An Educational Encyclopedia of Islam, a two-volume compendium on Islam edited by Syed Iqbal Zaheer was released here at a gathering of the City’s elite on February 13.
Prepared by a team of scholars, the work has been mainly authored and edited by Syed Iqbal Zaheer, an Islamic Scholar hailing from Bangalore and working as engineer at Dhahran in Saudi Arabia.
The inaugural copy of the Encyclopedia was unveiled and released by Justice Mohammad Anwar, former judge of the Karnataka High Court. Speaking at the occasion, Editor Iqbal Zaheer said the monumental effort took 15 years for the entire team of East West Educational Tools. He said most of the encyclopedic efforts on Islam and Muslims had so far been done in the West and provides a distorted picture of Islam. He said Brille’s was the most exhaustive work—in 12 volumes—so far but portrays Islam in an extremely poor light thereby serving the agenda of the Orientalists. Referring to an Islamic encyclopedia found on a Christian website he said the entry on Ibne Timiya records a single fatwa that calls for chopping of the head of an individual who does not pray, even though Ibne Timiya had collected tens of thousands of fatwas, but the Christian website chose to present a highly negative one. Similarly, he said, in Brille’s Encyclopedia of Islam, aqeeqa ceremony associated with the birth of a child in Muslim homes is shown to include tonsuring of head of the new-born and applying of the blood of the animal sacrificed on the tonsured head, although Hazrath Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her, described the application of blood on the tonsured head a pagan practice and prohibited the followers of Islam from doing it. “The whole emphasis is to present the Holy Prophet and Islam as representative of paganism”, he said.
Dr. Khamaruddin Abdur Rahman, director of Tipu Sultan Advanced Study and Research Centre, said the Encyclopedia was a great work and Iqbal Zaheer had done what the OIC and its cultural wing Isesco could not do despite huge resources at their disposal.
Maqbool Ahmed Siraj, journalist, said to produce such an elegant work from Bangalore was no small feat. He said the access to the original Arabic sources enhances the value of the work and it was almost a ‘transcreation’. He said while in matters of theology, the access to the Holy Quran and Hadith was possible, scholars depended on orientalists’ version for gaining insight into history, culture and society of the past. An Educational Encyclopedia of Islam bridges this gap. He said the work dispels several misgivings about certain historical facts propounded by the West.
Justice Syed Anwar commended the effort and hoped that the author would add more volumes in future. Mr. Feroze Abdulla welcomed the guest.
An Educational Encyclopedia of Islam has nearly 50 large multi-colour maps and diagrams pertaining to historical sites, battles and voyages undertaken by explorers and scholars. Language is simple and delightful and is interspersed with anecdotes and relevant details in epigrams. The hard-bound volumes, around eight kilograms in weight, are encased in a catchy slipcase and make an effective coffee table piece.
The Encyclopedia in English runs into two volumes 1,300 pages and has been published by the East West Educational Tools. It covers the religious dimensions of Islam and its developments over the centuries. Elegantly produced and aesthetically designed Encyclopedia covers a wide range of subjects like definitions of Islamic terms, life of Prophet Muhammadpbuh, social and political movements in Islam and the Islamic world, Muslim scientists and scholars of the past, Islamic law, Muslim minorities, Islamic history etc.
It is priced at Rs. 5,000 within India and $130 for the Gulf countries and $150 for the United States and other countries.
For enquiries contact: Mohammed Zakiullah Shareef, / Biju Abdul Qadir, 43, Basement Floor, Darus Suroor Bldg., Next to Hasanath College for Women, Dickenson Road, Bangalore-560042, Ph.: 080-41133504, Cell: Zakiullah-98456-94683, (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) Qadir-9880614828, (email@example.com)