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A: Bayrut, Beirut Governorate, Lebanon

Probably the First Book on a Secular Subject Printed in Arabic in Middle East

1836
<p><em>Nasif al-Yaziji, Kitab Fasl al-Khitab fi Usul Lughat al-I&lsquo;rab</em>&nbsp;(A Discourse on the Rules of Arabic Grammar), Beirut: American Mission Press, 1836. Original in Widener Library, Harvard University.</p>

Nasif al-Yaziji, Kitab Fasl al-Khitab fi Usul Lughat al-I‘rab (A Discourse on the Rules of Arabic Grammar), Beirut: American Mission Press, 1836. Original in Widener Library, Harvard University.

In 1836 a pocket-sized Arabic grammar was issued from the American Press, in Beirut, Lebanon in an edition of 1000 copies. This was probably the first book on a secular subject printed in Arabic in the Middle East. The work by Nasif al-Yaziji, Kitab fasl al-khitab fi usul lughat al-a'rab (The Conclusive Discouse of the Rules of the Arab's Language)

". . . was printed by the Protestant missionaries of the 'American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions' (ABCFM) who had opened a printing shop in Beirut two years earlier in 1834. The author of the concise treatise on Arabic grammar was Nasif al-Yaziji (1800-1871) a local Greek Catholic scholar from a little village south of Beirut who later became one of the most celebrated Christian Arab authors of the nineteenth century. With his numerous philological works, but moreover with his poetry and rhyming prose he influenced a whole generation of Arab intellectuals and thus became a pioneer and outstanding protagonist of the so called Nahda, the renaissance of Arabic language and literature" (Lehrstuhl für Türkische Sprache, Geschichte und Kultur, Universität Bamberg, The Beginnings of Printing in the Near and Middle East: Jews, Christians and Muslims [2001] no. 5).

Hala Auji, "Neither Good, Fast, Nor Cheap: Challenges of Early Arabic Letterpress Printing," American Printing History Association, October 1, 2017.

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