Ma-ul-Ward is an Arabic novel written by a Qatari writer Dr Noora Mohammed Faraj al-Khanji. The novel tells the story of old times with elaborate commentary on human emotions, relations and social fabric and political environment. Set in the 4th AH, the novel narrates the story that focuses on how political polices of the government of the time influenced and affected the common man on streets.
The author Dr Noora is an assistant professor at QU College of Arts and Sciences, Arabic Language Department. The novel has been one of the bestselling novels in Qatar since its publication in 2015-16.
The novel has recently been translated into Urdu and Hindi languages by Obaid Tahir, who has long been associated with Qatar Urdu Radio and has been involved in translation work from Arabic to Urdu. The translated version of the novel titled as Zard Mosam Ke Ghulab was launched during an international Urdu mushaira organised by Majlis-e-Frogh-e-Urdu Adab, a Doha-based literary group.
Community recently spoke to Obaid Tahir about how he got interested in translating Arabic novels and how much the Qatari writer fascinated him.
Obaid, who has been in Qatar since 1997, developed his interest in Arabic language quite early in his life. “My learning of Arabic began from my interest in Urdu literature. I developed interest in reading literary and Islamic books in Urdu from my father in my early age. I became an avid reader. I would often come across the books that were translated from Arabic to Urdu. It further developed my interest in Arabic language.
“I believe the best way of mastering any language is to study its literature. I got admission in Nadva-Tul-Ulema University in India. The university is particularly recognised for its Arabic language and literature courses. At the university, I got the chance to go through creative works of prominent Arabic writers. I am a graduate with major in Arabic language and literature.”
Obaid, who joined Qatar Radio in 2002, got involved in translation work from Arabic to Urdu. “I was primarily selected on the basis that I have command over Arabic language. I got my language brushed up with the passage of time as I got chance to translate speeches of high profile Qatari dignitaries for our Urdu audience. I also conduct interviews with prominent figures in Arabic.
“My engagement with Arabic language and literary figures ignited my interest in the Qatari literature. I have also been writing articles in Arabic. I realised that too many books of Arabic literature from Egypt and other countries have already been translated in Urdu. I thought that I should introduce the Qatari literature to Urdu readers. To start with, I contacted Dr Hanan al-Fiaz, media adviser with The Sheikh Hamad Award for Translation and International Understanding. She is also a professor of Arabic in Qatar University. I wanted to start translating her novel but she advised me to translate Ma-ul-Ward.”
Obaid read Ma-ul-Ward and found it very fascinating and decided to get it translated. “I have found the novel really fascinating and intriguing. I contacted Dr Noora and she allowed me to translate her work. The novel is written in very easy-to read manner. The novel tries to convey the real and exact events from the historic period. My Urdu work has been published in Delhi and soon the Hindi version will also be published.”
Discussing the story of the novel, Obaid said: “The story revolves around a couple – Abid and Laial. The story is told in one month – Ramadan. The novel has 29 parts. There are four other important characters in the story. The story starst with the murder of a gentleman. The suspense and mystery around the murder makes up the plot. The falsely accused are thrown into a fort with a lot of mystery.”
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