Situating Rifāʿah al-Ṭahṭāwī within an Islamicate Context

In: Journal of Arabic Literature
Author: Atoor Lawandow1
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  • 1 Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center

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In this article, I read Rifāʿah al-Ṭahṭāwī (1801-1873) in an Islamicate, Ottoman context by comparing him to eighteenth and nineteenth-century authors who engaged Ibn Khaldūn’s ideas as transmitted by his Ottoman interpreters. Reading al-Ṭahṭāwī in light of Ibn Khaldūn’s political theories from the Muqaddimah, reveals that al-Ṭahṭāwī’s work constitutes a continuation of eighteenth-century intellectual history, as it shares the same conception of state, geography, and civilizational history found in Ottoman, Mughal, and Mamluk texts. Thus, taking into consideration his Ottoman context is important for helping us understand the intellectual development of Nahḍah authors, like al-Ṭahṭāwī.

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