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Egyptian Enlightener Rifa‛a at-Tahtawi

By Murman Kutelia


From the 19th c. in Arab countries, first of all, in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, the political, economic and cultural life begins to revive, which is known as the Revival (the "Nahda"). In this process enlighteners played the crucial role. The aim of the present article is to focus attention on several questions of the world outlook of Rifa‛a at-Tahtawi, the first Egyptian enlightener, in particular, his interpretation of the notions of "homeland" and "nation" and his views on the relationship between the West and the East, on the organization forms of states and societies. In order to demonstrate the question, a brief overview of the viewpoint of the enlighteners (al-Afgani, Abdo, Adib Ishaq, Mustafa Kamil, Farah Antuni, Lufti as-Saidi) and at-Tahtawi is offered. The article also deals with at-Tahtawi's views on problems of women's emancipation, his attitude towards the questions of upbringing and education. In addition, attention is devoted to his views on the notions of "lawfulness", "freedom", "equality", "justice", etc.). At-Tahtawi was the first among the Arabs, if not among the Egyptians, who turned the notion of "citizen" into an object of public discussion and defined the status of "citizen". The study of these questions leads to the conclusion that at-Tahtawi supports the successful achievements and reasonable synthesis of Western and Eastern civilizations, that European science and in general European civilization do not contradict Islam and the Koran. Furthermore, he considers that in his contemporary Europe, France in particular, there develops such a form of the society organization which has long since been known and acceptable to Islam.Enlightener, Rifa‛a at-Tahtawi, homeland, Western and Earstern civilizations

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