FAISAL ABOOBACKER PONNANI
A TWO-VOLUME compendium on Islam entitles “An Educational Encyclopedia of Islam”, edited by Syed Iqbal Zaheer, was launched in the Eastern Province in a gathering at the Marhaba hotel, Thursday. Syed Iqbal Zaheer is an Islamic scholar hailing from Bangaluru, India and working as an Engineer in Dhahran.Speaking at the occasion, Iqbal Zaheer said that the encyclopedia is a result of his efforts over the past 20 years. “This encyclopedia is a reference work that provides the optimum in content quantity and quality,” he explained. “It is a work (focusing) on Islamic culture, religion, history, politics, and other facets of life, in a very simple language. The entries of this encyclopedia are arranged alphabetically and range from brief essays to major analyses of topics such as Hadiths, pilgrimage, law, and family structure. It has two very convincing articles on the Divinity as well as a thorough article in defense of Hadiths.”Apart from the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the earliest Muslims, the encyclopedia also explores – in sufficient depth – the lives of prominent figures from modern Islamic history like Jamaluddin Al-Afghani, Muhammad Iqbal, Syed Abul A’la Mawdudi, Maulana Muhammad Ilyas and Hassan Al-Banna. Several entries are well-supported with excellent illustrations and maps that supplement the data wonderfully. This is especially evident in the interesting accounts of the life and achievements of the great Traditionalists (Muhadditheen) of Islam like Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Imam Abu Dawood, and Imam Tirmidhi as well as the founders of the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence: Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Shafi’, Imam Malik bin Anas and Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal.An encyclopedia dedicated to the institutions, religion, politics, and culture of Muslim societies throughout the world, “An Educational Encyclopedia of Islam” places particular emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, containing over a thousand articles in two volumes on Islam, Muslims and Muslim culture in the Arab mainland, South and Southeast Asia and Europe.Another feature of the book is the use of some four dozen full-scale and unique multi-color maps painstakingly developed, complete with three-dimensional topographical features. Every one of these maps – whether of the Prophet’s (pbuh) Hijrah route from Makkah to Madinah or of the famous Battle of Yarmuk or of the journeys of the great Muhadditheen – attracts the reader’s attention for a long time. Depicted with the right kind of details, these maps are a valuable possession, not to mention the excellent teaching tool that they represent for the young and old, especially among school and college teachers.The tome perfectly suits the new Muslim, or those Muslims who have been brought up in a Western environment, are quite uncomfortable in their native language and hence, unsure of Islamic concepts. It is priced at SR500 within the Kingdom, $130 for the Gulf countries and $150 for the United States and other countries.
The encyclopedia is available at Dar Abul Qassim Publications in Jeddah and Dar Al Hadyan in Riyadh. It is also available by Al-Attique publications in Canada (Jacob Sardini Co.), Sharjah and Bangaluru, India (East West Educational Tools|).Syed Iqbal Zaheer is also the author of several famous books like “Islam: The Religion You Can No Longer Ignore”, “Fake Pearls: A Collection of Fabricated Prophetic Sayings”, and A Short History of Israel”, among others. The Encyclopedia weighs around seven kilograms and has a total of 1,300 pages in two volumes.
Dr E.K. Muhammed Shaffe, the Principal of IISD; Syed Rashid Al-Azzaz, a senior journalist and Irfan Iqbal Khan, Chief Editor of Saudi Commerce and Economic Review of Assharqia Chamber, gave speeches at the event. Rizwan Ahmed was the moderator of the event.