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:
Surprisingly nice logo, masha-Allah!
So, dear Ian, how can we get a copy of this treasure? When will it be one of those musky, dustless and yet dusty tomes that we can open and be enveloped by and we sink into pure dimensionless spaces, and I really mean this! Unveiled! (You lucky dog, to be [I assume] one of the first to read it whilst designing the book?) And by the way, is the book The Prophet’s of Arabia available yet? We are building, it seems, a secret library while (American version) electronics whizz by on their way to Armageddon. Bravo…
This little gem of a book is in the printers right now and will emerge any day I imagine. Then I hope it can be purchased direct from Ihsanica unless they get local distributors. It’s quite a small book, so the cost and postage will be low, I hope. As for Ancient Prophets, by Mostafa Badawi, that is very near printing too after a two year snooze; we are even at the bar code stage. I’ll do an announcement of that when it emerges. That’s a much bigger book and will be another valuable addition to anyone’s library. After that you can look forward to the Adhkar of Imam Nawawi which is a 900 page collection of supplications and dhikrs from their hadith sources. That’s been in gestation for 4 years and should be going to the printers within weeks dv.
When can we look forward to the re-issue of Arnold’s Pearls as well as the Shama’il critical edition?
er…..Arnold’s Pearls was never printed in the first place although it was completed. The Shama’il was also finished but the publishers had go back to the drawing board as there were apparently errors discovered in the translation. The ultimate destiny of both these books is out my hands I’m afraid. They were too nice not to put on my web site which might have been a bit misleading,
I proofread Arnold’s Pearls of Islam about 6 years ago! A pity it never saw light of day, it was quite lovely.
I read a printing from ’42 (original from 1883) some years ago and loved it! I was looking forward to reading Hanson’s foreword along with Eaton’s introduction. If you have a copy, I’d love to read it.
I can’t release the pdf of Pearls of the Faith (not Pearls of Islam) as it’s not mine to do so. As I previously said, Sandala never printed it and I don’t know why. I know that Edwin Arnold’s poetry wasn’t that liked by some people. It seems that Victorian poetry isn’t to everyone’s taste. It will make a nice looking book even so, with Mohamad Zakariya’s calligraphy throughout.
Thanks for that beautiful introduction to what promises to be a precious book. Timbuktu Books in Cape Town will be officially launching the book next Friday, 17th February and Shaykh Muhammad b.Yahya al-Ninowy will be the guest speaker. I am not which other retailers will have the book in stock, but in the meantime you could contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (from the UK) ++4427216719819. If you speak to Fatima she may be able to send a copy to anyone who’s interested, assuming that it’s not available in the UK yet.
Since we will be launching the book next week, could I link this post to our blog please?
Thanks and all the best
Aminah Patel (nee Gamiet) from Timbuktu…in Cape Town!
Wherever you turn there is a Gamiet! Seems to be a lot going on in SA these days. The printed book seems to still have some life left in it down there. I’m happy for that. Adios Abdallateef
We Gamiets get around!! There’s quite a bit happening here in SA, but we still have a way to go. I’m always happy to see movement around publishing here, as with Ihsanica. Most of our books are imported from the UK and USA and once they arrive here they’re lumped with a heavy tax, making most books pretty much unobtainable to the masses here. And goodness know how much we need to make these books more accessible! All the best.
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Jazakallahu khairan for all this info. I want to get permission about the tree picture. Can I use it for personal use?? Plz replay.
Sure. It came off the internet. There are many pictures of it there.
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