Yousef" magazines, and "Al Masri" newspaper. Then he began to publish his works in "Sabahel-Kheir" magazine . He was appointed as Editor in "Al Gomhouria" newspaper where he started his career as a journalist and a writer.

He was entrusted to write a book on the Suez War, to be translated into English, and another book on the National Union. He made a successful debut in the theatre when he wrote his one-act play entitled "Farahat's Republic".

In 1973, he was appointed as writer in Al-Ahram newspaper. In his late years, he had a special interest in writing articles as he used to write weekly articles which were published in Al-Ahram every Monday. These essays, published under the heading "From My Diary", with their rich and daring subjects and elaborate style, constituted another form of Idrees' writings.

Ph.Ds. on literature of Youssef Idrees

Youssef Idrees's literary works were the subject of about 95 Ph.D. theses in and outside Egypt. In foreign universities, these works were subject to more than 22 studies. For example, the Spanish researcher Pilar Liro El Elegado made her Ph.D. on "The Dramatic World of Youssef Idrees". Owing to the significance of this Ph.D., it was printed and published in a book by the Egyptian Institute for Islamic Studies. It was discussed in a seminar in Taha Hussein's Hall at the Institute, attended by some of the Egyptian and Spanish university professors and orientalists.

Merits and awards won by Youssef Idrees

A wards:

- Order of Algerian Militants in 1961, in recognition of his contribution to the independence of Algeria. - Order of the Republic in 1963. - The annual prize in 1965 from "Hewar", a Lebanese magazine, which is dedicated every year to eminent writers in the Arab world. Yet, he declined the prize.

In 1970, he was unanimously elected a Director-General of the Society of Dramatists.

A Russian sculpturer designed a medal for Dr. Youssef Idrees. This sculpturer is famous for his designs for prominent figures in art and literature.

Works of Youssef Idrees

Youssef Idrees started his career writing short stories and articles as early as 1954. He continued writing articles to the press until shortly before his death in 1991. He made rich contributions to "Al Qissa", "Rosel-Yousef", "Al Tahrir", "Al Hadaf" , "Sabahul Kheir", "Al Masri" and "Al Ghad" magazines, and "Al Gornhouria", "Al Shaab" and "Al Ahrarm" newspapers.

Idrees published about 12 collections of short stories, 8 plays, 6 novels, 11 books containing his essays. Besides, he wrote on childhood, its innocent world and awareness of the surrounding reality. He took part in most of political, literary and intellectual seminars organised at his time. He also co-authored some books.

Short story collections include:

"Cheapest Nights", "Love Story", "Isn't It?" , "The Hero", "Too Far", "The Oh! Language", " An Accident of Honour", "Al Naddaha", "A House Made of Flesh" .

Plays: "Farahat Republic", "King of Cotton", "Critical Moment", "Al Farafeer" ( common people), "The Earthly Farce", "The Stripped", "The Third Sex", "Towards an Arabic Theatre".

Novels: "The Prohibited", "The Wrong", "Men and Bulls", "The Black Soldier", "The White"

Reflections: "Limited Frankness", "The Discovery of a Continent", "Dr.Youssef Idrees's Diary," in three parts.

Stories for children: "Right", "A Look", "Is It a plaything?" , "Play" and the "Grey Triangle".


Al-Falaki, Mahmud Ahmad Hamdi
(1815-19 July 1885)
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Engineer, mathematician, and scientist. Mahmud was born in the village of al-Hissa (Gharbiyya province); his father died early, and he was reared by a brother and sent to MUHAMMAD 'Ali's Polytechnic School in the Citadel, He later taught mathematics and astronomy at that school.
Chosen to be a part of 'ABBAS I's student mission to Europe in 1851, he spent nine years in Paris. Upon his return to Cairo, SA'ID charged him with drawing maps, among them the first complete topographic map of Egypt .
He held several important government posts, including public works minister, and became the president of the khedivial Geographic Society.
He represented Egypt at the International Congress of Geographer in Venice in 1881 and in Paris in 1885.
As minister of education (1884-1885) he instituted several important educational reforms, one of which was to require that the foreign schools receiving subsidies from the Egyptian government undergo regular inspections.
In his published writings, he tried to prove that the Giza Pyramids were built for astronomical purposes; he also established the exact birth and death dates for the probhet Muhammad.
He directed the Education Ministry and the Geographical Society until his death in Cairo.
Bibliographic Sources
" Abd-al-Rahman , Ibrahim Hilmi, "Mahmud al-Falaki"
'Aqqad, Abbas Mahmud, "Mahmud Basha al Falaki"
Brockelmann. GAL,S, 642-3,747,
Cheiko,al-Adab al-'arabiyaa,103


