From a Father to his Son: Letters on Education, Schooling, and the Arts


Min wālid ilā waladihi: wa-hiyya rasā'il fī al-tarbiyya wa-al-ta‛līm wa-al-ādāb (From a father to his son: Letters on education, schooling, and the arts) is a collection of the letters that the author wrote to his son, Jamāl al-Dīn Aḥmad Ḥāfiz ‛Awwaḍ, during the latter's student years at the American University in Beirut. The book was published in Cairo in 1923. The first six letters are mostly devoted to the expression of the father's love for his son and to general themes of education and schooling. The father insists on the central importance of the development of the natural inquisitive spirit in the student. Some of the letters are dedicated to more specific themes. One is the importance of the study of languages and, in particular, of the Arabic language as mother tongue and the language of the Islamic faith. Another theme is the study of Arabic literature through the works of its most refined authors, such as Ibn Khaldūn, Ibn Qutayba, and Al-Jāḥiẓ. A third topic is the importance of learning the English language and its literature for its sheer beauty and for the moral values that authors such as Shakespeare and Dickens convey in their works. Further letters are devoted to the importance of the translation of foreign works into Arabic, to the study of history as a source of good examples in life, and to the study of the natural sciences. The final letters in this collection provide suggestions regarding the choice of a career, life after university, and how to achieve success in life.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Maṭbaʻat al-Shaʻb, Cairo


Title in Original Language

من والد إلى ولده : وهي رسائل في التربية والتعليم والآداب

Type of Item

Physical Description

153 pages ; 24 centimeters

Last updated: January 16, 2015