Lessons in Islam Taleem ul Islam
By Shaykh Mufti Kifayatullah (r.a)
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LESSONS IN ISLAM TA’LIMUL islam
(Complete) 6 1
English Translation of Mufti Mohd.Kifayatuflah’s Ta’limul Islam. The most authentic book of its kind on the fundamentals of Islam. Rendered into Chaste English for the first time
BY AL-LAMA MUFTI MUHAM-MED KIFAYATUL-LAH
Foreword Lessons in Islam
“Lessons in Islam” is the rendering into English of the Talim-uI-Islam written in Urdu.
The author Maulana Mufti Muhammad Kifayat-ullah (1 872- J 952) was a versatile figure, He was one of the most distinguished scholars of Arabic, Muslim theology and Islamic studies of his age and remained on the forefront of the country’s social, educational and political life for three decades in the first half of this century. He occupied the office of the Grand Mufti of India for over forty vear* till the end of his life, %
The present work “lessons in Islam’ 8 is a graded book and can serve as a very useful introduction to Islam, its basic tenets and the laws of Shariah that operate in our daily lives, The book is in question-answer form ? a sort of catechis- ing on [slam. It was perhaps meant to be useful to the young and the uninitiated. But the range that the book covers is fairly wide and it has been servingasoneofthemost authentic books of reference on Islam, its basic tenets its rcligio-lcgal laws (Fiqh) and its system of beliefs and rituals. Non-Muslim scholars and readers who are endowed with quest for inquiry will also find the book a very useful introduction to the rcligion-of Islam.
TRANSLATOR’S NOTE Lessons in Islam
The present work is the rendering into English of the Urdu Talim-ul-hlam by Maulana Muhammad Kifayat- ullah, the Grand Mufti of India. T ” ‘ fc
Translation from one language to another is at best a difficult task. It is a kind of interpretation or transcrcation, a process by which the translator seeks to re-live the world of the author in all its wonder and beauty, fn actual fact the translator has to assume the role of a full-fledged author.
The task of the translator becomes all the more difficult when he seeks to render into English a highly technical work. like the present one which is replete with terms and concepts wholly unfamiliar^o the English speaking world, And when the author is a scholar of the eminence of Mufti Muhammed Kifayatullah, the language of the original is as different in history and cultural background as Urdu is from English and the work is a miracle of precision such as Ta’Hm-uI-hlam, the difficulties encountered by the translator can well be imagined.
Translations which are at once beautiful and faithful arc rarer than diamonds. In his own modest way the present translator has attempted at both/ But accuracy has been the watchword throughout and wherever a sacrifice has had to be made, “beauty” has been sacrificed for accuracy. How far the attempt has been successful is for the readers to judge- There has been a noticeable spurt in the number of books published in English on Islam, its Prophet, his mission and the Qur-an in recent years. But the stand- m 1 nation of English cqurvaJcnts for Arabic terms and or divine service which element is missing in slave. Simi- larly, it is found that no distinction has generally been made between dua (spontaneous appeal to God) and Saldt (a ritual of worship) by the Orientalists. Both are usually rendered as “prayer” in English. In this translation the former has been rendered as “invocation”. y^^
Some other equivalents used in present day translations were found unsatisfactory. Effort has, therefore, been made to ft’ d better equivalents for them, muqim and musafir were, for example, generally rendered as resident and traveller. The terms used for them in this translation are on-station and an-joumey.
Similarly, sijdah sain has been rendered as remedial prostration instead of prostration of forge (fulness \ as the latter would be too literal to be acceptable to the speakers of English.
Now, something about the diacritics used in the book. As ahead; observed, the Talim-ul-lslam is a highly technical work making abundant use of Arabic names and terms. To enable- the readers of English to pronounce the Arabic text ‘and words as perfectly as possible, diacritical marks and symbols have been frequently used in the book, in addition to the phonetic symbols of isolated sounds used in the book, some other devices have also been employed to achieve accuracy in pronunciation. As part o^ this scheme the two Is in AH&h and the two ms in Muham-mad have been hyphenated This was considered necessary as, otherwise, the speakers of English, attuned as their tongues are to articulating only single sounds in their language would mispronounce these as well as other words of Arabic which make use of double consonants concepts still remain a far cry. The task requires extensive research by a number of scholars who have good command over both Arabic and English and are at the same time inspired by devotional zeal and fervour towards the subject. The present work is a modest attempt in this direction. Painstaking efforts have been made by the translator to find English equivalents to terms and concepts such as would convey the full range of the original Arabic words and be at the same time acceptable to the speakers of English. The eilbrt has proved rewarding in most cases, but where the search has failed to yield adequate English equivalent, the original Arabic term has been retained. Arabic A Hah has, therefore, been preferred to God, generally .rendered by the Orientalists, The simple reason being that this strictly monotheistic Deity with aH His attributes docs not admit of being represented by means of any non-Islamic term, Christian or otherwise.
* Similarly, proper names such as Ibrahim and Musd (peace be on them) have been retained in their Arabic, forms as the Muslims residing in any part of the hemisphere and speaking any language of the world arc familiar with them. Words Hke Caliph, Mecca and Amen, however, appear in their English spelling as these are already parts of the English tongue.
The translator has, moreover, as far as possible, gone for Anglo Saxon words in preference to those of Latin origin, tauhid is, therefore, Oneness (of God) rather than (Divine) Unity in this translation. Where no such differ- ence exists, choice has been made of words that convey the nuances of meaning more appropriately than others. ahd has, therefore, been rendered as servant rather than slave as the Arabic root V ‘ ‘abd contains the idea of warship In order to keep the work from being too grotesque Arabic ‘ ^ ,T has been represented by simple /dL A projiounciation key has been provided to the book whicf makes it clear that in point of articulation this particulai sound of Arabic is akin to French *d* rather than the English consonent of the same shape^
Again, vowel sound In the second syllable of Mukam-mud is like Greek Schwa/5/ and not likc(oe) as in linglish *cap .„ Jn fact ii could not have been like that for this vow;! sound is wholly missing in the Arabic system of sounds,
I deem it my duty to acknowledge the help and coopera- tion I received from Maulana Abdus Salam Sahib the gradnson of the distinguished author, Ht\ infact, has been the main inspiring force behind this work.
Thanks arc also due to Mr. Muham-rnad Atiq, Assistant Professor, Department of Arabic, jawaharlal Nehru Univer- sity for having gone through parts of the book and offering valuable suggestions for improving the quality of the translation.
SABIHUDDIN AHMAD ANSAR1 337-C767. Batla House
Jamia Nagar New Delhi
Taleem ul Islam LESSONS IN ISLAM
Lessons in Islam
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