‘Sayings of the Prophet Mohammed’
As a child, do you remember having a place in your home which you loved the most? Some little corner where you could snuggle and escape into? I definitely did and todays library find comes from there!
This is my parents library. As lifelong bibliophiles, there has always been a room in their home devoted to the books they collect and cherish. To this day, I still find it a place of great serenity and contentment as the books greet me like old friends whenever I enter. I can spend hours perusing the shelves for new additions and rediscovering past favourites.
During my recent trip home, I found this gem tucked between some cookbooks – clearly misfiled by some absent-minded reader.
Immediately transported to my childhood, I held it in my hands and slowly turned the pages. For the first time, I noticed how thick the pages are and the fact that they are only printed on the right hand side. The floral illustrations still appealing and vibrant. A pleasure to hold and, I remember, a pleasure to read. All fifty sayings carefully chosen and considerately translated. As I continued skimming through, this paper dropped out:
Isn’t this such a charming letter? I love how it is addressed directly to the “Dear Muslim Child” and explains not only what occasion the book was published for but why the sayings of Prophet Mohammed are important and how the book is intended to be used. I also deeply appreciate the du’a at the end: “May peace and happiness be with you!”. So genuine, sweet and full of heart.
This letter makes the book all the more remarkable and forward-thinking. I tried to find out if the Ottawa Muslim Women’s Auxillary still exists and it seems to have maybe been absorbed by the Ottawa Muslim Women’s Organisation, although I can’t be sure of this. If anyone has any more information, please do share it in the comments – I would so like to know what happened to this organisation and the people in it. Who were these tremendous ladies who thought the best way to honour the Year of the Child was by privately publishing a beautiful book on our beloved Prophet – specifically for children, so that they may get to know him through his own words? I want to meet them. I want to say thank you and let them know that the goodness of their effort has reverberated through the years in a most beautiful way. I wish more present-day organisations were as gracious and thoughtful in their projects.
As a child myself, my Mama would regularly ask my siblings and I to read through the book and write out one saying that we liked. We would then gather and talk about what we had chosen, why we liked it and what we thought it could mean. I always found this very enjoyable and often decorated my chosen saying with exuberant doodle patterns.
The sayings selected for this book focus on being inspiring, thoughtful and practical. They are translated in ways that are easy to understand and easy to read. Without any extra explanations or opinions, the young person (or adult) is able to reflect not only on the sayings themselves but also what they portray of the man who said them – abundant peace and blessings be upon him. Straightforward and elegant, this format is absolutely perfect for its intended audience of children.
Another thing my Mama would do with this book is, from time to time, pick a saying she thought would be meaningful for each of us. As the resident chatterbox, I remember this one often being dedicated to me:
Unfortunately, this book is out of print (I suspect they were only printed the once, in 1979) and does not seem to be available anywhere I checked. If you have a copy yourself or happen to come across one, keep it, treasure it and share it with the children in your life – it will reward you with peace and happiness again and again.