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‘The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood’ by James Gleick & Other Things

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

This book is like a slice of that heavy ice-cream cake which you cannot have all at once or any dessert for that matter. At least I can’t. You have to take small bites, savour, digest, reflect, extract and then move onto the next few pages. Every time I read it, I’m left thinking for quite a long time fascinated, surprised and sometimes marvelling at how the ‘information’ in the Quraan and information in general is preserved. SubhanAllah, a human mind is such a powerful creation of Allah SWT and I think this world is filled with concepts and creations which could fascinate any human to learn about God. Anyway, with the great thinking ‘zone-out’ time it creates for me, I rarely get the time to read it but when I do, it enriches my faith in Allah SWT, alhamdolilah.

Must read for those interested  (like me) in Science, history, codes, evolution of languages (thus linguistics), inventions/discoveries and Arts. Or you could have a curious mind for how our understanding of information as we know it developed with time as well as its ‘capture’. Again, it’s just one person’s perspective. I think all the history written which doesn’t undergo meticulous speculation and scrutiny by our ‘Ulema of History (who are strict with references) is just a single person’s narrative unless proven otherwise with hard-core evidence and long-standing research.

Still in the process of reading it. May be technical for those who read for entertainment but for those looking to learn, 544 pages will be worth it inshaa’Allah. Not planning to write reviews  though so you can have a look here if you’re interested in the book.

Tiny excerpt from the book:

[…] Greece had not needed the alphabet to create literature – a fact that scholars realized only grudgingly, beginning in the 1930s. That was when Milman Parry, a structural linguist who studied the living tradition of oral epic poetry in Bosnia and Herzegovina, proposed that the Iliad and the Odyssey not only could have been but must have been composed and sung without benefit of writing. The meter, the formulaic redundancy, in effect the very poetry of the great works served first and foremost to aid memory. Its incantatory power made of the verse a time capsule, able to transmit a virtual encyclopedia of culture across generations. [pp. 34]

There’s lots more that I wanted to share but when I read this, I could only think about the Quraan and how the world needs to know that Greek, Persian & English Literature and Linguistics are only a creation of human mind by the will of God. There’s more to life than just that because I too was a Lit. and Ancient Civilization-studies fanatic as a child. SubhanAllah. I know the weaknesses in such approach and how no real benefit comes out of such mentality. How it’s like thinking that you’re intellectually chasing a butterfly when in reality it’s a moth. All that glitters is not gold. Ever.

The most spectacular book in the world is the Quraan and I feel it every time I approach it. A speaker once said that every single aspect of the Quraan is miraculous and how true his words are. The language, its linguistics, its message, its transmission, its preservation of its message/history/background, its understanding, the transformation it causes – you name it, the Quraan has it: the answers, the questions, the solutions to problems of today, past and future.

The problem is that we’re too busy watching/reading Twilight, Harry Potter etc. in our youth and socializing unhealthily online and offline. The prime time in which we have the luxury to sit down and think without the burden of responsibilities. Read non-fiction! You might just be able to think for yourself which is something the society based on consumerism and desires doesn’t want you to do. We’re not here for an ‘experience’ because the experience only lasts for a few hours at maximum. Are we so valueless that we move from one experience to another, gaining nothing but a few moments of pleasure? Don’t we deserve lasting pleasure in which we are not used as a pawn/victim? What we are giving away in exchange is far more scary and serious than what we get.

We’re here for something much much greater than that.

Let yourself think without being distracted for a change inshaa’Allah.

Quraan is not just for Muslims, it’s for all mankind!

It’s tragic that many don’t know about it.

What’s even more tragic is that if you are of those who know about its existence, you intentionally don’t value it. You don’t have time to study the Quraan, the relationship with which determines your destiny.

What a calamity! The most important book but the least read regularly?! Inna lilahi wa inna ilayhi raji-oon.

Aren’t we then following the footsteps of Bani Israeel, the nation which was disgraced and humiliated because they did not give their Scripture its Right?

We support ‘revolutions’ and ‘activism’, supporting different causes, people and animals’ rights. While we do that, we must do ourselves a favour too. We must give the Book of God, Quraan, and ultimately God His Right!

[an admonition for myself first and then others]

And Allah SWT knows best.

Enlighten the Ummah

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