Qasim Amin

Qasim Amin (, Arabic: قاسم أمين) born on 1 December 1863 Alexandria died April 22, 1908 Cairo was an Egyptian jurist and one of the founders of the Egyptian national movement and Cairo University. Qasim Amin (1863-1908) was considered by many as the Arab world’s “first feminist”. An Egyptian philosopher, reformer, judge, member of Egypt’s aristocratic class, and central figure of the Nahda Movement, Amin advocated Egyptian women’s rights declaring they were “slaves of their husbands,” with no identity of their own and that this refusal of natural rights kept the nation in the dark. Greatly influenced by the works of Darwin, Amin is quoted to have said that “if Egyptians did not modernize along European lines and if they were ‘unable to compete successfully in the struggle for survival they would be eliminated,” by the works of Herbert Spencer and John Stuart Mill who argued for equality of the sexes and believed was analogous to the “evolution of societies from despotism to democracy, Amin believed that heightening a women’s status in society would greatly improve the nation. His friendships with Mohammad Abduh and Sa’d Zaghlul also influenced this thinking. Amin blamed traditional Moslems for Egyptian women’s oppression saying that the Quran did not teach this subjugation but rather supported women’s rights. His beliefs were often supported by Quranic verses. Born from an aristocratic family, his father was a Kurdistan governor, and his mother the daughter of an Egyptian aristocrat, Amin finished law school at 17 and was one of thirty seven to receive a government scholarship to study at Frances’ University de Montepellier. It was said that here, he was influenced by Westerner’s lifestyles, especially their treatment of women which would soon be his role model in his struggle to liberate the Egyptian woman. His crusade began when he wrote a rebuttal, “Les Egyptiens. Response a M. Le duc d’Harcourt” in 1894 to Duke Hardcourte’s work (1893) which downgraded Egyptian culture and its women. Amin, not satisfied with his own rebuttal, wrote in 1899 Tahrir al mara’a (The Liberation of Women), in which he blamed Egyptian women’s “veiling,” their lack of education, and their “slavery,” to Egyptian men as being the cause of Egypt’s weakness. He believed that Egyptian women were the backbone of a strong nationalistic people and therefore their roles in society should drastically change to better the Egyptian nation. Amin is known throughout Egypt as a member of the intellectual society who drew connections between education and nationalism leading to the development of Cairo University and the National Movement during the early 1900s.

Read more about Qasim Amin:  Early Life, Education, Marriage, Career, Cairo University, Posts, The Nahda (Awakening) Influence, Works, Books By Qasim Amin, Other Works, Intellectual Contribution, Controversy, Famous Quotes

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