Shakib Arslan

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Shakib Arslan.gif
Born 25 December 1869
Choueifat (near Beirut)
Died 9 December 1946(1946-12-09) (aged 76)
Nationality Lebanese
Occupation
  • Politician
  • writer
  • poet
  • historian
Religion Druze
Children May Arslan
Relatives Emir Majid Arslan II
Emir Talal Arslan
Walid Jumblatt (grandson)

Shakib Arslan (Arabic: شكيب أرسلان‎, 25 December 1869 – 9 December 1946) was a Druze prince (amir) from Lebanon who was known as Amir al-Bayān (Arabic for "Prince of Eloquence") because in addition to being a politician, he was also an influential writer, poet and historian.

Influenced by the ideas of al-Afghani and Muhammad Abduh, Arslan became a strong supporter of the Pan-Islamic policies of Abdul Hamid II. He also advocated the proposition that the survival of the Ottoman Empire was the only guarantee against the division of the ummah and its occupation by the European imperial powers. To Arslan, Ottomanism and Islam were closely bound together and the reform of Islam would naturally lead to the revival of the Ottoman Empire.

Exiled from his homeland by the French Mandate authorities, Arslan passed most of the interwar years in Geneva serving as the unofficial representative of Syria and Palestine at the League of Nations and writing a constant stream of articles for the periodical press of the Arab countries.

Prince Shakib (second from the right) in a visit to Saudi Arabia in the early 1930s wearing a Bedouin garb. To his right are Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Hashim al-Atassi, who later became president of Syria

Advocacy[edit]

Amir Shakib advocated a version of Islam that was charged with political and moral assertiveness. He sought to reconstruct the bonds of Islamic solidarity by reminding Muslims from Morocco to Iraq that despite their diversity, they were united by virtue of their common adherence to Islam; if they would but recognize this bond and act on it, he believed they would achieve liberation from their current oppression and the restoration of what he saw as their splendid past. Arslan's work inspired anti-imperialistic propaganda campaigns, much to the irritation of British and French authorities in the Arab world.

He defended Islam as an essential component of social morality. His message, with its call to action and its defense of traditional values at a time of great uncertainty, was well received and attracted widespread attention during the 1920s and 1930s. It was during this time that he wrote his most famous work, Our Decline: Its Causes and Remedies, which described what Aslan believed to be the reasons for the weakness of existing Muslim governments.

Family[edit]

His daughter, May, married Lebanese politician Kamal Jumblatt and he is the grandfather through her of Lebanese politician Walid Jumblatt.

Works[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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