The History of Qairawan’s Culture and Civilisation from its Foundation until the Late Nineteenth Century
طويلي، أحمد. تاريخ القيروان الثقافي و الحضاري من الفتح إلى أواخر القرن التاسع عشر. تونس: الشركة التونسية للنشر و تنمية فنون الرسم، ٢٠٠١، ٢٢۳ص

Tawili, Ahmad. Tarikh al-Qayrawan al-Thaqafi wa-al-Hadari: min al-Fath ila Awakhir al-Qarn al-Tasiʻ ʻAshar. Tunis: Al-Sharikah al-Tunisiyyah lil-Nnashr wa Tanmiyyat Fnun al-Rasm, 2001, 223pp.


The History of Qairawan’s Culture and Civilisation from its Foundation till the Late Nineteenth Century

تاريخ القيروان الثقافي و الحضاري من الفتح الى أواخر القرن التاسع عشر

In a historical context, this book portrays the cultural and scientific growth of the city of Qairawan since its foundation in 670 till 1881 when the French protectorate started in Tunisia. The writer argues that Qairawan was not only a centre of learning frequented by students from the Maghreb, the Mashreq, and the Andalus, but also an important economic and commercial centre. 

The book also deals with the lives and writings of a number of scholars and poets from Qairawan who excelled in the fields of arts and science, and who gained great fame in the Arabic and Muslim worlds, such as Asad ibn al-Furat, Sahnun, Ibn al-Jazzar, al-Husari, Ibn Rashiq, and Ibn Sharaf.

The author uses a simple language and a smooth style and includes some amusing stories and poems, which make the book easy and enjoyable to read. He also cites a considerable number of sources ranging from historical accounts to literary books and poetry collections. This makes the book an important reference for researchers to discover the rich stock of works written about Qairawan. 

The book neglects the cultural aspects of Qairawan. For example, the writer does not give much attention to the architectural prosperity of the city, and this is reflected in the few pictures found in the book which represent the same monument: ‘Uqbah ibn Nafi‘ Mosque. He does not make any references to the cultural and scientific deterioration witnessed by Qairawan during the pre-protectorate decades. The author is specialised in literary studies and has focused more on the literary aspects.

Meriam Ben Amor
Ben Amor, Meriam. “English abstract of 'The History of Qairawan’s Culture and Civilisation from its Foundation till the Late Nineteenth Century'". Translated by Meriam Ben Amor. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi, 132. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
Muslim Civilisations Abstracts - The Aga Khan University
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