I receive many books on which people expect me to comment. Unfortunately, it is not possible for me to even read them all, let alone write about them all.
However, sometimes a book stands out. One such book has been written by my dear friend, Saeeduz Zafar Siddiqui, the manufacturer of Amla hair oil. He is a many-faceted figure; an intellectual and a staunch follower of Islamic principles. He has now compiled an encyclopaedia on Quranic topics. It consists of seven volumes (7,000 pages) and covers more than 1,800 topics dealt with in the Holy Quran. In order to make the subject available to more people and widely read, he has also had the book translated to Urdu (by Maulana Fateh Muhammad Jallandari) and English (by Dr Marmaduke Pickthall).
A quick glance through the book’s volumes immediately suggests just how much work and effort has gone into accomplishing this task. The book has been published by Mawra Publishers, Shirkat Printing Press in Lahore. Priced at Rs7,000, it is available from all leading booksellers in large cities. Siddiqui spent five years working on this book. The volume of the work is testimony to the passion, dedication and hard work put into it. Please read it and judge for yourself.
This is not the first book, nor will it be the last one, to deal with topics of the Holy Quran. In his review, my dear and respected friend, Dr Pirzada Qasim, wrote: “Many people wrote books on this topic according to their understanding and knowledge.
For instance, Deputy Nazeer Ahmad translated the Holy Quran and attached an index at the end. More recently, the late Zahid Malik published a book entitled ‘Topics of the Quran’. It is a good exercise, but not extensive. A few years ago, Dr Athar Mohammad published a book in several volumes known as ‘Index of Quranic Subjects’. Naturally, it is an ongoing, continuous process. Siddiqui’s work is extensive, well-documented and user-friendly and it is easy to find any topic with Urdu and English translations.”
It is a rather unfortunate fact that our younger generation is slowly but surely losing command over, and interest in, Urdu. For this reason, Siddiqui has included the English translation for those who do not speak or read Urdu fluently. In my review of the book, I have described Siddiqui as a philanthropist, a lover of art and literature and a humorous and knowledgeable person. He has been guided by the Almighty to carry out this valuable work.
Saeeduz Zafar Siddiqui has written many nice and useful things in the preface of the book. For instance he writes: “This is the period of science and technology. This may be a few centuries old, but this period is comparatively small. Its terrain is not wide and whatever is there is a saying or inventing by human beings. Science does not explain anything as final. There is always some margin of improvement, change or modification. It is a continuous changing process.
“Contrary to this, the Quran is a divine book sent by the Almighty. It is not limited in any way. It is the truth. There can be no change, modification or alteration. For the last 1,400 years it is giving guidance and explaining the secrets of nature. The Quran has been guiding science. If there is a contradiction between the divine edicts and science, then it is science which needs to further check and investigate its facts.
“The Quran contains a complete code of life. It covers all aspects of human life, legal, commercial, financial, birth, inheritance, political governance, weather, animals, vegetation, etc., etc. The knowledge contained in the Quran is much more than the world of scientific research. [The] secrets of nature which scientists have found recently, have been in the Quran for more than 1400 years. It also contains the secrets of creation, the earth, the skies, the clouds, the rivers and the seas.”
In short, the book compiled by Saeeduz Zafar Siddiqui is a treasure source of invaluable information and a guide for all of us.
Note: I have some tragic news I would like to share. Engineer Muhammad Nasim Khan, a close colleague for many years, expired on January 8 and was buried the following day in H-11, Islamabad. He was a competent computer and control and automation expert.
He studied in England and worked there before returning to Pakistan. He was DG of the Control and Automation Division in KRL and responsible for the automation and control of our enrichment plant. There was never any accident over the last 35 years, during which thousands of tonnes of highly radioactive uranium hexafluoride gas were processed under his supervision.
Nasim Khan was also an active member of the team which produced nuclear weapons and shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles. He made many sophisticated instruments and machines, such as multi-axes centrifuge balancing machines. He was a thorough gentleman — calm, quiet and capable and always busy with his work.
I had a long chat with him hardly five or six days ago and he sounded well at the time, even though he did have health problems over the last few years. He had been posted at KRL from Desto after a special request was made to Gen Zia. He was a good person and an engineer par excellence.
May the Almighty grant him a place in Jannah and give his family courage and patience to bear this loss with fortitude. Ameen.