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THI 'HIS translation has been made to supply a want which
has often been represented to me. “ The Ikhwanu-s Safá” is a standard Hindustani work, which is used as a textbook both in India and England. Those who have to prepare themselves for examination in it, are often placed in situations where no competent instruction can be obtained. A translation, therefore, at once accurate and exact, with which the student may compare and correct his own work, will doubtless prove a great help and advantage to him. Such being the object of this translation, a close adherence to the text has been throughout maintained, as strict as the necessity of making the English clear and intelligible would allow. The version, therefore, is not so smooth as it might have been made, but it will give to the English reader a clear idea of the style and manner of the original.
When I commenced this work I was not aware that any previous translation existed ; but there are at least three different versions. One, attributed to Mr James Atkinson, the translator of parts of the “Shah-nama,” was published in an India newspaper, and reprinted in vol. xxviii. of the Asiatic Journal for 1829. This translation is accurate and spirited, but it is imperfect, and for all practical purposes it may be considered buried. I had nearly completed the work when a translation by Mr T. P. Manuel came to my notice. That version was published at Calcutta in 1860, and is not very generally known. It gives a very fair idea of the work, but the translation is not sufficiently close to answer the purpose for which this work is intended. I am told there is another translation, published in India, by a Muhammadan gentleman, but I have not met with it.
The original Arabic work has been translated into German by Professor Dieterici of Berlin. Our Hindustani translator, in his Preface, tells us something of the great work from which is derived. It is a kind of Encyclopædia of considerable extent. Notices of the work have been published by Professor Flügel in vol. xiii., and by Professor Dieterici in vols. xv. and xviii. of the Zeitschrift des Deutschen Morgenlandische Gesellschaft.
The present translation has been made from the excellent edition of the Text published by Drs Forbes and Rieu, and the chapters and paragraphs follow the arrangement there observed.
The style of the Hindustani translation is considered very pure and elegant, and the language is generally clear and perspicuous, but it contains a very large proportion of Arabic words. The nature of the subject rendered the introduction of many Arabic scientific terms a matter of necessity, but still these foreign words are often employed when pure vernacular words might have been used with advantage. This, however, is the general fault of these translations.