Refaa Al-Tahtawi was one of the most distinguished and outstanding literary figures of his time.He was a prominent historian, man of letters, translator and journalist. He was characterized by conscious thought, penetrating insight and his ideas were too advanced for his time.Al Tahtawi is one of the banners of enlightenment in Egypt. Moreover,he succeeded in tackling the most difficult economic issues, expressing his worthy views to solve them.
He left behind about twenty works of translations and intellectual heritage which shaped the thoughts of many intellectuals and poiltical figures such as Ali Mubarak, Muhammad Abdo, Ahmed Orabi, Abd Allah Al-Nadeem and Saad Zaghloul, and still shaping the thoughts of generations up till our days.
BIRTH AND EDUCATION:
Refa'ah Rafie' Al Tahtawi was born in Tahta, Upper Egypt, on 15 October 1801. Tahtawi is a man of noble birth. His ancestors assumed positions of authority and responsibility. While a child, Tahtawi enjoyed aristocratic privileges including financial allocations.
When Mohammed Ali came to power, he denied noblemen financial privileges in implementation of his economic reform program. Consequently, Tahtawi's family lived in straitened circumstances. At the age of 12, Tahtawi accompanying his family moved from Tahta to Gerga, Qena and Farshoot.
Meanwhile, Tahtawi successfully learned how to read and write and fully memorized the Koran. When Tahtawi's father died, Tahtawi returned to Tahta and lived with his maternal uncles.
Tahtawi's intellectual talents were soon manifested when he joined Al-Azhar University in 1817. Tahtawi studied under and was deeply influenced by Sheikh Hassan Mohammed Al-Attar, the son of a poor tradesman who wanted his son to work with him. The boy went to Al-Azhar secretly and attended lessons given by Sheikh Al-Amir. When the French occupied Egypt, Al-Attar fled to Upper Egypt. He was of the opinion that Muslim countries should benefit from the knowledge, sciences and educational methods of the West. He was a poet and wrote also on medicine and anatomy.
In 1823, Tahtawi graduated. Immediately after graduation, he worked as a teacher in Al-Azhar for two years. Tahtawi spent most of his time in Al-Attar's house reading Western books which were not available nor allowed at those times. Thanks to Al-Attar.
HIS CAREER AND ACHEIVMENTS:
Tahtawi was appointed imam (religious head of a Muslim community) of an Egyptian battalion till 1826 and later imam of the educational mission Mohammed Ali sent to Paris.
As of the moment Tahtawi trod in Marseille, he decided to be more than an imam. He started learning French as a means of translating Western sciences into Arabic. It took him a month to master the rules of spelling.
Tahtawi believed in the necessity of opening channels of contact between the cultures of both the West and the East. As a result, Mohammed Ali decreed that Tahtawi be a member of the mission. Besides his post as an imam, Tahtawi studied translation. On 19 October 1830, he submitted to a panel of French professors 12 translations of French masterpieces in different fields, some of which were sent to the Cairo-based Bolaque printing house, and the manuscript of the book he wrote during his stay in Paris which is entitled 'Takhlees Al-Ibrease fi Talkhees Paris' (A Paris Profile).
Tahtawi finally received his degree. In 1831, he returned back to Egypt. Prior to his return, reports on his excellence and unchallenged supremacy telling how promising he is were sent to Mohammed Ali. On his return, Tahtawi worked as a translator in Medicine School for two years. He was the first Egyptian holding such a position for it was completely dominated by Moroccans, Syrians and Americans. Meanwhile, Tahtawi managed to translate many books such as "Explaining Anatomy Terminology." Besides his work at Medicine School, Tahtawi took the responsibility of supervising the Preparatory Medicine School.
In 1833, Tahtawi moved to Tobigia School (Artillery School) in Tora where he worked as a translator of engineering and military sciences. There, he took the first step towards his dream of establishing an Egyptian university patterned on the Eastern Languages' School. His plan was to establish, step by step, a number of separate high schools to be incorporated into a university at a later stage. As a start, Tahtawi set up History and Geography School in 1833.
In 1834, plague broke out and Tahtawi had to move to his village Tahta where he stayed for six months spending two of them translating one volume of "Maltibron Geography." When he returned to Cairo, he submitted his translation to Mohammed Ali who awarded and promoted him. Tahtawi then made the suggestion of establishing a translation school which was inaugurated in 1835 and was later named Al-Alsun School. Tahtawi's post in Al-Alsun was technical and managerial supervision, teaching literature and Islamic and Western laws, choosing the books to be translated , reviewing and rectifying translated works as well. Al-Alsun School gradually began to assume the structural form and educational content of modern universities.
Tahtawi, not only was the first to establish an Arab civilized university but was also the first to establish a museum of Egypt's antiquities. In 1835, he submitted to Mohammed Ali a plan to preserve Egypt's antiquities. The plan which was published in Al-Waqa'i newspaper (The Official Egyptian Gazette) stipulated that any antiquities found by individuals should be handed over to Tahtawi in his capacity as Principal of Al-Alsun School. Consequently, Al-Alsun's courtyard became the nucleus of the first antiquities' museum in Egypt.
Tahtawi's interest in Egypt's antiquities was not for artistic reasons only but originally stems from absolute patriotism. He criticized Mohammed Ali when he offered the Obelisk, now standing in the Concord square, to France as a symbol of friendship.
Tahtawi is also considered the founder of the first Egyptian newspaper entitled "Al-Waqa'i Al-Misrea." He is indeed the father of Egyptian journalism. Tahtawi also supervised editing the Military Magazine in both French and Arabic.
In 1841, Tahtawi established the Translation Department as a specialized institution mainly dealing with four branches of knowledge: mathematics, medicine and physics, social sciences and Turkish writings. In 1843, Tahtawi was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Two years later, he translated the second volume of "Maltibron Geography." Again, Mohammed Ali awarded and promoted him to the rank of brigadier general. Since that date, Tahtawi became known as Refa'ah Bey instead of Sheikh Refa'ah. Then, Tahtawi finished translating that bulky book in four volumes.
