Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Updates: The Greatest Universal Sureties



Assalaam alaykum wa Rahmatullah,

Alhamdulilah, the translation of The Greatest Universal Sureties, by the late authority Imam Muhammad Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti, has now been published. This is by far, to date, the most detailed and exhaustive text on orthodox (Sunni) Islamic theology in English, written by one of this age's greatest theologians. In addition to covering foundational matters, such as the Lord's attributes, salvation and eschatology, the book also deals with modern issues, such as religious relativism and the theory of evolution. It is an absolute must for any English speaker seeking a deeper understanding of Islam and its core doctrines.

UPDATE: It has also been brought to my attention (via emails and social media) that the book is not available to order via the Dar al-Fikr website, or something goes awry when trying to order from that website. I am on the case. In addition to trying to solve that problem, I am also trying to find out who Dar al-Fikr's distributors are in the UK, US and other parts of the Anglosphere. Insha'Allah, the book will be available soon, either via the website or a bookshop near you. I will post updates here whenever I receive news, i.e. in this post or in the comments below.

And with Allah is every success.

Wassalaam,

Mahdi

p.s. I'm still waiting for my copy.

UPDATE: Please see the 8th comment below, dated 11 November 2017 at 18:30.

UPDATE: Please see my comment dated 21 November, 2017.

25 comments:

Mahdi Lock said...

UPDATE:

The CEO of Dar al-Fikr has confirmed that their website cannot take orders and ship books out of Damascus.

However, they will put the book on two Middle Eastern websites that specialise in online retail:

Jamalon: www.jamalon.com

Neel Wa Furat: www.neelwafurat.com

The first website has an English version and they say they deliver worldwide.

Watch this space.

And with Allah alone is every success.

Anonymous said...

kitaabun.com is a good website for islamic books and they have an excellent delivering service.

Mahdi Lock said...

UPDATE:

Insha'Allah, the book will also be available on Amazon, according to the Imam's official Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Sh.AlBouti.E/photos/pb.620423564674864.-2207520000.1509595816./1709719045745305/?type=3&theater

(The Facebook page is administered by the Imam's family , who have been very much at the heart of this project. May Allah reward them immensely.)

We are also working on making the book available in bookstores in the UK.

And with Allah alone is every success.

Anonymous said...

as-salam 'alaikum,

pleased you've completed the translation sidi. pray you are well. will definitely purchase it once on Amazon insha'Allah...personally i've not had a good experience with Arab websites delivering to the UK.

was-salam
Irfan

Anonymous said...

Salam,

Looks like it is going to be available here ?

http://islam786books.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=56_139&products_id=4994

Mahdi Lock said...

Wa alaykum Assalaam,

I don't know anything about that bookshop or website, so I can't confirm either way.

Allah knows best.

Anonymous said...

Assalamu alaikum dear brother,

long time ago you posted parts from Imams book "Islam and the West". Are you also planing to translate that book? The content seemed really interesting to me.

Mahdi Lock said...

UPDATE:

I have received my copy of the book and it appears that Dar al-Fikr have failed to use the final, proofread (stress on 'proofread') draft. I do not know how this happened. They have also failed to use the font and layout that I specifically instructed them to use. (The font and layout I approve of is what can be seen in the several books I have translated for IBFIM in Malaysia.) Dar al-Fikr specialise in publishing books in Arabic, not English, so I did my best to advise them regarding publishing a book for the English market. May Allah guide us all.

This means that the book is riddled with typos and is barely presentable, to say the least. To put it differently, I am proud of the books I have done with IBFIM and I feel the opposite about this one.

Thus, I will not be promoting or endorsing this edition in any way, shape or form and I recommend that potential readers save their money and wait for a second edition.

And with Allah alone is every success.

Mahdi Lock said...

Regarding the book 'Islam and the West', yes, that book is on the list for translation and publication.

Insha'Allah, it will be done professionally.

Mahdi Lock said...

And yes, wa alaykum Assalaam to you dear brother. Please forgive me for omitting that in my initial response.

Anonymous said...

Salamun alaykum,
Dear brother, would you be able to post a few screenshots of the book? I'd really like to have my copy as soon as possible rather than waiting for a second edition. I mean, i can't be that bad, can it?!

Mahdi Lock said...

Wa alaykum Assalaam,

Yes, it is that bad. To call it "unprofessional" would be euphemistic.

This edition should be recalled and barred from distribution.

kc said...


Assalamu alaikum,

This UK bookstore has now updated it's product page to say that it is awaiting a 2nd edition reprint in 2018.

It's saying "This product will be in stock on Monday 22 January, 2018" at the bottom of the page.


http://islam786books.com/index.php?main_page=index&zenid=elpc879truq79u1j83q63hjt27

Can you confirm this?

Mahdi Lock said...

Wa alaykum Assalaam,

Insha'Allah, there will be a second edition in 2018. I contacted that UK bookstore yesterday and advised them to cancel their order. The current edition is not fit for purpose and should be recalled. Ma sha Allah, the brothers at the bookshop were very gracious and understanding.

As for the specified date, Allah knows best. January seems too soon.

Wassalaam,

Mahdi

Anonymous said...

Salam Brother Mahdi,

Do you know if another translation of “The Jurisprudence of the Prophetic Biography” is going to be translated? As of now, there are two editions, one is longer than the other, and there is at least one mistranslation in one of them (as per SeekersHub). I really want to buy this book as I am sure there are others.

Mahdi Lock said...

