Book Review: ‘Endless Nobility of The Ahl al-Bayt’ by Shaykh Yusuf al-Nabhani trans by Arfan Shah al-Bukhari
Literature on the status of the Ahl al-Bayt, or the Prophet’s (ﷺ) family in the Sunni English world is unfortunately very hard to find. This translation of a work by Shaykh Yusuf al-Nabhani comes as a long awaited addition. Shaykh al-Nabhani, for those who do not know, was an ‘ashiq or ardent lover of the Prophet (ﷺ), he is sometimes considered by some to be the equivalent of Imam Ahmad Rida Khan in the western Muslim world, (albeit without an ensuing sectarian divide).
The book gives details of the passages from the Qur’an and numerous hadith, from various collections, on the status and rights of the Ahl al-Bayt, to this end it serves as a poignant reminder for many people who would otherwise be unaware of their rank within our tradition. My main concern with the book however is not with the text itself but the quality and typesetting of the print that has been published. There are numerous spelling mistakes, both within Arabic and English, a number of passages from the Qur’an are unvoweled, and in some cases appropriate highlighting indicating verses from the Qur’an are absent. There is some vowelling here and there, but it’s very sporadic, making it seem as though the text was arranged in a haphazard fashion. The same verse from the Qur’an or a particular hadith is quoted in Arabic an incessant number of times. As this book is in English it is a given that the readers are very likely not to be fluent Arabic speakers (otherwise they would just look to obtain the original text in Arabic), repeating the same Arabic quotation is unnecessary, especially if it’s unvoweled and therefore unhelpful for the non-Arabic reader. It could be argued it serves as a reference to the Arabic if needed, but this can be done by quoting the Arabic once and then further simply making reference to where the quotation was first given.
I would hope a revised edition would follow this one, as this is an important piece of literature that was long overdue. The efforts and intention for those behind the project should not go unnoticed and I hope there is more to come in filling the gaps within our literature that are highly needed.