After Mohammed Ali's death, Khedive Abbas I came to power with his backward thoughts. He insinuated to the Private Council in a bid to abort Tahtawi's enlightened achievements that Tahtawi should be exiled. Tahtawi was well aware that he is in their power and knew that it was pointless to resist.
Khedive Said came to power after Abbas I in 1854. He declared an amnesty for those exiled to Sudan. Determined to revive the intellectual, cultural achievements of Mohammed Ali reign, Khedive Said appointed Tahtawi member and translator in the Municipal Council. In 1855, Tahtawi was also appointed vice president of the Military School in Al-Haud Al-Marsoud district.
Tahtawi's ambition was behind the establishment of the Accounting School in Al-Qala'a district in 1856. He was also appointed principal of the Royal Engineering and Architecture School and manager of the Educational Buildings' Authority.
During that period, he not only finalized the first project of reviving Islamic heritage but also succeeded in issuing a large number of Arabic books.
As of 1863 to 1873, Tahtawi regained his enthusiasm. His production in the fields of education, translation and writing significantly increased. Under Khedive Ismail's reign, "Diwan Al-Madares"(the Schools' Department) was re-established and Tahtawi was chosen member of such a department. In 1867, he was authorized to outline the statute for organizing national bureaux and was later appointed head of National Bureaux Council. He supervised Arabic language teaching, interviewed teachers so as to choose the best and taught them new teaching methods. He also headed a lot of examination committees in Egyptian and foreign schools as well.
In 1863, he established a translation department devoted to translating new laws. He was appointed director of such a department. As of 1866 to 1868, Tahtawi and his fellows translated the French law, the Ottoman constitution, the civil law and the commercial law as well. In 1870, the Schools' Department issued a cultural magazine entitled "Rawdat Al-Madares"(The Schools' Garden) and Tahtawi was appointed editor-in-chief. He held such a position publishing 6 issues till his death in 1873.
Traits of Tahtawi's educational philosophy:
According to Tahtawi, education was the only way for development. He spent his life in learning, teaching and translating. It seems that from the moment he realized what he could give his own nation, he prepared himself to be a teacher. He believed that the way to civilization starts with education which help people to fathom the significance of life. The traits of his educational philosophy are as follows:
Education is a prelude to progress.
Tahtawi believed that education is a necessity, that man cannot do without it. Man's mind which distinguishes him from all other creatures is the only device that can save mankind. On the contrary, animals can protect themselves only by physical power. Tahtawi asserted the importance of the mind as a power governing man's life. He, following suit of the philosophers of enlightenment, believed in man's ability to change reality so as to meet the needs of the modern age.
Education is essential for youth.
Youth may be exposed to writings against their own culture and moral norms. Only education can save them from falling into the trap of deviation. In this respect, Tahtawi echoed exponents of realism who believe that the key to virtue is education. According to him, girls' education is important for the following reasons:
1- It helps a girl get a suitable husband. 2- It helps women bring up their children. 3- It takes them away from gossiping and pointless chat.
Tahtawi, a pioneer of women emancipation
Al-Tahtawi is undoubtedly the Middle East pioneer of women emancipation movement, the movement Qasem Amin later devoted his life to. He took precedence over all other advocates. However, Qasem Amin's name has always been associated with accomplishments in this regard. This is in part due to the fact that the public opinion at that time was not crystallized enough to fathom Tahtawi's thoughts. Moreover, Tahtawi's writings were mostly directed to and available for government employees and educators.
In 1836, Tahtawi in his capacity as a member of the Education Planning Committee called for certain measures be taken towards women education. The Committee's move was not implemented but gained currency among families of powerful social and economic class. Affluent families hired qualified teachers for their daughters at home.
HIS WRITINGS AND WORKS:
In 1872, Tahtawi wrote "Al-Murshid Al-Amin" (The Honest Guide) where he advocated building schools for girls and stressed that an educated women has a happier family, rears polite well-behaved children and has better job opportunities if necessity demands. Tahtawi's efforts were finally crowned with success when the first school for girls was established in 1873.
Tahtawi's writings
"A Paris Profile," written during Tahtawi's stay in France. "The methodology of Egyptians minds with regard to the marvels of modern literature," published in 1869 crystallizing Tahtawi's opinions on modernization.
"The honest guide for education of girls and boys," published in 1873 and reflecting the main precepts of Tahtawi's educational thoughts. "Tawfik Al-Galil insights into Egypt's and Ismail descendants' history," the first part of the History Encyclopedia published in 1868 and tracing the history of ancient Egypt till the dawn of Islam.
"A thorough summary of the biography of Mohammed" published after Tahtawi's death, recording a comprehensive account of the life of Prophet Mohammed and the political, legal and administrative foundations of the first Islamic state.
"Towards a simpler Arabic grammar," published in 1869.
"Grammatical sentences," published in 1863.
"Egyptian patriotic lyrics," written in praise of Khedive Said and published in 1855.
"The luminous stars in the moonlit nights of Al-Aziz," a collection of congratulatory writings to some princes, published in 1872. Tahtawi's translations
" The history of ancient Egyptians," published in 1838.
"The Arabization of trade law," published in 1868.
"The Arabization of the French civil law," published in 1866.
"The unequivocal Arabization approach to geography," published in 1835.
"Small-scale geography," published in 1830.
"Metals and their use," published in 1867.
"Ancient philosophers," published in 1836.
"Principals of engineering," published in1854.
"Useful metals," published in1832.
"Logic," published in1838.
"Sasure's engineering," published in 1874.
"General geography."
"The French constitution."
"On health policies."
" On Greek mythology."
Tahtawi's death:
At the age of 72, sickness attacked Tahtawi. On 27 May 1873, Tahtawi passed away. His funeral procession headed by Al-Azhar Sheikh made its way through the crowded streets. Tahtawi is buried in Bab Al-Wazir cemetery, Boustan Al-Ulma, Al-Darb Al-Ahmar district near Al-Azhar mosque.


