Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Ramadan / Shawwal 1423 H
December 2002
Volume 15-12 No : 192
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Book Review


The Ideal of Statism
Nothing, But the Truth!
Qur'an Parichaya
Minhaj Al-Arabiyyah
Religious Harmony An Islamic Doctrine


The Ideal of Statism

Islamic Public Economics

Islamic Public Economics
(Originally published in Urdu in 1968)

By Nejatullah Siddiqi
Translated by Dr. Sayed Afzal Peerzade
Published by: Idarah-I-Adabyat-I-Delli, 5803, Sadar Bazar, Delhi
Price: Rs 350

Reviewed by
M A K Tayab (An IAS Retd Officer)

The book was written in Urdu by Nejatullah Siddiqi and was published in 1968. It has been ably translated by Dr. Sayed Afzal Peerzade and was published in 2001. This is a boon to English readers. It may be recalled that immediately after the Second World War and the division of the world into two opposing blocks, various authors strived to present Islamic doctrine as almost a mirror image of a capitalist creed or as a socialistic one or as a dyed-in-red near communist creed, depending on the point of view of the particular writer. It will look extremely anachronistic if somebody were to write today advocating a stance almost nearly as red as a communist regime and advocates its establishment as an Islamic alternative. Against this trend, there was reaction and the historic Islamic regime as at the time of the birth of Islam was sought to be presented as the best remedy in the then prevailing circumstances. This book was written by Siddiqi in the 1960s. In his preface to the English translation, Siddiqi candidly says, “ The Urdu text that appears here in translation was written in the early 60s. Those were the heady days for the role of the state in the economy. Not so in the mid-90s. Nevertheless, he maintains that though it may be the interpretation of the divine and the eternal, human compositions are bound to bear the impact of their time and place. But the essentials remain unaffected to the best of my understanding. However if the then fashionable thesis of state enterprise-i.e statism is removed from this tour de force, very little of the book’s thesis will stand as it were. The whole edifice built by the author will tend to collapse. In the 21st century or even the first half of this century, the entire idealogy of statism stands eclipsed. Hence from two angles, the book cannot be conceived of as operational interest today-for one, statism is dead and gone. Second, the entire argument of the book applies to a purely Islamic state. Evolving a suitable model for such a plural society where in some of the Quranic principles could become applicable in the new context is a crying need which has not been attempted so far. Hence the book is basically of interest as an historical record of the thinking during the 50s and 60s of the last century of those thinkers whose ideal was statism and who wanted to mould their approach in Islamic idiom.

The book consists of three parts-first one is entitled- “Islamic perspective of resource mobilization”. It consists of two chapters- “sources of revenue to an Islamic state and Jiziah and Kharaj”. Part II deals with Islamic perspective of regulatory and participatory role of the state. This part has three chapters-Chapter 3 deals with “ownership rights of an Islamic state and efficient utilization of resources”. Chapter 4 is entitled “limitations and ownership rights of Islamic State and chapter 5 is entitled, “economic obligations of an Islamic state”. Part III consists of chapter 6- “means of state control over private sector” and chapter 7 is “means of state control over the private sector”. In the entire book, 17 ayahs or verses have been quoted. Except these Quranic references, the entire work is built on the fiqh (of course, traditions have been quoted).

While Siddiqi has tried his utmost to build a system based on fiqh with his over-riding slant towards statism (which was a prevalent fashion in the 60s), the work retains its derived fiqh character. Peerzade says that the original Urdu book contained 12 chapters and he has translated four chapters out of them. Yet, it does succeed in illustrating the general thinking of the old masters on these issues.

On nationalisation and public control, the author quotes certain incidents of early Islamic era when agricultural lands were not allowed to be kept fallow and certain public works like canals and small check dams were undertaken and thus by its analogy, nationalisation is advocated as having the sanction of Islamic ideology. The book is well-printed and is a hard cover edition and will be a good precious addition to one’s collection of books on Islam.

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Nothing, But the Truth!

