Originally intended as a column for a leading Tamil daily, the author was encouraged by the tremendous response for the serial which ran for 32 weeks, to bring it out as a book. It is not for Muslims alone but for people of other faiths and religions as well. Considering the Holy Book is in Arabic, this comes as a boon to people who speak Tamil.
After a read, the book rewards one with religious wisdom. The richness of Islam is well brought out as the author shares his deep knowledge of the tenets of the religion, and helps us understand it better. Topics such as prayer, marriage, children, society, customs, dressing-clothes, education, health, eating habits, rights of husband and wife, on parents, friends, travel and journey are discussed in great detail.
Written in simple, journalistic Tamil, the writer Vadakukottaiyar V.M. Syed Ahmed discusses the regulation of Islam, and a person’s duties in his day-to-day life. Islamic methods and ways are integrated with Tamil culture to lend added significance.
Contrary to popular belief that Islam is all about prayers, the author talks about other characteristics which are also a form of worship such as helping the needy, feeding the poor, conducting oneself well in society, being hospitable to guests, showing pleasing manners and showing kindness to all creatures.
Even greeting someone first whether he is a youngster or an underprivileged has its own rewards. Treating animals with kindness while on a journey is another good example.
Quoting scholars, the writer cites an instance — while travelling on a camel, one should give adequate rest to the animal and must not cruelly lash when it is tired.
Profusely quoting from Holy Quran and the traditions of the Prophet, he delves into secular anthologies such as Purananuru, Iniyavai Narpatu, Naladiyar, Mahakavi Bharathiyar’s poems and Bharathidasan’s songs to present Medieval ideas in a modern context and contemporary style.
Besides a writer, V.M. Syed Ahmed is also a distinguished speaker and a singer who has contributed significantly to the development of Tamil. It will hold the interest of any theology student but the book is inspiring enough to be a part of any religious mentoring programme.
May not be engrossing and may lay on the shelf for long. Yet it is a lighter work considering the heaviness of the subject.
Iniya Margam Islam by Vadakukottaiyar Poompuhar Publications, Chennai, ph: 044-25267543. Pages: 200, Price: Rs. 150