The Religion of Islam
A standard book
Dr. Ahmed A. Galwash, Ph. D., litt. D
I owe a heavy debt of gratitude to his Excellency the Consul General of Egypt for India who first brought me into contact with the intellectual life of his country by sending me some numbers of the Al-Azhar University Magazine which contains contribution from the most eminent Egyptian scholars, and reflects the trend of Egyptian thought. These journals gave me some idea of the valuable work which modern Egypt was doing to revive the glorious achievements of Islam in science and art, and to relight the torch of learning which, in the Middle Ages, illumined every dark corner of the world, and brought about the European Renaissance.
It was in the pages of this journal that I came across Dr. Galwash’s “Religion of Islam” which appeared there in serial parts. I was greatly struck by the author’s scholarly handing of his subject, the breadth of his outlook and his command over the English language. I requested his Excellency to favour me with the name and address of a book seller from whom this book could be obtained, but instead of supplying me this information, he conveyed my admiration for the “Religion of Islam” to the author, who sent me a sumptuously bound copy of the book as a generous present.
It is a lamentable fact that no Muslim scholar of established reputation has yet written in any European language a standard book on the life of the Prophet or the teachings of Islam. If an European wants to be enlightened about Islam, he is compelled to consult the works of non Muslim authors who are never tired of reviling the Prophet and misinterpreting the doctrines of the Muslim faith. According to these authors Islam represents all that is evil in human nature, and legalizes the worst forms of brutality, moral corruption, and carnal lust. The Muslim world was badly in need of a writer who might counteract these misrepresentations and paint Islam as it is “without extenuating anything or setting down aught in malice”. This long felt want has now been supplied by Dr. Galwash, whose “Religion of Islam”, of which only the first volume has appeared up till now, will be an authoritative work of Islamic religion, and expose the deliberate distortion of Koranic teaching by the non–Muslim exponents of Islam, either by the use of wrong premises as the basis of their conclusions of fallacious logic.
Dr. Galwash begins his look with a brief survey of Arabia and its people at the time of the Prophet’s birth. He then proceeds to give outline to the Prophet’s life, his immaculate character, the Divine call which he received to deliver his message his early trials and tribulations, the reforms which his monotheistic faith brought about in the social and moral condition of the Arabs, his migration from Mecca to Medina, and the defensive wars which he had to fight with the Koraish invaders who were determined to kill him and crush his movements.
After touching on the Prophet’s life, which illustrates the practical application of Koranic precepts to human affairs, the author deals with the teachings of the Koran about the attributes of God, the spiritual side of human nature, and the regulation of man’s dealings with his fellow men in the social political and economic spheres of life. He gives the raisons d’etre of all these Koranic commandments which are generally used as targets of hostile criticism by the adversaries of Islam. His explanations, which are based not on revelation or tradition, but on rational arguments, clearly show that the charges framed against Islam have no foundation in fact.
Dr. Galwash has also made a study of comparative religion, and specially the Bible, which is so necessary for a thorough understanding of the Koran. His frequent comparisons of the Biblical and Koranic texts in regards to matters mentioned in both the Christian and Muslim Scriptures, and his reference to the Biblical prophecies about the advent of the Prophet indicate the wide range of his reading and research. His work must have been greatly facilitated by his good fortune in having access to the world-famous libraries of Cairo, which are store house of Eastern learning, and enshrine the rarest and most valuable books on every branch of knowledge which have been written either in ancient or modern times. Dr. Galwash has done a great service to Islam by writing a book, which will be helpful to every Muslim in understanding his religion and guiding his footsteps along the right path according to the injunctions of the Koran.
Sir Liakat Ali Kt, M.A., LLB
Retired Minister, Bhopal State, India