About Us

ISRA Books is a small, independent publishing house based in London, England.

The company specialises in publishing the literature of the East.  The religious thought and the poetry of this part of the world have been a considerable influence way beyond the lands of their origin and are an important part of world culture.  In publishing these works in careful and accurate translation, we hope to make them available to an English-speaking public and to play a part in preserving them for the enjoyment and illumination of the generations that follow us.

ISRA Books also believes in ethical book publishing.  Paper is core to a publisher’s business as is the cost of production.  ISRA Books believe less about profit than ensuring we are an ethical business.  We continue to work with our suppliers to improve the environmental credentials of our books.  Customers might expect to pay a little bit more for a quality hand bound product and ethically sourced book.  Please see www.prepsgroup.com and www.fsc.org for more information.


The legal expression “not for profit” indicates an organisation established for purposes other than making money, one where some or all surplus revenues are used to further the intentions for which the organisation was established rather than to benefit the individuals with an interest in it.  Not-for-profit organisations in the United Kingdom are often charities, but may also include a wider group of organisations set up with intentions other than to make a financial gain.

ISRA Books is a charitable organisation and the company articles are characterised in the same ways as other charities registered with the Charities Commission.

ISRA Books was instituted to play a part in preserving the  cultural heritage of the East.  It is our intention to help safeguard this wonderful resource for the enjoyment and enlightenment of the generations that follow us.

Proceeds generated by the sales of our books and tickets for our events are paid back into our enterprise to ensure we can continue this important work for many years to come.


ISRA Books regularly holds concerts of traditional and fusion Sufi music from South Asia.


Chai is that hot tea beverage enjoyed throughout South Asia and beyond.  Tea plays an important role in encouraging dialogue all round the world and South Asian people drink chai  together and  talk to each other several times a day.

The British East India Company started the commercial production of tea in then-undivided India in the 19th century.

Just as in Britain, the afternoon chai is often accompanied with snacks.  As it is with eastern culture, chai is a sign of hospitality. If you prefer to have your chai the British way, that is black tea with a spot of milk, you are likely to be considered a Wilati or foreigner in India and Pakistan.

The origins of tea drinking

Legends relating to the origins of tea-drinking have been passed down from generation to generation.  One of the most popular of these legends dates back to 2700 BC and to the reign of the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung.

Shen Nung was known to be a skilful ruler, a creative scientist and a patron of the arts.  His far-sighted edicts required, among other things, that all drinking water should be boiled for hygienic reasons.

One day in summer, while visiting a distant region of his realm, he and his courtiers stopped to rest.  In accordance with his ruling, the servants began to boil water for the company to drink.  Dried leaves from a nearby bush happened to fall into the boiling liquid.  As a scientist, the Emperor was interested in the results, drank some and found it very refreshing.  So, according to legend, that was how tea was invented.

Tea and coffee houses act as centres for social interaction, providing people with a place to congregate, talk, write, read, entertain one another or pass the time, whether individually or in groups.  

Qawwali Chai is a unique platform that transcends cultural differences and exemplifies the strongly interconnected world of today.  It combines the pleasures and purposes of both Sufi music and the drinking of tea together.

Opening the heart

Through pleasant interaction of this sort, people from very different backgrounds may find that values and beliefs that are dear to them are also shared by other faiths and cultures.  Relaxing the mind and opening the heart together may bring both peace and understanding.  The heart is a garden where the gardener may cultivate compassion or fear, resentment or love.


Modern book production results from the invention of the printing press. Although the earliest known woodblock prints come from China, dating from around 220 AD, the invention of movable type and the printing press in Europe is credited to Johann Gutenberg of Germany.  Gutenberg, in collaboration with his partners Johann Fust and Peter Schoffer, printed a Latin Bible using a hand printing press with movable lead type in about 1456.  By the nineteenth century, however, the demand for books was so great it could not be met by ordinary hand printing.  Printers were therefore forced to develop larger presses that could accommodate larger sheets of paper or the newly-invented continuous rolls of paper.  These improvements allowed printers to produce books at a much faster rate.


This involves sewing the pages together, gluing the spine, inserting the lining and trimming the edges.  The amount and type of binding depends on the type of book and its size.

Paper Stock

Books are made from a variety of different coated and uncoated paper stocks that differ in weight and size. Different colour inks may be used and, while front and back covers are generally made from a heavier stock of paper, they will vary in terms of weight.

• Book design

• Page size and style

• Typeface size and style

• The type and weight of paper for the text and cover

• Use of colours

• Presentation of visuals/illustrations in the text, if needed

• Cover art and illustrations

• Printing

There are three main printing processes used in book production: offset lithography, letter-press, and gravure. The process used depends on quality and economic factors.