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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

236                   THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM             ^ CHAJP.
are required to know the whole Koran by heart. The of subjects that form the curriculum is significant. They are divided into three sections. The first, or religions section, comprises the art of intoning the Koran, exegesis of the Koran, the Traditions of the Prophet and their terminology, monotheism, Mahomedan law and ttte philosophy of legislation, Mahomedan jurisprudence and its juridical principles, religious morals, the life of tine Prophet, the drawing up of legal documents and judicial procedure according to the Sheria. c The second section is called that of philological science, and immense importance is attached to it owing to the Mahomedan belief in the textual revelation of the Koran which came down from Heaven in its Arabic form, every word and every letter of which is equally sacred. It comprises grammar and the science of the formation of words, morphology, elocution, rhetoric, the ornaments of style, Arabic literature, composition, prosody, rhyme, calligraphy, dictation and reading. The third section is called that of mathematical and other sciences, and as it was considered desirable to introduce some rudiments of modern learning, it comprises in a strange medley logic, the art of discussion, arithmetic, geometry, drawing, algebra, history, geography, the " lessons of things," the properties of bodies, hygiene, natural history, cosmography, the calculation of time, administrative and judicial organisation, and theoretical and practical pedagogy. The relative value of these different subjects in the eyes of El Azhar authorities can be gauged from the list of marks allotted to them. for examination purposes, the maximum in the " modern " subjects being only half that obtainable in most of the old orthodox subjects, and only a nominal minimum being required in them in order to qualify for the certificates of learning awarded to successful students.
It is the study of these subjects that absorbs fifteen. years of the student's life — a very strenuous life usually spent in cramped and unhealthy surroundings. Unless he lives at home in Cairo, he shares with Q^her fellow a separate and important group, \tance. Its position has seldom been more 4ominan^ than it is to-day as the rallyingement.    The Special