Wa alaykum Assalaam (I wish people would use names, or at leasts pseudonyms, instead of 'Anonymous',

Fiqh as-Seerah was translated by Nancy Roberts and published by Dar al-Fikr a long time. The translation is good, but I don't think the translator, at least at the time, was well-versed in fiqhi terminology or in the works of Imam al-Bouti in general.

[The translated title, i.e. 'The Jurisprudence of The Prophetic Biography', is not accurate: 1) By "fiqh", the Imam meant both the linguistic and shar'i meaning, i.e. deeper understanding of the Seerah AND the legal rulings that are dervided from it. 2) I apologise for splitting hairs, but since looking at Musa Furber's translation of Sharh al-Waraqaat, I agree that 'jurisprudence' is a better translation for 'usul al-fiqh'. Fiqh is law.]

And yes, I did find mistakes a couple years ago when I read the Arabic and English side by side. For example, the word 'Ifriqiyah' was simply translated as 'Africa', when the term originally only applied to the part of North Africa that stretches from western Libya through to eastern Algeria.

Still, a lot of benefit can be derived from it.

Nonetheless, my long-term hope is that all the Imam's major works are translated and published professionally.

And with Allah alone is every success.

Mahdi Lock said...

UPDATE:

Dar al-Fikr have acknoweldged and apologised for their mistake regarding The Greatest Universal Sureties.

Insha'Allah, a new, professional edition will be out soon. Discussions are ongoing.

Wassalaam,

Mahdi

Mahdi Lock said...

UPDATE:

Dar al-Fikr have changed their mind. There will not be a second edition.

They don't care about the typos or the overall poor quality in terms of design and layout.

Insha'Allah, this will be a good thing in the long run, as this company simply should not be involved in the business of publishing books in English, whether it's Imam al-Bouti's books or anything else. Their final product, again and again, is just embarrassing and they have no interest whatsoever in improving.

Insha'Allah, I will not be translating anything else for Dar al-Fikr and I absolve myself of any responsibility regarding their edition of The Greatest Universal Sureties, and the same applies to any future edition they may publish.

However, with that said, my intention now is to somehow secure the translation rights to the book. I have already mentioned this to the family. I don't care how long I have to wait. After that, I will have the book published professionally, insha'Allah.

And with Allah alone is every success.

thinkthink said...

Salam sheikh

Just wondering if you've ever thought of self-publishing? That might get the book out sooner, and you have full creative (formatting) rights too.

-Raphe

Mahdi Lock said...

Wa alaykum Assalaam wa Rahmatullah Akhee Al-Kareem,

Jazakum Allah khayran for the advice.

I have thought about it but I would need permission first and foremost from the Imam's family. Either way, I would prefer for a professional Muslim publisher in the Anglosphere to do it.

Insha'Allah, an opening will appear.

Wassalaam,

Mahdi

Haris said...

Salamun alaykum Sidi Mahdi,

Please note that Jamalon is offering "your" book at:

http://jamalon.com/en/catalog/product/view/id/36869647

Unfortunately, this was an upleasant experience for I've received an Arabic edition, although they were assuring me it was an English one. Now it seems they are not sure either whether they posses an English translation at all.

Just wanted to bring this to your attention, maybe you should contact jamalon so nobody else does the same mistake.



Nasimsyam said...

Assalamualaikum Mahdi Lock, how to get this precious books with pdf?

Mahdi Lock said...

Assalaam alaykum wa Rahmatullah,

I am aware of Jamaloon but I don't know what exactly they're doing or what indeed Dar al-Fikr are doing. I'm doing other things now, including with Imam al-Bouti's family, and I will enquire eventually. As far as I'm aware, the book isn't even being sold at book fairs these days.

Regarding pdfs, that would be a complete violation of trust. We all need to understand the time and effort that goes into translating and publishing a book. Charging for a book has nothing to do with "hoarding" knowledge, because it's not the knowledge you're paying for but rather for the service of that knowledge being made available and accessible. Secondly, a large part of the money you pay is recycled and put towarding translating and publishing more books.

For an analogy, think of the odd position that some people have adopted regarding an imam being paid to lead taraweeh prayers (or any other prayer). They say it's haraam because you can't pay someone to pray, but that's not what he's being paid for. He's beng paid for his time and for committing himself to that masjid. Here's a useful fatwa by Sheikh Rushdi Saleem al-Qalam:

http://mahdinnm.blogspot.com/2013/07/taking-remuneration-for-being-imam.html

A lot of people seem to think it's easy to lead five daily prayers at a masjid, as it only takes a few minutes each time and the rest of the day you're supposedly free, but it's not easy to plan your day such that you are at that same location every day at the same five times. You can't go anywhere without first asking yourself, "Will I be back in time?" Some people refuse to be the imam of a masjid for this reason; it's too restrictive.

Please forgive me for going off a tangent, but please do consider the time and effort that fellow believers put in to please Allah and make thing easier for Muslims in their own communities and farther afield.

And with Allah alone is every success.

Wassalaam,

Mahdi

SUFI-4-LIFE! said...

As salamu alaikum this is not about a book,did shaykh MUHAMMAD RAMADAN AL BOUT ra say anything about the racist and prejudice that goes on in the Arab world Against BLACKS??

Mahdi Lock said...

Wa alaykum Assalaam,

Do you mean Imam Muhammad Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti?

I don't know whether Imam al-Bouti, may Allah have mercy on him, spoke on these matters. You should also bear in mind that the Imam is Kurdish, not Arab.