The Jaipur Dialogues (JD), a content creation and media services company, has taken up the Herculean task of translating the Mughal era book Fatawa Alamgiri. The book was originally written in Arabic in the 17th century under the patronage of the Mughal tyrant Aurangzeb. It contains Quranic verses, supplemented by Hadiths and served as the principal law of the Mughal Empire and now that of Indian Muslims
On Saturday, JD tweeted, “The foremost doctrine ‘Fatawa Alamgiri’ that governs the lives of Muslims in India, is only available in Urdu. We’ve taken up the project for its translation and have already completed 64% of it’s funding. Be the change. Contribute for your civilization.”
The foremost doctrine ‘Fatawa Alamgiri’ that governs the lives of Muslims in India, is only available in Urdu. We’ve taken up the project for its translation and have already completed 64% of it’s funding. Be the change. Contribute for your civilization.https://t.co/IjdyQEGEQO pic.twitter.com/bqlsdyHnbR— The Jaipur Dialogues (@JaipurDialogues) May 22, 2021
Jaipur Dialogues’ founder explains the significance of Fatawa Alamgiri
But a question remains unanswered as to why the Hindu society should be concerned about the translation of a 17th-century Islamic text. To shed light on the book and its significance, Jaipur Dialogues Founder and Chairman Sanjay Dixit spoke to Opindia. During the exclusive conversation, he said, “Not long ago, Asaduddin Owaisi was asked why Indians Muslims always looked to foreign books, and whether there was anything Indian in Islam. Owaisi countered by saying that they have the Fatawa Alamgiri.”
The retired IAS officer emphasised, “This is a massive compilation of Indian Muslim practices and commandments on them. It was compiled during Aurangzeb’s rule in late 17th century under two Sufi scholars – Sheikh Nizam Burhanpuri, and Shah Abdul Rahim with more than 450 scholars participating. Fatawa Alamgiri was the Mohammedan Law during British times, and largely retains that standing even today. It is compulsory education in madrasa teaching.”
The importance of translating the 17th-century Islamic text
Sanjay Dixit highlighted that the Fatawa Alamgiri remains one of the only few contributions of Mughals in India, besides the graves, shrines, and palaces. He lamented that the Hindus in the country never cared to study what their Islamic counterparts think of them. “This translation project is an attempt to understand the mindset of the Islamic clerics who rule the minds of their followers through the instrument of Taqlid, i.e. monopoly in the use of aql/reason,” he concluded.
Although Fatawa Amagiri was translated to Urdu from Arabic by Kafilur Rahman Nishat Usmani for it to be easily understood by the Muslim population, its translation in Hindi will help the Hindu society understand the mindset and doctrines laid down by the 17th-century book. As espoused by Sanjay Dixit himself, the book still remains a guiding light for Indian Muslims in the 21st century.
Responding to queries about the English translation of the Fatawa available, such as this one on Amazon, Mr. Dixit said that only the book of Zakat was available in English, which Hindus can understand, but the complete Fatawa Alamgiri comprises several such books that have not yet been translated. That’s what his project aims to do. JD has estimated that the translation process will take 2-3 years and cost around ₹50,00,000.