The Fragrant Blossom: A Work on Manners, Society, and Letters


Arij al-zahr: kitab akhlaqi, ijtima’i, adabi (The fragrant blossom: A work on manners, society, and letters) is a collection of essays by Shaykh Mustafa al-Ghalayini, a Lebanese Muslim teacher, writer, and authority on Islamic law. The essays cover a number of subjects presented in a readable style. Ghalayini discusses what it means to be an elegant speaker and writer in the “proper Arabic way,” avoiding the influences of what he calls a‘ujmah (non-Arabic) or afranj (European) style. In other essays, he treats the nature of mankind, the obligations of the Arabs in light of their rich history, the importance of modern education, local political currents in Beirut, and the place of social classes in a modern state. He calls on his readers to become “men of today and not men of the past.” Al-Ghalayini had a colorful career as political activist, essayist, and reformer. He was born and raised in Beirut, where he spent most of his life, except for brief stays in Cairo and Amman. In Cairo he perfected his knowledge of the Arabic language, working with teachers at al-Azhar, and he found time to publish articles in the newspaper al-Ahram (The pyramids). The title page of Arij al-zahr identifies him as Arabic instructor at the Imperial School and Ottoman College in Beirut. In 1910−11 he edited the general interest magazine al-Nibras (The lantern). During World War I, he served as a military chaplain in the Turkish army. In 1917, at the age of 32, he “took off the turban of the religious shaykh and replaced it with a tarboush,” because, as he explained, of pressure from the Turkish police to perform services that he deemed inappropriate for an imam. After World War I, he became Arabic tutor to the sons of King Abdullah I (1882−1951) of Jordan. His nationalist politics led him to prison and exile under the French Mandate. Later, because of his commitment to defending Islamic traditions in the face of the French authorities, he once again “placed the turban on his head” and regained prominence as a religious nationalist. In the final decade of his life he served as president and then as councilor of the Sunni Supreme Shari’ah (legal) Council of Lebanon. Arij al-Zahr was printed and sold at al-Ahliyah Press and Bookstore in Beirut.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

al-Ahliyah Press, Beirut


Title in Original Language

أريج الزهر: كتاب أخلاقي اجتماعي أدبي

Type of Item

Physical Description

240 pages : 25 centimeters

Last updated: January 16, 2015