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Introduction: The Importance of the Arabic Manuscript Heritage
Misr University for Science and Technology has been among the first Arabic universities to focus on the sciences of Arabic heritage, stemming from its duty to serve the Egyptian and Arabic society. The Center for Editing Arabic Heritage has been established as per the decision of the Chairman of the University Board of Trustees No. (48) on 17/5/2010 AD with the aim of achieving the following objectives:
1- Working on reviving the Arabic heritage by editing its texts in a systematic scientific approach and publishing it to pave the way for scholars and science historians.
2- Disclosing the achievements of Arabic scientists in the fields of experimental sciences such as medicine, pharmacology, astronomy, chemistry, mechanics, physics, and others, and documenting their pioneering achievements in these fields.
3- Translating what orientalists wrote about Arabic manuscript heritage and making it available for researchers.
4- Publishing Arabic heritage research.
5- Highlighting the spirit of tolerance that was infused by Muslim scholars who shared their lessons, sciences, and scientific ideas with scholars of other religions.
6- Preserving the national identity and protecting it from distortion and decay.
7- Spreading awareness of the Arabic manuscript heritage among the younger generations.
To raise the value of this project, a distinguished group of researchers has been selected to carry out investigative work under the supervision of several senior experts in the field of editing manuscripts the remainder of which is estimated to be more than (3,000,000) three million manuscripts scattered among the libraries of the world. This step is the first of its kind to be taken by an Egyptian private university; as Misr University for Science and Technology has the honor of pioneering the establishment of a center specialized in the editing of Arabic manuscripts.
The Center Board of Expertise:
The Center Board of Expertise was formed by a selection of the leading scholars and experts working in the field of Arabic heritage headed by Prof. Anas Attia Al-Fiqi, the Director of the Centre. Since its establishment, the Board has included:
1- Prof. Hussein Nassar, Professor of Arabic Literature and former Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Cairo University.
2- Prof. Mohamed Zaghloul Salam, professor of Arabic literature and former Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Benha University.
3- Prof. Ahmed Fouad Pasha, former Vice President of Cairo University, and a member of the Arabic Language Academy.
4- Prof. Abdel Hamid Madkour, Professor of Islamic Philosophy, and Secretary General of the Academy of the Arabic Language.
5- Prof. Ayman Fouad Al-Sayed, professor of Islamic History and Heritage Expert at Al-Azhar University.
6- Prof. Fawzy Mohamed Gaballah, Professor of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Misr University for Science and Technology.
7-Prof. Mohamed Ismail Hamed, distinguished Professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Director of the Publication Centre.
8- Prof. Al-Najjar, Professor of Islamic Philosophy and Heritage Expert.
9- Dr. Mahmoud Mahdi Badawi, Heritage Expert and the Centre Deputy Director.
Then a group of distinguished scholars from different fields has joined the Board:
1- Prof. Amal El Roby, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Archeology, Misr University for Science & Technology.
2- Prof. Husseini El-Gendy, Head of Pharmacology Department, Faculty of Pharmacy, Misr University for Science & Technology.
3- Prof. Adel El-Sayed, Professor of Veterinary Medicine, South Valley University.
4- Prof. Khaled Fahmy, Professor of Arabic Linguistics and expert in the Arabic Language Academy.
The Center Achievements:
The center has taken serious steps towards achieving its goals within a few years, the results of which have covered various gaps in the heritage library.
These steps can be summarized as follows:
1- The number of what has been printed and published as being edited, composed, or translated has reached more than forty-five issues, the number of whose parts reached more than sixty books.
2 – The Center has been concerned with editing scientific heritage texts, which most Arabic heritage centers and institutions refrain from due to their difficulties, high expenses, and low returns. The Center for Editing Arabic Heritage has systematically edited a collection of the most important fundamental sources of medicine and pharmacology, unprecedented by any other center. These books include: The Law of Medicine by Ibn Sina, Al-
Mukhtar fi Al-Tibb by Ibn Hubal, The Collector of Medicines and Food Vocabulary by Ibn Al-Bitar, and others.
