The mysterious disappearing Reliance


This is a follow up to a recent blog post about Nuh Ha Mim Keller’s translation of the Reliance of the Traveller.

In it I gave a link to a copy of the PDF version of the Reliance on which has since gone down, leaving an error message about missing metadata files. That sounds like a technical fault but have not responded to queries and some people who are familiar with the Reliance had predicted it would not last long.

Over the last two or three years I can think of at least three copies of the PDF which have disappeared from the internet. One hosting site left the explanation that the copyright holders were threatening legal action. It seems likely then that the copy, which was the last version left, has joined the list and will not be reappearing any time soon.

Moreover, an Islamic book site left a curious message against the entry for the book:

“Reliance of the Traveller (‘Umdaat Ul Salik)
until we provide a better translation than Nuh Keller’s”

What does he mean by a better translation? There certainly are those who question its accuracy. In his book The Third Choice Mark Durie gives examples of Keller putting a deceptively positive spin on items in the text, eg:

“Keller reports that a ‘non-Muslim may not enter the … Haram’ (the sacred precinct in Mecca). What the Arabic actually says is ‘idolater’ (mushrik) (o11.7), which is a more offensive term.”

Perhaps Keller regretted misleading Western readers by softening the text and wishes to put things right. Perhaps, but more likely he just realised that his book, giving such a clear view of the horrors of Islamic Law, is more useful to the counter jihad side than to the fellow Muslims he wrote it for, and simply wants to remove it from critical eyes. This could be a rare example of an Islamic apologist no-platforming himself.

IMHO the three most crucial books for helping non-Muslims get to the core of Islam are, in order:

1.  The Koran, of course. This presentation graphically shows Mohammed’s progress from disregarded prophet in Mecca to all-conquering warlord in Medina (Allah remains the same sadistic ogre throughout though).

2.  Alfred Guillaume’s The Life Of Muhammad, the translation of ibn Ishaq’s biography detailing Mohammed’s use of robbery, assassination, rape, torture and genocide in his drive toward power. And ibn Ishaq was a fan!

3.  The Reliance of the Traveller. According to the great scholar Joseph Schacht Islamic law is not merely one aspect of Muslim civilization but “the epitome of the Islamic spirit, the most typical manifestation of the Islamic way of life, the kernel of Islam itself.” There are translations of other manuals of Islamic law, such as the Hedaya and the Risala, but neither are as clear and so cannot take non-Arabic speakers into the kernel of Islam like the Reliance.

And now the familiar PDF, basically a scan of the book, has disappeared from the internet. This is a huge loss to the counter jihad community who quote it liberally.

Except….it’s not quite gone. Recently two different transcriptions have appeared:

one in PDF format again
one as a WordPress site.

[Oh no! Both of these have now gone too]

They both have their advantages. The PDF version allows the reader to jump from entries in the tables of contents to the relevant sections. The WordPress version is easier to copy text from.

Hopefully other presentations will appear on other platforms, constantly replacing those which are closed down…as they will be. Probably we can look forward to an indefinite game of whack-a-mole with Keller as the whacker and enterprising counter jihadists as the moles. Good luck to us all. Let us keep the Reliance out there for the benefit of those who have not yet discovered what Sharia Law really means, and remember to keep our heads down.

[UPDATE] Since this blog post was written two new copies of the original PDF have appeared:

Click to access reliance2_complete.pdf

[And both of these have also gone. If you come across any other versions please let me know.]

9 thoughts on “The mysterious disappearing Reliance

  1. fgmtruthadmin

    Nuh Ha Mim Keller’s translation of ‘The Reliance of the Traveller’ furnishes us with another of those strategic mistranslations that so often occur in Islamic texts intended for non-Moslem eyes.

    If one uses dictionary definitions of the words section e4.3 translates as:

    “Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the clitoris”

    However Nuh Ha Mim Keller translates section e4.3 as:

    ““ …for women, removing the prepuce (Ar. Bazr) of the clitoris (n: not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert).”

    This meaning of ‘Bazr’ is supported by no Arabic dictionary I have checked – and leaves Arabic without a word for ‘clitoris’. Nor does any other text translate Bazr in this way.

    1. ECAW's blog Post author

      Yes, the first I heard of this mistranslation by Keller was in an article by Mark Durie who pointed it out.

      Welcome to the blog. I was very impressed by fgmtruthadmin. I don’t follow sites because it seems to slow down WordPress but I have taken a link for future reference. I still hear people screaming “FGM has nothing to do with Islam”!

      1. fgmtruthadmin

        Thanks for your encouragement. Have you written on the subject of FGM? (I couldn’t find any ‘search’ function with which to check when I visited) – if you need any help with information or references I would be very happy to help out.

        1. ECAW's blog Post author

          Only in passing. Nothing in depth like your blog. I know where to look next time I get into a spat with someone on the subject.

          I hope you are getting your information out there for all to see. I found the “marketing” the most trying part of running a blog. Now I don’t bother so much. Every now and then I search on some aspect or other in WordPress, which is how I found your blog, but mostly with the intention of debating with the opposition.

          1. fgmtruthadmin

            “I found the “marketing” the most trying part of running a blog.”

            Yes, that’s the hard part. But I haven’t worked on that all that much yet.

            I’m really using the blog as a way to structure my research and my writing, and also as a resource, where the evidence and the best expression of my arguments are all to hand for when I engage in discussions, debates and bickering.

            BTW – for people who haven’t time to read the whole site (which I suspect is ‘everybody’) there is a page which condenses the the blog in to (only!) 3000 words.


            My thinking on FGM is constantly shifting and developing as I progress with my research, so this will probably change from time to time.

  2. Moa

    The most interesting thing about Mohammed is that he is a work of mythology. The story Islam has for its beginnings does not match the archeology of the region. Islam is fiction and is false. That is the deepest secret of Islam, it is all fiction and false. See the archeological evidence for yourself !

    “An Historical Critique of Islam’s Beginnings”

    Debating what Allah allows or doesn’t allow is pointless, when you understand Mohammed has no basis in the archeological evidence. Koran 9:29’s claim that Islam is the “Religion of Truth” is completely false.


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