Qasim Amin: The Father Of Women's Emancipation In Egypt
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Qasim Amin was born in 1863 Alexandria and died in 1908 Cairo at the young age of 45, he was the son of an aristocratic Ottoman-Turkish father. Amin was an Egyptian lawyer, an Islamic modernist, reformer, one of the founders of the Cairo University, and an architect of Egyptian nationalism (Kurzman 61). Amin’s academic accomplishments made him a part of the British Empire’s civil servant class and in 1885, he was appointed as a jurist in the Mixed Courts of Egypt which were run by the British Empire and were saturated in foreign, western influence (Rida).
Amin is perhaps most known for his advocacy of women 's emancipation in Egypt as he was an avid writer on feminism and had written a total of six books on women; most notable were Tahrir Al-Mar 'a (The Liberation of Women) published in 1899 and Al-Mar 'a Al-Jadida (The New Woman) published a year later, in 1900. Although Amin was not one of the first Egyptians to write on women’s rights, upon publishing his book Tahrir Al-Mar’a, the discursive contributions within it, came to overshadow all who preceded Amin, even those whose works and ideas have influenced his (Hatem 5). In fact, he was so influential, that he became known as the father of Egyptian feminism. Despite all of this, a number of criticisms have been raised against him, which raises the question; are Qasim Amin 's views, stances, and ideas on feminism free from androcentric and western bias?
It is important to look at Amin’s education in order to understand why