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Cultural Institutions

The Academy of the Arabic Language

Wednesday، 27 May 2020 - 11:39 PM

The Academy of the Arabic Language

Arabic language advocates in Egypt strived for many decades to create an Arabic Language Academy that would advance Arabic, preserve its heritage and protect it from the continuous attempts by the English at that time to create rules for the Egyptian dialect to replace the standard Arabic language to get rid of the Arabic language and the Holy Qur’an. Moreover, some of the Egyptians began to encourage that attempt to satisfy the English or because they hate Islam and its language. They spread the idea that the Egyptian vernacular is easier and that all Arabs know it well. So, it would be the official language instead of the standard Arabic. Thus, the Arabic language advocates, those who adhere to religion, and those who understand that the language is an identity that expresses the nation's characteristics and morals and gathers all Arabs on the same tongue fought against that idea. They began to defend Arabic language.

The Arabic language advocates called for the establishment of an academy for the Arabic language. The first attempt to establish the academy date back to 1892 AD, when Egyptian intellectuals and literati gathered at al-Bakri House in Cairo, discussed the idea, and agreed on establishing the first academy in Egypt and the Arab world.

The Academy gathered luminaries including, Shaikh Muhammad Tawfiq al-Bakri, Shaikh Muhammad Abdo, and the great linguist Muhammad al-Shanqeeti. The academy held several sessions, but eventually it stopped. However, the efforts to establish an academy for the Arabic language did not stop. In 1916, a complex called “Dar Al-Kutub Complex” was established at the 'Egyptian Book House'. It was established as a response to the call of Mr. Ahmad Lotfy El-Sayed, who was the director of the Book House. A group of scholars participated with him. It comprised twenty-eight members and was chaired by Shaikh Al-Azhar at that time, Shaikh Salim Al-Bishri. Nevertheless, this complex soon was closed during the revolution of 1919 AD. An attempt to reopen it was made in 1925 AD, but the attempt failed after the first session .

The establishment of the Academy of the Arabic Language        

In 1932,  a Royal Decree was issued to endorseing the establishment of an Arabic Language Academy to maintain the integrity of the Arabic language, support it to fulfill the needs of sciences, arts and modern civilization, produce comprehensive linguistic and historical dictionary, study modern Arabic dialects in Egypt and other Arab countries, issue a journal that publishes linguistic researches, and verify the rich Arabic heritage as required for the works of the academy and its linguistic studies.

From day one, the academy has been an international academy as the royal decree stated that "the Academy shall be formed of 20 members of the Arabic language scholars renowned for their profundity and deep knowledge of Arabic language, grammar, dialects and terminology, regardless of their nationality". The decree allowed the nomination of honorary members and correspondents.

 The first generation

After the issuance of the royal decree stating that the number of the members of the council to be twenty, a royal decree was issued in October 1933 AD, to appoint twenty members from the Arabs and the Arabists. They were the founding generation of the academy. They were celebrities, including :

Mr. Muhammad Tawfiq Rifaat (chirman of the Academy), Dr. Mansour Fahmy (Secretary of the academy), Shaikh Muhammad Al-Khedr Hussein, Shaikh Ibrahim Hamroush, Mr. Ahmad Al-Eskandari, Mr. Ali Al-Garim, Shaikh Hussein Wali, Mr. Ahmad Al-Awamri, Dr. Faris Nimr, Rabbi Haim Nahum, Mr. Hassan Hosni Abd el-Wahab (Tunisia), Mr. Muhammad Kard Ali (Syria), Shaikh Abd el-kader al-Maghribi (Syria), Pope Anstas Marie Al-Karmali (Iraq), Mr. Issa Iskandar Al-Maalouf (Lebanon), Mr. Hamilton Alexander Gibb (Britain), Dr. August Fischer (Germany), Mr. Louis Masinion (France), Mr. Carlo Alfonso Nileno (Italy) and Mr. A.H. Vensnik (Netherlands) (After three months, he was replaced by the German  orientalist Inoue Lightman).

The actual work of the Academy began on January 30, 1934. A number of 20 resolutions were issued to facilitate the rules of the Arabic language. This generation realized tremendous achievements.  

On March 17, 2007, The Academy of the Arabic Language celebrated the diamond jubilee of its establishment at the headquarters of the Arab League.

The current Secretary-General of the Academy of the Arabic Language

The current Secretary-General of the Academy of the Arabic Language is

Professor Dr. Abd El- Hameed Madkor, a member of the Academy of the Arabic Language and a Professor of Islamic Philosophy at Faculty of Dar al-Ulum, Cairo University .



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