Saturday, 1 December 2012

The Monk, the Moor and Moses Ben Jalloun by Saeed Akhtar Mirza

Title: The Monk, the Moor & Moses Ben Jalloun
Author: Saeed Akhtar Mirza
Number of Pages: 256
Cover Price: Rs. 450
Rating: 5/5

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Saeed Akhtar Mirza born in 1943 is writer and director of hindi films and television serials. He has directed movies such as Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan (1978), Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai? (1980), Mohan Joshi Haazir Ho (1984), Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro (1989) and Naseem (1995). Also, he is director of TV serials Nukkad (1986) and Intezaar (1988). He lives in Mumbai.
His first novel was Ammi: Letter to a Democratic Mother. The Monk, the Moor and Moses Ben Jalloun is his second novel.

About this Book:

The book is about the history we hardly knows. The history about people from middle-east region and islamic civilization, their contribution in the fields of philosophy, medicine, maths, astronomy, chemistry, literature. We give credit to the people from west about all these subjects. But Mirza has has uncovered the history describing its roots in ancient Islamic civilization. There are three main stories in the book:

1) First story is about four students in an American university of English Literature - an Indian, an African, an American and an Arab. They start discovering the thurth on their own: not just because they need to know they see how the past affects their own lives in very real ways.

2) Second is the story about conversations between a Christian monk, an Arab, and the Jewish scholar Moses ben Jalloun as they translate Arabic texts into European languages in 12th century.

3) Third story a girl who is a student of the scholar Al Beruni.

The author narrates these three parallel stories from different period of times and conveys the message that people from islamic civilization have achieved much more than just shooting each other or just being oil sheikhs and actually were way ahead of other civilisations, particularly the West, which destroyed and covered up their contribution.

He has described the contribution of scholars such as Abu Rehan al-Biruni, Mohammad bin Musa al-Khwarizmi, Ibn Sina, Ibn al-Hytham and many more.

Below are some lines from the book:
"The duty of a man who investigates the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads and, applying his mind to the core and margins of its contents, attack it from all sides. He should also suspect himself as he performs his critical examination of it, so that he may avoid falling into either prejudice or leniency." 
"'O pious one', said the laconic iconoclast, Let me sit and drink wine in the mosque. Or could you show me a place where God doesn't exits ?"

The book is must read for everyone not just because it has been narrated very beautifully but also to understand the actual history and to pass it on to other people so that the knowledge of this history continues......

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