Pioneers from Tripoli Lebanon

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Nawfal Effendi Nawfal (18??-1887 C.E.)

The present biography, communicated by Mrs Ann Hamze, was originally published by Henry Harris Jessup (Fifty-Three Years in Syria. New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, Chapter XXIII, p. 526, 1910):

Nofel Effendi Nofel, one of the finest specimens of Christian manhood I have ever met, died August 9, 1887, in Tripoli. His family was the famous Nofel family of Tripoli, and his father a government official..

When I moved to Beirut in 1860, Nofel Effendi was chief clerk in the Beirut custon-house, and a fine scholar in Arabic and Turkish. Early in 1862, he united with the Beirut church and became a vigorous champion of the evangelical faith. During the summer he passes a somewhat remarkable religious experience, a veritable temptation by the devil. He was troubled with blasphemous thoughts which increased to such an extent that he gave himself up as lost. His language was not unlike that of Bunyan in his "grace abounding," and only after protracted struggles in prayer and study of Godís Word and finally resolving to go forward and do his duty in both light and darkness, did he find any relief. The Spirit of God led him out into the light although through a painful struggle.

Nofel Effendi wrote several valuable Arabic works, a history of the religions in the East, a history of the Arabs, and a reply to the Romish priests.

After removing to Tripoli in 1868, he became an elder in the Tripoli church, and was a pillar, indeed, a man of strong faith, noble bearing, great modesty, a model of courtesy and hospitality, and a wise counsellor to people of all sects who came to consul him. His success as an author was more remarkable as he knew no foreign tongue but Turkish, and his early opportunities for studies were extremely meagre. Had he the thorough training of the present course (1908) of the Syrian Protestant College, he would have made his mark throughout the East. As it was he was one of the builders of the fabric of reform in modern Syria.

Last update: July 18, 2000

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