My Necronomicon Files co-author John Gonce has been working with Ishtar Publishing, which has issued a few books of magic translated from the Arabic. I’ve been interested in such works for some time, as there’s little information about them – even getting material from the Picatrix has been like pulling teeth. To get a sample, I ordered Red Magick: Grimoire of Djinn Spells and Sorceries, translated from the works of Al-Toukhi (also known as Abd al-Fattah al-Sayyid al-Tukhi), an Egyptian sorcerer who apparently wrote multiple books on the topic of magic.
The book presents us with a wide variety of spells, attributed to the Red King of the Djinn. Most of these turn out to be “love” spells, which are actually better described as lust spells, though a few sprinkled throughout are intended for dream revelations, invisibility, the pleasure of rulers, and other such causes. Most are strictly Muslim in ideology and content, with great emphasis placed upon names of God, the recitation of particular suras from the Koran, and proclamations of the majesty of Muhammed and his prophet. Nonetheless, a reader familiar with the magical papyri or Jewish magic will soon recognize similar techniques and phrases in al-Toukhi’s work. Some spells refer to characteres, those line-and-loop designs that have passed down from antiquity, but most writing is of holy names, passages from the Koran, and magical squares of various designs.
I’m not able to evaluate the translation, but I found very few odd grammatical constructions, other than a tendency to drop initial articles (a, an, the) from sentences. What’s described above is essentially what you get – there’s no notes, commentary, or even an introduction to place this book in some sort of broader context. I think that in particular would have been useful, as it might have helped to place this book in a particular historic setting and made it more compelling to readers.
All told, I think the book’s price tag – $55 without discount – is quite steep for those interested in the topic, but it does constitute one of the few English-language publications in this field. If you’re interested in how magic is practiced in the Middle East to this day, and not so much the earlier model provided in the Picatrix or Thabit ibn Qurra, you might pick up a copy of this book.