116
116
'Abduh, Muhammad.
THREE IMPORTANT AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPTS, TOGETHER WITH A GOOD COLLECTION OF HIS PRINTED WRITINGS AND REFERENCE WORKS:
Estimate
12,00018,000
LOT SOLD. 14,900 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
116
'Abduh, Muhammad.
THREE IMPORTANT AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPTS, TOGETHER WITH A GOOD COLLECTION OF HIS PRINTED WRITINGS AND REFERENCE WORKS:
Estimate
12,00018,000
LOT SOLD. 14,900 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

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'Abduh, Muhammad.
THREE IMPORTANT AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPTS, TOGETHER WITH A GOOD COLLECTION OF HIS PRINTED WRITINGS AND REFERENCE WORKS:

three previously unrecorded manuscripts by muhammad 'abduh:

1) manuscript mostly in arabic, including an arabic translation of the first three books of plato's republic and a short essay (Al-Amthal wa ma Yagra Magraha min Lawazim al-Da'irat fi al-Isti'mal). [late nineteenth/early twentieth century], 8vo (180 x 120mm.), 108pp., comprising: 98pp. manuscript in Arabic, written in a neat hand in black and purple ink, French phrases (?by 'Abduh) with interlinear Arabic translations (10pp.), nineteenth century black cloth boards, spine worn, becoming disbound

2) manuscript in arabic on various subjects, including notes on identity, the family, society, sexuality, humanity, history, war, traditions, industry, education, labour and trade. [late nineteenth/early twentieth century], 4to (230 x 180mm.), approx. 50pp., neat Arabic manuscript in black ink, titled in pencil, red diced cloth, some pages disbound, binding worn

The two manuscripts above preserved within a green cloth box with red morocco label.

3) manuscript table in arabic of chronological/comparative historical events relating to palestine and the holy land from 4000 B.C. to 780 B.C., [late nineteenth/early twentieth century], folio (330 x 220mm.), 9pp. (loose sheets), manuscript in black ink in Arabic, some creasing and chipping to edge of sheets

printed works:

4) 'Abduh, Muhammad. Rissalat al Tawhid. Exposé de la religion musulmane... traduite de l'arabe... par B. Michel et le Cheikh Moustapha Abdel Razik. Paris: Paul Geuthner, 1925, 4to (224 x 168mm.), French text, twentieth-century red half morocco, spine with raised bands, lettered in gilt, original printed wrappers bound in, margins waterstained

5) [Ibid.] Al-Islam wa al-Nasraniyah ma al-Ilm wa al-Madaniyah. [Islam and Christianity in relation to science and civilisation]. [no place or date, early 1900s], 8vo (195 x 125mm.), Arabic text, portrait of the author on title, modern brown half morocco, lightly browned, title chipped with loss (not affecting text), library stamp on first leaf of text

6) [Ibid.] and M.G. Hanotaux. L'Europe et l'Islam... avec préface de Mohamed Talaat Harb Bey. Cairo: Jean Politis, 1905, first edition, 8vo (220 x 152mm.), French text, twentieth-century red cloth-backed faux crocodile boards, small tear to title (not affecting text)

7) [Ibid.] and Jamal al-Din Afghani. Al-'Urwat al-Wuthqa [The Firmest Bond]. Beirut: al-Tawfiq, 1910, second edition, 8vo (195 x 120mm.), Arabic text, contemporary decorated paper covers, some gatherings browned, partly disbound

8) [Ibid.]  Al 'Amal Al-Kamelat Lil Imam Al Sheikh Muhammad Abduh [edited by Muhammad 'Imarah]. [The Complete Works of Muhammad 'Abduh]. Cairo: Dar Al-Shourouk, 2006, second edition, 5 volumes, 8vo (232 x 168mm.), CD-Rom loosely inserted, original pictorial grey cloth, a few spine ends slightly bumped

commentaries, essays and reference books:

9) Rida, Muhammad Rashid. Tarikh al-Ustadh al-Imam al-Chaikh Muhammad Abduh. Cairo: al-Manar, 1924-1931, first edition, 3 volumes, 8vo (235 x 154mm.), Arabic text, photographic portrait frontispiece of Muhammad 'Abduh, other photographic plates and illustrations in text, twentieth-century brown half morocco, spines with raised bands, ex-library copy with stamps and marks, final leaf in vol.1 torn with some loss of text, some pages chipped

10) Al-Shayeb, Ahmed. Al Sheikh Muhammad 'Abduh. Cairo: Al-Majala al-Jadida, 1932, 8vo (240 x 145mm.), Arabic text, modern brown half morocco, some underlining and notes in ink

11) Amin, Osman. Muhammad 'Abduh. Essai sur ses idées philosophiques et religieuses. Cairo: Misr S.A.E., 1944, 8vo (242 x 166mm.), French text, half-title, photographic portrait frontispiece of Muhammad 'Abduh, plates, modern brown half morocco, some spotting

