Images from the pages of al-Funun

al-Na‘urah al-Muhammadiyah is one of a number of famous Na‘urahs (pl. Nawa‘ir) that have been present in northern Syria for centuries. Mention of them first appeared in Vitruvius’, De Architectura, Book 10, Ch. 5.;1 however, more frequent mention of them occur within Islamic texts, due to their extensive use within the Islamicate world. The al-Muhammadiyah dates back to the 14th century.

Na‘urahs were present from Islamic Spain (al-Andalus) to Iran and were used to irrigate lands or supply drinking water via aqueducts to towns and cities.

The Na‘urahs of Hamah, Syria, of which the al-Muhammadiyah is one, are very famous till today in the region. They are popular among tourists, as well as to the many old and new emigrants who return home.
al-Na`urah al-Muhammadiyah, al-Funun 1, no. 1 (April 1913)

al-Na‘urah al-Muhammadiyah

This image appeared in the first issue of al-Funun and undeniably represents Nasib’s attempt to appeal to his readers’ sense of nostalgia for their homeland. It provides an interesting vignette of the Arab-American community of Nasib’s time, since its inclusion implies that there was a significant number of Syrians from northern Syria resident in the United States who would appreciate this image’s inclusion in the journal.

Select other images from the pages of al-Funun here:  

1 See Encyclopaedia of Islam, Na‘ura, CD-ROM Edition.

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