Cowper wrote: “Oars alone can ne’er prevail To reach the distant coast; The breath of heaven must swell the sail, Or all the toil is lost.” I praise and glorify the name of God that He has enabled His humble servant to complete in manuscript the work of Interpretation at which he has systematically and unceasingly laboured for the last three years. My manuscript was completed in Lahore on the fourth of April 1937, my sixty-fifth birthday according to the solar calendar. My inner history during these three years has been one of joyful and concentrated exploration, undisturbed by the storms that vexed my outer life. I had not imagined that so much human jealousy, misunderstanding, and painful misrepresentation should pursue one who seeks no worldly gain and pretends to no dogmatic authority. But I have been much consoled by numerous appreciative letters from distant readers. I thank them and wish them to feel that they and I are fellow-riders (Arabice, Zamīl) on a steed of research in a field that is unlimited in scope and sublime compared to all ordinary knowledge. Such relationship is closer in spirit than ties of blood, or country, or any other joint enterprise whatsoever.
The printer and publisher hope now to bring out the whole completed volumes within two months. I have appended a short Index, which yet is fuller than is to be found in most Quranic Translations. A complete analytical Index, covering the text, notes, and commentary, such as I contemplated in my Preface, will take time to prepare, and will, if there is a demand, be issued as a separate volume at some future time.
And so I take leave of thee, Gentle Reader, and pray for thy spiritual advancement, as I wish thee to pray for mine.
‘ABDULLĀH YŪSUF ‘ALĪ
November 14, 1937