12) Amin, Ahmed. Zou'ama' Al-Islah fi Al-Asr Al-Hadith. [Reformer's leaders in the modern age]. Cairo: Lajnat al-Ta'leem wa al-Tarjama wa al-Nashr, 1948, 8vo (242 x 167mm.), Arabic text, photographic plates, original printed green wrappers, some stains to wrappers, spine slightly worn

13) Shahata, Abdallah Mahmoud. Al-Imam Muhammad Abduh. Cairo, 2000, 8vo (192 x 128mm.), Arabic text, original pictorial wrappers

14) Vernet Juan. Literatura árabe. Barcelona: El Acantilado, 2002, 8vo (208 x 128mm.), Spanish text, original printed wrappers

15) Al-Charif, Maher and Sabrina Mervin. Modernités Islamiques. Actes du colloque organisé à Alep à l'occasion du centenaire de la disparition de l'imam Muhammad 'Abduh, Novembre 2005. Damascus: Institut Français du Proche-Orient, 2006, first edition, 8vo (240 x 167mm.), French and Arabic text, original pictorial wrappers

16) Abdel Maksoud, Mohammad Fawzi. Al-Fikr Al-Tirbawi Lîl Oustaz Al-Imam Mohammad Abduh wa 'Aliyatihi fi Tatweer Al-Ta'leem. Cairo: Egyptian Renaissance Bookshop, 2006, 8vo (237 x 158mm.), Arabic text, modern brown half morocco, original wrappers bound in

original photograph:

17) Photograph, [late nineteenth/early twentieth century], (130 x 95mm.), studio portrait of Muhammad 'Abduh and Muhammad 'Ali Effendi Sa'oudi (see provenance), mounted on card, the lower portion of the mount is missing (not affecting the image)


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Provenance

The manuscripts were acquired from Muhammad 'Abduh by his friend Muhammad 'Ali Effendi Sa'oudi (1865-1955), the Egyptian photographer, whose important photographs and related archive of his pilgrimages to Makkah and Madinah in 1904 and 1908 were sold in these rooms 9 May 2006, lot 255. See also lot ***.

Literature

Other references, not included in this collection: Jaafar, Iftitah. Modern Qur'anic Exegesis. A Comparative Study of the Methods of Muhammad 'Abduh and Muhammad Rashid Rida. Institute of Islamic Studies. (Montreal: MacGill University, thesis presented in 1998. Supervisor: Prof. Issa J.Boullata, unpublished Phd thesis); Adams, Charles C. Islam And Modernism In Egypt: The American University at Cairo Oriental Studies. A study of the modern reform movement inaugurated by Muhammad 'Abduh. (Oxford University Press, 1933); Horten, Max. Mohammed Abduh, sein Leben and seine theologisch-philosophische Gedankenwelt, (Beitrdge zur Kenntnis des Orients, t. XIII and XIV, Halle, 1917, pp.74-218)

Catalogue Note

manuscripts by muhammad 'abduh are very rare: only four autograph manuscripts were recorded in amin's 1944 bibliography.

Muhammad 'Abduh (1849-1905) was an enormously important figure in the intellectual history of Egypt and Islam in the second half of the nineteenth century, an international figure, who visited Europe and was known to a wide circle of social thinkers and activists, ranging from Tolstoy (whom he did not know personally but to whom in April 1904 he wrote a letter) to the British anti-imperialist poet and writer Wilfred Scawen Blunt (1840-1922), whom he knew well and visited in England in 1884 and again in 1903, and many more besides (he is mentioned in Sydney Cockerell's letters in Friends of a lifetime). But unlike his contemporary Abou Naddara, whose dramatic and journalistic skills played an important anti-colonialist role, Muhammad Abduh was a thinker, a man of God, and a deep commentator on Islam, particularly the Qur'an, and a person whose influence and charisma was hugely well served by his biographer M.R. Rida with his substantial Tarikh originally published 1924-31, and by the publication of his collected writings edited by Muhammad Imarah in five printed volumes (and fully searchable on the CD-rom).

He came from a family of fellahin, country farmers, and his parents quickly realised his precocious gifts which enabled him to escape from that milieu, initially through the medium of Quranic study with attendant stress on the Arabic language, and Islamic law. He was quick to comprehend the sterile nature of the essentially memory-based aspect of traditional learning with its stress on learning by rote and complete disregard for meaning - 'No questions, please'. This stress on the necessity of understanding remained with him all his life, and an early contact with Shaikh Darwish, who told him that 'Islam is my tariqa', Islam is my path', strengthened his beliefs. His attendance at the Islamic university of Al-Azhar in Cairo from 1866 only served to strengthen his dislike and intolerance of the narrow memory-based method of learning. As he later wrote in Rissalat al-Tawhid 'la plupart des esprits supérieurs est attaint d'une maladie que nous pouvons appeler l'esprit d'école' (p. 46 of the French translation, Paris, 1925). In 1877 he graduated from al-Azhar.

