book review: al-fatâwâ ar-riDawiyyah

Discussion in 'Bibliography' started by naqshbandijamaati, Dec 9, 2004.

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  1. assalamu alaykum.

    i don't like word-processed urdu/farsi books and urdu or persian written in arabic standard fonts is unappealing aesthetically and also (more) difficult to read. so either someone should develop nastal'eeq font or, my preference, a master calligrapher be hired to write the fatawa out. (this is done for many works in iran and the results are artistic masterpieces! i have shaykh sa'di's gulistan in such a version and also diwan e ghalib...)

    great effort bhai!
  2. abu nibras

    abu nibras Staff Member

    jzk Br. abul Hasan for the review.

    This has me very interested as am i starting to wonder if you are on to something ? This does seem like a draft sketch for a possible project plan ?

    I hope it is !

    was salam,

    abu nibras
  3. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    Al- Átāyā an-Nabawiyyah fi’l Fatāwā ar-RiĎawiyyah also known as Fatāwa ar-RiDawiyyah or fatāwā razwiyah is a collection of books, monographs and edicts of the famous Hanafī faqīh of the 19/20th century Imām Aĥmed RiĎā Khān al-Barelwī.

    Al-Fatāwā ar-RiĎawiyyah contains fatāwā in Arabic, Persian and Urdu. Many monographs and some copious enough to be whole books, are included in the collection.

    The first complete edition was presented in 12 volumes in varying sizes (volume one is about 800 pages, another volume is 200). The print quality was very poor and many paragraphs were illegible. It was a hand-written copy, printed as photo offset. Only some Arabic passages had translations, there were no cross references, the book size was abnormal and didn’t fall under any standard; binding was also poor.

    In the last few decades, scholars from the subcontinent have poured in a lot of effort to bring out better versions. Accordingly, this collection was produced in 24 volumes with the cooperation of many scholars. It is again, a hand-written copy, but it is far better than the previous one. The newer version also follows a standard A4 book-size. Binding is also considerably better. This version has been published by two or three different publishers:
    • :arrow: Raza Foundation, Jāmiáh Nižāmiyyah, Lahore, Pakistan.

      :arrow: Markaz Ahl e Sunnat, Barakāt e Raza, Porbandar, Gujrat, India.

      :arrow: I have heard of a third one, but i don’t remember the name.

    The most important and commendable features of this new version are:
    • :arrow: All the Arabic/Persian passages are translated in Urdu.

      :arrow: A fair and exhaustive list of contents is made available.

      :arrow: Extensive cross-references are provided as footnotes.

      :arrow: Extensive bibliography, hitherto absent from urdu books is also presented alphabetically.

      :arrow: All volumes are approximately uniform comprising about 800-850 pages each.


    what we wish to see, in future editions:
    • :arrow: High quality inscription. On a scale of 1-10, the current edition makes it laboriously to 3. Anything above 7 is desirable. I consider computer formatting as 5 because though the characters are well formed, there are flaws in character spacing for want of ‘kashīda’. It is kashīda which fills up the void making nasta`liq (urdu/persian) script so beautiful.

      Computer formatting of Arabic is easier and looks beautiful as well because, characters follow one another in a horizontal space; in Urdu/Persian, there is vertical movement in ligatures which contribute to its beauty; this also makes it harder to render in wordprocessors. Many popular softwares use a concept of most-common glyphs (apparently approximately 20,000 distinct characters are required to represent the script adequately!). I say this, being an amateur calligrapher myself and from my experience in typography. I made a short study for a non-starter project we tried to collaborate, to create a decent urdu word processor.

      :arrow: Computer formatting for arabic passages (use Linotype Lotus – the choice font among Arabic publishers)

      :arrow: Use high quality paper.

      :arrow: Use the expertise of book-binding prevalent in Lebanon and Syria.

      :arrow: Keep the book professional and shorn of all kinds of irrelevant pictures and silly allusions, contentious and dubious claims on the jackets. [the copy i have has an amusing picture of a funnel; Bukhari, Muslim, etc are poured on the top – Fatawā Razwiyah is coming out from the bottom on an assembly line! One more quote says that ibn Humām and ibn Áābidīn appear to be his students! Imām Ridā would certainly disapprove of such exaggeration. One must not forget the high regard and respect he had for both the aforementioned scholars.]

      :arrow: Though cross-referencing is a very hard job and it has been done very competently (prominent scholars have contributed). Yet, the formatting and structure are archaic. Modern conventions should be followed in future projects.

      :arrow: The table of contents needs to be more thorough and more uniform as originally intended by Imām Aĥmed RiĎā.

      :arrow: Finally a 25th volume that has the mother index of the contents in all the 24 volumes for fast look up should be provided.

    InshāAllāh, I will post the top level contents of each volume, and list all the monographs included in that volume.

    typography references:


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