Bangalore owes it sobriquet “City of Gardens” mainly to the great lung space in the heart of the city known as Cubbon Park. A colonial style, red colour edifice adorns its centre and is cynosure of visitors and constitutes the headquarters of the Department of Libraries of the Government of Karnataka. Storing lakhs of book, treatises and encyclopedias, it has been quenching the thirst for knowledge for thousands of knowledge-seekers every day.
General Apathy towards Knowledge:
Muslims lag behind in the intellectual field all across the world, even where they have ample resources to gain access to the fountains of knowledge. But it is the apathy towards knowledge that has remained the main cause of their backwardness. When they ruled the world of knowledge, they wielded great influence and pounced towards knowledge as if it was their own lost heritage. Today they make no special effort to attain, disseminate and contribute to the field of knowledge. Laxity towards knowledge is evident in each and every field of lives of Muslims.
Mr. Syed Hamid Mohsin had some glimpse of this Muslim apathy towards knowledge recently when he entered the portals of the hallowed house of knowledge known as Central Library in Cubbon Park. The Library has seen better days recently and has been organized on modern lines. Its shelves and racks are lined with lakhs of volumes of priceless books. One of the compartments under ‘Religion’ was also devoted to Islam. But Mr. Mohsin was shocked to see that the compartment meant for Islam had no books to offer and contained books pertaining to other faiths.
It was as if Islam has been dislodged from its place just as Muslims have been dislodged from the bastions of knowledge around the world. This serves as an index of apathy of both Muslims as well as the Administration. He wondered if Muslims ever step into this treasure trove of Knowledge. It appears hardly ever any Muslim enters its portals and benefits from its services. But the issue is not about Muslims accessing its services. At least they could have taken notice of absence of any worthwhile literature on Islam. Syed Mohsin decided the very moment that he would take up the cause of filling up the compartment meant for Islamic literature with relevant books.
He has fulfilled his vow and gifted to the Central Library a set of translations of the Quran in Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and English. Similarly, a set of translation in the same languages of book titled Follow Me, Islam For You, Islam: Facts vs. Fiction has also been gifted to the Library. Thanks to the Librarian’s gesture, a set of books have also been displayed in the ‘New Arrivals’ showcase at the entrance. The Director of the Library profusely thanked Mr. Mohsin and held this as a great gesture towards the service of knowledge-seekers. He said the books would go a long way in enlightening the mind and has issued written request to him to introduce the books all across the Local Library Authority’s branches in the State of Karnataka. The Salaam Centre is pursuing the task in all earnestness.
The Salaam Centre has not taken this as a single opportunity but it is monitoring the use of these books from time to time and sending the cartons of books to all the branches. Those benefitting from the Library have reported interest in the books that have arrived in shelf meant for Islam. Mr. Mohsin says, there are government libraries at all levels of administration, national, state and taluka. It is for Muslims to approach them and place the sound and relevant literature on Islam, Quran and the Prophet and translations of the Holy Quran there. It may appear difficult to begin with. But it would persuade several others to follow suit.
Quran, a Great Asset with Muslims:
Human life is integrated with Nature. The long line of prophets arrived on the Earth to bring about this integration. The series of prophets concluded with the advent of Prophet Muhammad who left for the entire humanity the Glorious Quran which would remain a source of guidance for the entire mankind till the last day on the earth. It is the greatest gift from our Creator, Almighty Allah to the humanity. Though it has been given in the custody of Muslims, but it is for everyone to benefit. The Muslims have been entrusted with the task of conveying it and its message to the mankind. This is a responsibility both for every Muslim individual as well as a collective responsibility for the Muslim community. Till the moment Muslims discharged this obligation, they were able to sustain their hold over the world. The moment they gave it up, they were replaced by more powerful nations.