It was at this time that he met the major figure Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (1837-1897), originally from Afghanistan, and the speaker of many languages (including a little English), who tirelessly travelled in the Middle East and also to Europe, and was an advocate not only of western ideas but also of resistance to colonial powers. Under his influence Muhammad 'Abduh became involved in journalism and in political life, which led to his expulsion from Egypt. However he was recalled in 1880, but after the Urabi revolt was condemned to exile for three years, and during 1883 he joined Jamal al-Din in Paris, where he met Renan, one of the great French intellectuals of the age.

It was in Paris on 13th March 1884 that the first issue of Al-Urwat al-wuthqa (a title taken from a Sura in the Qur'an) appeared, this was the first arabic periodical ever published in europe, and was edited by al-Afghani and Muhammad 'Abdu. This preached spiritual renewal based on Islam rather than aping Europe, and stronger links between Islamic countries. Each issue contained 4 pages and it ran for eighteen issues (until Otober 1884), when it was suppressed partly by British censorship, and partly because both writers had lost their enthusiasm (Abou Naddara, by contrast, was able to continue). At the age of 44 he applied himself to learning French, and clearly made many trips to France and to Geneva for the rest of his life. Indeed his library contained many French works: Rousseau, Voltaire, Hugo, Lamartine, Musset, Renan and others, as well as works by Herbert Spencer, whom he met in Brighton in 1903. He translated a work on education by Spencer which existed in manuscript in private possession in 1944 (Al-Tarbiyah).

His intellectual horizons were ever wide: the fascinating transcription/ translation in Arabic of books I-III of Plato's Republic which discuss justice, the gods and bravery, shows him applying himself with some labour to one of the great texts of western philosophy. He refers to Plato's Republic as showing how the Greek philosopher struggled against all forms of paganism in order to be able to change the state of the soul of his contemporaries (see Amin p.85). In his library were other philosophical texts copied out by him, including two copies of Avicenna's Al-Isharat, one with commentary which he copied in 1874 so as to have a copy of the text himself (rather than have to consult it in a library, one imagines). We know that in the 1870s he lectured on the great maghribien philosopher of history Ibn Khaldun's Muqadimma¸ and in a more obviously Islamic way his command of Quranic tafsir was vast and produced the largest part of his oeuvre. The other manuscripts in this lot (and only four autograph manuscripts were recorded in 1944) also demonstrate his wide interests, and his awareness of the need to place things in an historical context, even one considerably antedating Islam. Egyptian history and that of Assyria and elsewhere were at this date being widely documented by archaeology, and although most of this was carried out by foreigners, the Egyptian intelligentsia was very aware of it.

Muhammad 'Abduh's activities were not purely literary; from 1874 when he published a work on mysticism until his death in 1905 he published some twenty works, with some items published posthumously. His main activities were those of legal expert, and from 1899 of mufti or supreme religious authority in Egypt. As mufti he gave a series of lectures on the Qur'an, and his tafsir on the whole Qur'an, although left unfinished at his death, had great influence and clearly demonstrates his moral preoccupations. Some years after his death the great Hungarian scholar of Islam, Ignaz Goldziher (who wrote the first account of al-Afghani in EI), particularly singled this out. Muhammad 'Abduh also delivered as mufti three fatwas illustrating his own liberal views, one allowing Muslims to collect interest and dividends, one allowing the consumption of meat not slaughtered by Muslims, and one allowing them to wear non traditional dress when circumstances demanded it. Muhammad 'Abduh was also much involved in the reform of al-Azhar in the 1890s.

The Rissalat al-Tawhid, a treatise based on lectures and reconstituted from student notes, revised by the author, is a fascinating work written in a quiet and philosophical manner, which proceeds in a logical manner from a consideration of God, his immanence and his all-embracing power, which nevertheless does not deny man free will, to a study of prophecy and prophets, above all Muhammad, the messenger of God; reading it is a little like reading one of the scholastic theologians. Man, he writes 'a besoin... d'un assistant qui l'aide à fixer les règles de la conduite... qui en général, lui facilite les moyens d'arriver au bonheur dans cette vie et dans l'autre. Et ce guide ne pourra avoir d'influence sur l'homme que s'il est de sa race, à fin que celui-ci comprenne ce qu'il dit... Un tel guide est un prophète' (Rissalat al-Tawhid p.55).

A deeply religious and thoughtful Islamic scholar, Muhammad Abduh left many disciples, and is indeed 'A Man for All Seasons'. "La croyance commune dans un seul Dieu ramène leurs tendances divergents sous une autorité unique" (Rissalat p.56).

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