Book Review: 4 language Coffee Table Book by Mohammad Saleh Al-Gurg: Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam

Mohammad Saleh Al-Gurg must have put his whole heart and soul in bringing out an outstanding Coffee Table Book on Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam. Translated from Persian into Arabic by Mohammad Saleh Al-Gurg, with the preservation of English and French interpretation – every page of the book is a sheer delight to see, feel and read. In terms of the content-arrangement and the illustrations, the creativity undoubtedly lives up to the dream – which is Omar Khayyam, himself! In the minds of the readers, the entire framework which binds the book into a lasting bouquet of adequate eloquence – gives me whole-hearted encouragement to recognize the book as very special.

Born in Dubai, in 1936, Mohammad Saleh Al-Gurg studied in Al-Falah and Al-Ahmadiyyah schools, which were the leading schools in Dubai, UAE at that time. Since a tender age, he was fond of literature and culture and found in his father’s library a rich source in these fields. He worked in government jobs for several years, then resigned to run his own business, and to follow his literary and cultural interests. In addition to Arabic, Mohammad Saleh Al-Gurg is accomplished in English and Farsi. His collections of poems have been published in reputed newspapers and magazines from time to time. Verse and prose comparisons of many of the Arabic and English translations of the Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam by Mohammad Saleh Al-Gurg with the original Farsi texts have appeared in a series of 30 issues of Al-Shurooq magazine published by Dar Al-Khaleej.

Up till 2005, Mohammad Saleh Al-Gurg had a popular weekly corner in Al-Riyadah wa Al-Shabab magazine, titled: Ghayddh min Faydh (A Little from an Abundance), which included selective poetry, wise sayings, proverbs, literary jokes and anecdotes. He had started the weekly corner in 1992.

When I asked Mohammad Saleh Al-Gurg about the experience of bringing out Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam – I could take the cue from him that the whole process of creating the book had been infused by a remarkable passion of hard work, immense research. He kept selecting his favourite English verses out of the book and asked me to recite the same. The powers of his labour of love are the sort which made him smile with great pride and satisfaction.

Geeta Chhabra

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