Zahi Hawass is an Egyptian Egyptologist and archaeologist who obtained a Bachelor's degree from Alexandria University, and his Doctoral Degree (Ph.D) from the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently the Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities; prior to that, he was the Director of the Giza Plateau and has also worked at archaeological sites in the Nile Delta, the Western Desert, and the Upper Nile Valley.
Hawass is currently spearheading a movement to return many prominent Ancient Egyptian artifacts, such as the Rosetta Stone, the bust of Nefertiti, the zodiac ceiling painting from the Dendera Temple, the bust of Ankhhaf (the architect of the Chephren Pyramid), and the statue of Hemiunu, nephew of the Pharaoh Khufu, builder of the largest pyramid, to Egypt from collections in various other countries.
In July 2003, the Egyptians demanded the return of the Rosetta Stone. Hawass, as secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Cairo, told the press, "If the British want to be remembered, if they want to restore their reputation, they should volunteer to return the Rosetta Stone because it is the icon of our Egyptian identity."
He is also a vocal opponent of the ancient astronauts theories about a previous worldwide civilization. He appeared on a History Channel show to dispel the theories, and provided evidence to show that the Egyptians built the pyramids of Egypt. Hawass is now a regular columnist for Egypt Today magazine.
Hawass was also alongside the Egyptologist Otto Schaden who opened Tomb KV63 in February 2006 — the first intact tomb to be found in the Valley of the Kings since 1922.
In June 2007, Hawass announced that he and a team of experts may have identified the mummy of Hatshepsut in KV60, a small tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
Dr Hawass was recently in the UK for the opening of the "Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs" exhibition in London.
He is the author of many books including one on "King Tutankhamen: The Treasures from the Tomb" published to coincide with this major exhibition in the UK.
His most recent article on Tutankhamen was published in Ancient Egypt magazine.
He has written several articles for this bi-monthly UK-based magazine on ancient Egypt.
He is opposed to the claims of Afrocentrists. According to Dr. Hawass "Tutankhamen was not black, and the portrayal of ancient Egyptian civilization as black has no element of truth to it."


