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Saima Hussain, author of "The Arab World Thought of It". — Courtesy: Saima Hussain

KARACHI: Amidst an intimate circle of family and friends, former Pakistan-based journalist Saima Shakil Hussain on Monday introduced her book titled “the Arab World Thought of It”.

Arranged at the Hobnob Café in Karachi’s Zamzama locality, Hussain’s friends and former colleagues gathered to celebrate the book which had already been launched in Toronto, Canada, on March 28, where Hussain previously stayed as a student and now resides.

A former editor of Dawn’s Books & Authors and a graduate of the University of Toronto, Hussain said she thought she was exactly where she wanted to be when she was contacted by Toronto’s Annick Press via social networking website, LinkedIn.

“It was an ongoing series that previously published amazing or unknown facts about, for instance, Chinese, Africans and this time Arabs,” explained an excited Hussain.

With the stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims in general around the globe, the book is a positive step towards highlighting lesser known facts about the community.

The 48-page book is for children as well as adults. With colourful pictures and simple text, the book gives a complete overview of various contributions by Arabs. During the course of researching for the book, Hussain herself learned a number of unknown facts. In her short and simple speech, Hussain said she never knew that three-course meals was something introduced by the Arabs. “Secondly, I didn’t know that Arabs have contributed a lot when it comes to writing and food,” Hussain added.

The guest of honour and senior assistant editor at Dawn, M. A. Siddiqui when asked to speak a few words about the book, and about Hussain, said: “I was sad to see her go to Canada…but I’m happy to see what she came up with.”

About the book, he pointed out as to how Hussain’s nationality does not accompany her name in the author’s introduction.

When asked whether she would contribute to a similar project related to Pakistan, Hussain said: “Of course, this is only the beginning. Hopefully, there’ll be many such projects.”

Also, for the time being, the book will be available for school going children. At the same time, Hussain added that talks were on with Liberty Books to circulate the book across Pakistan.

DAWN_VIDEO - /1029551/DAWN-RM-1x1

Comments (19) Closed

pankajdehlavi Apr 23, 2013 05:45pm
Talk about facts dear....... what is the exact contribution of entire muslims to the world except Jihad and Burqa.......
dgoy Apr 23, 2013 08:43pm
What is Arab world? Is Saima Shakil Hussain a part of Arab world? Why Arab world needs surrogates to highlight facts about Arab world?
Awais Apr 23, 2013 07:41pm
I can give you hundreds of references from eastern and western authors, scientists & scholars in support of the Arab scientific & cultural achievements and heritage but that will only convince your mind not your envious heart. Regards
Kajamohideen Apr 24, 2013 12:10pm
Wrong! Algebra (al jabr) is just the name given to this branch of mathematics by Arabs. Algebra existed more than a thousand years before among the Babylonians, Egyptians and Indians. Just google algebra origins. Rgds
Faisal Apr 23, 2013 03:59pm
Adding to your note: Look at the Muslim Spain civilization. It is regarded by the west as the pioneer of modern day metropolitan style society where people live in harmony and therefore the whole society flourish. People from parts of Europe used to go to Spain to learn like in this time people go to US and Europe for higher education. Lot of art, literature and scientific knowledge emerged from that place during the muslim rule. In 1492, when Gharnata fell, the scientific knowledge was moved to France whereas the Islamic work was destroyed. The renaissance in Europe started just after that. It is therefore considered that the scientific knowledge and work done in Muslim Spain had pivoting role in renaissance and modern day civilization.
N.Rao Apr 23, 2013 06:46pm
Arabs invented algebra in 12th century
Ram Krishan Sharma Apr 23, 2013 06:20pm
There is plenty of information already published and accepted by the west about the contibutions of Indians in Maths and Astronomy.
Saad Apr 23, 2013 10:15am
for interested persons this is another book on the same topic. 1001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage in Our World Salim T. S. al-Hassani
Inquisitive Apr 23, 2013 08:39am
Can we also get to know some facts why the Arabs DIDN'T think about it during the 19th and 20th centuries when the West simply annihilated with the greatest scientific and technological marvels leaving others miles behind.
Tamilselvan Apr 23, 2013 10:06am
Originally, Saudi sponsored the topic through a French writer to glorify the inventions and discoveries of Arab world which is shown to be not true. Iraq and Iran before become Islamic countries had discoveries but under the influence of Islam it went down. Most of the so called discoveries came from Indian and Chinese civlizations (be it in astronomy, maths, medicine or science). For every claim made by Arab world there is evidence in Sanskrit and Mandarin that it has been documented. Arabs were traders and they did learn them from the East. If they had done so many discoveries what happened to them for the past 400 years. There has been no contribution from the Arab world for the past 200 years either
abdulla Apr 23, 2013 08:43am
whenwill you come up with a book, indians thought of it.
ROHIT PANDEY Apr 23, 2013 12:18pm
Where can I buy this book in Toronto? Have read a lot about early Greek thought which led to science flowering during Renaissance in Europe,I REALLY need to know about these Arab contributions? Help me,someone?
Robin Akbar Apr 23, 2013 10:54am
All lies about Arab scientific achievements.
citizen Apr 23, 2013 11:46am
Arab/persian/muslim civilazation has produced the likes of Ibn Sina (Avecenna), Al farabi, Averroes, Alkhwarzami, Ibn al Haitham and the list goes on. All these people came after Islam had been introduced into these lands so your claim that Islam brought scientific progress down does not hold water. You should not let your bias against any religion or its followers come in way of accepting or appreciating their contribution to the progress of civilization. Indian and Chinese civilization have indeed contributed to the advancement of civilization and Muslim (or arab/persian if you want to call it that) have borrowed from these and also from the Greek civilization But this certainly does not mean that they have no contributions. Human civilization is one whole phenomena it is not the property of one race or religion so I would suggest you stop being so naive. Saudi sponsored 'Topic' you were talking about is a completely different thing it has nothing to do with the pre-modern contribution of muslims.
Kajamohideen Apr 24, 2013 03:31am
@citizen Muslim (not Islamic) thought and science flourished during the Mutazilite period of Islam (a small window of about 200 years. But with the triumph of Asharism (the dominant Muslim world view to this day) the steep decline of the Muslim world began and there seems no end in sight. Until Muslims adopt free thought (and be willing to question even their scriptures) they are destined to remain at the bottom of the global heap. Unfortunately this heap at the bottom is ballooning because of the fecundity of Muslims with the likelihood of it overwhelming what remains on top. Rgds
malole Apr 24, 2013 03:23am
Hahahah. Really?
Ali Apr 24, 2013 08:24am
Robin seems like highly biased person.
ROHIT PANDEY Apr 24, 2013 05:12pm
A score of references for us,PLEASE?
skeptic Apr 24, 2013 06:10pm
how ignorant.