My Lord! Increase me in knowledge. – Quran
Books are the best source of knowledge – which is critical to have in the twenty first century. We are all immersed into different cultures and religions, meaning having an understanding of them is vital if we are to coexist. I have a library of books in my home, so narrowing these down to just 5 was a tough task. These books do not contain ‘basic’ Islam, but they are quite complex and detailed. If the reader is not acquainted with basic Islam, then I would suggest they read up on this online. Both Muslims and non-Muslims will benefit from these reads, meaning they are a MUST. Here are 5 Islamic books that everyone should read.
1. “The Ideal Muslimah” by Dr. Muhammad Ali al-Hashimi.
This book is a great representation of how a Muslim woman should act. The characteristics that she is expected to have are very obvious in showing that a Muslimah (female Muslim) is empowered. It also shows that Islam is a very peaceful religion, that follows a merciful philosophy of life. The book is easily purchasable, and can be found almost anywhere online. I bought this off Amazon for £15.
The book consists of ten chapters (the Muslim woman and): her Lord, her own self, her parents, her husband, her children, her in-laws, her relatives, her neighbours, her friends and her community/society. It is a very detailed guidebook, and I myself have found it enlightening. Every point made is supported by either a Hadith or a quote from the Quran. As a result, the reader is very assured that the author’s personal opinions aren’t embedded into the book, but it is solely Islamic guidance based on reliable evidence. I really enjoyed reading this book because it explains each aspect of a Muslimah’s life and the layout makes it easy to read. There is also a male version called “The Ideal Muslim” which speaks for itself. I definitely recommend this book to a Muslimah aiming to improve herself, and also to a non-Muslim trying to understand the role and importance of women in Islam.
2.”101 ways to concentrate in prayer”by Dr. Ali Al-Hilli.
I would recommend this book particularly to a Muslim who is struggling with concentration in prayer and obtaining a strong connection with God. It may also be immensely beneficial for a revert or someone who has recently started praying. The title speaks for itself. There are 101 ways that have been tested, to improve one’s concentration in salah (prayer). These methods are categorised within 6 chapters: prerequisites, preparation, prayer, consequence, spiritual upliftment, medical and physical activities. Some of the ways include imagining you’re writing what you speak and contemplating the exegesis of the surahs. This can be bought off Amazon for £7.
3. “The Messenger” by Tariq Ramadan.
Ramadan gives us a thorough insight to the man whom 1.7 billion people praise daily. He allows us to get personal with the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, all through a mere 200 pages. This book begins right at the start of his life. It takes the reader on a journey through every aspect of the Prophet’s life, and allows one to really understand this great man. Personally, I feel this book has allowed me to connect with the Prophet and discover things I never knew about him. I would recommend this book to anyone who is willing to understand the essence of Islam. Overall, this is an extraordinary book about an extraordinary man. It is so worth the read. It’s available on Amazon for £7.
4. “Tuhaf Al-Uqoul” by Abu Muhammed Al-Harrani.
The title translates to “the masterpiece of intellects” which is a very fitting title. This 600 paged book is a source of wisdom and guidance for all. The book is a collection of maxims from the Prophets Muhammad, Moses and Jesus and 11 of the Imams. The writing is very complex and honestly, it took me a couple reads of each section to fully comprehend it. There is a lot of wise sayings such as “no poverty harsher than ignorance”. It also contains some history such as an extended story of Adam and Eve. Just like The Ideal Muslimah, this book explains the characteristics a Muslim should have and a lot of information can be extracted from it. As I echoed before, this is a complicated and confusing book, but it is definitely worth the headaches. All the wisdom is just so enlightening and eye-opening, and can be applied to everyday life. You can purchase this on Amazon for £14.
5. “After the Prophet” by Lesley Hazelton.
This is one of my all-time favourite Islamic books. Hazelton is not a Muslim which I feel gives the book a USP. She gives a fresh perspective on the Shia-Sunni split. Personally I feel the book doesn’t contain any bias because the author is neither Shia nor Sunni. She tells the story of this epic split in a mezmorising way, that it grips you. The first time I read this, I was reading it at the dinner table and in lessons. It’s such an engaging book and the information it contains is very detailed. All her points that she puts across are supported by evidence, and she writes to inform – not to persuade. Hazelton has no personal interest in the Shia-Sunni split, except to the narrate this story. The topic itself is a really interesting one. Hazelton gets to the point and explains why there was division within Islam after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. However, the reader may get to the conclusion that Muslims are equal and that sects are trivial matters. As insightful as this was, I felt the book tried to unite Muslims more than creating division. I recommend this book to everyone on the basis of it’s information and how it’s written. This should be read by all. This is easily available on Amazon for £8.