Academic journal article Islamic Sciences

Muhammad Asad and Pola Hamida Asad: Twenty-Two Unpublished Letters

Academic journal article Islamic Sciences

Muhammad Asad and Pola Hamida Asad: Twenty-Two Unpublished Letters

Article excerpt

Letters 1-2

To Malik Muhammad Ashraf (Gujrat, Pakistan, 1946)

Malik Muhammad Ashraf (1915-1981) was a devoted friend of Iqbal who met Asad during his visits to Iqbal. Two letters of Asad to Ashraf were published in the previous installment of Asad's letters in the winter 2016 issue of this journal. The first of the two letters included in this issue was written on January 24, 1946, five weeks after his release from internment (1939-December 1945), indicating his future plans: the establishment of an Islamic Research Institute, starting a monthly journal (Arafat), resuming the publication of his English translation of Sahih al-Bukhari, work on a revised edition of Islam at the Crossroads and another book on Islamic law. The second letter was written in April 1946 when Asad is already "overworked"; he is fully immersed in his one-man journal, he works 8-10 hours per day; he has no time for writing letters. Musa Jarullah (1875-1949) was a Tatari Muslim scholar, who was then living in Bhopal. (1)


C/o Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, Bookseller & Publisher, Kashmiri Bazar, Lahore January 24, 1946

Dear Mr. Ashraf,

I have to apologize for not having earlier answered your kind letters. My last few weeks were spent in a very restless way; there is so much to settle and to do after more than six years of absence that I could hardly call an hour my own. At present I am at Lahore, trying to find a house--a terrific problem here. As soon as this is arranged (I do not know when it will be) I hope to settle to work, both in connection with the Islamic Research Institute, of which I am to be the Director, and with my translation of "Sahih al-Bukhari". This latter publication will have to wait for some time because of the present paper shortage. But in the meantime I shall, insha-Allah, publish a book on which I had been working for some time past and which will be completed within three months or so. Also, a completely revised edition of "Islam at the Crossroads" is in preparation and will come out soon together with its Urdu translation.

I am really grateful to you for your kind appreciation of my work, and I shall be very glad to make your personal acquaintance. Please accept my sincere thanks for the congratulations on my release.

Shaikh Musa Jarullah is well known to me. Kindly convey my best regards to him.

Hoping to meet you some day, Yours sincerely, Muhammad Asad


"Fairview," Dalhousie, June 17, 1946

My dear Ashraf Sahib,

Your letter of the 12th instant reached me yesterday. I am sorry you have been disappointed with me as a letter writer, but I am so overworked that I cannot possibly attend to my correspondence regularly. At present I am preparing a monthly journal "Arafat", which is scheduled to appear by the 1st August. As it is, in principle, a "one man's show" (I do not accept contributions from outside and write the whole of it myself), you can well imagine that it occupies most of my time. The rest of it is devoted to my work on Bukhari, which was so long delayed owing to my internment. I am working daily 8-10 hours and am in the evenings so exhausted that I can hardly even speak to my family. For this reason, I do not think I will be in a position to write an introduction to your book. Moreover, my knowledge of Urdu and Persian is merely colloquial, and so I really could not say anything about Iqbal as a poet. I knew him well, but almost all our conversations were concerned with Islamic theology and jurisprudence.

I have no doubt your book will be interesting, but you will find many other people who are far better qualified to write an introduction to it. At present, in any case it is quite impossible for me to accept any task beyond those, which I have mentioned above. I am simply physically unable to do more than I am doing at present.

With the best wishes for the success of your book, Yours sincerely, Muhammad Asad

PS. …

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