The Art of Facsimile

The Art of Facsimile

An original book or sometimes manuscripts of rare editions are as much of a work of art as a classic painting that hangs in a national museum. These books are so valuable that almost no one can touch them, for fear of destroying what has been preserved by history.

And just as a cheap poster is a poor substitute for an original painting, so are many mass-produced reprints of valuable books. That’s why facsimiles play such an important role in the preservation of culture and education throughout history.

A facsimile, a Latin term that translates as “make alike,” is a reproduction of an object that is more than just a visual replica. It is a product that also encompasses the true feel and detail of the original work of art in a way that lets people imagine what it is like to handle that artefact in question.

History of Facsimile

Before the printing press was invented in 1450, books were hard to come by. Reserved for only the noblest families, they were written by hand and treasured for the author’s ability to share words without even having an editor.

It may be hard for modern readers to imagine these works of art, let alone their value in a world long before the internet made it simple to read almost any information they’d want. But, of course, you can see pictures of one on the internet.

Once you see one of the original books, you can understand why so many families throughout history demanded a way to own authentic copies. This is where the facsimile comes in.

Honourable Substitution of an Original

Unlike today’s regular hardback copies of books, a facsimile is designed to display all the beauty and detail of an original work and on occasion improves due to latest technological processes available.. For example, not only does it unveil the beauty of the leaves or images in the finest detail, but it also ensures the original sequence of pages. 

The cover is fashioned to comprehensively replicate the original so that it both looks and feels like it. The feeling, of course, is what makes the art of facsimile. Only a few people can hold an original book due to the limited number and also the high costs which are associated with these books, but owners of a facsimile can enjoy those same properties at home.

When someone is interested in engaging in a meaningful relationship with authors and their words and images, the few exhibitions of the original book aren’t good enough. It’s the same for owning simple prints from a publishing house that just wants to make money on cheap and fast copies.

A facsimile provides an opportunity to preserve the work in all its glory, both visually and through its tactile qualities. Owning a facsimile reproduction is a must-have for anyone who loves books and history, but is unable to afford the high price tag of original editions.

For true aficionados, a facsimile is something that can be passed down to generations with honour. It is truly a three-dimensional work of art designed to bring justice to a masterpiece that has survived centuries of history to share wisdom and beauty with modern-day readers.

Check out our Limited Edition Facsimile of Sahih al-Bukhari on our website for purchases and more information.  Our second reproduction will be released Summer 2021.

Yes to Bookmarks: All About the Book Lover’s Best Accessory

There have been bookmarks ever since there have been books to mark. East to West, there is evidence of bookmarks from before books were printed. The older bookmarks tended to be made from leather, attached by a leather strap to an early book form known as a codex

Leather remained a popular form of bookmark for some time, mainly because bookmakers could use the same material as they used to cover their masterpieces. As the printing press took off in Europe, silk ribbons became the most popular way of marking one’s place. These also came attached to the book. 

In the Victorian and Edwardian era, as the practice of bookmarking became more popular, companies would mass-produce them as an advertising strategy. These paper bookmarks are primarily responsible for the commercial bookmarks you find in stores today, in any style, and made from almost any material you can imagine. 

Some bibliophiles love bookmarks and keep one with them in every book they’re reading. Others use any scrap paper they can find. 

And then there are the dog-earers. Each camp, the bookmarkers, and the dog-earers, tend to think that theirs is The Way. We may be biased, but at Signatora we think the bookmarkers have the right idea.

Bookmarks are the Best – 5 Reasons Why 

Reason #1: Dog ears get you dirty looks. 

Dog-earers say that it’s more convenient to fold down the corner of the page, but dedicated book lovers and especially book collectors frown on the practice. That’s especially true if the book is a hardcover, collectible, or new printing. Trust us; if people see you besmirching your pristine new treasure, you won’t gain any friends. 

At least, you won’t gain any friends that respect books. And aren’t those the only ones worth having?

Reason #2: Dog ears are unreliable.

We’re not talking about actual dogs’ ears, which are very reliable. We’re talking about what happens when you fold down a corner of a book to mark your place, but something happens. Maybe

  • You re-read the book, and your old dog-ears get folded down again, and now you can’t remember which one is current.
  • Someone else picks up the book and accidentally unfolds your corner.
  • You folded down the page, but somehow when you close it, the cover re-opens your fold.

The possibilities are endless – why take the risk?

Reason #3: Bookmarks preserve a book’s condition. 

