I have just received the book “al-Adkhar” by imam an-Nawawi from Dar al-Minhaj (http://www.alminhaj.com/) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I bought it from HUbooks in the UK (http://www.hubooks.com/). Last year I got another copy of the same book from a bookseller in the Netherlands but from a different publisher: Dar al-Fajr li’t-Turath, which is behind al-Azhar University in Cairo (as it says inside); it can be bought at Kitaabun in the UK. What struck me immediately are the big differences between these versions:
1.) The volume or size. The version from Dar al-Minhaj has 736 pages and the version from Dar al-Fajr (in short) has only got 459 pages. That is a huge difference (almost 300 pages) and I wonder how this is possible. What happened? The Dar al-Minhaj version is twice the size -and weight- of the Dar al-Fajr version. Only a careful study of the books will reveal this. Noteworthy is the Dar al-Minhaj version has more and extensive footnotes (with the commentary of Ibn ‘Allan) but this doesn’t explain the difference of almost 300 pages.
2.) The print – style. While the Dar al-Minhaj version is printed in a classical style with a black cover with golden letters etc. the Dar al-Fajr version seems to be ‘popularized’ by the bright colours (turquoise, green and yellow) and funny Arabic letters in calligraphy to make it more attractive for the eye but it looks cheap actually. (They did the same with their version of the Muwatta of imam Malik.)
3.) The Dar al-Fajr version has a tahqiq -as it says on the cover- done by a certain muhaqqiq called Hamid Ahmad at-Tahir al-Basyuni (?). The Dar al-Minhaj version has no (complete) tahqiq (although at the end there seem to be some remarks on the authenticty of several ahadith under the title al-Fawa’id al-Bahiyyah wa an-Nukta al-Mardiyyah ‘ala al-Adhkar an-Nawawiyyah). What one immediately notices in the footnotes is the reference to shaykh al-Albani in the Dar al-Fajr version. The muhaqqiq seems to rely on him for grading some of the ahadith quoted in the book. Could this tahqiq be a reason for the difference in pages? When one does a search on the internet one comes across articles that speak of tampering with this book for example where it concerns visiting the grave of the Prophet s.a.w.s. and probably this is not the only issue.
4.) Both books begin and end with the same things, apart from some distinctive things like a biography of imam an-Nawawi in the Dar al-Fajr version and scans from the handwritten copy of the book in the Dar al-Minhaj version.
5.) The big benefit of the Dar al-Minhaj version is that is has full tashkil which facilitates reading.
So we can conclude there is most probably some content missing from the Dar al-Fajr version. This is a task for the researchers amongst us. Questions that need to be answered are: what exactly is left out in the Dar al-Fajr version and most importantly why? It doesn’t seem to do justice to the original work by imam an-Nawawi rahimahullah. The danger is not that someone undertook a tahqiq of the book but the fact that the muhaqqiq ‘filtered’ the book or made a mukhtasar of it, fooling people to believe it is the actual book, and leaving things deliberately out.
To end: there are more versions of this magnificent book. One of these versions is the one by Dar al-Bayan at-Turath which can be downloaded here: http://read.kitabklasik.co.cc/2009/12/al-adzkar-al-muntakhabah-min-kalami.html This version has 533 pages. Still less than the Dar al-Minhaj version. And there is the version by Dar Ibn Hazm which contains 741 pages (See here: http://www.albalagh.net/bookstore/?action=view&item=0782).
A very small part of the book has been translated to English, including audio, and can be downloaded for 1 pound on the Deenport and Kitaba website.
Last but not least: an English translation of this book will be published soon by Turath Publishing. It is also said shaykh Nu Ha Mim Keller is working on an English translation, w’Allahu ‘alam.