Taja Hussain Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation is organising an extended seminar on Taha Hussain, who is also known as the “Dean of Arabic literature”, on the occasion of his 40th death anniversary, on November 3 and 4.

Al Owais Cultural Foundation had invited many intellectuals and writers to attend this important seminar, which they said, comes at a time when misconceptions about Islam, history and social culture have become rampant, and the need for rectifying those misconceptions, as well as coming up with new ideas and drawing inspiration from those ideas is very crucial.

Dr Jaber Asfour, Dr Medhat Al Jayar, Dr Sherief Al Gayar, Dr Hussain Hamouda, Dr Majdy Tawfiq, Dr Hassan Mudn, Dr Abdullah Al Jasmi, Taleb Al Rifai, Dr Saleh Ziad Al Ghamdi, Dr Mujib Al Udwani, Dr Mohammad Shahin, Mohammad Jamal Barott, Dr Afaf Al Bataynah, Dr Frederick Ma’touq, and Dr Mariam Al Sa’adi, will be taking part in the seminar.

Hussain, who was born in 1889 and died in 1973, is one of the most influential 20th century Egyptian writers and intellectuals, and a figurehead for the Arab Renaissance and the modernist movement in the Arab World. He was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize for Literature and is the recipient of the 1973 United Nations Human Rights Award.

Hussain had called for a comprehensive renaissance of literature, and wrote in a simple, easy and clear style, while maintaining grammar and vocabulary rules, which was uncommon in his time. While many opposed his views on modernising the language and simplifying it, he continued to call for the renovation and modernisation.

He also called for change in the traditional teaching of Arabic literature and also called for simplifying complicated Arabic literary texts for students, as well as the importance of training teachers who teach Arabic.

Some of his most famous works include “Do’aa Al Karawan” (The Curlew’s Cry/The Nightingale’s Prayer), which was adapted into a movie in 1959 and a three-part autobiography “Al Ayyam” (The Days).

The seminar on Hussain is one of the many cultural seminars to complement the project carried out by the Foundation. The project aims to create an interactive format within the community for the dissemination of knowledge and the promotion of culture. Other seminars organised by the foundation in the past years include the “women, culture and present variables” seminar, “translation and its current challenges” and a seminar on the late Khaldoun Al Naqib.