FARAJ, MURAD (1866–1956), Egyptian Karaite author and theologian. Born in *Cairo and trained as a lawyer, Faraj was a government official during the reign of the khedive ʿAbbās Ḥilmī (1892–1914). He took a keen interest in the problems of the Egyptian Jewish community and was particularly active among the *Karaites, whom he served for a time as dayyan. After resigning this post, he practiced law until 1932, when he turned exclusively to literary pursuits.
Faraj, who wrote in Hebrew and Arabic, published some 30 volumes of poetry, religious works, and books on law. Two books of verse, highly praised by the great Egyptian poet Aḥhmad Shawqī, were Dīwān Murād ("Murad's Poetical Works," 5 vols., 1912–29) and Al-Shu ʿ arā ʾ al-Yahūd al- ʿ Arab ("The Jewish Poets in Arabic," 1929; 19392). He also published Shir ʿ Ivri mi-Meshorer ʿ Aravi ("A Hebrew Song of an Arab Poet," 1945) in both Hebrew and Arabic. In his verse he was a meticulous craftsman with a fondness for difficult and unusual expressions.
All but one of Faraj's theological works were written in Arabic. They include Al-Qarā ʾ ūn wa-al-Rabbānūn ("The Karaites and the Rabbanites," 1918); Al-Yahūdiyya ("Judaism," 1920); Tafsīr al-Tawrā ("Torah Commentary," 1928); Al-Qudsiyyāt ("Holy Offerings," translated into Hebrew by the author in 1923); Amthāl Sulaimān ("The Proverbs of Solomon," 1938), an Arabic translation of and commentary on the Book of Proverbs; and Ayyūb ("Job," 1950), an Arabic translation of several chapters of the Book of Job. Two books on linguistics were Ustādh al- ʿ Ibriyya ("The Hebrew Teacher," 1925) and Multaqāal-Lughatayn al- ʿ Ibriyya wa-al- ʿ Arabiyya ("The Crossroads of the Hebrew and Arabic Languages," 5 vols., 1930–50). Faraj also wrote Al-Furūq al-Qānūniyya ("On Legal Differences," 1917) which, from 1928, became a standard textbook at Cairo University. In addition to all of these works, Faraj published several legal dissertations and many articles and reviews. In 1936 he was elected a member of the Egyptian Academy for the Arabic Language.
J.M. Landau, Jews in Nineteenth-Century Egypt (1969), index.
[Hayyim J. Cohen]