Muhammad Husayn Haykal

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Haykal, Muhammad Husayn


Born Aug. 10, 1888, in Kafr-Ghannam; died Dec. 8, 1956, in Cairo. Egyptian writer.

Haykal received a law degree from the Sorbonne in 1912 and served as minister of education from 1937 to 1944. He helped found a liberal constitutional party, which he headed from 1943 to 1952, and served as chairman of the Egyptian Senate from 1945 to 1950.

Haykal wrote the first Arabic realistic novel, Zaynab (1914; Russian translation, 1973), a lyrical, somewhat sentimental work in the style of European novels that describes village life in Egypt. From about 1915 through the 1920’s, Haykal developed his concept of Egyptian exclusiveness. Later he embraced Islamic tradition, losing interest in scholarship and Western civilization. He wrote biographical works about the heroes of early Islam, including his Life of Muhammad (1929), which is widely known in the Muslim world. In the novel Thus Was She Created (1955), Haykal contrasts the spirituality of the East with the mercantilism of Europe. His diaries, Recollections on Egyptian Politics (vols. 1–2, 1951–53), are a valuable source for the history of 20th-century Egypt.


Kotsarev, N. K. Pisateli Egipta (XX vek). Moscow, 1976. (Contains bibliography.)
Johanson, B. M. H. Haikal: Europa und der Orient im Weltbild eines ägyptischen Liberalen. Beirut-Wiesbaden, 1967.
Wessels, A. A. A Modern Arabic Biography of Muhammad. Leiden, 1972.
Semah, D. Four Egyptian Literary Critics, part 2. Leiden, 1974.


References in periodicals archive ?
The situation worsened when there were publicized views of Western educated figures like Taha Hussayn, Muhammad Husayn Haykal and Salama Musa, who saw a religious life to mean backwardness and opposition to a modern civilization (Shadi, 1994).
For some pioneers in the development of the Arabic novel -- for example, Muhammad Husayn Haykal and Ibrahim al-Mazini in Egypt, or al-Bashir Khurayyif in Tunisia -- the need to use the colloquial to give authentic coloring to novelistic dialogue has ruled out any other alternative.
In Chapter Two, Israel Gershoni analyzes the intellectual evolution of Muhammad Husayn Haykal (1888-1956), one of the most prominent intellectuals in Egypt and the Arab world between the two world wars.