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Philosophers of  the Arabs

 Salama Mousa
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Salama Mousa (1887 1958), a reformer and one of the leading figures of the modern Arabic renaissance. And the leader of the Egyptian communism.

His Life

Salama Mousa was born in a village near Al-Zaqazique, a small city in the Nile delta, north of Cairo. His father was a Copt working as a government clerk, died after two years of his birth. Salama finished the elementary school in his city Al-Zaqazique, afterwards he moved to Cairo where he entered the secondary school and earned the certificate (known as Baccalaureate) on 1903.

Travel to France

    On 1906 he traveled to France, he was 19 years old at that time. This early visit to the west has made an important effect on shaping his consciousness. He stayed about three years in which he read about many European thinkers and philosophers. He was especially affected by the thoughts of Voltaire and Karl Marx. He also gained knowledge about the Pharaohs' history of ancient Egypt. Afterwards he moved to England, where he lived for four years in order to study 'Law". But he left his study and continued his readings and cultural meetings and got affected by Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution.

Return to Egypt

Salama Mousa  returned to Egypt on 1910 and issued his first book titled "the introduction of the superman" in which he put his new ideas which have evolved and crystallized afterwards. His basic ideas were that Egypt should cut any relation with the orient and Islam, and concentrate on belonging to the west. He criticized the religious thought and the idea of the irrational belief.

               On 1912 he issued the first book in Arabic on communism, and on 1914, issued with Shibly Shmayel a weekly news paper titled 'the future' but was shut down after sixteen issues. He also participated with the historian 'Abdullah Annan' in founding the Egyptian socialist party on 1921, but afterwards he resigned refusing to be subjected to any formal rules. As a consequence, he left the political life and concentrated on journalism and thoughtful writing. On 1923 he headed the famous cultural and thoughtful magazine 'Alhelal' (the Crescent) for six years.

               On 1930 Salama Mousa  founded the Egyptian consortium for the scientific culture, and issued a new magazine with the title 'the new magazine'. He meant through these institutions to propagate his pro-scientific ideas, but the government closed the consortium. He then founded a society called 'the Egyptian for the Egyptians', and called for a boycott of the English products as a means for resisting the English occupation following the well known Mohandas Gandhi, in India.

  His Thought

               Mousa's thought is centered around three main orientations: rationality and modernism, socialism as a means for social justice, and the search for the basics of the Egyptian character in its Pharaoh's roots. In addition he was an advocate of democracy and secularism and liberation of women. In short his thought was essentially western in its renaissance and enlightenment mood.

               Therefore, he believed that we should adopt completely the European philosophy and be part of it. He also viewed that emancipation of enslavement is jeopardized by getting rid of enslavement to God.  Hence, he considered religion as a pragmatic thought and subject to human advancement, and we can replace prophets with philosophers, and religious values with rational values. He preached, then, the natural religion in which scientific thoughts replace religious thought.

               His socialism thought was based on rejecting the revolution, in accordance with the English communism at that time. And he believed in the gradual change of the society toward a democratic society and criticized the Bolsheviks revolution. With reference to his third orientation, he supported the views of Ahmad Lutfi Alssayed in which he called for a new formation of the Egyptian character centered around Pharaohs' culture as a basis, and the use of the local accent instead of the Arabic language, and  writing in Latin letters.

               Salama Mousa was severely criticized by the majority of the Egyptian modernist thinkers on the basis that his views lack authenticity with reference to his culture. In addition to defying the basic believes of the vast majority of the Egyptian society.

    His Works

In addition to his numerous articles, he authored many books, among them:

        The introduction of the superman, (1910).

        Socialism, (1913).

        Love in History, (1925).

        The dreams of the philosophers, (1926).

        Secrets of the psych, (1927).

        Freedom of thought and its heroes in history, (1927).

        The evolutionary theory and the origin of humans (1928).

        Psychology in our daily live, (1934).

        Gandhi and the Indian movement, (1934).

        What is the renaissance,  (1935).

        The European renaissance, (1935).

        Contemporary eloquence and the Arabic language, (1945).

        The pedagogy of Salama Mousa, (1947).

        Egypt is the origin of civilization, (1947).

        Those, have taught me, (1953).

        Literature and life, (1956).

        The woman is not the toy of the man, (1956).

        Bernard Shaw, (1957).

        Prohibited articles, (1959).

        Different stories: a group of idealistic stories for different nations, (1960).

        The human is the culmination of evolution, (1961).

        Selections of Salama Mousa, (1963).