Caring for books means that the book looks just like it did when you started reading when you turn the last page. And whether you dog-ear some of the pages to keep your place or – gasp! – place your book face down on the table; you’re doing something to the book that you can’t undo.   

Bookmarks keep your book in like-new condition. If you decide to re-sell it or pass it on to a loved one or want to pick it back up again in the future and have that new book experience also, using a bookmark ensures that the structure of the book remains intact.

Reason #4: Bookmarks are portable art.

Sure, store receipts make convenient bookmarks, but real bookmarks look so much nicer. They have color and style, and they add visual art to your literary art experience. What’s not to love?

Reason #5: Bookmarks express your personality. 

Bookmark design is as limitless as a white page. You can even make your bookmarks and give them to your reader friends, or keep them to brighten your day. Or let yourself be drawn to the rack of bookmarks in your favorite bookstore and find one that calls to you.

We asked Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi for his opinion on this matter,

“Dog-earing is not a recommended practice, and I have neither done it nor seen it done, it helps to wear out the book at the same time it is not advisable to leave bookmarks in the book beyond reading the book. Over time, they can cause alteration in the colouring of paper and result in the bindings’ loosening.”

Either way, you can add a bit of color and personality to your reading experience with every new bookmark.

Do you say yes to bookmarks? Would you like to see Signatora release bookmarks? Comment and let us know what kind you like, or share a picture of your favorite.  

Keep going, keep growing !

Good Morning to you all!!!! We just wanted to give you, our valued customers, an update on how things are progressing at your favourite publishing house (we hope). The global spread of COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis are affecting people in ways that were unimaginable only six months ago. As a new business, Signatora has found itself like many emerging business in a difficult position and has had to navigate through delays and uncertainty.

Undoubtedly the spread of this virus has slowed down our work in many ways, but we are in the process of restarting after a period of business calm.

Moving forward, we would like to let you know that we have been able to access many previous publications of Shaykh al-Yaqoubi and are working on making these available again to our customers.

We have some releases planned for the rest of 2020 and we are looking forward to 2021 which we anticipate will be a big year for us in shāʾ Allāh. We are having to adapt our planning processes for our new books but as long as we keep going, we will keep growing in shāʾ Allāh. Please keep a watch on our social media pages to follow our progress in bringing you our next productions. 

We would like to thank you all for your continued support and we ask you to keep sharing and working with us so that we can build a publishing house which serves Islam and Muslims in the best way.



Inaugural Publication

The Sultan Edition – By Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi

It is a great honour for Signatora to present to the Muslim World a facsimile edition of the most authentic classical edition of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, the Sultan edition that was commissioned by Sultan Abdul Hamid II, Allah have mercy on him, and printed in 1313 AH / 1895 CE in Egypt in nine volumes with clear font and elegant typesetting.

A group of sixteen erudite scholars from Egypt, led by the Grand shaykh of al-Azhar, Shaykh Ḥassūnah al-Nawāwī, reviewed it; and later shaykh al-Islam, the highest religious authority in the Muslim World, approved it, alongside another committee of the most learned scholars in the Ottoman Caliphate.

What made this edition unique was the fact that it was printed according to the famous Yūnīnī manuscript – the most authoritative handwritten manuscript of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, which was in the royal library of the Sultan. He sent this invaluable treasure to the scholars in Egypt to make sure that the new edition would be corrected according to it. When they had finished, they sent it back, but later, with the collapse of the Ottoman Caliphate, it unfortunately disappeared. That incident alone added even greater importance to this edition.

The Sultan edition of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī has become a piece of antiquity, and several generations of scholars grew up hearing about it, but never seeing it.

Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, who taught Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī several times, has in his library a rare, flawless copy of this Sultan edition, to which he generously offered access for use in the reproduction of this new edition.

After the Noble Qur’an, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī is the most authentic book for Muslims. Sultan Abdul Hamid II, having the will to serve Islam in the best way, and seeing that printing has become popular and the production of manuscripts has declined, turned his attention to producing a precise and corrected print of this most important book of hadith – a perfect copy, after which no other print is needed.

One hundred and twenty-seven lunar years have passed since the publication of this edition, yet to this day it still remains the best edition. Modern printing technologies, new-fangled fonts, or the new academic centres have not been able to produce a better printed edition than this Sultan edition of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, whether in the accuracy of the text, the precision of the vocalisation and letters, or in the beauty of its production and the elegant typesetting.

