100 years since the publication of the first book in modern literature since the unification of Saudi Arabia
“Hijaz Literature” was compiled and arranged by Muhammad Sorour Al-Sabban, and it included the product of 16 writers
Wednesday – 30 Dhul Qi’dah 1443 AH – June 29, 2022 AD Issue No. [
Mohammed Surur Al-Sabban
Riyadh: Omar Al-Badawi
In 1923, the book “Hijaz Literature” appeared as the first modern literary publication in the country. The author of the book is Muhammad Surur al-Sabban (1898 – 1972), one of the pioneers of the cultural and literary movement in Saudi Arabia. It was issued by the Arab Press in Egypt, and was printed at the expense of the Hijazi Library in Makkah.
Al-Sabban pointed out in the introduction to the book that it is “a brief intellectual page of the poetry and prose of the Hijazi youth, for this era, and for the first time in the literary history of this country, after a long period and many centuries, the misfortune of this nation and this country, that the science of literature in it is strange, And the writer is vulgar.”
The book included brief translations and samples of poetry and prose for 16 writers in the Hijaz. , Abd al-Wahhab al-Nashar, Abdullah Feda, and others, and the rest is a translation of Sabban and the addition of some passages.
Historian Muhammad Al-Qashami told Asharq Al-Awsat: “That period witnessed the beginnings of literary and cultural prosperity in the emerging Saudi Arabia, coinciding with the expansion of the state in enabling society to educate, and the prosperity of the economic, social and development movement. Important books appeared during that stage, including Muhammad Hassan’s book Awwad (Declared Thoughts), who caused a sensation, and Awad was dismissed from his work at the Al-Falah School; Because he spoke on various issues such as indoctrination in teaching, women’s education, and the roles of scholars in the public space, calling for their curtailment, and he received responses and comments on the pages of (Umm Al-Qura) newspaper to refute his ideas and discuss his theses, including the book (Inspired by the Desert), by Abdullah Bin Omar Belkheir, the translator of King Abdul Aziz and one of the first to lay the foundations of the media in Saudi Arabia, and Muhammad Saeed Abdul-Maqsoud Khoja, who had important roles in raising urgent societal issues, and showed progressive thought in his articles, and the pioneering book, which appeared in 1355 AH, included Translations of the first writers in Saudi Arabia.
For his part, Dr. Abdullah Al-Haidari, professor of literature and a member of the Scientific Committee of the Dictionary of Literature and Writers in Saudi Arabia, said, “The hijri forties of the last century witnessed priorities in the field of publishing books and publishing newspapers, and given this long period, a century of time, there are a group of The features of the beginnings stage and the difficulties, including the restriction of production to collective works in which two or more authors are most likely to be authored, including printing works outside the Kingdom, given the limited or scarcity of printing presses in the country; As a number of authors headed to Beirut, Cairo, Damascus and Aden, which witnessed the printing of some early Saudi books, including the collections of Ahmed Muhammad Jamal, Ahmed Abdel Ghafour Attar, Hassan Al-Qurashi, Taher Zamakhshari, Abdullah bin Khamis, Abdul Rahman Al-Obeid and Abdullah Abdul-Jabbar, who They are printed outside the kingdom.
Al-Haidari added to Asharq Al-Awsat: “After that, Saudi literary production witnessed a growth in all its genres, and printing presses began to appear in many Saudi cities, and some active publishing houses appeared, and literary clubs emerged in 1995, and after a few years, the Tihama House appeared in Jeddah. Which inaugurated a new and active phase of the printing and publishing movement in Saudi Arabia, and literary clubs and some active publishing houses contributed to enriching the cultural arena, and many books were published, concerned with publishing the works of the late pioneers.
After that, other publishing trends arose, differing from the previous ones, such as the interest of some parties in publishing complete literary works, including what was promoted by Abdul-Maqsoud Khoja in Jeddah, and Al-Haidari indicated that it has great works and clear fingerprints, in issuing the complete works of a number of Saudi writers , such as Hamza Shehata, Hussein Sarhan, Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Ghazawi, Aziz Zia, Muhammad Hussein Zidan, Ahmed Al-Sibai, Assem Hamdan, and other writers, and they became important references in the hands of researchers; Because their production in the past was scattered and issued over different years and periods, and this resulted in difficulties facing researchers in studying the effects of these people, while Abd al-Maqsoud Khoja’s efforts made it possible to obtain these works after that.
Al-Haidari pointed out that the issuance of encyclopedic works that were carried out by solid authorities in Saudi Arabia during the past thirty years constituted one of the important turning points in this field.
Al-Haidari added, “In the past fifty years, we find a significant and clear growth in literary works, due to the interest of Arab and Saudi universities in the Saudi literary product, and we have found nearly 900 university theses, discussed and completed in the period between 1966 and today, I studied Saudi literary creativity in its various arts. ».
He added, “These turns during a whole century confirm that there is an active movement in the field of Saudi literary production, accompanied by an active movement from publishing and printing houses in Saudi Arabia, which arose in various cities of the Kingdom, and the establishment of the Saudi Literature Chair a decade ago and the publication of more than 100 books, and destinations Other new ones entered the field of publishing and the achievement of heritage, which is a continuation of the literary and printing movement that Saudi Arabia has been witnessing for a century until now.”