Hafiz Ibrahim

Hafiz Ibrahim

 

(Muhammad Hafiz Ibrahim). Born 1870 or 1872 in Dayrut; died July 31, 1932, in Cairo. Egyptian Arab poet. One of the founders (together with A. Shawqi) of the neoclassical movement in Arabic poetry in the first half of the 20th century.

Hafiz Ibrahim came from a working-class family. He graduated from the Sidi Badawi Madrasa in Tanta and from the Military Academy in Cairo in 1891. In 1890, while serving in the Anglo-Egyptian army in the Sudan, he took part in an anti-British demonstration by Egyptian officers and was discharged from the army.

Hafiz Ibrahim’s lyric poetry, which reached its highest level of artistry and greatest popularity in the first decade of the 1900’s, reflected the growing national and democratic consciousness of the Egyptian people. Profoundly influenced by M. Abdo and other Islamic reformers, Hafiz Ibrahim called for resistance to the British colonialists in the name of Egypt’s unique national heritage. Constantly turning to his country’s past, lyrically depicting the native landscape, and idealizing Egypt and the Egyptian fellah, he in many ways anticipated the strong nationalist trend in Egyptian literature in the 1920’s and 1930’s. His works brought him fame as “the poet of the Nile.”

In 1903, Hafiz Ibrahim translated V. Hugo’s Les Misérables and selections from Shakespeare’s Hamlet into Arabic. He wrote the Utopian publicist work “The Night of Satih” (1906), which sharply criticized the British colonial regime in Egypt and continued the traditions of the maqama prose genre in modern Arabic literature.

REFERENCES

Krymskii, A. E. Istoriia novoi arabskoi literatury: XIX–nachalo XX v. Moscow, 1971.
Kotsarev, N. K. Pisateli Egipta (XX vek). Moscow, 1975.
Khouri, M. A. Poetry and the Making of Modern Egypt (1822–1922). Leiden, 1971.

M. S. KIKTEV

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