Imam Sharaf al-Dīn Abū al-Ḥusayn ‘Alī b. Muḥammad al-Yūnīnī al-Ḥanbalī (d. 701 AH / 1301 CE) excelled in correcting and comparing his copy with the most authoritative handwritten source-manuscripts available in his era. He carefully made notes of all of the differences between the manuscripts, organising and editing the text with precision. For each of the source-manuscripts he assigned abbreviations to refer to them in the margin-notes. Thus, in that editing process, he became a pioneer in the art of producing critical editions.

Imam al-Yūnīnī spent his entire life studying, teaching, and comparing manuscripts of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī. In 667 AH / 1268 CE, he gathered together the most famous scholars of Damascus and organised meetings for them to read and correct Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī. Although he was the leading authority of hadith, he invited the most famous grammarian, Ibn Mālik, (d. 672 AH /1273 CE), author of the one-thousand-line ode on grammar, to attend and participate in the process of editing his copy of the Ṣaḥīḥ.

The reading, reviewing and editing process was completed in seventy-one sessions, resulting in the most authoritative edition of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, called the Yūnīnī Manuscript. What makes the Sultan edition the best edition of Sahih al-Bukhari is that it relied upon the Yūnīnī Manuscript, bringing out its treasures and presenting its abbreviations, comments and nuances.

A group of top scholars attending the prestigious Al-Azhar University, who had never worked together on any previous project, dedicated themselves to proofreading this edition, comparing it painstakingly and forensically with the original Yūnīnī Manuscript, while it was in their hands.

The printers and proofreaders in the renowned Amiri Press in Būlāq, Egypt exerted their efforts to publish Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī to the highest standards of beauty and perfection.

As this valuable edition became a rare work of art, difficult to obtain, we, in Signatora wished to republish it for two reasons. The first is that it is, without doubt, the most authentic and correct edition of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī. The second is that we wanted to revive the legacy of Sultan Abdul Hamid II and remind Muslims of his edition that still challenges the most modern editing and printing methods to this day.

A number of attempts have been made to republish the Sultan edition, but with many changes. What distinguishes our edition is that it reproduces the original Sultan edition as it was. We have not added or omitted anything from the text. No pages have been removed – we have even kept the original tables of corrections in their place.

The printing was done through producing a facsimile copy of the original. We chose luxury coated paper, and gilded the binding, as was the norm in editions that were presented to royal libraries. Gold was used instead of bold fonts for the titles of section, chapters and the beginning of every hadith.

Sultan Abdul Hamid II, may Allah reward him, offered his edition to the public for free, by making it Waqf. Therefore, the phrase, “Endowment for the sake of Allah Almighty” appeared at the top of every page. This sentence was removed, as with it being kept, no one would be able to sell or buy it.

The seal of Sultan Abdul Hamid II and the Coat of Arms of the Ottoman Empire during his reign have been placed on both sides of the binding of each volume, just as it was in the original edition.

What also makes this edition unique is that we exclusively published with it, “Introduction to Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī”, which is a new book written by His Eminence shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi.

This book deciphers the Ṣaḥīḥ and sheds light on the life of its author in a way that was never done so thoroughly before. It covers all the topics that every reader of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī needs to know.

We at Signatora present this edition of the valuable Sultan edition of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, which is our first publication, to the lovers of the Prophet ﷺ from all backgrounds, to the seekers of knowledge from all levels and to the Muslim World, praying that Allah Almighty accepts from you and us our work and grants you and us success in serving Islam and its sacred knowledge in every possible way.

The Sultan Edition – By Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi

Sahih al-Bukhari

Now Available To Own: A Collector’s Limited-Edition Facsimile Of Sultan Abdul Hamid II’s Publication Of Sahih Al-Bukhari Al-Shareef

The Sultan edition was commissioned by Sultan Abdul Hamid II and printed in 1313 AH / 1895 CE in Egypt in nine volumes. A group of sixteen erudite scholars from Egypt, led by the Grand Shaykh of al-Azhar, Hassunah al-Nawawi reviewed it; and later Shaykh al-Islam, the Ottoman highest religious authority in the Muslim World, approved it, alongside another committee of the most learned scholars in Istanbul.

What made this edition unique was the fact that it was printed according to the famous Yunini manuscript – the most authoritative copy of Sahih al-Bukhari. This, made the Sultan’s edition the most reliable copy of Sahih al-Bukhari. Since the Sultan printed only 1000 copies His edition became a piece of antiquity, with several generations of scholars growing up hearing about it, but never seeing it.

