This recently published book titled ‘Foremost in Faith’ is based on a collection of lectures delivered by Maulana Syed Mohammed Jafar Zaidi Shaheed, who was a leading Shia scholar from the subcontinent. His original lectures, which were delivered in Urdu language, have now been translated into English by Syeda Batool Shahid Zulfiqar Ali. In this context, the recent translation of these lectures is very noteworthy as it allows access for the younger generation, who are not very well versed with Urdu and also are not very familiar with the thought provoking discussion and deliberations of Maulana Jafar.
This publication also presents the acknowledgements and appreciations of contemporary Shia scholars from the subcontinent like Allama Syed Muntazir Abbas and Allama Talib Johari who describes Syed Jafar Zaidi as ‘a man draped in the garb of wisdom and knowledge’. It also carries special appreciatory remarks by Ayatollah Syed Aqeel Gharavi who praises Syed Jafar Zaidi as ‘an extremely reliable custodian of pure Islamic culture and values’ and also as ‘a harbinger to later generations of these humanistic as well as futuristic traditions with total scientific integrity and complete scholastic responsibility.’ Maulana Jafar was assassinated in 1980 by extremist sectarian outfits in Pakistan.
The compilation includes five lectures which are all a critique and commentary on five Ayats from the Quran. The five Ayats discussed in detail in these lectures are Ayat e Vilayat, Ayat e Mawaddat, Ayat e Tatheer, Ayat e Nusrat and Surah al Asr. Another additional lecture, which focuses on Prophet Muhammad, is more of a hagiographical account that presents the Prophet as Syed ul Anbia ( Leader of the Prophets).