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Extract from an Announcement by al-Hajj Raghib al-Khalidi establishing the Khalidi Library in the year 1900

…The history of libraries since the days of the Greeks is well known and needs no elaboration. When civilization came to flourish among the Arabs, they began to establish libraries and educational institutions and in this endeavor were imitated by the Europeans… These latter abandoned traditional ideas and concepts which were based on mere speculation and turned to reliance on certainties and conclusions derived from experience…All this led them to acquire wealth and power and they greedily eyed what other nations possessed by way of hidden natural resources and mines, usurping the rights of others who had abandoned the serious pursuit of learning…

…Several libraries had once existed in Noble Jerusalem and each family had its own library but due to the ravages of time and negligence most have disappeared, and those that  remain have shrunk considerably. Among those libraries was that of al-Shaykh Sun`allah al-Khalidi, to which he added the books possessed by his scholarly children. It was a rich collection comprising many works on religion, history and mathematics but once again the ravages of time dispersed most of it. This was the case until His Excellency Ruhi al-Khalidi, a scion of this blessed family, succeeded in gathering together what had been dispersed and intended to establish a public library in Jerusalem. He then instilled this noble spirit and endeavor among members of his family but at that particular point in time his circumstances were such as to prevent him from carrying out his design because he was preoccupied with the pursuit of his studies in Istanbul…

Nevertheless, that noble sentiment continued to animate the hearts of members of the family until the Almighty facilitated the accomplishment of the task. This happened in the following manner. The entire complex then partially in ruins and adjacent to the Turba of the Emir Husam al-Din Baraka Khan and his sons, who were Egyptian commanders, happened to be under the disposal of my father, al-Shaykh Nu`man al-Khalidi al-Azhari, and remained thus after his death.

Two years ago, my mother al-Sayyida Khadija, daughter of al-Sayyid Musa al-Khalidi, formerly Kaziasker [ Supreme Military Judge] of the Ottoman Empire, passed away. Before her death, she left in her will a sum of money designated to rebuild the ruined part of the complex and to attach it to the Turba and turn the whole into a library.

After consulting the distinguished scholar, Muhammad Yasin al-Khalidi, who is the head of the Khalidi family, and having called upon him for help, both moral and material, in accordance with what his esteemed Ruhi had communicated to us, namely, to establish a public library, Yasin encouraged us to do so and generously funded our project…So I immediately set out to rebuild what was ruined, installed the needed cupboards and placed our collection of books in it. Some of these books had formerly belonged to the above mentioned family members while others were a gift from His Excellency al-Sayyid Musa Shafiq al-Khalidi, Chief Clerk of the Shari`a Court, and his two nephews `Uthman Nuri and Sun`allah. This gift consisted of more than four hundred works, a splendid gift deserving divine reward. To this was added my own collection bringing the total to more than one thousand three hundred works. Seven hundred of these are manuscripts while the rest are printed books…


The Library’s founder

Raghib ibn Nu`man al-Khalidi