The unexpected Italian translation for my father’s seldom words adds feather in the cap of his global acceptance, says Munavvarali Shihab Thangal- at the Sayyid Shihab International Summit, organized by the Malappuram District Dubai KMCC (Feb 07 2020, Dubai).

A Global Citizen

Firstly, I take this opportunity to extend deep sense of gratitude towards Dr. Sabrina Lei, who had taken great effort to translate this book to Italian language. It is a great tribute to our late father.

Sayyid Shihab, my father, was a global man. He went to Al Azhar University in 1958 and graduated his Masters in 1965. He returned home on the insistence of his father, Sayyid Pookoya Thangal, though his passion was to work in global scene in the arena of diplomatic relations. As a son, I have always felt his choice was not to become a politician and not be a person to be limited to Kerala.

Whenever he travelled to GCC, he was excited to speak with Arabs and his friends included Arab diplomats like former Religious Affairs Minister Al Khazraji, then president’s adviser Ali Al Hashimi, who was one of his closest friends. He had several perspectives pertaining international affairs and he was keen to know about almost every happening including global politics: he was even interested to engage with them. Due to his circumstance, he was limited to Kerala. Yet, despite his limitations, he traveled wherever possible. Once, he gave an interview to an Australian radio channel in Arabic aimed at the Arab speakers. Earlier, when he had returned from Egypt after his studies, he sent his research paper to Russian channel. He subscribed to Arab magazines at his home in Kerala. Sitting at his ancestral home in the village of Panakkad, he used to observe the affairs happening all over the globe and even used to write about them.

Champion of the Poor & Needy

People who loved him have been remembering him in different ways. They built homes for the poor, because he was very close with the needy. More than 3000 houses have been built in Kerala and beyond. Recently there was also a dialysis center launched in Kondotty in Malappuram, which is the largest in Kerala.

Poetic Justice at Last

For past 10 years, there was not even a day that we did not remember him. Since most of the people were busy with humanitarian works, somethings were overlooked, like producing literature about his life. Now as a poetic justice, God has given a great blessing for my father to have an Italian translation of the book based on his quotations.

Harbinger of Harmony

Dr. Sabrina Lei, the translator of this book, has really put in great effort, as with her other works as well. In addition, when Dr. Sabrina- a prominent interfaith activist- writes the book, there is a common aspect of my father, as previously mentioned by Anwar Naha and Mujeeb, as he always focused on pluralism and inclusivity.

When Babri Masjid, a renowned mosque, was demolished in 1992, there were lot of violence across India, our father urged the people to maintain peace and protect the temples. It was a universal message that we still follow to maintain communal harmony in India. As a person, Dr. Sabrina Lei is always involved with interfaith dialogue. I wish if she had met my father before he died, then many things had happened.

Slogans of the Sage: A Golden Souvenir

I am overwhelmed to witness the unexpected Italian translation for my father’s seldom words. It adds feather in the cap of my father’s global acceptance. Also, worth mention is the one who took initiative for this- Mujeeb Jaihoon, the author of Slogans of the Sage, who compiled the quotes of our father. This book is an excellent souvenir, which I have myself given to several leaders including Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the UAE Minister of Tolerance.

As someone who was active in IT field since its early days, Jaihoon is a good friend of mine. I am glad that his book is today translated to Italian language. He maintains warm relations with my family, which is why he has enrolled his children in the school managed by my family members.

Book Launch of the Italian translation of SLOGANS OF THE SAGE

This is an edited version of the original speech by Sayyid Munavvarali Shihab Thangal, president of Kerala State Muslim Youth League.


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