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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

EDUCATION                                 237
students a room in one of the dozen riwak or tenements— it would be misleading to call them colleges—assigned to Egyptian students according either to the province they come from or to the particular school of theology they affect. For some time, perhaps for two or three years, he has to support himself entirely. Then he passes from the waiting list on to the list of those privileged to share the modest bread rations, provided out of the bequests of pious patrons of old. In his erudite work on the Mahomedan universities of Egypt, M. Arminjon, a French professor at the Cairo School of Law, reproduces an account given to him by an El Azhar student of the way in which his days were spent:—
" I rise at dawn, and having made my ablutions and said my early prayers, I hurry off to El Azhar to attend the course of Traditions of the Prophet, which lasts until after sunrise. As soon as that is over the same teacher hears us on the Law and its philosophy for another two hours or more. I then go back to breakfast on the bread or rice and beans and lentils of which my family send me a provision every month. My repast finished, I return to El Azhar to study calligraphy until the hour of midday prayer, and then a course of grammar keeps me busy for another two hours, after which I retire to a corner of the courtyard with my room-mate Alimed, and whilst we have a snack we rehearse the morning's lesson in law and prepare for the next day's. By that time it is the hour of afternoon prayer, and I go off to a neighbouring mosque where for the last year a professor teaches us arithmetic in European fashion with a black-board. Then back to El Azhar to prepare for a lesson in logic, which a venerable Sheikh, too infirm to move, gives us in his own house between the hours of sunset and evening prayer. Having said the last prayer for the day at El Azhar, I and my room-mates rush back to our house, eat our supper, sit for a while talking, and then retire to sleep."                                                                            !| *|
Asked if he never made time for any amusements                       >f;l
and never went to any theatre or cafe, he replied :
" I should never set foot in such places as our holy religion prohibits, but on Thursday afternoon, which we have free, I go with some of my fellow-students to the Hammam, and then we tal^ a walk into the country and come back at dusk                   as " a gratifying feature."    If they had stuck to their