[MIDDLE EAST / ARABIC / NORTH AFRICA] Muqaddimah al-aqwam al-masâlik fî ma'rifat ahwâl al-mamâlik tercemesi. [i.e. The surest path to knowledge regarding the condition of countries]. Translated by Abdurrahman Efendi

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KHAYR AL-DIN PASHA AL-TUNUSÎ (TUNUSLU HAYREDDIN PASHA), (1820-1890), Al-Jawaib Printing House, Istanbul, [AH 1296] = 1879.

Contemporary burgundy half calf, five raised bands to spine, title lettered in gilt. An old label on the spine, and slight tears on paper covered on boards. Otherwise a very good copy. Cr. 8vo. (20 x 14 cm). In Ottoman script (Old Turkish with Arabic letters). [2], [6], [1], 147, [3] p.

Extremely rare first and only Turkish edition of Al-Tunusî's first-hand account and observations during his voluntary exile to Europe and the manner of politics of the innovating West. This is the earliest translation to Ottoman Turkish of his 1867 book "Aqwam al-Masâlik fī Ma'rifat Aḥwâl al-Mamâlik [i.e. The Surest Path to Knowledge regarding the Condition of Countries]" making a comparison between European and Muslim states. In his book, Al-Tunusî proposed strategies for governance and compared European political systems. Also, he articulated a path to follow in order to achieve necessary reforms in the Islamic world. This rare book was translated by Abdurrahman Efendi, one of the writers of "Cerîde-i Askeriye" [i.e. Military Newspaper], which was the first army newspaper in the Ottoman/Turkish literature and continued its publication life from 1864 to 1922.

The book counsels a moderate course, adopting selective Western programs and techniques while maintaining Tunisian traditions. Al-Tunusî, in his book, appealed directly to Muslim clerics, and the ulama [i.e. scholars], and stressed that the elite ruling class should serve as stewards of the people's welfare.

ABOUT THE PRINTING HOUSE: Al Jawaib was a newspaper and printing house which existed between 1861 and 1884. It was launched by Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq in Istanbul in 1861. He owned the paper until 1870 when his son Salim took over it. During the initial period, it was subsidized by the Ottoman authorities. In addition, it was published in the imperial press for nine years which was announced in the paper. In 1870 the paper was published by the company named after it, Jawaib Press, which was also established by al-Shidyaq. It frequently published Arabic translations of the official Ottoman legislation, international treaties, and speeches along with their original Ottoman Turkish texts.

In the mid-1870s Al Jawaib enjoyed higher levels of circulation in various places, including India and East Asia. For instance, British historian Albert Hourani argues that it was possible to find the paper in different Muslim regions such as Najd, Arabia, and Bombay, India. As a result of its significant influence on Muslims, the British Foreign Office covertly financed Al Jawaib from 1877.

Al Jawaib temporarily ceased publication in 1879 when the Ottomans banned it due to its praise for the Egyptian Khedive, Ismail Pasha, who was among its financiers. The paper was closed down by the Ottoman government in 1884 due to its extreme pro-British stance which had been evident since the 1881 rebellion against the Empire in Sudan. (Wikipedia).

In this printing house, many books were printed mostly related to North Africa and the Islamic world.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Al-Tunusî was an Ottoman-Tunisian statesman and reformer, who was born to a Circassian family. First serving as Prime Minister of the Beylik of Tunis, he later achieved the high post of Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire, serving from 4 December 1878 until 29 July 1879. He was a political reformer during a period of growing European ascendancy. According to Dr. Abdul Azim Islahi, he was a pragmatic activist who reacted against poverty and looked to European models for suggestions. He applied the Islamic concept of "maslahah" (or public interest), to economic issues. He emphasized the central role of justice and security in economic development. He was a major advocate of "Tanẓîmât" (or Reform period) for Tunisia's political and economic systems.

Özege 14355.; TBTK 13072.; OCLC 32360012 (Three copies in University of Oxford, McGill University Library, Princeton University Library).