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Mahmud Ali al-Bannah
Date of birth 1926;Minufiyah; Egypt
Memorized the entire Quran at 11 Studied at Tanta's Minshawi Religious Institute
Mini-biography
1945: Settled in Cairo
1948: Recited the Quran on the anniversary of the Prophet's birth
1976: Recorded his reading of the Quran at the Egyptian Radio
1985: Recorded the Quran in UAE
Took part in the ceremony marking the opening of the first mosque in Austria
Visited Muslim communities in Germany, Britain and France
Died on July 20, 1985
Awards
Order of Science and Art (1990)


Mostafa Lotfi El Manfalouti was born on December 30, 1877, in the city of Manfalout in Upper Egypt. Brought up in a family of Ulamas, he was motivated to finish his education at Al Azhar in Cairo. When first there, he met Imam Muhammad Abdou and became his student. He accompanied him throughout so that Imam Muhammad Abdou himself used to say that this student would be among the best to disseminate his principles which conformed entirely with El Manfalouti's reformatory thought. During that period, his literary talent cropped up. He began to write poetry at the age of 16, which made him the centre of attention. He was imprisoned, while still a student at Al Azhar, because he wrote a poem slandering Khedive Abbas II the then ruler of Egypt.
In disseminating his ideas, El Manfalouti relied heavily on essay-writing which he developed into a full art. El Manfalouti gained more renown from his essays than that from his novels. Orientalist Brookleman said that El Manfalouti is the most famous essay-writer in the 20th century. Moreover, he was a pioneer of the short story and the novel in general. His smooth style made his novels readable in successive editions all over the Arab world. El Manfalouti distinguished himself with:
First: Tenderness of feeling, which enabled him to visualize the miseries of society. He was known to be always seeking comfort for the miserable, the deprived and the bereaved.
Second: his ideal, moral inclination that was manifested in his call for righteousness, goodness and virtue.
El Manfalouti's most important reformatory principles were:
1. Education. 2. Social justice 3. Authenticity and modernity. 4. A special view of art. 5. Women's rights. 6. Religious reform


Born on April 15, 1905, Abdel-Fattah al-Qossari is considered one of Egypt's most distinguished comedians. He was almost always cast as an illiterate, who thinks that he knows everything when turns out that he does not. He graced Egyptian cinema in over 60 films which include:Sokkar hanemIsmail Yassin in the madhouseIbn HamidoIsmail Yassin meets Rya and SakinaMiss HanafiAs you wishShamshoun and LiblebHouse of ghostsHe wants to get marriedFriday nightThe black marketIf you were richThe accusedSi Omar
Al-Qossari died in 1965


Amal Abul-Qassem Donqol (b. 1940 - d. 1983)
Donqol was known for his politically-colored poetry. At the beginning, Greek mythology dominated his writing.Later, however, he relied more on pre-Islamic and Islamic imagery to modernize Arabic poetry.
Donqol's father, an Azhar graduate, who wrote classic poetry, possessed a library full of books in the various Islamic disciplines of which his son took advantage.He died, however, when Donqol was ten years old and at such an early age,the son became responsible for a mother and two younger brothers.
He completed his secondary education in Qena in 1957. In 1958, he enrolled in the Faculty of Arts,Cairo University. Before the end of his first year, he dropped out to work for a living as an employee at the Qena Court of Justice,the Customs Departments in Suez and Alexandria and the Afro-Asian Solidarity Organization.But he was always running away to poetry.
Donqol died in 1983 after a long illness.
Famous works : Al-bokaa bayn yadai Zarqaa al-Yamama (Crying on the Shoulders of Zarqaa al-Yamam) – Beirut 1969 Taaliq alla ma hadeth (Commenting on What Happened) – Beirut 1971 Maqtal al-qamar (Death of the Moon) – Beirut 1974 Al-'ahd al-aati (The Forthcoming Epoch) – Beirut 1975 Aqwaal gadida an harb al-Bassous (New Statements Regarding the Bassous War) – Cairo 1983 Awraq al-ghorfa 8 (Documents of Room No. 8)


