Book Review: Rashaat e Khamah (Majmua Mazameen)

Book Review: Rashaat e Khamah (Majmua Mazameen)

Reviewer: Zeeshan Rasool Khan

While we lament the misuse of social media, fact-check its news feeds to ensure cred, and alert people about possible vulnerabilities it can bring, we have scores of people who have made it a medium of information, awareness, and knowledge. Well-known scholar, educationist, writer and Urdu lecturer Dr Shakeel Shifayi is a leading technophile who has engaged netizens through his entrancing ideas, which over time have been gathered in the form of a book titled Rashaat e Khamah. Rashaat e Khamah, meaning ‘writings from pen’, is originally a collection of Dr Shifayi’s Facebook posts well-liked by his audience.
The book spans over 271 pages and is divided into six parts. Starting with personalities, it covers literature, Islamic studies and events from the scribe’s diary, contemporary issues, and accounts of the writer’s trips.
Each segment is laden with loads of knowledge, instructions, and constructive proposals that, on the one hand, throw doors to knowledge open and, on the other hand, can help to build sharp perspectives about different spheres of existence.
The first part, ‘Personalities’ (Shaksiyat) (P.8–34), commences with a biographical sketch of Molana Syed SulaimanNadwi, followed by a mention of many of his unique life events. Nadwi’s views about the United Nations, Kashmir issue, etc have been presented in brief. The author’s fancy for knowledge and literature can be figured out from his perceptions of Syed Muhammad Qasim Shah Bukhari, Allama Iqbal, Moulana Ibn-ul-Hassan Abassi, Shams-ul-Rehman Farooqi, etc. In the meantime, a reader gets a comprehensive idea about these personalities.
The section based on literature — Adbiyaat (P. 36–105) is riveting. The author has utilized his expertise to the point of perfection to delineate many alluring couplets of Mirza Ghalib, Allama Iqbal, and Mir Taqi Mir. Questions like ‘Who is an intellectual’ and ‘What does constructive literature mean’ have been substantially answered. Views titled ‘Saaz e Dil Khamosh’, ‘Dil Todney Waley’, and Zahir Ki Aankh Say Na Tamasha Karey Koie’ transport the reader to a different realm. These topics give insight into the philosophical and Quranic meaning of the heart and the works of prominent litterateurs like Makhdoom Mohiuddin, Sehar Ishqabaadi, Ataullah Paalwi, Kaleem Aajiz, Sahir Ludhianvi, etc.
In the essay ‘Larzey Hai Mouj Me Teri Raftaar Dekh Kar’, the author expresses satisfaction over the growing penchant for writing amongst youth. However, simultaneously, he cautions novice writers not to force others to read their writings, as is observed through WhatsApp group messaging, where group members are meant to read whatever is posted by the admin.
Islamic studies (Deeniyat) begins with ‘Mullah Ka Deen’, wherein the writer states a grievance about the trend of denigrating ‘Mullahs’ — a word for clerics with derogatory connotations. The author prudently criticizes the malice of Mullah bashing and asserts the importance of clerics in the spread of knowledge and reformation of the system.
In ‘Baat Zara Saamjnay Ki Hai’, the author evidentially dispels the myth that the four most imitated Imams — Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam e Shaafi, Imam Malik and Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal — have denounced hadith. Imam Abu Jafar Tahawi’s book Aqeedah Tahawiyah and its available interpretations have been talked about. The mention of the contribution of Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband and its scholars in Hadith studies, the significance of holy men, saints, seers, and savants and the importance of scholars (Rijaal) in understanding the Quran and jurisprudence constitute an integral part of this section.
In ‘Talaash e Mardam Daana Na Kardi Kaash Mee Kardi’ (P. 127), the author compels us to think about the role that mentors play in the development of the disciple. The use of instances from the life of Syed Salman Nadwi, who came into the discipleship of Ashraf Ali Thanwi who himself was an ardent follower of Haji Imadadullah Makki, along with Moulana Nanotwi, Moulana Gangohi, etc, leaves a reader doubtless.
The author concludes it with the couplet of Muhammad Rafi Sauda: ‘Talaash e Murdam Daana Na Kardi Kaash Me Kardi: Suraag e Khizar Jūn Musa Na Kardi Kaash Me Kardi’ (I didn’t look for a wise man if I had!; like Moses, I didn’t find the mentorship of Khizr, if I had! — underscoring its necessity).
One more topic, Rasool-e-Huda (Sallallaho Alaihi Wasallam), (P.136), commands the attention of a reader. The author tells us about the books in which only dotless Arabic and Urdu words have been used throughout. Specifically, he comments on an Arabic book, namely Rasool-e-Huda (Sallallaho Alaihi Wasallam), written in the same pattern. The concept of ‘Innovation (Biddah) in the religion’ (P. 155) has been touched upon and explained rationally. The author impresses upon us to understand nuances of innovation before drawing conclusions and exhorts us to traverse an intermediate path, i.e. every act isn’t biddah and every biddah isn’t a religion.
In the article ‘Tehqeeq Aur Zouq Ko Hukum Na Banayein’, the writer exposes us to a harsh reality. Quoting Dr Mehmood Ahmad Gazi’s Mahaziraat e Qurani, he explicates the purpose of research, and the role of the researcher, and warns us about the repercussions of imitating an analysis and analyst of choice while rejecting others. The author condemns the temper of taking any researcher’s viewpoint as a final word. He emphasizes deriving benefit from someone’s research without equating that to divine injunction.
Details about Moulana Zakariya Kandhalwi’s works and the virtues of reciting the Quran in Ramadhan bring this section to a close.
We get to know about the life and personal experiences of the writer, his enthusiasm for reading and writing, and his devotion to Sufis in the section ‘Page from the author’s diary — Zaati Diary Ka Ek Safah (P. 177–224)’. Each page of this portion instills in a reader a love for research and unlocks a plethora of mysteries and philosophies.
The author’s acuity can be understood from his opinions on contemporary matters, which appear in the book under the heading ‘Asriyat’ (P. 225–244). A discussion on a gamut of issues makes us conversant about geopolitics and America’s foul play.
The book ends with Rehlat (P. 245–271) — short accounts of the writer’s travels and his observations thereof. In addition to providing a glimpse into the writer’s inspirational doctrine, it cognizes us about the people the author has come across and their active role in society.
The language of the book manifests the author’s erudition and his profound knowledge of Urdu language and literature. Not only non-Urdu-knowing but also Urdu-knowing readers can have an opportunity to add new words and phrases to their vocabulary apart from obtaining valuable lessons through poring over this book.
The writer is a student, educator, columnist, independent researcher and co-author of book #55-Stories. He tweets @Zeeshan_rk and can be mailed to @[email protected]

 

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