Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti

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Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti
Title Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti
Born 1753,
Cairo, Egypt
Died 1825,
Cairo, Egypt
Era 18th century-19th century
Region Horn of Africa/North Africa
Religion Islam
Main interest(s) Islamic philosophy, Islamic Jurisprudence, Egyptian history

Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti (1753–1825) (Arabic: عبد الرحمن الجبرتي‎), full name: Abd al-Rahman bin Hasan bin Burhan al-Din al-Jabarti (Arabic: عبد الرحمن بن حسن بن برهان الدين الجبرتي‎), often simply known as Al-Jabarti, was an Egyptian scholar and chronicler who spent most of his life in Cairo.[1][2]


The book of "Sulayman al-Halaby Trial and killing of Sari Askar Klieber" by al-Jabarti

Little is known of Al-Jabarti's life. According to Franz Steiner, he was born in the village of Tell al-Gabarti in the northern Delta province of Beheira, Egypt.[3] Abdulkader Saleh asserts that Al-Jabarti was instead born in Cairo.[4]

Al-Jabarti's family was of Somali ancestry.[1][5][6][7] According to his writings, his name comes from his "seventh-degree grandfather," Abd al-Rahman, who was the earliest member of his family known to him.[8] The older Abd al-Rahman was from the Jabarah ( located in the Horn of Africa ).[9] He visited the Riwaqs of the Jabarti communities in Mecca and Medina before making it to Egypt, where he became Sheikh of the Riwaq there and head of the Jabarti community (Muslims from the Horn region).[7][8]

Al-Jabarti was trained as a Sheikh at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo. He began keeping a monthly chronicle of local events. This document, which is generally known in English simply as Al-Jabarti's History of Egypt and known in Arabic as Aja'ib al-athar fi al-tarajim wal-akhbar (عجائب الاَثار في التراجم والاخبار), became a world-famous historical text by virtue of its eyewitness accounts of Napoleon's invasion and Muhammad Ali's seizure of power. The entries from his chronicle dealing with the French expedition and occupation have been excerpted and compiled in English as a separate volume entitled Napoleon in Egypt. He was one of the first Arabs to realize the significance of the wave of modernity that accompanied the French occupation, and the gulf that existed between Western and Islamic knowledge "shocked him profoundly".[10]

According to Marsot, at the end of his life, Al-Jabarti chose to be buried in Tell al-Gabarti, the town to which he traced his descent.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (1923). "My diaries; Being a Personal Narrative of Events". p. 81. 
  2. ^ Beattie, Andrew (2005). "Cairo: A Cultural and Literary History". p. 144. 
  3. ^ al-Jabarti, 'Abd al-Rahman. History of Egypt: 'Aja'ib al-Athar fi 'l-Tarajim wa'l-Akhbar. vol.1. Franz Steiner Verlag Stuttgart. 1994.
  4. ^ Abdulkader Saleh, "Ǧäbärti," in Uhlig, Siegbert, ed., Encyclopaedia Aethiopica: D-Ha. Wiesbaden:Harrassowitz Verlag, 2005, p. 597.
  5. ^ Molefi K. Asante (2002). "Culture and Customs of Egypt". p. 21. 
  6. ^ Stewart, Desmond (1981). "Great Cairo, mother of the world". p. 173. 
  7. ^ a b Mohamed Haji Mukhtar (1987). "Arabic Sources on Somalia" (PDF). p. 149. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-26. 
  8. ^ a b David Ayalon, "The Historian al-Jabartī and His Background," Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1960, p.238
  9. ^ Huart, Clément (1903). "A History of Arabic Literature". p. 423. 
  10. ^ Christopher de Bellaige, The Islamic Enlightenment. The Struggle between Faith and Reason: 1798 to Modern Time, (New York, Liveright, 2017), ISBN 9780871403735, 6 and 33.
  11. ^ Marsot, Afaf Lutfi el-Sayyed. "A Comparative Study of Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti. and Niqula al-Turk," Eighteenth Century Egypt: The Arabic Manuscript Sources. Los Angeles: Regina Books, 1990.

Further reading[edit]

Napoleon in Egypt: Al-Jabarti's Chronicle of the French Occupation, 1798. Shmuel Moreh, translator. ISBN 1-55876-070-9

External links[edit]