Architecture is the art that people live in. They see it everyday. So if you live in a beautiful city, it affects your manners, style and attitude. Farghali Abdel Hafiz, a seasoned modern Egyptian artist, has lately been working on a series of exhibits in which he tries to show the relationships of love, passion and art between himself and certain cities.
He started with Venice, moved on to Aswan, and last year he presented a series of astoundingly sensitive and nostalgic works on Cairo. This month he pays homage to Florence, a city that he first visited back in 1964, and which, since then, has become a living, breathing creature in his imagination.
The most conspicuous feature of Abdel Hafiz's city series is the successful use of several media. With oils, crayons, watercolors and acrylics, he creates exquisite, multi-layered works. The works that grab your attention in this exhibit are two huge canvases placed on two adjacent walls. The first initially gives the impression of a beautiful, bustling city. Using pastel crayons on top of the painted background, Abdel Hafiz adds in architectural details.
Every window and every line is accounted for. But these lines are not rigid; they are soft and malleable, as if they were breathing. The third layer of this work presents three human figures. On the left is a huge female figure blown out of proportion.
She seems like some ancient vestige from the past, dressed in Roman attire. On the right, another woman takes over the scene. She is swathed in a gauzy fabric and is holding a flower. Is she love, is she beauty, is she art? Maybe. In the middle, a third element is imposed over the painting. It is the image of a couple walking arm-in-arm. Executed in red and blue, the two people look like elegant fashion models judging from the stylized way they seem to be moving.
In this work, Abdel Hafiz tries to assemble all the elements that make Florence special to him, whether it is history, beauty or modernity. He recalls his first impressions of the city upon stepping off the train: "I paused and examined her profile and her features. She stood proud of her historic background and dignified beauty. I shared such pride, since I hail from a land steeped in history and civilization. It was a friendly encounter full of emotions teeming with waves and vibrations that stem from the depth of history."
To him, Florence soon becomes a woman to be wooed and loved. And in the adjacent canvas, he tries to put a shape to this woman. The canvas is transformed into a map of the city with a rich earth-colored background on which buildings and streets are drawn in thick yellow brushstrokes. Superimposed on a large section of the work is a voluptuous woman dressed in fashionable modern clothes. Although she is blond, her profile portrays an Ancient Egyptian face similar to those beauties engraved in our 5,000-year-old temples.
The smaller works are also fascinating because of the spontaneity and intensity of feelings divulged through the vibrant, powerful lines. And in these works, you also begin noticing some Florentine landmarks. Here the artist makes interesting use of white, which becomes more than just a color.
Abdel Hafiz utilizes a thick, dry brush to lay on the white, and then adds lines of blue and black on top of it. The result is new and fresh. Through his loving eyes we see lovers, we see joy, we see art in progress, and in every single painting, the elegant architecture of Florence is there. Sometimes it encircles the work, as if it is embracing anyone who reciprocates her love.
Scattered throughout the works are the sweet horse-drawn carriages Florence is known for. One of the most romantic of these is a drawing of a park in which the artist reveals the beauty of black wrought-iron designs. The curves and lines intimate movement and in the center he paints three pink roses. The juxtaposition is simply breathtaking.
Abdel Hafiz portrays the classic sculptures of Florence in a way that makes you forget these figures are statues, not the people of Florence. "Sounds emanating from its profound history and chants of its artistic glory found their way to my ears," the artist says. "I heard dialogues by Michelangelo and Da Vinci."
For Abdel Hafiz, "Florence is part of the spiritual energy that feeds my mind." After seeing the exhibit, his comment seems to crystallize.


Date of birth April 5, 1917; Daqahliyah; Egypt
Mini-biography 1944: Graduated in the Faculty of Islamic Sharia, Azhar University 1946: Obtained his Alameya Degree
History of employment 1946: Judge, Islamic Sharia Courts 1953: Secretary of Fatwa, Dar al-Ifta, Egypt 1976: Counselor, Court of Appeals 1978: Mufti of Egypt (In his capacity as such, he sought to revive the role of the fatwa (opinion)-giving establishment) 1982: Appointed Minister of Waqf (from January to March 1982) 1982: Became Grand Imam of al-Azhar (His appointment marked a revival of al-Azhar's role) Under his tenure as Grand Imam, many Azhar Institutes were established throughout the country.
Awards Order of the Nile from Egypt (1983) Order of Intellectual and Scientific Excellence from Morocco The King Faysal International Prize (Service To Islam) (1995)
Died on March 15, 1996




Youssef Idrees
With a unique style, a distinct way of presenting ideas and commitment to the cause, aspirations and concerns of his country, Dr Youssef Idrees is a glittering star in the realm of contemporary Arabic literature, both as a short story and novel writer and playwright. He has left a rich legacy of writings, including novels, short stories, plays and essays. Youssef Idrees is considered a turning point in the history of Arabic short story and novel. Thanks to his contributions, the Arabic novel evolved from "pathetic" romanticism to realism. He was born on May 19, 1927. Throughout his school years, he was an intelligent, talented and distinguished student. He used to read stories, scientific and literary books where he got acquainted with major contemporary Arabic writers. He also read translations of foreign literature.
During his study at the Faculty of Medicine, he became more interested in literature, psychology, poetry and other arts such as music and painting. There, he started to write short stories and show them to his colleagues. In his last year at the Faculty, he participated in the students' demonstrations against British colonisation; he became the executive secretary of the committee defending students. He was engaged in clashes with the British soldiers. On account of his revolutionary activities, he was patsiotic from pursuing his study for several months.
While he practised medicine during the period from 1951 1960, he remained committed to the patriotic cause of his country and took part in the secret meetings of the liberation movement until the July, 1952 Revolution took place. He took part in editing "Al Tahrir", the first magazine published by the Army in September, 1952.
Landmarks along his career
Youssef Idrees started writing short stories, while still a student of medicine. His early short stories drew the attention of critics, many of whom foretold he would reach outstanding status especially after he wrote "The Strangers' Song" published in "Al Qissa" magazine in 1950.
Idrees' stories were published in "Rosel-Yousef" magazine , then Abdel Rahman Al Khamisi introduced him to "Al Masri" newspaper.
He published his first collection "Cheapest Nights" in 1954, which contained short stories previously published in "Al Qissa", "Rosel-Yousef" magazines, and "Al Masri" newspaper. Then he began to publish his works in "Sabahel-Kheir" magazine . He was appointed as Editor in "Al Gomhouria" newspaper where he started his career as a journalist and a writer.