This new edition is a reproduction by facsimile of the Sultan’s edition with its beauty and authenticity based on a rare and flawless copy housed in the library of Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi – to which the Shaykh generously granted access during the reproduction of this facsimile.

Sahih al-Bukhari is soundest book in Islam after the Quran, therefore, it must be given due respect and reverence, and produced with luxury and augustness.

In This facsimile edition, Signatora presents the 10 volumes of Sahih Bukhari full of endless beauty and unmatched elegance.

Wait… there is more.

The collection includes a new book that has never been published before; it is introduction to Sahih Al-Bukhari, by Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi.

This book helps you read the Sahih and understand how Imam Bukhari compiled it, what he included in it. It reveals the life of the author and matchless features of his book.

Every reader of Sahih al-Bukhari must have this Introduction.

A precious copy that you will treasure for ever.

Have a look at this edition, and feel it in your hand at one of our announced events, and we guarantee that you are going to buy more than one copy, as it is the best gift to give to dearest people to you.



Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi

Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi traces his lineage back to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and is a Syrian scholar of Islamic jurisprudence, tradition, and Sufism. He is widely recognised as one of the most influential Muslim leaders in the world; with his speeches, classes, and books having changed thousands of lives.

A prolific writer and a poet, his most recent books – the ‘Shama’il of al-Habib al-Mustafa’ and ‘Introduction to Sahih al-Bukhari’ – are indispensable for every Muslim. He penned 60 poems, of over 5000 lines, in praise of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ – including the doubling (tashtir) of the famous Burdah and Hamziyya poems – which earned him the title of ‘the Busiri of this time’.

In recognition of his work for building peace and harmony, and better understanding between all religious groups, Shaykh Muhammad received the International Award of Ambassador of Liberty and Peace in 2016.

Welcome To Signatora

By the Name of Allah we begin and with His Power we announce the inauguration of your new UK London publishing house: Signatora. We are dedicated to releasing modern and classical works that promote the spirit of mainstream Sunni Islam with focus on the teachings of the greatest Ulema of past and present times. 

Signatora has access to hundreds of unpublished manuscripts as well as early prints that are inaccessible to today’s readers . 

Our first project is the re-printing of Sahih Bukhari most authentic edition which was ordered by Sultan Abdul Hamid II and printed in Cairo almost 130 years ago in 1311 H. It 

was edited by a committee of 16 scholars lead by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar of that time, Shaykh Hassouna Nawawi. It was also compared to the most famous manuscript copy of Sahih Bukhari known as al-Yuniniyyah. Since then, this edition became the most reliable copy. Several edition were published afterwords all relying on it but never matching its beauty or precision. 

In reproducing this edition by facsimile, we are making accessible the most authentic copy of Sahih al-Bukhari, a copy that is rare and antique, now will be available in your hand with its luxury, beauty and augustness. Thanks to the Ottomans for their great service to Islam and specially to Sultan Abdul Hamid II who took on himself the duty of producing the most 

authentic printed copy of Sahih Bukhari of which you can purchase an exact replica. 

9 volumes printed on special Japanese paper with the most beautiful bindings using gold colours inside to indicate the start of every hadith and every chapter, and applying fine 

touches of gold to the edges. The binding, like the original carries on its front the Royal signature of Sultan Abdul Hamid II (known as Tughara) and on its back the coat of arms of the Sultan. 

One of the greatest scholars of our time wrote an extensive introduction in which he sheds 

lights on the life of Imam Bukhari and the importance of his book. He writes about the tradition of oral narration of hadith, the special attention that the ulema gave over centuries to the Sahih, and presents his isnad through the most popular chains of transmission in the Muslim World. 

At the end of the book, Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi wrote an epistle of prayers known as dua al-Khatm, the dua that is to be recited at the end of the reciation of Sahih al- Bukhari. He wrote this almost twenty years when he taught Sahih Bukhari in London. 

Shaykh Al-Yaqoubi is an important authority on the Prophetic Tradition. He taught Sahih Bukhari 5 times, Sahih Muslim twice, the Muwatta six times, and many other books of hadith like the Sunan, the Shama’il and Riyad al-Saliheen. 

We are open as a publishing house are open to publish original works of distinguished authors from around the World. Our key author His Eminince shaykh Muhammad al- Yaqoubi has written over 100 unique books and one of our goals is to publish his works and allow the public to benefit from his knowledge, wisdom and insight into the various 

branches of Islamic disciplines. Fifteen titles are of his works will be launched soon inshallah.