A.H.G. Ameen has previously written books on Muslim law, Wakfs and Quazi Court matters, but I was quite surprised, looking at the title of this book that Mr. Ameen has become a local Dale Carnegie.
The book focuses on spiritual, legal, marital and other worldly affairs. He has selected some vital aspects which can lead a person on a path to a good life.
The book contains 14 chapters and for the purpose of my review, I have grouped the contents in the following manner.
Chapters 1 to 5 deal with; Life on earth; Life hereafter; Personal qualities; Love of humanity, and peaceful marriage.
These chapters contain the qualities necessary for a good life, namely, the meaning of life in the present world and preparing for life hereafter; spiritual life and qualities that make someone a good person in the eyes of others.
The author speaks of the following qualities one should have, such as:
Good Conduct : This is most important for a good life. The Holy Prophet (Sal) said “Innamal Aghmalu Bin Niyyat” - the conduct of a man depends on the intention.
Punctuality: Punctuality is a cardinal principle in Islam. All the five prayers are performed at the prescribed times. Funerals are held within 24 hours of the death of a person. The author laments that weddings are not held to time.
We find punctuality in Islam in several other matters also. Compulsory fasting and pilgrimage to Hajj are also done according to set schedules and in particular months.
Under the same headings, the author speaks about criminals, and mentions Italian criminologist Cesare Lombroso’s theory that criminals are born as criminals. ‘This theory is now rejected but the author says those who become criminals are born with defects.Kindness to parents is another matter the author has dwelt on.
He is critical of children of affluent families who send their parents to Elders Home, and thereafter do not take any care of them which is un-Islamic. He relates a story where a son brought tea for his father and finding his father asleep, the son waited till the father awoke as he did not wish to disturb his father’s sleep. This is a good lesson for our youngsters.
The writer deals extensively with the status of women in Islam. How female children were treated by their parents in the pre-Islamic period, and how they were liberated by the Holy Prophet (Sal) and given equal rights are beautifully described in the book.
The last chapter of this section on personal life is “Peaceful Marriage”.
It is generally said that marriages are decided in heaven. But Islam says, Almighty Allah ensures correct partners among men and women. Hence, it is a divine blessing for a man to get his suitable partner and a woman her suitable husband for the rest of their lives. Marriage is a sunnah of Prophet (Sal). Holy Qur’an says, ‘Marry two or three or four provided you can treat them equally in all respects. Thus, it may be said ‘Islam promotes monogamy while it allows polygamy. ”Marry two, four” is misunderstood. The proviso to this Sura, “Provided you can treat them justly” is conveniently forgotten.
The readers must know the impediments to marriage according to the Sharia Law. In page 26, the author describes in a nutshell, the various legal impediments a Muslim man or woman faces when he or she wants to marry.
Under the topic of Peaceful Marriage, the author states the duty of a husband and the duty of a wife, towards each other and to the family in general.
Chapters 6, 7 and 11 deal with Divine Law, Muslim law in general and the Muslim law of Inheritance.
In Chapter 11, the author has gone into the question of Inheritance in the Muslim Law. Every one knows that the Muslim law of intestate succession is a complicated matter as far as the shares are concerned. The Muslim law in this regard is completely different from the Common Law - the Roman Dutch law.
Whilst Chapter 12 deals with Human Rights, Chapter 13 deals with SALAT (Prayers).
The last chapter is on “Good Food and Health”. Like a physician, the author has prescribed good food, especially for breakfast, lunch and dinner and ideas for snacks and late dinner.
(The reviewer is a retired High Court Judge)