He was entrusted to write a book on the Suez War, to be translated into English, and another book on the National Union. He made a successful debut in the theatre when he wrote his one-act play entitled "Farahat's Republic".

In 1973, he was appointed as writer in Al-Ahram newspaper. In his late years, he had a special interest in writing articles as he used to write weekly articles which were published in Al-Ahram every Monday. These essays, published under the heading "From My Diary", with their rich and daring subjects and elaborate style, constituted another form of Idrees' writings.

Ph.Ds. on literature of Youssef Idrees

Youssef Idrees's literary works were the subject of about 95 Ph.D. theses in and outside Egypt. In foreign universities, these works were subject to more than 22 studies. For example, the Spanish researcher Pilar Liro El Elegado made her Ph.D. on "The Dramatic World of Youssef Idrees". Owing to the significance of this Ph.D., it was printed and published in a book by the Egyptian Institute for Islamic Studies. It was discussed in a seminar in Taha Hussein's Hall at the Institute, attended by some of the Egyptian and Spanish university professors and orientalists.

Merits and awards won by Youssef Idrees

A wards:

- Order of Algerian Militants in 1961, in recognition of his contribution to the independence of Algeria. - Order of the Republic in 1963. - The annual prize in 1965 from "Hewar", a Lebanese magazine, which is dedicated every year to eminent writers in the Arab world. Yet, he declined the prize.

In 1970, he was unanimously elected a Director-General of the Society of Dramatists.

A Russian sculpturer designed a medal for Dr. Youssef Idrees. This sculpturer is famous for his designs for prominent figures in art and literature.

Works of Youssef Idrees

Youssef Idrees started his career writing short stories and articles as early as 1954. He continued writing articles to the press until shortly before his death in 1991. He made rich contributions to "Al Qissa", "Rosel-Yousef", "Al Tahrir", "Al Hadaf" , "Sabahul Kheir", "Al Masri" and "Al Ghad" magazines, and "Al Gornhouria", "Al Shaab" and "Al Ahrarm" newspapers.

Idrees published about 12 collections of short stories, 8 plays, 6 novels, 11 books containing his essays. Besides, he wrote on childhood, its innocent world and awareness of the surrounding reality. He took part in most of political, literary and intellectual seminars organised at his time. He also co-authored some books.

Short story collections include:

"Cheapest Nights", "Love Story", "Isn't It?" , "The Hero", "Too Far", "The Oh! Language", " An Accident of Honour", "Al Naddaha", "A House Made of Flesh" .

Plays: "Farahat Republic", "King of Cotton", "Critical Moment", "Al Farafeer" ( common people), "The Earthly Farce", "The Stripped", "The Third Sex", "Towards an Arabic Theatre".

Novels: "The Prohibited", "The Wrong", "Men and Bulls", "The Black Soldier", "The White"

Reflections: "Limited Frankness", "The Discovery of a Continent", "Dr.Youssef Idrees's Diary," in three parts.

Stories for children: "Right", "A Look", "Is It a plaything?" , "Play" and the "Grey Triangle".


Al-Falaki, Mahmud Ahmad Hamdi
(1815-19 July 1885)
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Engineer, mathematician, and scientist. Mahmud was born in the village of al-Hissa (Gharbiyya province); his father died early, and he was reared by a brother and sent to MUHAMMAD 'Ali's Polytechnic School in the Citadel, He later taught mathematics and astronomy at that school.
Chosen to be a part of 'ABBAS I's student mission to Europe in 1851, he spent nine years in Paris. Upon his return to Cairo, SA'ID charged him with drawing maps, among them the first complete topographic map of Egypt .
He held several important government posts, including public works minister, and became the president of the khedivial Geographic Society.
He represented Egypt at the International Congress of Geographer in Venice in 1881 and in Paris in 1885.
As minister of education (1884-1885) he instituted several important educational reforms, one of which was to require that the foreign schools receiving subsidies from the Egyptian government undergo regular inspections.
In his published writings, he tried to prove that the Giza Pyramids were built for astronomical purposes; he also established the exact birth and death dates for the probhet Muhammad.
He directed the Education Ministry and the Geographical Society until his death in Cairo.
Bibliographic Sources
" Abd-al-Rahman , Ibrahim Hilmi, "Mahmud al-Falaki"
'Aqqad, Abbas Mahmud, "Mahmud Basha al Falaki"
Brockelmann. GAL,S, 642-3,747,
Cheiko,al-Adab al-'arabiyaa,103


