All praise is for Allah, the Exalted; may He send
peace and blessings on Prophet Muhammad, his family, and his Companions.
ln Don't be Sad, Shaykh 'Aaidh al-Qarnee offers a
practical approach not only in dealing with, but also in overcoming, the various
hardships and difficulties we face in life. He manages to engage the reader's
attention from the very beginning of the book, giving answers to the doubts
that besiege us when we are afflicted with hardship or depression. Because
Shaykh 'Aaidh writes from an Islamic perspective, with his advice taken from
infallible sources - the Qur'an and the Sunnah, he goes beyond other books on
this topic, books that, for the most part, are full of platitudes and rhetoric
and short on sound, practical advice.
Yet Shaykh 'Aaidh does something in this book that
some Muslims might object to: at times, he quotes Western and Eastern Philosophers.
Some might say that relying on their sayings is contrary to what an Islamic
author should do, given the vast wealth of knowledge that can be found in books
written and compiled by Muslim scholars. However, Shaykh Aaidh quotes
non-Muslims only when what they say is relevant to the subject matter and is in
agreement with the truth. Furthermore, he doesn't rely on those quotes to
establish principles and rules, rather, he uses them merely to add variety and
flavor to the book. wisdom is the goal of every believer; wherever he finds it,
he is most deserving of it.
This book provides the reader with the Islamic
approach to dealing with the trials and tribulations of life. Because change is
a gradual and painstaking process, I advise you not to read this book in one
sitting in an attempt to absorb everything in the span of a few hours. You
should take it in doses, allowing yourself time to reflect on the seemingly
simple, yet profoundly deep, wisdom written herein. At the present time, when
so many of us are afflicted with the ailments described in this book -
depression, grief spiritual malaise - we would be wise to read Don't be Sad.
My Methodology in Translating Don't be Sad
This book is intended for both the Arab and the
Non-Arab readers; however, in all fairness to the English reader, I did not
render a word-for-word translation. Doing so would have defeated the author's
purpose. He wrote in a style that is both elegant and graceful in Arabic, but
if it were to be translated verbatim into English, the result would be
unfavorable - the style would at best seem awkward. Here I give you an outline
of how I translated this work:
I. Poetry: I translated approximately twenty-five percent
of the poems found in the original version of the book. I translated those verses
of poetry that I clearly understood and that I felt would have a positive
impact on the reader. Those translated verses do not come close to their full
meanings and some of them lose the many connotations found in the precise
wording of the original. But I, nonetheless, translated them because their
meanings contain some wisdom.
2. The author's style, as is the style of most good
Arabic writers, is very descriptive, very florid: he often uses many adjectives
when attempting to give a single meaning. Because this style is not as effective
in English, I had to do some pruning, striking out, and summarizing - all for
the sake of concision. Wherever I did this, I did so in the interest of the
English reader, trying to simplify and summarize sentences and paragraphs
without sacrificing nuances in meaning.
3. Islamic terms: I loosely translated some Islamic
terms that other translators often transliterate (words such as 'Eemaan'). Transliteration
makes the reader pause so that he can understand the word's meaning. Unlike the
case for a scholarly essay that deals with a difficult subject, a person should
be able to read Don t be Sad quickly, without having to stop and consider
difficult terms; he should be able to move from one idea to the next, without
being interrupted by unwelcome pauses. If the book were on Islamic Jurisprudence,
however, where the meanings of terms are more crucial, I feel that terms should
be transliterated, so as to preserve their full meaning.
4. The book contains a great deal of repetition; the
author himself mentions this in his introduction. On some occasions, when I
deemed it important to the flow of the book, I omitted some of the repetition.
For the most part, though, I tried to remedy the
problem by expressing an idea the second time around in a different way, changing
both the wording and the style.
5. Though the author did not do so, I mentioned the
Chapter and Verse numbers of the Qur’anic text.
6. The author quotes many non-Arab writers, most of
them being English thinkers or philosophers. Because he mentions the quotes in Arabic,
and because of the difficulty involved in finding all of the original sayings in
English, I deemed it sufficient to translate the quotes back into English, and
so, they are not the exact words of the persons being quoted.
May Allah, the Exalted, reward the author for his
efforts in writing this much-needed book. May He guide us to the Straight Path,
save us from the Hellfire, and admit us by His mercy into Paradise.
Faisal ibn Muhammad