You must have heard the anecdote that goes around as a joke: a Pakistani workman had been working in Saudi Arabia for some time. When he could afford it he sent for his parents to perform hajj. As luck would have it he had argument with a Saudi, which blew up in a full row with harsh words being exchanged. The Saudi was swearing in Arabic and the Pakistani in his tongue. The simple village dwelling mother of the Pakistani turned on him in anger and said, "You have become rude since coming to Saudi Arabia, aren`t you ashamed of yourself? He is reciting the Quran and you swear in reply?"
Like this caring mother who thought that Arabic was the language only of the Quran and hadith and was innocent of bawdiness, curse, and song; so some of our simple folk think of English as being the language of the enemies of Islam, of the indecent, abusive, and rude; therefore essential to avoid in language and pen. Both simple-minded people failed to understand that language is the basic tool for the expression of thoughts and ideas, which can either be used for delivering good or bad. Arabic has seen such legendary obscene, foul, lustful writers and singers who make modesty and bashfulness run for cover. Abu Jahal and Abu Lahab were of course Arabs…and whatever insults they threw at our Holy Prophet sallallahu `alaihi wassallam were obviously flung in Arabic. Although, there is no doubt that Arabic is our religious language and we have been ordered to revere it because the Quran is in Arabic, the mother tongue of our Prophet sallallahu `alaihi wassallam was Arabic, and the means of communication in Jannah will be Arabic.
But as far as airing of thoughts and media are concerned, they can be expressed in any language according to the situation and the addressee. Among the numerous languages of the world, English is a very important language, although it was the language of the minority but our multi faceted failings, our negligence, and the continuous hard work and material progress of the west has not only made English the international language of interaction and communication but also the language of different branches of knowledge, specially science and technology. The world aside, let`s talk of our own country where it is apparently becoming more and more difficult to live without the knowledge of the English language………electricity, gas, and telephone bills, the name of medicines, how to use them…everything is in English. The enormity of the inferiority complex (about English) reflects in the amount of adulteration in the Urdu language by the modern class; it seems as if the `babus` are talking in English with some patches of Urdu reluctantly tacked on.
But apart from the sufferers of this complex, no intelligent person can deny the importance of English. The fact is that those fortunate who have sympathy for their Faith, who wish to counteract antagonistic and apostate movements, and disseminate the voice of Righteousness and the message of the Quran to all classes, have to have a high degree of proficiency in the English language. If they overlook this need, they will soon have to relinquish their work of invitation to the hands of foreigners.
The reason for the abundance of English schools and the popularity of English in certain classes of our society is that parents have taken to the idea that their children will not be able to gain any significant success from medicine to engineering, and science to media if they do not gain expertise in this language. There is no doubt that the parents are being taken for a ride by these schools publicizing their "high standard education" but the parents, rightly or wrongly, are inclined towards this trend.
The books in the syllabi of such schools are mostly imported from Europe or are the work of writers who are severely impressed by European culture, society, and material development. Faith and spirituality hold second place in their eyes, or even no place at all. Whatever they write is written from a materialistic point of view fixing their own particular ideas onto innocent minds.
Because children naturally like to read and listen to stories, there are a number of magazines available in the market catering to all the needs of kids. But it was oversight on our part that we failed to put our energies in this direction leaving our children at the mercies of literature that provided poison mixed in sweets. This literature established the bravery, intelligence, and courageousness of fictional characters like Tarzan and Harry Potter in young minds but these minds remained ignorant of the incomparable feats of commanders like Hadhrat Abu Turab and Saifullah radhiallahu ta`ala `anhuma.
The names of actors and actresses, even their respective dialogue was committed to memory; but the names and sayings of the Chaste Ladies and daughters were a thing unheard of. Although there have been some Urdu magazines and publications around, based on Islamic teachings, but a parallel in English was still missing. The honor of leading this area was set to be in the hands of the daily "Islam", who has started before this an Urdu weekly named "Bacchon ka Islam" (Children`s Islam) sans nonsense and claptrap, that has set such milestones in publishing and popularity that has astonished many a veteran. Now the same organization has started an international Standard English magazine, "The Truth", gathering the compliments of countless parents and children. The parents who said they were compelled to hand their children books containing not just unIslamic but Islam bashing literature are now absolved of the excuse. This magazine has jokes, stories, riddles, history, biographies, information………but all have the identical aim of improvement and nurturing of the child on Islamic principles. Apparently this is just another magazine for the entertainment of children that they will look forward to like they look forward to the Eid "chanda mamu"………but in fact this is an educator and mentor that will play an important role in your child`s education and development.
O bearers of Faith, value this effort, buy it, read it, point out its mistakes, help to advance it from better to best, increase its circulation, introduce it overseas. It is only Allah`s blessing and your cooperation that encourages "Al-Rasheed Trust" and the people of "Islam" to move ahead step after step.
by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani Sahib