What Is QSL Project?
QSL stands for Qur'an and Seerah for Libraries.
The Qur'an (translation) and Seerah (Life of Prophet Muhammad) are two of the most important sources of information for anyone wanting to look into Islam. Unfortunately though many of the libraries in Cambridge do not stock accurate and accessible Qur'an translations and Seerah of the Prophet. Many of the ones you will find are either written in an archaic language (so not many people are interested in them - e.g. Yusuf Ali, Pickthall) or written by Orientalist - some of whom are antagonistic towards Islam (e.g. Rodwell).
Libraries are one of the most important places curious non-Muslims turn to when they want to learn about Islam and Muslims. So it our duty as the Muslim Community to ensure as much as possible that the libraries stock reliable books on Islam and Muslims - especially good translations of the Qur'an and Seerah of the Prophet. Unfortunately the situation is not so at the moment. Therefore Muslim Education & Outreach Cambridge (MEOC) has partnered with the Cambridgeshire Libraries to supply them as donation copies of a reliable translation of the Qur'an and a good book of Seerah. They have agreed to commemorate the occasion and even promote the books to their customers in the 42 public libraries in Cambridgeshire. [Please see email below]
Apart from the public libraries we are also planning to approach school, prison, hospital, care home, police, fire services and other public services libraries in Cambridgeshire to stock copies of Qur'an and Seerah. The total add up to about 150 libraries.
Why Qur'an and Seerah?
The Qur'an and the Seerah of our Prophet Muhammad are two of the greatest miracles that Allah has bestowed upon this nation. A good and accessible translation of the Qur'an can reasonably convey the message of the Qur'an as well as it beauty to a certain extent. An accurate and well written Seerah can convey the grandeur, magnificence and truthfulness of Prophet Muhammead and his Message. In this context we have selected two books which we thought would best serve the purpose. They are: The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics) by Professor M A S Abdel Haleem and Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources by Martin Lings. Of course no human work would be perfect but these are the best sources we have found for the general non-Muslim readership.
The month of Ramadhan is the month of Qur'an and the month of Charity. So there is no better time to do service to the Qur'an and Prophet Muhammad than in the month of Ramadhan.
Email from Cambridgeshire Libraries
Date: 2 September 2010 15:23:19 GMT+01:00
Subject: Thanks and Book Donations
I have been speaking to my colleagues about the best route to take regarding the books you so kindly offered to donate to the library service.
Unfortunately we no longer run the schools library service, so we would not be able to distribute books to the various colleges as you had hoped. In fact, there is no single body responsible for school libraries, so any donations would have to be made by approaching individual schools.
However, we would be delighted to accept donations to the public libraries in Cambridgeshire. There are currently 32 public libraries in Cambridgeshire in addition to 10 volunteer-run Library Access Points and the mobile library vehicles. (For full details see our website http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.
Once you have finalised the details of the donation itself, the best course of action is probably to bring the books in to the Central Library. We will then send them off for cataloguing. We would like, if you are agreeable, to commemorate the donations with an official lable in the front of each book thanking MEOC for its generosity.
Once the books are catalogued we would also like to make a display of them so that customers are aware that the books are available to borrow. If you have any educational leaflets you would like us to include in the display please let me know.
I am obliged to make you aware (though I'm sure you already are), that books in the library do have a limited shelf-life and copies may have to be withdrawn should they become damaged.
Would it be possible for you to give me the details of the donation so that I can pass them on to my colleagues who deal with stock? I'm afraid I have a poor memory and can't think who you said the book was by - a biography of the Prophet doesn't narrow it down much!
Finally, I don't know if I mentioned to you before, but I am hoping to hold some inter-faith debates on moral and religious issues during November (when Inter-Faith Week falls). To that end I am writing an email (which I shall copy you in on) to David Wilman of the Cambridge Inter-Faith Society in the hope that he may be able to assist. I would be delighted if you and/or anyone else from MEOC would like to be involved in this project.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.