This book was the only source of knowledge on the basics of the Islamic faith in the English Language for English speaking Muslims in the Caribbean and elsewhere well into the 1990s. In many places it is still use as a primary text. Here is the author in his own words:
"The necessity of the presentation of the elementary teachings of Islam, explaining its Cardinal Articles of Faith and the Fundamental Principles in the simplest possible English language is there- fore, obvious; for such a publication would not only serve to acquaint the English-knowing new Muslims with the essentials of Faith and the directions fort engaging in devotion to Allah, but also supply the long-felt need of a handy book for imparting the rudiments of Islam to the Muslim children of those countries where the English Language rules supreme? and children are sent away to school using English as medium, of instruction, without having any knowledge, whatsoever, of their religion.
Realising the urgency of publishing such a volume, I, during my itinerary of Ceylon, Singapore, Penang, Java, etc., drafted out a skeleton according to the Shafi'i School in spite of numerous pre-occupations. My learned friend, Mr. M.I.M. Haniffa, B.A. (London), Advocate of Colombo, very kindly undertook to revise and touch it up, and it was due to his invaluable assistance that "A Short Catechism of the First Teachings of Islam" was published a few years ago, and has proved very beneficial.
About the same time an incomplete and imperfect draft, according to the Hanafi School, was re- leased for publication in "The Real Islam" of Singapore on account of pressing demands. The present volume is a thoroughly revised and enlarged edition of that draft. While sending it to the press' I feel, I must acknowledge the co-operation, in this humble work, of Mr. K. S. Anwari, my Secretary, during the South and East African tour, and of my son-in- law Hafiz Muhammad Fazlur Rahman Ansari, B.A. (Alig.).
While expressing the hope that this little volume will serve the purpose in view and will meet the approval of all those concerned, I desire to record my sincere thanks to AI-Haj Mohammad Ibrahim of Trinidad for liberally undertaking the cost of printing and thus rendering a signal service to Islam and to the public.
If it pleases Allah, a second volume, in which commonsense arguments in support of the Cardinal articles of Faith and a much more detailed treatment of the Principles of Islam and the laws governing society will be incorporated, will soon follow this modest attempt.
May it please Allah to accept this humble service. Amen! "
MOHAMMED ABDUL ALEEM SIDDIQUI.