This collection of personal papers, photos and correspondence related to Amīr Shakīb Arslān spans the years 1894-1948, with the bulk of the material dating from 1936 to 1948. It includes many letters exchanged between Amīr Shakīb Arslān and his friend and publisher, Mr. Mohammad Ali al-Tahir (editor of ālshura, ālshabāb, ālʿālm ālmṣry). Topics discussed cover publishing issues, economic hardships, and political activities. The collection also comprises material from the French archives, publications by and about Arslān, and a few personal photographs and postcards.
This is an important source for scholars interested in the history of the Middle East between 1848 and 1946, the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of Arab and pan-Islamic Nationalisms; the French Mandate in Lebanon and Syria, and modern Middle Eastern and Arab histories in general.
Amīr Shakīb Arslān (1869-1946) was an intellectual, a politician, and an influential writer, poet and historian, he was a strong supporter of Sultan Abdul Hamid’s reformist policies, and called for a political Islamic reform in the face of Western imperialism. His erudition and ease with language as well as his love for poetry and eloquence earned him the nickname Amīr al-Bayān (Prince of eloquence.) He started his education in his hometown, before moving to Beirut to join the Sagesse (al-Hikma) School. Throughout his formative years, he was influenced by the ideas of Jamal ad-Din Al Afghani and his disciple Muhammad 'Abduh. He also held various posts in the Ottoman administration (1902 to 1912).