20 Facts About Taha Hussein


Taha Hussein was one of the most influential 20th-century Egyptian writers and intellectuals, and a figurehead for the Egyptian Renaissance and the modernist movement in the Middle East and North Africa.

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Taha Hussein was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature twenty-one times.

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Taha Hussein was born in Izbet el Kilo, a village in the Minya Governorate in central Upper Egypt.

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Taha Hussein was the seventh of thirteen children of lower-middle-class parents.

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Taha Hussein contracted ophthalmia at the age of two, and, as the result of faulty treatment by an unskilled practitioner, he became blind.

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Taha Hussein left for Montpellier, enrolled in its university, attended courses in literature, history, French and Latin.

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Taha Hussein was summoned to return to Egypt due to the poor conditions at the University of Cairo; but three months later, those conditions improved, and Taha Hussein returned to France.

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Taha Hussein hired Suzanne Bresseau to read to him, and subsequently married her.

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In 1919 Taha Hussein returned to Egypt with Suzanne, and he was appointed professor of history at Cairo University.

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Taha Hussein went on to become a professor of Arabic literature and of Semitic languages.

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At the Academy of the Arabic Language in Cairo, Taha Hussein was made responsible for the completion of Al-Mu'jam al-Kabir, one of the academy's most important tasks.

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Taha Hussein was a member of several scientific academies in Egypt and internationally.

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Taha Hussein hinted indirectly that the Qur'an should not be taken as an objective source of history.

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However, the public prosecutor stated that what Taha Hussein had said was the opinion of an academic researcher and no legal action was taken against him, although he lost his post at Cairo University in 1931.

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Taha Hussein's book was banned but was re-published the next year with slight modifications under the title On Pre-Islamic Literature.

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Taha Hussein was the founding Rector of the University of Alexandria.

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Taha Hussein was an intellectual of the Egyptian Renaissance and a proponent of the ideology of Egyptian nationalism as an Arab nation within the Arab world, arguing in a series of public letters against the Pharaonist Tawfiq al-Hakim that Arab identity is integral to Egyptian identity.

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Taha Hussein transformed many of the Quranic schools into primary schools and converted a number of high schools into colleges such as the Graduate Schools of Medicine and Agriculture.

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Taha Hussein proposed that Al Azhar University should be closed down in 1955 after his tenure as education minister ended.

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Taha Hussein held the position of chief editor of a number of newspapers.

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