11 February 2013

Nigeria: Tarbiyyah - a Book Store to the Rescue

Tarbiyah Books Plus is a modest intervention by Hajiya Halita Aliyu to address the mounting challenge faced by many parents in the upbringing of their children. The Islamic book store comprising more than 10,000 books on various fields of Islam by famous Muslim authors, is located at 21, Blantyre Street Wuse 2, Abuja.

The book store is fast becoming a one stop shop for Islamic books in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, carrying a product inventory of over 10,000. This ranges from the Glorious Qur'an, Hadith, Tafseers books and DVDs on contemporary Islamic issues, to supplications and children's books, teaching aids and toys. Looking at the variety and quality of books on offer in the store, it is hard to imagine that Tarbiyah Books Plus took off only in August 2012, barely five months ago.

The essence of the book store is, among other things, to aid parents nurture and inspire their children by inculcating into their minds good and timeless stories and traditions from the Qur'an and prophetic traditions.

Speaking to Daily Trust in the bookshop, the proprietress said that the motto of the store is to "nurture, inspire and empower" the Muslim ummah, particularly children and their parents who are mostly influenced by the invading secular literature and games.

Hajiya Halita Aliyu, who has been described as a maverick, amongst others, and who has had a distinguished career spanning over 30 years in both the public and private sectors of the economy, revealed that it was the quest for a legacy that informed the setting up of the bookstore.

"I wanted to do something, something in the educational sector, to leave an enduring legacy that I will be remembered for and when our company, Learning Point Limited's application for a school plot was not granted, I thought the next best thing was an Islamic bookshop, leading to the setting up of Tarbiyah Books Plus," she said.

"It is an intervention measure towards contributing to the world of learning. It is an alternative to the secular-dominated literature, children games among others which currently dominate our homes. We are out to provide the Islamic alternative in terms of games, puzzles as well as telling our children the true tradition and history of Islam," Mrs Aliyu said.

She explained that "we envision that we will, God willing, be the leading Islamic bookstore in Nigeria with the active help of our customers who have continued to applaud our effort and have been active stakeholders in the choice of books that we stock."

She also said the Tarbiyah Books project is also designed to serve as an intervention to counter the currenta distractions posed by the internet, cable television and electronic games.

The books, she said, present added stimulus and opportunity for parents to encourage their children to read and empower them on a long term basis. Quoting a saying of the Prophet (S.A.W.) Hajiya Halita said, "The best gift from a father to his child is good education and upbringing."

She said that the choice of the name "Tarbiyah" for the bookshop was deliberate.

"It means the development and training of people in various aspects, and is commonly used to describe the physical, educational, moral and spiritual upbringing of children."

The bookstore has a wide selection of children's books covering moral values, supplication books, bedtime stories from the Quran, treasury of stories from the Qur'an, Tell Me About Islam Series (Hajj, Creation, Islamic History), among various others. Also in stock include Islamic religious books, activity books and Arabic Language learning books.

Taking the writer round the store, Hajiya Halita revealed that Tarbiyah Books Plus has a large selection of authentic Islamic books that are in accordance with the Qur'an and Sunnah. She explained that the books are non-sectarian and are sourced from all over the world to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Muslim readers.

"A vast array of books on Islamic values and traditions that extol scholarship, honesty, integrity, peaceful co-existence, good neighborliness, respecting the rights of others: parental, spousal, among others are showcased by Tarbiyah Books Plus at competitive prices," she said.

The book store parades whole sections on the Noble Qur'an, including pen Qur'ans, Tafseers including Tafsir Ibn Kathir - one of the world's most renowned exegesis of the Qur'an; the Hadith, including the famous Sitta Sihah- Sahih Al Bukhari, Muslim and others; the widely acclaimed Riyadhus Saliheen, Hadith Al Qudsi, Fiqh, Al- Aqeedah including Kitab At-Tauhid.

On biographies and Seerah, the bookshop stocks "The Sealed Nectar" (Ar- Raheequl- Makhtum), one of the most authoritative books on the life of the Prophet (S.A.W) which was awarded First prize by the Muslim World League at the worldwide competition. For the youth, there is "When the Moon Split," another comprehensive biography of the prophet.

To clear current misconceptions about Islam and to properly bring to the fore that all the teachings of Islam are based on the principles of peace, a whole section is devoted to understanding Islam and include books such as "Islam and Peace," "A Manifesto of Peace," among many others

There is also an array of motivational books, which include "A Treasury of Islamic Virtues and Simple Wisdom" by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, "The Beautiful Commands of Allah and The Beautiful Promises of Allah" by Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood, "Don't Be Sad" by Aaidh Ibn Abdullah al- Qarni, "Enjoy Your Life" by Dr. Muhammad Al- Arifi.

Other contemporary books include "First Things First" and "The Slippery Stone" by Khalid Baig, "Losing My Religion" and even "Angels Ask" by Jeffrey Lang.

The bookstore "presents an excellent opportunity for Muslims of means to buy and make donations of books to schools, orphanages and mosques in their communities. The Qur'an challenges game, the puzzles and various book packs can be good substitutes for toy guns in children's party packs. People no longer need to travel to London to buy Islamic books because Tarbiyah books either has what you are looking for or can order it on your behalf," Hajiya Halita said.

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