The Days by Taha Hussein: A Remarkable Autobiography of a Blind Egyptian Scholar
If you are looking for a captivating and inspiring read, you might want to check out The Days by Taha Hussein, one of modern Egypt's greatest writers and thinkers. This three-part autobiography, available in a single paperback volume, covers Hussein's life from his childhood in a rural village in Upper Egypt to his academic achievements in Cairo and Paris.
Hussein was born in 1889 and lost his sight at the age of three due to an eye infection. Despite this disability, he showed remarkable intelligence and determination, learning to read and write in Braille and memorizing the Quran. He also developed a passion for literature and philosophy, which led him to pursue higher education at the prestigious Azhar University in Cairo and later at the Sorbonne in France.
The Days is not only a personal memoir, but also a vivid portrait of Egyptian society and culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Hussein describes the sounds and smells of his village, the customs and traditions of his family and community, the challenges and opportunities of student life in Cairo and Paris, and the political and intellectual movements that shaped his generation. He also reflects on his own beliefs and values, his struggles and achievements, and his hopes and dreams.
Hussein's style is simple yet elegant, blending humor and emotion, realism and imagination. He writes with honesty and humility, revealing his strengths and weaknesses, his joys and sorrows, his successes and failures. He invites the reader to share his journey of self-discovery and self-improvement, as well as his love for his country and humanity.
The Days is a classic of modern Arabic literature, widely read and admired by scholars and general readers alike. It is also a testament to the power of education, perseverance, and vision. You can download a PDF version of this book from various online sources[^1^] [^2^], or buy a hard copy from your local bookstore.
One of the most remarkable aspects of Hussein's autobiography is his vivid and detailed recollection of his childhood experiences, despite his blindness. He describes how he learned to perceive the world through his other senses, especially hearing and touch. He also recounts how he overcame the obstacles and prejudices that he faced as a blind person, thanks to his supportive family, especially his mother and brother, and his own ambition and curiosity.
Hussein's autobiography also reveals his intellectual development and his critical engagement with various sources of knowledge and culture. He discusses his exposure to different schools of thought, such as Sufism, rationalism, nationalism, liberalism, and socialism. He also analyzes the works of various writers and thinkers, both Arab and Western, such as al-Ma'arri, Ibn Khaldun, Descartes, Rousseau, Voltaire, and Hugo. He expresses his admiration for some and his criticism of others, always with a clear and original perspective.
Hussein's autobiography is not only a personal account of his life, but also a social and historical document that reflects the changes and challenges that Egypt underwent during the 19th and 20th centuries. Hussein witnessed the British occupation of Egypt, the rise of the nationalist movement, the 1919 revolution, the 1952 coup d'etat, and the emergence of Nasserism. He also participated in various cultural and political activities, such as founding literary magazines, translating books, writing essays and novels, and serving as a minister of education.
The Days by Taha Hussein is a masterpiece of modern Arabic literature that deserves to be read by anyone interested in learning more about Egypt's history, culture, and society. It is also a inspiring story of a man who overcame his blindness and became one of the most influential figures of his time. e0e6b7cb5c