3- The Qur’anic library has a share of the center attention, so it proceeded to edit five parts of one of the most important books of interpretation, which is (Al-Tahzeeb fi Tafsir Al-Qur’an) by Al-Hakim Al-Jashmi.
4- In the field of poetry, the Center edited the collections of Afif Al-Telmisani and Sidi Ali Wafa Al-Sakandari.
5- The Center for Editing Arabic Heritage added to the historical library a collection of three books, one of which is “Al-Muntaqabat Al-Multafah from the book of Al-Qafti Informing the Scholars with the News of the Wise” by Muhammad bin Ali Al-Zawzani, which is considered one of the four most important sources we rely on in the historiography of Arabic sciences.
The second edited book is “Lawaqat Al Anwar fi Tabaqat Al-Akhyar”, known as the Great Layers of Imam al-Sha’rani, in which the author was concerned with the translation of the great men of this nation from the Companions of the Prophet and pious worshipers until his time.
As for the third book, it is entitled “Luaqat al-Anwar al-Qudsiyya fi al-Manaqib al-Ulama and Sufism” by Imam al-Shaarani, in which he translated for the sheikhs of Islam and the scholars of the nation who combined Sharia and truth.
6- From the Arabic Physics heritage, Ibn Al-Haytham’s Book “ Al Monazer” has been edited, with special concentration on “The sixth article on the errors of sight in what it perceives by reflection”. Furthermore, Ibn Al-Hatham’s “An Article in the Light of the Moon” was also edited, and it coincided with the celebration of the International Year of Light 2015 AD, to be the best memoir for the global Arabic scientist, who was honored by giving his name to the crater located on the visible Eastern side of the moon from the Earth.
7- The Center published a set of composed books related to heritage, including: “The Arabic Cultural Heritage”; “A Dictionary of Scientific Terms in the Arabic Heritage” by Prof. Ahmed Fouad Pasha; and “Miftah al-Rashad in the Politics of the People and the Country” by Prof. Anas Attia al-Fiqi, which is an explanation of the era of Imam Ali bin Abi Talib, may God honor his face, for his deputy in Egypt, Malik al-Ashtar. This is in addition to the publishing of a summary of the method of editing heritage texts by Dr. Mahmoud Mahdi, and a summary of the book on the history of Arabic medicine by Dr. Muhammad Fawzi Jaballah.
8- In the field of specialized libraries, the Center has published a complete collection of the works of Prof. Mohamed Abdel Salam Kafafi, which included many cognitive arts related to the Arabic and Persian languages and their literature.
As for the Field of Translation:
The Center has published a set of translated works, namely:
1- “The Mecca Trade and the Emergence of Islam” by the Orientalist Patricia Crone, translated by Prof. Amal Al-Rubi, in which she corrected many of the misconceptions that the Orientalist tried to pass on to the reader.
2- “The History of Arabic Medicine” by Lucien Leclerc, translated by Dr. Osama Abdel-Jalil; a book that is considered the first translation from French into Arabic of this great book in which the author monitored the efforts of scientists in the fields of medicine and pharmacy in particular, and in the fields of other applied sciences and their translation in general.
3- “The History of Veterinary among the Arabs” by Leon Mollet, translated by Dr. Osama Abdel-Jalil.
Among the works that match what has been achieved in value and diversity:
1- “The letter of Hunayn bin Ishaq on Translations of Galen’s Books” and a study within the framework of bibliography and indexing, by Prof. Kamal Arafat Nabhan.
2- “Summarizing the Statement in the Metaphors of the Qur’an” by Sharif Al-Radi, supervised and reviewed by Prof. Anas Al-Fiqi, and investigated by Dr. Ashry Al-Ghoul and Dr. Ashraf El Faham.
