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ARCE FELLOW DONATES FATHER'S PERSONAL COLLECTION TO SIMPSON LIBRARY

ARCE FELLOW DONATES FATHER'S PERSONAL COLLECTION TO SIMPSON LIBRARY

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ARCE FELLOW DONATES FATHER'S PERSONAL COLLECTION TO SIMPSON LIBRARY

Wali T. Abdulfattah (né William Wallace Thomas Craig in NYC) was an avid bibliophile and collector. His primary areas of interest were Arabic language and literature, medieval and modern history of Egypt, and Islamic Studies. While his interests in these fields were first cultivated in NYC, they were further enhanced when he took up residence in Cairo as a full-time student of Arabic language, literature and rhetoric. Cairo was his home for six years, from 1967-1973, and is the city where his first child was born. He maintained a relationship with the City Victorious over the years until his passing in 2011.

Earlier this month his daughter, Iman R. Abdulfattah donated a modest collection of books from his library in Cairo to ARCE on behalf of her family. The topics of the donation range from Sufism to hadith studies, jurisprudence, theology, exegesis and Quranic commentaries, Quranic recitation, Islamic philosophy, Islamic doctrine, historiography, hagiography and prosopography, history, literature, semantics, lexicography, prose, poetry, rhetoric, and Arabic grammar. Iman is a current ARCE Fellow for the 2015-2016 academic year. Her current research project, entitled A Sultan and His Monument: The Role of the Complex of Qalawun in the Development of Mamluk Architecture, is an integral part of a larger initiative to write a doctoral dissertation on the Complex of Qalawan, and is being written under the supervision of former ARCE Fellow, Professor Bethany Walker of Universität Bonn.

Over the years Wali collected some of  the most important titles in these respective fields, both first editions that he acquired from the Azbakiyya book market in Cairo, as well as more recent reprints from regional publishing houses. Some of the titles donated to ARCE are important to students in the general fields of Islamic and Arabic studies. For example, Dala’il al-I‘jaz (Intimations of Inimitability) and Asrar al-Balaghah (Secrets of Elucidation) by ‘Abd al-Qahir ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Jurjani (d. 1078), a  renowned scholar of the Arabic language, are important titles in Arabic rhetoric; Tahafut al-Tahafut (Incoherence of the Incoherence), by the 12th century Andalusian philosopher Ibn Rushd (Averroes), is a highly regarded Islamic philosophical treatise that was written as a critique of Tahafut al-Falasifa (Incoherence of the Philosophers) by his contemporary al- Ghazali; and Lata‘if al-Minan (Subtle Graces) is one the best works of the Malakite jurist Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah (d. 1309) and a fundamental source in Sufism.

ARCE was selected as the recipient of these books because of the institution’s unique mission to make their library in Cairo totally accessible to scholars, particularly Egyptians. Wali’s family sincerely hopes that these books with be an enriching addition to ARCE’s growing holdings.

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