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Sheikh Yusuf al-Asir (1815 -1889)


Portrait of Sheikh Yusuf Al-Asir

مؤسسة المحفوظات الوطنية. (2001). أعلام في ذاكرة لبنان. بيروت: مؤسسة المحفوظات الوطنية

(Service to SPC 1869-1870)

A religious figure, poet, linguist, translator, and educator, Sheikh Yusuf al-Assir was born in the city of Sidon in southern Lebanon in 1815. He travelled around Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, and Palestine.

He received the principles of science at the hands of Ahmed Al-Sharmabani in Sidon, then moved to Damascus, to enroll at Muradiyya School, then he pursued his studies in jurisprudence, language, hadith, sciences of monotheism, interpretation, and logic, as well as literature and poetry at Al-Azhar in Cairo.

He worked as a teacher in Beirut at Al-Hikma School, the Three Moons Greek Orthodox School, and the Syrian Protestant College replacing Sheikh Nassif Al-Yaziji. He was the editor of Thumarat Al-Funun and Lisan Al-Hal for an extended period. In addition, he was Cornelius Van Dyck’s friend and mentor in the Arabic language and helped him along with Buṭrus al-Bustani and Sheikh Nassif Al-Yaziji in translating the Bible.

He served at the religious courts in Akka, Palestine, and as a public prosecutor in Mount Lebanon. He worked as a teacher of the Arabic language at the Teachers’ House in Istanbul. He also served as editor-in-chief of the official newspaper, Lebanon Gazette. Later, he was appointed chief of Arabic language editors at the Public Knowledge Institute in Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire. He died in Beirut in 1889.[19]

[19] Yusuf al Assir, Bawabat al Shuara’.