The Cairo Book Fair is one of the largest book fairs in the Muslim world. Thousands of book publishers come from all over to display their books. While there are books of all genres, the main concern for people such as myself are the books that deal with our Islamic tradition.
When I first went to this book fair I can’t begin to explain how overwhelmed I was. I had no idea where to go let alone the specialities of each publisher.
To be completely honest, people had told me that the book fair was huge but I didn’t believe it was as large as they made it all sound. I thought they were exaggerating or just didn’t realize that I wasn’t some newbie to books and Islam. Kind of like those scholars that tell laity “Lets focus on the basics first.”
I went thinking I’d be out in a couple of hours and I ended up spending five each time (I went back 3-4 times). Each time I was more confused and lost as the time before.
This time around was monumentally different as I went with one of our teachers. He stopped at certain publishers and showed us the best books that they carried. He even was cautious as to which books he recommended to which students. There were books I saw him recommend to some of the more advanced students that he didn’t even mention the title covers to me.
Then there were times he would go into detail as to why a student of the Maliki school needed to have certain titles in their library. Books that contained biographies of the scholars of the school, or a book that contained legal rulings from the scholars of Muslim Spain during the inquisition when they discussed whether it was obligatory to leave Spain in order to save their lives and faith.
All of which I wouldn’t have been able to benefit from had I gone by myself, and I still wouldn’t have benefitted as much had I just gone with a friend. This is why I say we need guides.
I’m not saying it to be facetious. I’m saying this because this life is an ocean and a new captain trying to sort it all out themselves might sink their ship when the storms come.
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