‘During the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire needed to meet the challenge of an increasingly powerful, prosperous and industrial Europe.’
During the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire needed to meet the challenge of an increasingly powerful, prosperous and industrial Europe. Traditional madrasa
s and mosques were no longer considered sufficient as educational institution for a modern society. Madrasa
Jaqmaqiyya, for example, was transformed into a new kind of civil prep school called Maktab
Rushdiyya. It taught Ottoman and European history, literary and official writing, and a variety of languages including French, Ottoman and Persian, but neither the Arabic language nor Arab history was on offer.
By the early 20th century, these reforms began to backfire as Christian minorities and non-Turkish Muslim majorities called for individuation and free expression rather than unity and obedience. In Damascus, Maktab
Anbar became a new educational centre and a focal point for Arab political awakening.