Siddharth's book provides a chilling account of how and why Gujarat was allowed to burn
Gujrat:The making of a tragedy
By Siddarth Varadarajan
Penguin Books
Pages-460 Price Rs.295

Reviewed by
Andalib Akhter

Much has been written on Gujarat’s communal tragedy since Godhra took place on February 27, 2002. The latest book on the issue edited by Siddharth Varadarajan, a senior journalist with The Times of India is different in many ways. ‘Gujrat: The Making of a Tragedy’, published by Penguin Books not only presents chronicles of the whole incidents that Gujarat witnessed in the recent months, but also attempts to bear witness to the unspeakable events which took place in the state. In fact, the author has tried to write history before it is ‘re- written’. He wants to apportion the blame of the tragedy and raise questions that all citizens should think about.

Drawing upon eyewitness reports from English, Hindi and regional media, citizen and official fact-finding commissions-and articles by leading public figures, the book provides a chilling account of how and why the state was allowed to burn.

With an overview by Siddharth, the book covers the circumstances leading upto Godhra and the violence in Ahmadabad, Baroda and rural Gujarat. Separate sections deal with the role of the police, Sangh Parivar, bureaucracy, media and the tribals, the economic and international implications of the violence, the problem of relief and rehabilitation of the victims and above all their quest for justice.

The book extensively refers to the findings of : People’s Union of Civil Liberties, Vadodra and Vadodra Shanti Abhyan, People’s Union of Democratic Rights, Communalism Combat, the Women’s panel (Farah Naqvi, Malini Ghose Syeda Hameed and others), Awaz-e. Niswan , Human Rights Watch, Sahmat, AIDWA, the Independent Commission (Kamal Mitra Chenoy, S.P. Shuklas Achin Vanaik, PS Subramanium), Citizen’s Initiative, the Editor’s Guild, the National Human Rights Commission of India and others.

“The events at Godhra and the ensuing communal carnage in Gujarat, like the Babri Masjid demolition and the 1984 massacres”, notes the author, “constitute an ugly chapter of contemporary history”. “For the sheer brutality, persistence and widespread nature of violence, especially against women and children, the complicity of the state, the ghettoisation of communities, and the indifference of civil society, Gujarat has surpassed anything we have experienced in recent times” says the writer. The book also includes in its postscript the incident of Akshardham.

“Akshardham tragedy is proof that genocide violence can have consequences far beyond the control of its original authors. Whether or not the terrorists were from Gujarat, elsewhere in India or Pakistan, it is unlikely that 33 innocent people would have died in Gandhinagar that day, had the state not presided over the murder of some 2000, innocent people” notes the book.

This book is useful for all those who believe in civil society and value human rights and should be read by all, before Gujarat’s facts are distorted by the vested interests.

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Qur'an Parichaya

Qur'an Parichaya

A brief introduction to the Quran (in Kannada)
By Prof. M.R.Gajendragad
Published by : Asakti Prakasan
Asakti, 7th Cross Basavanagudi, Shimoga
For further details contact:
" Aman" 7/14, 6th Cross, Paraswadi II Stage, Keshwapur, Hubli-580023.
Ph: 0836-285522
Price-not mentioned

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Minhaj Al-Arabiyyah

By Prof Syed Nabi
English Version:
Dr Md. Mustafa Sheriff
Dr S.K. Bahmani

This is the English version of the celebrated five parts set, by the internationally respected Arabic scholar, the late Prof Syed Nabi of Hyderabad. Keenly aware of the growing demand for Arabic, Dr Muhammad Mustafa Sheriff of the Arabic Department of Osmania University in Hyderabad has prepared the English version of Minhajul Arabiyya.

Published by: Alif Books and Prints
# 11, Royapettah High Road
Chennai-600014
India
Ph: 8131858
Email: alifbooks@yahoo.co.in

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Religious Harmony
An Islamic Doctrine

Religious Harmony

By Yembal Thajammul Mohammad
Published by: Newlight Books corner.
35 A-First Street, Thiruvalluvar Nagar, Pudukkottai - 622001.
Ph: 4322-66223 Email; newlightin@yahoo.com
Price: Rs 150

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