3- “The Wonders of Creatures and the Strangeness of Beings by Al-Qazwini”. Although this book has been previously edited, the center is distinguished in this edition by completing the text through placing the illustrations, which came in some manuscript copies, in their place within the text.
4- “Indexing the Texts of the Arabic and Foreign Heritage”, by Prof. Kamal Arafat Nabhan.
5- “The Greek and Persian Roots of Bibliography and Library Terms”, by Prof. Kamal Arafat Nabhan.
6- “Al-Durar Al-Ghawal in Treating Children’s Diseases”.
7- “Durrat Al-Asrar and the Masterpiece of the Righteous in the Virtues and Sayings of Imam Abu Al-Hassan Al-Shazly”, by Dr. Anas Attia Al-Fiqi.
8- “The Guide in the Work of the Antidote Al-Faruq”.
9- “Communication and Relevance; Ethics and Mechanisms in Composing Arabic Texts”, by Dr. Kamal Arafat Nabhan.
10- “Reading in the Book of the Dead: Comparing the Body Members of the Deceased to Egyptian Deities”, by Dr. Samir Adib.
The Electronic works:
The Center for Editing Arabic Heritage is now seeking to create a website bearing the name of the center to provide free services that have never been offered before by
designing two search engines: “A Dictionary of Arabic Manuscripts which are indexed in the Libraries of the World”, and “A Dictionary of Scientific Terms in the Arabic Heritage”, through which the researcher can identify terminology of medicine, pharmacy, chemistry, botany, food, minerals, astronomy, mathematics, mechanics, weights and measures, and others.
Cultural Activities and Participations:
The Center participates annually in April in the celebration sponsored by the League of Arab Nations on The Arabic Manuscript Day. The center has hosted the celebration of the Arabic Manuscript Day for the year 2022 AD, at MUST Opera House in cooperation with the Institute of Arabic Manuscripts and the Organization of Education, Culture and Science emanated from the League of Arab Nations.
The Center participation is characterized by the diversity of its material, the richness of its ideas, and the multiplicity of its roles. These participations include exhibitions of heritage books, exhibitions of manuscript images, exhibitions of tools for making Arabic manuscripts, documentary films related to the celebration slogan, then specialized and cultural lectures, artistic and musical programs and poetic recitation. The celebrations are held in the University Conference Hall and are attended by prominent scholars from inside and outside the university as well as masses of students who are keen to attend and participate in the organization of the celebration and interaction with lecturers through interventions and inquiries.
The Center, in cooperation with the Department of Arabic Language at the College of Languages and Translation and the College of Mass Communication, celebrates the International Day of the Arabic Language, and holds seminars periodically on local, international, and religious occasions.
The Center participates with its publications in local, regional, and international exhibitions, foremost of which are the Cairo International Book Fair and Sharjah Fair. The university is a member of the Egyptian Publishers Union, and a member of the Arabic Publishers Union. The Center offers big discounts on its publications to encourage and facilitate purchasing them.
The Center has relations and partnerships with many institutions concerned with heritage, such as the Institute of Arabic Manuscripts, the Heritage Editing Center at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the National Library and Documentation House, and others. Visits and agreements regarding participation in cultural events are exchanged.
The center aims to spread the benefit by dedicating its publications to many other service bodies, both internally and externally, such as the Egyptian Book House, the Dominican Fathers Library, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and others inside and outside Egypt.
The Center is honored to present its gifts to all university officials, senior visitors, scholars, and public figures.
Services presented by the center:
1- Specialized and cultural lectures and symposiums, in which one of the prominent scholars specialized in the field of Arabic heritage and its issues is invited. These events target specialists, scholars and university students.
2- Free foundation courses aiming at introducing the heritage and its importance, in addition to introducing the manuscript; its manufacture, preservation, indexing and realization, as well as the development of Arabic calligraphy skills.
3- Simple heritage competitions for university students, contributing to the dissemination and popularization of Arabic culture and the achievements of Muslim scholars.
Director of the Center
Prof. Anas Attia El-Feqi