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(20,090 words)

Author(s): Winter, M. | Elayed, A. | Hadj-Salah, A. | Salmi, J. | Sana'i, Mahmud
(a.), education, public instruction. The word is the pl. of maʿrifa “knowledge”. The term was already used in mediaeval times to denote the secular subjects of knowledge or culture in general (e.g. in the title of Ibn Ḳutayba’s Kitāb al-Maʿārif ), in opposition to the religious sciences ( ʿulūm , pl. of ʿilm ). 1. In the Ottoman empire and the central and eastern Arab lands It seems that the official use of the term appears for the first time in the Ottoman Empire in 1838, when a school for educating government officials was established in Istanbul and was named Mekteb-i Maʿārif-i ʿAdliyye