Refaa Al-Tahtawi was one of the most distinguished and outstanding literary figures of his time.He was a prominent historian, man of letters, translator and journalist. He was characterized by conscious thought, penetrating insight and his ideas were too advanced for his time.Al Tahtawi is one of the banners of enlightenment in Egypt. Moreover,he succeeded in tackling the most difficult economic issues, expressing his worthy views to solve them.
He left behind about twenty works of translations and intellectual heritage which shaped the thoughts of many intellectuals and poiltical figures such as Ali Mubarak, Muhammad Abdo, Ahmed Orabi, Abd Allah Al-Nadeem and Saad Zaghloul, and still shaping the thoughts of generations up till our days.
BIRTH AND EDUCATION:
Refa'ah Rafie' Al Tahtawi was born in Tahta, Upper Egypt, on 15 October 1801. Tahtawi is a man of noble birth. His ancestors assumed positions of authority and responsibility. While a child, Tahtawi enjoyed aristocratic privileges including financial allocations.
When Mohammed Ali came to power, he denied noblemen financial privileges in implementation of his economic reform program. Consequently, Tahtawi's family lived in straitened circumstances. At the age of 12, Tahtawi accompanying his family moved from Tahta to Gerga, Qena and Farshoot.
Meanwhile, Tahtawi successfully learned how to read and write and fully memorized the Koran. When Tahtawi's father died, Tahtawi returned to Tahta and lived with his maternal uncles.
Tahtawi's intellectual talents were soon manifested when he joined Al-Azhar University in 1817. Tahtawi studied under and was deeply influenced by Sheikh Hassan Mohammed Al-Attar, the son of a poor tradesman who wanted his son to work with him. The boy went to Al-Azhar secretly and attended lessons given by Sheikh Al-Amir. When the French occupied Egypt, Al-Attar fled to Upper Egypt. He was of the opinion that Muslim countries should benefit from the knowledge, sciences and educational methods of the West. He was a poet and wrote also on medicine and anatomy.
In 1823, Tahtawi graduated. Immediately after graduation, he worked as a teacher in Al-Azhar for two years. Tahtawi spent most of his time in Al-Attar's house reading Western books which were not available nor allowed at those times. Thanks to Al-Attar.
HIS CAREER AND ACHEIVMENTS:
Tahtawi was appointed imam (religious head of a Muslim community) of an Egyptian battalion till 1826 and later imam of the educational mission Mohammed Ali sent to Paris.
As of the moment Tahtawi trod in Marseille, he decided to be more than an imam. He started learning French as a means of translating Western sciences into Arabic. It took him a month to master the rules of spelling.
Tahtawi believed in the necessity of opening channels of contact between the cultures of both the West and the East. As a result, Mohammed Ali decreed that Tahtawi be a member of the mission. Besides his post as an imam, Tahtawi studied translation. On 19 October 1830, he submitted to a panel of French professors 12 translations of French masterpieces in different fields, some of which were sent to the Cairo-based Bolaque printing house, and the manuscript of the book he wrote during his stay in Paris which is entitled 'Takhlees Al-Ibrease fi Talkhees Paris' (A Paris Profile).
Tahtawi finally received his degree. In 1831, he returned back to Egypt. Prior to his return, reports on his excellence and unchallenged supremacy telling how promising he is were sent to Mohammed Ali. On his return, Tahtawi worked as a translator in Medicine School for two years. He was the first Egyptian holding such a position for it was completely dominated by Moroccans, Syrians and Americans. Meanwhile, Tahtawi managed to translate many books such as "Explaining Anatomy Terminology." Besides his work at Medicine School, Tahtawi took the responsibility of supervising the Preparatory Medicine School.
In 1833, Tahtawi moved to Tobigia School (Artillery School) in Tora where he worked as a translator of engineering and military sciences. There, he took the first step towards his dream of establishing an Egyptian university patterned on the Eastern Languages' School. His plan was to establish, step by step, a number of separate high schools to be incorporated into a university at a later stage. As a start, Tahtawi set up History and Geography School in 1833.
In 1834, plague broke out and Tahtawi had to move to his village Tahta where he stayed for six months spending two of them translating one volume of "Maltibron Geography." When he returned to Cairo, he submitted his translation to Mohammed Ali who awarded and promoted him. Tahtawi then made the suggestion of establishing a translation school which was inaugurated in 1835 and was later named Al-Alsun School. Tahtawi's post in Al-Alsun was technical and managerial supervision, teaching literature and Islamic and Western laws, choosing the books to be translated , reviewing and rectifying translated works as well. Al-Alsun School gradually began to assume the structural form and educational content of modern universities.
Tahtawi, not only was the first to establish an Arab civilized university but was also the first to establish a museum of Egypt's antiquities. In 1835, he submitted to Mohammed Ali a plan to preserve Egypt's antiquities. The plan which was published in Al-Waqa'i newspaper (The Official Egyptian Gazette) stipulated that any antiquities found by individuals should be handed over to Tahtawi in his capacity as Principal of Al-Alsun School. Consequently, Al-Alsun's courtyard became the nucleus of the first antiquities' museum in Egypt.
Tahtawi's interest in Egypt's antiquities was not for artistic reasons only but originally stems from absolute patriotism. He criticized Mohammed Ali when he offered the Obelisk, now standing in the Concord square, to France as a symbol of friendship.
Tahtawi is also considered the founder of the first Egyptian newspaper entitled "Al-Waqa'i Al-Misrea." He is indeed the father of Egyptian journalism. Tahtawi also supervised editing the Military Magazine in both French and Arabic.
In 1841, Tahtawi established the Translation Department as a specialized institution mainly dealing with four branches of knowledge: mathematics, medicine and physics, social sciences and Turkish writings. In 1843, Tahtawi was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Two years later, he translated the second volume of "Maltibron Geography." Again, Mohammed Ali awarded and promoted him to the rank of brigadier general. Since that date, Tahtawi became known as Refa'ah Bey instead of Sheikh Refa'ah. Then, Tahtawi finished translating that bulky book in four volumes.
After Mohammed Ali's death, Khedive Abbas I came to power with his backward thoughts. He insinuated to the Private Council in a bid to abort Tahtawi's enlightened achievements that Tahtawi should be exiled. Tahtawi was well aware that he is in their power and knew that it was pointless to resist.
Khedive Said came to power after Abbas I in 1854. He declared an amnesty for those exiled to Sudan. Determined to revive the intellectual, cultural achievements of Mohammed Ali reign, Khedive Said appointed Tahtawi member and translator in the Municipal Council. In 1855, Tahtawi was also appointed vice president of the Military School in Al-Haud Al-Marsoud district.
Tahtawi's ambition was behind the establishment of the Accounting School in Al-Qala'a district in 1856. He was also appointed principal of the Royal Engineering and Architecture School and manager of the Educational Buildings' Authority.
During that period, he not only finalized the first project of reviving Islamic heritage but also succeeded in issuing a large number of Arabic books.
As of 1863 to 1873, Tahtawi regained his enthusiasm. His production in the fields of education, translation and writing significantly increased. Under Khedive Ismail's reign, "Diwan Al-Madares"(the Schools' Department) was re-established and Tahtawi was chosen member of such a department. In 1867, he was authorized to outline the statute for organizing national bureaux and was later appointed head of National Bureaux Council. He supervised Arabic language teaching, interviewed teachers so as to choose the best and taught them new teaching methods. He also headed a lot of examination committees in Egyptian and foreign schools as well.
In 1863, he established a translation department devoted to translating new laws. He was appointed director of such a department. As of 1866 to 1868, Tahtawi and his fellows translated the French law, the Ottoman constitution, the civil law and the commercial law as well. In 1870, the Schools' Department issued a cultural magazine entitled "Rawdat Al-Madares"(The Schools' Garden) and Tahtawi was appointed editor-in-chief. He held such a position publishing 6 issues till his death in 1873.
Traits of Tahtawi's educational philosophy:
According to Tahtawi, education was the only way for development. He spent his life in learning, teaching and translating. It seems that from the moment he realized what he could give his own nation, he prepared himself to be a teacher. He believed that the way to civilization starts with education which help people to fathom the significance of life. The traits of his educational philosophy are as follows:
Education is a prelude to progress.
Tahtawi believed that education is a necessity, that man cannot do without it. Man's mind which distinguishes him from all other creatures is the only device that can save mankind. On the contrary, animals can protect themselves only by physical power. Tahtawi asserted the importance of the mind as a power governing man's life. He, following suit of the philosophers of enlightenment, believed in man's ability to change reality so as to meet the needs of the modern age.
Education is essential for youth.
Youth may be exposed to writings against their own culture and moral norms. Only education can save them from falling into the trap of deviation. In this respect, Tahtawi echoed exponents of realism who believe that the key to virtue is education. According to him, girls' education is important for the following reasons:
1- It helps a girl get a suitable husband. 2- It helps women bring up their children. 3- It takes them away from gossiping and pointless chat.
Tahtawi, a pioneer of women emancipation
Al-Tahtawi is undoubtedly the Middle East pioneer of women emancipation movement, the movement Qasem Amin later devoted his life to. He took precedence over all other advocates. However, Qasem Amin's name has always been associated with accomplishments in this regard. This is in part due to the fact that the public opinion at that time was not crystallized enough to fathom Tahtawi's thoughts. Moreover, Tahtawi's writings were mostly directed to and available for government employees and educators.
In 1836, Tahtawi in his capacity as a member of the Education Planning Committee called for certain measures be taken towards women education. The Committee's move was not implemented but gained currency among families of powerful social and economic class. Affluent families hired qualified teachers for their daughters at home.
HIS WRITINGS AND WORKS:
In 1872, Tahtawi wrote "Al-Murshid Al-Amin" (The Honest Guide) where he advocated building schools for girls and stressed that an educated women has a happier family, rears polite well-behaved children and has better job opportunities if necessity demands. Tahtawi's efforts were finally crowned with success when the first school for girls was established in 1873.
Tahtawi's writings
"A Paris Profile," written during Tahtawi's stay in France. "The methodology of Egyptians minds with regard to the marvels of modern literature," published in 1869 crystallizing Tahtawi's opinions on modernization.
"The honest guide for education of girls and boys," published in 1873 and reflecting the main precepts of Tahtawi's educational thoughts. "Tawfik Al-Galil insights into Egypt's and Ismail descendants' history," the first part of the History Encyclopedia published in 1868 and tracing the history of ancient Egypt till the dawn of Islam.
"A thorough summary of the biography of Mohammed" published after Tahtawi's death, recording a comprehensive account of the life of Prophet Mohammed and the political, legal and administrative foundations of the first Islamic state.
"Towards a simpler Arabic grammar," published in 1869.
"Grammatical sentences," published in 1863.
"Egyptian patriotic lyrics," written in praise of Khedive Said and published in 1855.
"The luminous stars in the moonlit nights of Al-Aziz," a collection of congratulatory writings to some princes, published in 1872. Tahtawi's translations
" The history of ancient Egyptians," published in 1838.
"The Arabization of trade law," published in 1868.
"The Arabization of the French civil law," published in 1866.
"The unequivocal Arabization approach to geography," published in 1835.
"Small-scale geography," published in 1830.
"Metals and their use," published in 1867.
"Ancient philosophers," published in 1836.
"Principals of engineering," published in1854.
"Useful metals," published in1832.
"Logic," published in1838.
"Sasure's engineering," published in 1874.
"General geography."
"The French constitution."
"On health policies."
" On Greek mythology."
Tahtawi's death:
At the age of 72, sickness attacked Tahtawi. On 27 May 1873, Tahtawi passed away. His funeral procession headed by Al-Azhar Sheikh made its way through the crowded streets. Tahtawi is buried in Bab Al-Wazir cemetery, Boustan Al-Ulma, Al-Darb Al-Ahmar district near Al-Azhar mosque.