Rifaa at- Tahtawi

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tahtawi, Rifaa at-


Born 1801 in Tahta, Egypt; died May 27, 1873, in Cairo. Egyptian educator and writer.

Tahtawi graduated from the Muslim al-Azhar University in Cairo and later lived in Paris from 1826 to 1831. Between 1837 and 1849 he was director of the Translating Office (later the Language Office) in Egypt; in 1863 he became director of the Translation Bureau. Tahtawi and his students translated approximately 2,000 works by European authors.

Tahtawi was instrumental in organizing public education in Egypt and was one of the first Arabs to advocate education for women. In 1835 he published a book about France that helped acquaint Egyptians with French progressive social thought. Tahtawi also translated “La Marseillaise” into Arabic. The first popularizer of Egyptian patriotism, he favored a parliamentary form of government.


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.