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Preface

In the name of Allah, the Rahman, the Raheem

            This book is the English translation of the Urdu book of the same name, written during the early 1950’s by the great Quranic scholar of the sub-continent, Chaudhri Ghulam Ahmad Parwez. Mr. Parwez’s immense philosophical work is a realization of the desire of Allama Iqbal - the renowned Muslim visionary who developed and propagated a penetrating insight into the nature of Islam- to study Islam not as a religion but as a Deen, a word which has no parallel in western languages. Mr. Parwez’s studies on the meaning of Deen forms the core of the present work, as well as his numerous treatises, lectures, discourses and books, including his fascinating exposition on the Quran (in thirty parts), and his modern Quranic Lexicon (in four volumes). His revolutionary writings and discourses have inspired a widespread intellectual movement in Pakistan, both among the intelligentsia and the common people, and is increasingly influencing similar thinking in other countries.

            "Letters to Tahira" is essentially a collection of letters written to a mature and inquisitive young lady with clean intellect. This was in response to the queries the author had received from many of the female readers of his earlier similar book, "Letters to Saleem", which included a series of letters addressed to the youth of Pakistan and world at large.

            In this book Mr. Parwez has written exclusively on various matters concerning Muslim girls and women, particularly in the Indian sub-continent and, in a simple but effective way in the light of the Quran, has presented explanations and responses to their worries and concerns.

            There has been a demand from various circles that this book be translated into English for the English-speaking public in the sub-continent, and the world at large.  This task was taken over by our sister in United States, Mrs. Surraya Alvi. The credit for the basic translation goes to her.  The book was subsequently given to me for review.   This was a very difficult task, to say the least. I had to take help from my friend and devoted student of the Quran, Bashir Ahmed Abid. Once the basic conceptual work was done, I was assisted by my colleague Aziz Mamuji, who helped me in streamlining and editing the text. The final draft was scrutinised by Muneer Chughtai, a friend, well versed in Tolu-e-Islam literature. I hope that the readers will like the work, and I pray that it may fulfil the purpose it was meant to serve.

            In the ensuing translation of "Letters to Tahira", we have as far as possible, faithfully rendered into English the relevant Quranic verses. However, we have avoided giving the Arabic text. They can be referred to in the Quran by readers themselves. Also, the Urdu poetic stanzas that so effectively embellish Parwez's writings have been sparingly used. A few that could be freely translated have been attempted.

            The main objective of this exercise is to be faithful, as mentioned above, to the conceptual meaning of the text as Parwez delineated it.

            This book assumes that the reader has a general knowledge about Islam. For our non-Muslim friends, it is recommended that they study Islam: A Challenge to Religion, written in English by the same author, to understand the overall concept of Islam.

Ubedur Rahman Arain

Kuwait, June 1996            Go to top