V. N. KIRPICHENKO
Doctor of Philological Sciences
Muhammad al-Muwaylihi (1858, Cairo - 1930, the same place) was born in a family that owned a large silk trading company. The firm's owners, Muhammad's father and uncle, were also known for their active political and journalistic activities. Muhammad received an excellent education and was fluent in French since childhood. In 1882, he was arrested and forced to leave Egypt for distributing a proclamation written by his father Ibrahim al-Muwaylihi in support of the Orabi Pasha uprising.
While living in Italy and then in France, he worked for Jamal al-Din al-Afghani's newspaper Al-Urwa al-wuska ("The strongest ties" - meaning the ties that bind fellow Muslims). He visited England and lived in Istanbul in 1885-1887. He was widely read in both classical Arabic and European literature. After returning to Cairo, he published in various press organs, and from 1898 - in the weekly Misbah ash-Sharq ("Light of the East"), founded by his father. The weekly enjoyed success due to the topicality and excellent literary style of the articles published in it, written mainly by al-Muwaylihi's father and son. Many in Cairo were afraid of their sharp tongues.
In 1898-1900, a series of articles by Muhammad al-Muwaylihi was published in Misbah ash-Sharq under the general title "Time Period". In 1907, these articles, reworked by the author into a complete work of fiction, were published in a separate book entitled "A Period of Time, or the Story of Isa ibn Hisham".
Academician A. E. Krymsky called this unique work of fiction by Muhammad al-Muwaylikhi a "maqam * novel". It became the link that connects the traditions of classical Arabic prose with new romantic forms borrowed from European literature. The novel is named after the hero-narrator maqam al-Hamadani (X-XI centuries), the founder of the maqam genre, and is written largely in rhymed prose, saj'em; it consists of episodes that take place each time in a new place, where the character ... Read more