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Useful books

Due to the indifferent attitude of the public at large, government policies have failed, the coronavirus is spreading fast and at an ever-increasing rate.

Perhaps more of an effort should have been made to inform people at the grassroots level to increase their knowledge and awareness. Closing markets, shops, hotels, etc has destroyed what little progress there was in the economy and many more people are now living below the poverty line. Let the experts discuss and decide what they think best.

The first book I would like to bring under your notice today is ‘The Art and Craft of Management’ by Mr Sirajuddin Aziz and published by Mr Iqbal Saleh Muhammad, owner of Paramount Books Pvt Ltd, Karachi. Mr Aziz is a highly qualified banker and administrator – an intellectual par excellence. Tall, smart, handsome and graceful of stature, he is also a top-class orator. I have heard him speak quite a few times while attending functions of industrialists in Karachi. As an expert banker, he served in Europe, Africa, the UAE, China, Pakistan etc with multinational institutions and left his permanent mark.

The book contains articles and essays written by Siraj Bhai and they are like a bouquet of flowers of different colours. Each is a gem on its own and contains extremely valuable experience, training, suggestions and advice to those in authority. There are 55 articles, each one extremely useful and full of advice to the people in general. It is a book that needs to be read carefully and with full attention in order to benefit from its wisdom.

A recent article written by Mr Sirajuddin Aziz titled ‘Why Retire’, is a true masterpiece. It contains all those things I learnt while in Europe and had applied freely in Kahuta. He advises the government to use the talent and experience of people beyond sixty years of age. I kept my senior colleagues on until 65 or 66, even 70 sometimes. By that time everyone had outgrown the stage of hesitation and indecision and were mature, knowledgeable, bold and full of initiative.

One has only to look at the average age of Nobel Laureates to realize that they are mostly above 60 or 70. It is at that age that they have learnt to use their brains most productively and usefully. Another advice he has given is for governments to make use of the great number of talented youngsters rather than giving them easy hand-outs and making them useless professionally. All those at the helm of affairs should read this book and learn from Mr Aziz’s experience and advice.

Unfortunately, in our society, people are placed in important posts more for their loyalty to the ruler than for their ability and qualifications. Consequently, many of our departments/institutions are in a mess. Then the blame game starts with each government blaming all ills on previous ones.

The second book, completely different in nature to the first one, but also very informative and useful, is ‘The Life of Muhammad (PBUH)’, written/compiled by Prof Dr Tariq Ramadan and published by Penguin Books, London. Prof. Ramadan is a great scholar with a PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Geneva. He spent some time at Al-Azhar University reading Islamic Studies and Philosophy. He also taught at Freiburg University in Switzerland and was Senior Research Fellow at St Anthony’s College, Oxford.

In his book, Prof Ramadan has covered the following life aspects of the Holy Prophet (pbuh): encounter with the Sacred; birth and education; personality and spiritual quest; revelation, knowledge; the Message and adversity; resistance, humility and exile; trials, elevation and hopes; Hijrah; Medina, life and war; teachings and defeat; tricks and treason; a dream, peace; coming home; at Home over There; debtless in history and for eternity; notes and index. Prof Ramadan is a prolific writer and this translation is beautiful. Only while reading it does one appreciate the work, effort and love for the Holy Prophet (pbuh) that has gone into it. Excellent comments on this book have appeared in ‘Scotland on Sunday’, ‘Financial Times’, ‘Guardian’ and ‘Times’.

The third book, somewhat similar to the second one above but covering different aspects is ‘Abridged Biography of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’ by Imam Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahab Al-Tamimi and published by Darussalam, Lahore. The book is an excellent short biography and its abridged form makes it easy to read. It covers all the important aspects of our Holy Prophet (pbuh) and would be a useful addition to the reading list of scholars and students of Islam and Islamic History. Since it is written in English, it could be very useful for expatriates and their children to learn more about the life of our Holy Prophet (pbuh).

Dr A Q Khan, "Useful books," The News. 2020-06-22.
Keywords: Literature , Closing markets , Corona pandemic , Multinational institutions , Islamic history , Government policies , Islamic Studies , Europe , Africa , China , Pakistan