As I promised to announce on this blog new productions that I have worked on, I’m happy to introduce to you in this post a new book from a start-up publisher, Ihsanica, who are based in Durban, South Africa. This new publication, On The Means of Beholding The Prophet (s) in a Dream, by Yusuf Ismael Nabahani will be available shortly, though I’m not sure how it will be distributed yet. Launching a first book is a big challenge for any new publisher as mainstream distributors won’t touch anything except those in a list of at least ten titles, so it’s necessary to devise other means of getting a book to market. Enshrouded as we are with e-this and i-that, I am happy to see the printed book is still alive and kicking. I think with international mail order and Paypal there is no reason why small publishers can’t sell all over the world now, direct to their customers, this book included. The big distributors like Amazon and WH Smith take such a huge percentage (60% +) it just is not worth the candle going mainstream if you are small. But I see no reason why this kind of niche publishing shouldn’t be successful if you can get the word out and what better than the internet to do this. For this kind of book needs to be honoured with ink and paper and sitting on a bookshelf impervious to battery failure and electrical faults. Books I have loved I have often perfumed with musk or oud so that when you open it you get this wonderful waft to remind you of what you are about to read. This book might get the perfume treatment given its subject matter.
This editi0n is one volume, taken from Yusuf al-Nabahani’s monumental Felicity in the Two Abodes Through Prayers upon the Master of the Two Realms, and details forty tried and true methods for seeing the Prophet Muhammad in a dream. Gleaned from the works of the early and later spiritual masters, this collection is a veritable treasury of gnostic expressions of prophetic love and longing. Each supplication is presented in its original Arabic along with its translation and transliteration.
A word about the author, Yusuf Nabahani. He was born in 1849 in historical Palestine and died in Beirut in 1932. Yusuf Nabahani was a Sunni Sufi Ottoman Palestinian Scholar, judge, prolific poet, and defender of the Ottoman Caliphate. His teachings have influenced much of Sufism’s development in the 19th and 20th century. I understand from Ihsanica that it is possible they will release more of Nabahani’s writings in the future, which I for one will be looking forward to.
I was first contacted by Ihsanica in late 2011 to help design a logo for their planned business. It was to be based around the Blessed Tree in Jordan, the tree where over 1400 years ago, a Makkan caravan paused for shade and where the Christian monk Bahira encountered the young Muhammad, peace be upon him, having recognised the signs. Indeed the tree (a pistachio tree which still produces nuts abundantly) is near a Roman road and also near a small monastery. There are no other trees in that region for hundreds of square kilometres. It looks like it is the tree and I seem to be the only one who didn’t know about its existence, although I naturally knew of the story of the caravan from the Prophet’s life.
Designing a logo wasn’t easy but I came up with one in the end which reflects its form as best as I could though interpreting the leaves in some stylised fashion did take time. Trees are not easy because their leaves are relatively small and I usually end up referring to early Andalusian botanical manuscripts to see (i.e. copy) how their artists did it.
Here it is: