In the 1820s Rifa'a al-Tahtawi, a young Muslim cleric, was a leading member of the first Egyptian educational mission to Paris, where he remained for five years, compiling his observations of European culture for the benefit of his countrymen. His account, Takhlis al-Ibriz fi Talkhis Bariz, is one of the earliest records of the Muslim encounter with Enlightenment-era European notions. Al-Tahtawi's book helped introduce ideas of modernity to his native land. In addition to its historical and literary value, the book offers invaluable insight into misconceptions about Europe and the 'Other'. Its observations are as vibrant and palpable today as they were over 150 years ago. This translation is the first in English of this classic book. It is introduced and carefully annotated by a scholar fluent in the life, times and milieu of its narrator.
Newman, D. (2002). An Imam in Paris: Al-Tahtawi's Visit to France (1826-1831). Saqi Books