An Imam in Paris

An Imam in Paris

Account of a Stay in France by an Egyptian Cleric (1826–1831)

N/A September 2011 Paperback 416pp

About the Book

In the 1820s, Rifa‘a Rafi‘ al-Tahtawi, a young Muslim cleric, was a leading member of the first Egyptian educational mission to Paris, and meticulously chronicled his experiences with European culture over a period of five years.

His seminal book Takhlis al-Ibriz fi Talkhis Bariz is one of the earliest and most influential records of the Muslim encounter with Enlightenment-era European thought, introducing ideas of modernity to his native land. In addition to its historical and literary value, al-Tahtawi’s penetrating account offers invaluable insights into early conceptions of Europe and the ‘Other’. His informative – and often humorous — observations are as vibrant and relevant today as they were over 150 years ago.

An irrefutable classic, this new edition of the first English translation is introduced and carefully annotated by a scholar fluent in the life, times and milieu of its narrator.

About the Author

Daniel L. Newman holds the Chair of Arabic Studies at the University of Durham, UK. His publications include An Imam in Paris: Account of a Stay in France by An Egyptian Cleric (1826–1831), The Sultan’s Sex Potions: Arab Aphrodisiacs in the Middle Ages, The Sultan’s Feast: A Fifteenth-Century Egyptian Cookbook and The Exile’s Cookbook: Medieval Gastronomic Treasures from al-Andalus and North Africa. In addition to his academic work, Newman shares his passion for recreating medieval Arab dishes on his blog ( and Instagram account (@medieval_arab_cooking).


‘Daniel L. Newman is to be congratulated on making the first translation into English of this remarkable book, and on supporting the text with a first-class introduction and with footnotes that are as full as one could wish.’
Times Literary Supplement

‘A touchstone for thinking about the tangled relations between Islam and modernity’
Jewish Quarterly

‘[A] fine translation ... extensively and meticulously notated’
International History Review