Ignoring the political mess, the violence and the MQM infighting, I would like to draw attention to three valuable books to read and benefit from.
The first is a religious book – ‘Majmatul Tafaseer’. It is the result of the lifelong work of Shaikhul Islam Maulana Lal Muhamed of Quetta. It consists of 10 volumes, of which the first three volumes have already been published and the fourth is due to come out in a few days’ time. These books have been beautifully printed by Idara Iqra Academy, Quetta. The compilation of the work has been done by Haji Muhammed Mobeen and supervision and distribution has been taken care of by Qari Abdul Malik.
After those published in Arabic, Urdu is the only other language that has a treasury of books and Tafaseer on Islam. The Tafaseer by Maulana Lal Muhamed is a continuation of this golden tradition. He has carefully avoided presenting only the viewpoint of one single sect. The text has been worded in such a nice manner that it arouses inquisitiveness in the reader to find out more.
Opinions about translations and Tafaseer of the Holy Quran may differ from author to author, but when you read this book, you immediately realise that Maulana Lal Muhamed has honestly and neutrally expressed the views representing the feelings of the various sects. He has tried to unite all the various sects to make it easy for all of them to overcome their differences. His commendable effort is to encourage people from all maslaks to listen carefully to each other and consider the viewpoints of others. He has put all the relevant references on the appropriate pages, thus saving the reader the trouble of having to leaf to the end of the book to look up references.
This book is a treasure of knowledge containing the edicts of Allah Almighty and the sayings of our Holy Prophet (pbuh). I would advise all Pakistanis, and others who speak Urdu-speaking people, to study these invaluable books and to follow the edicts of Allah Almighty in order to earn His Blessings in this world and in the world hereafter. They should offer the compulsory prayers, pay zakat, feed the poor and look after orphans and the elderly.
How lucky we Muslims are in that we have the Holy Quran in its original form. Not a letter or a word has been changed. The Quran we have today is the same as that which was conveyed to our Holy Prophet (pbuh) by Almighty Allah through Hazrat Jibrael. It was during the Khilafat of Hazrat Usman (ra) that a large number of copies were prepared and sent to all the areas under suzerainty of Muslims.
We also read in the Quran that the Almighty has personally guaranteed the sanctity of the Quran and has challenged the whole human race (and the Jinns) to produce a single verse like any in the Quran. Nobody has succeeded in this during the last 1400 years. Now, with time and modern computational methods, it has been found that there is a very sophisticated in-built safety system in all the verses. Nobody (especially fraudsters) could imagine or foresee this.
It is very unfortunate that all the other holy books are no longer in their original form. They have all been tampered with by humans over the centuries in accordance with the conveniences and demands of the times.
Please remember that the Almighty has conveyed in unambiguous terms, that just offering prayers or reading the Quran does not miraculously turn us into good Muslims. For that the edicts of Allah need to be followed in letter and in spirit and we have to accept the uniqueness and oneness of the Almighty.
Majmatul Tafaseer is a gem of learning and Shaikhul Islam Maulana Lal Muhamed, Haji Mobeen and Qari Abdul Malik deserve appreciation and full credit for their hard and useful work. May Almighty Allah bestow His blessings on them and their families.
The second very interesting book is ‘Deewane Shami’ (Urooje Khiyal) by Sahibzada Muhammed Mairajuddin Shami. He was from Jullundhar and was the father of my dear and respected friend, Prof Dr Misbahuddin Shami, a noted educationist (chemist) and a beloved teacher. Late Mairajuddin Shami was a senior civil servant (ICS) in the pre-Partition days. He had a great feeling for writing poetry.
This collection was safely kept for 70 years by Prof Shami. When he mentioned it to me, I suggested he give it to another dear friend of mine, poet par excellence Nasir Zaidi, for compiling and publication. Zaidi did an excellent job and the book is a treat and read for anyone appreciative of poetry. It has been tastefully published by Nastaleeq Publications, Urdu Bazaar, Lahore and contains beautiful poetry.
The third interesting book is ‘Decline of Muslim States and Societies – The Real Root Causes and What Can Be Done Next’ by Prof Dr Misbah Islam. Prof Misbah, an expatriate from Pakistan, is now a professor at the University of Ottawa, Canada. The book was published by Xlibris Corporation, USA (ISBN 978-1-4363-1012-3). It is an excellent analysis of the rise and fall of Muslim empires and also discusses the root cause of our decline and suggests ways and means to rectify this. Unless we earnestly follow the edicts of the Almighty in our everyday and political lives, not even a miracle can reverse history.
The book definitely deserves a column of its own, which I will try to write in the near future. My best wishes and prayers for Prof Dr Misbah Islam.