Images from the pages of al-Funun
Humor was used extensively in al-Funun. Nearly every issue had a section devoted to it. Moreover, humorous expressions and situations were scattered among al-Funun’s other material. Humor was used as a means to transition the reader from one literary piece to another. However, al-Funun was more than a hodgepodge of literary and artistic material, with humorous sayings and stories scattered between its main elements, it had a clearly stated “raison d’être”—a didactic mission, which humor helped promote. 

It is unknown who composed (or translated) the humorous stories, expressions and situations that appeared in al-Funun. It is highly probable that Nasib Aridah (al-Funun’s Editor/Publisher) received help in this endeavor from Abd al-Masih Haddad (al-Sa’ih’s Editor/Publisher), who published in 1921 a collection of humorous stories about Arab-American immigrant experiences in “Amirka.”1

Humor Page, al-Funun 1, no. 3 (June 1913)
Humor Page
Humor permitted a degree of levity to exude from the journal, thus helping to make some of the more substantive literary works meaningful and palatable for the general readership. Al-Funun’s main audience were Nasib’s fellow Lebanese and Syrian emigrants, who unlike him had far less education than he did.

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

1 Haddad, Abd al-Masih. Hikayat al-Mahjar. (Stories of the New World), 1921.

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