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Abd al-Rahman al-Jabartis (1753c. 1826) , “Napoleon in Egypt”, An Egyptian Historian’s account of the First Six months of Napoleon’s Invasion

On Monday news arrived that the French had reached Damahur and Rosetta, bringing about the flight of their inhabitants to Fuwwa and its surroundings. Contained in this news was mention of the French sending notices throughout the country demanding impost for the upkeep of the military. Furthermore they printed a large proclamation in Arabic, calling on the people to obey them and to raise their “Bandiera”.

[Napoleon’s] statement “in the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. There is no god but God. He has no son nor has He an associate in His Dominion.” In mentioning these three sentences there is an indication that the French agree with the three religions, but at the same time they do not agree with them, not with any religion. They are consistent with the Muslims in stating the formula “In the name of God,” in denying that He has a son or associate. They disagree with Muslims in not mentioning the two Articles of Faith, in rejecting the Mission of Muhammad, and the legal words and deeds which are necessarily recognized by religion “based upon the foundation of liberty and equality”. They follow this rule, great and small, high and low, male and female are equal. Sometimes they break this rule according to their whims and inclinations or reasoning. Their women do not veil themselves and have no modesty; they do not care whether they uncover their private parts.

His saying [all people] are equal in the eyes of God the Almighty, this is a lie and stupidity. How can this be when God has made some superior to others as is testified by the dwellers in the Heavens on Earth?

Al-Jabarti,. "Chronicle of the French Occupation." 1798. Perspectives from the Past: Primary Sources in Western Civilizations. Ed. James Brophy, Joshua Cole, John Robertson, Thomas Max Safley, and Carol Symes. 5th ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. 294-97. Print. Ser. 2.

According to Abd al-Rahman al Jarbartis, what was the Egyptian response to Napoleon's invasion?


They were relieved to be saved by Napoleon and the French military from Ottoman tyranny.


Egyptian Muslims found the French Revolutionary ideas about women and Napoleon's respect for various religions attractive.


Egyptian Muslims found the French Revolutionary ideas about equality and women's dress offensive.


As an Orthodox Christian, Abd al-Rahman al-Jabartis was relieved to have a Christian ruler in Egypt.

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