Kitab Bhavan of New Dehli, is one of – if not the – leading publisher of Islamic books in the English language. Kitab (which means book in both Arabic and Hindi) Bhavan was set up to promote English as the common language of scholarship and teaching for Muslims across India. We take a look at this principled, high-quality publishing house in the second of our series of articles about Indian publishing companies. Kitab Bhavan has undertaken a remarkable journey to become a prolific publisher and global distributor, with English language titles being sold around the world. While by no means a large company, with a small team Kitab Bhavan achieves an intellectual output equal to many of the leading Indian publishers, on a range of Islamic topics.
Muslim Spirituality & Culture
Kitab Bhavan publishes English-language books on Islamic piety, law, traditions and history; a mixture of new titles and classic Muslim texts never before translated into English. There is also a large range of books on economics, medicine and personal development, all from an Islamic perspective. These books are extremely valuable and timely, demonstrating a positive worldview and remarkable courage.
India is home to an ancient and sophisticated Islamic culture. The great Mogul emperors dominated swathes of Northern India between the 16th and mid-19th Centuries, presiding over a diverse and highly literate culture. The separation of Pakistan and Bangladesh from India in 1947 saw India become a Hindu majority country. However, Muslim communities all over India have thrived under modern India’s secular state, which allows a fully multi-cultural society to flourish with English as the common language of business and culture.
An Islamic Literary Revival
Islamic literature is rooted in the Quran, the central scripture sacred to all Muslims. Written in an archaic form of Arabic in the 7th Century CE, English translations that do justice to both the meaning and poetic beauty of the text are sometimes hard to come by. Kitab Bhavan is like a breath of fresh air in this regard, making many different editions of the Quran available to English-speaking Western readers.
Kitab Bhavan’s Qurans range from beautifully bound hardback editions to inexpensive portable paperbacks. Some are published exclusively in English, while others are presented in bilingual Arabic and English, with the original Arabic text printed opposite its English translation in Roman letters.
Scholarly editions with transliterations and commentary enable easy pronunciation of the Suras for study or devotional use, while extensive notes by Islamic teachers help explain the source of Muslim theology for both teacher and layperson alike.
In Western bookshops you will find many titles dealing with geopolitics, terrorism, migration and assimilation, but very few covering the richness of Islamic culture and tradition. Kitab Bhavan represents a return to the well springs of Islamic tradition. Its books are thoughtful and reflective; reverent but showing tolerance and an openness to the world. These books reveal an Islam founded on joy and peace, committed to social justice and rooted in profound spiritual experience.
These books are a desperately needed antidote to the negativity and misunderstanding surrounding Islam in the US, Europe and the UK. For Muslims in the West, Kitab Bhavan lets readers reconnect with the living tradition of their faith. For non-Muslims and people interested in Islam, these titles explore the depths of one of the world’s great religions, opening up new opportunities for dialogue, peaceful co-existence and mutual understanding.
Discover A Greater Range Of Indian Books
At Motilal Books we are proud to offer the full catalogue of Kitab Bhavan’s English books, including some of the best English translations of the Holy Quran and spiritual commentaries from any publisher. If your bookshop has a religious studies or spirituality section, these books will form a valuable and unique addition to the titles you offer your customers.
To find out more about English language Indian publications and why you should stock them, please click here to download our Independent Booksellers Guide to Books From India. Our free eBook includes profiles of the leading Indian publishers, popular titles and authors, and how to get the best value when importing Indian books.