by: Syed Mohammad Haneef Akhgar Maleehabaadi, New York
President “Urdu Arts and Literary Circle”, North America
y the grace of God Mohammad Bin Qasim’s Zar Grifth (“In the Shackles of Money and Greed”) has been beautifully written with an impressive focus on Saudi Arabia.
This book that comprises of 26 well knit Chapters, is neither his biography, nor a boring travelogue of his 25 years in the Kingdom. But it is an interesting compendium containing his own life philosophies, and his keen observations about Islam in Saudi Arabia, Saudi psychology and political trends, and comments about the future of Saudi Arabia.
He has included a great deal of such information that would be immensely helpful to those who plan to travel to Saudi Arabia either for employment or just for a visit. This makes this book, among other things, a very good guide book as well.
As far as the language and writing style is concerned, the book has been written in a lucid fashion, using interesting anecdotes, caricatures, jokes, adages, and relevant lines of classical Urdu poetry, that add greater value to its literary stature. Expression of certain truths sometimes requires a ruthless treatment by a writer, and probably such an entertaining writing style minimizes the bitterness and lets the reader enjoy a sweet and sour mixture of his prose.
I read this book, word by word, with a great deal of interest, as I personally served in the Kingdom as a Regional Representative of the United Nations Development Program, from March 1976 through June 1980. Apart from Saudi Arabia, I also handled Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and United Arab Emirates, with its regional headquarters in Riyadh. (Though, now the UNDP office in Riyadh is exclusively for Saudi Arabian programs.) With this perspective, I fully authenticate the views of the writer, who has used self-conscience and a self-righteousness in describing the simple but interesting life experiences in such a way that the reader would feel that he is also sub-consciously reaching a logical conclusion along with the mind of the writer.
Writing such a book in a foreign land, where senior literary guiding figures are not easily found, this effort can be termed as a Compendium of much needed advices. The writer has very ably introduced the readers to the social, religious, and humane frameworks and has commented about the upbringing of younger generations. He has clearly laid down that any extremism, whether relating to religious rites or relating to individual freedom, only leads to a depression and mental disorders. A man’s happiness and healthy life can only be achieved through enlightenment and moderation, and our moderate religion Islam also teaches this very way of life.
Another truth that highly pleased me is the manner of respect that the writer has shown towards his elders, and the loving care that he has evinced for his wife and daughters, is a blessing for which we all pray from our most beneficent and merciful Allah, the God.
Writing about the Saudi Royal family, the writer has provided information about the unprecedented development and expansions of the two holy mosques in Makkah al Mukarramah and Madinah al Munawwarah. This development is not only unique in the Islamic history, but it also shows that Saudi Arabia holds a central position in the hearts and minds of the Islamic Ummah, and Saudi Government is still closer to Islam than many other Islamic countries of the world. The philanthropic activities of the Saudi Government are widespread and global. Apart from this, the general integrity in daily lives, like careful measuring of sold products, performing the 5 times compulsory prayers with immaculate punctuality, and abiding by the promises is the majority’s way of life. We should also look for and adopt such good manners, instead of finding faults, and I fully agree with the writer about this thought.
If the readers absorb this book at a slower pace, and analyze their personal circumstances too, they would find many recipes for mental peace and a satisfaction of the heart, and would find many keys to success and prosperity in their lives. In fact this book is a graceful and witty effort of a sincere writer: a non-prejudiced and careful reading will result in discovering many techniques of a cool and unruffled life.
I congratulate the writer on his this epic literary prose, and pray to God the almighty to bless this effort, and especially let the Muslims benefit from it. Aamen.
New York – June 17, 2004