At the request of some students and friends, I decided to come up with a list of books that I would suggest them to read this summer. Since the query was regarding English books, I have confined my list accordingly. Understanding that most students will read on average no more than four to five books in the coming summer months, I have listed only five books at the moment. Admittedly, not all of these books are on purely “Islamic” topics, but they are all certainly Islamic in nature and are highly beneficial.
My Summer Suggested Reading List of English Books
Muslim statesman and scholar Muhammad Asad tells the story of his road to discovery of Islam and his travels in Muslim lands, including those to Palestine, TransJordan, Arabia, North Africa, Turkey, and Persia, with the Saud family, with the Shah of Iran, and his own spiritual journey.
An important book on Islam and its place in modern society. Indian print does not include the photographs that are in the UK print.
The Road to Makkah is not just a travelogue one picks up to read about the conditions of the people and landscape of country in the distant past; it is an absorbing personal saga of man’s ‘home-coming’ to Islam, the religion of his fitrah (nature).
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change was a groundbreaker when it was first published in 1990, and it continues to be a business bestseller with more than 10 million copies sold. Stephen Covey, an internationally respected leadership authority, realizes that true success encompasses a balance of personal and professional effectiveness, so this book is a manual for performing better in both arenas. His anecdotes are as frequently from family situations as from business challenges.
Before you can adopt the seven habits, you’ll need to accomplish what Covey calls a “paradigm shift”–a change in perception and interpretation of how the world works. Covey takes you through this change, which affects how you perceive and act regarding productivity, time management, positive thinking, developing your “proactive muscles” (acting with initiative rather than reacting), and much more.
This isn’t a quick-tips-start-tomorrow kind of book. The concepts are sometimes intricate, and you’ll want to study this book, not skim it. When you finish, you’ll probably have Post-it notes or hand-written annotations in every chapter, and you’ll feel like you’ve taken a powerful seminar by Covey. –Joan Price
John Pepper President, Procter and Gamble I’ve never known any teacher or mentor on improving personal effectiveness to generate such an overwhelmingly positive reaction….This book captures beautifully Stephen’s philosophy of principles. I think anyone reading it will quickly understand the enormous reaction I and others have had to Dr. Covey’s teachings. — Review
John Perkins started and stopped writing Confessions of an Economic Hit Man four times over 20 years. He says he was threatened and bribed in an effort to kill the project, but after 9/11 he finally decided to go through with this expose of his former professional life. Perkins, a former chief economist at Boston strategic-consulting firm Chas. T. Main, says he was an “economic hit man” for 10 years, helping U.S. intelligence agencies and multinationals cajole and blackmail foreign leaders into serving U.S. foreign policy and awarding lucrative contracts to American business. “Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars,” Perkins writes. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is an extraordinary and gripping tale of intrigue and dark machinations. Think John Le Carré, except it’s a true story.
Perkins writes that his economic projections cooked the books Enron-style to convince foreign governments to accept billions of dollars of loans from the World Bank and other institutions to build dams, airports, electric grids, and other infrastructure he knew they couldn’t afford. The loans were given on condition that construction and engineering contracts went to U.S. companies. Often, the money would simply be transferred from one bank account in Washington, D.C., to another one in New York or San Francisco. The deals were smoothed over with bribes for foreign officials, but it was the taxpayers in the foreign countries who had to pay back the loans. When their governments couldn’t do so, as was often the case, the U.S. or its henchmen at the World Bank or International Monetary Fund would step in and essentially place the country in trusteeship, dictating everything from its spending budget to security agreements and even its United Nations votes. It was, Perkins writes, a clever way for the U.S. to expand its “empire” at the expense of Third World citizens. While at times he seems a little overly focused on conspiracies, perhaps that’s not surprising considering the life he’s led. –Alex Roslin
A Brief Biography Of Shaykh al-Hadith Fazlur Rahman Azmi.
Biographies tend to surface after the death of a notable individual. The mere fact that this biography is before you in the lifetime of its subject- Shaykh Fazlur Rahman Azmi, is an indication of the acceptance with which he has been bestowed. This book will provide the reader with a glimpse of one of the great contemporary scholars of Islam and a leading authority of hadith. Furthermore, it is hoped that this brief work will serve as an inspiration to all: with effort, sacrifice and devotion to Allah, a great deal can be achieved.
Shaykh al-Hadith Fazlur Rahman Azmi (b.1356/1946) has been teaching the Islamic sciences since 1390/1971. He has been teaching Sahih al-Bukhari, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Mishkat al-Masabih and other major books at Madrasah Arabia Islamia, Azaadville (South Africa) since 1406/1986. He is a prolific writer and has authored over forty books. His most famous works include introductions to Sahih al-Bukhari and Sunan al-Tirmidhi. He has also been active in the field of da’wa and tabligh and has benefited many as a distinguished disiple of Shah Hakim Muhammad Akhtar in the field of spiritual reformation (tazkiya).
Praise from distinguished scholars …
‘His mere presence is a great bounty for the people of South Africa.’ – Shaykh Marghub Ahmad Lajpuri
Hold firmly to him … firstly, because of his faith (iman), then because of his love of the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him), then because of his knowledge.’ – Shaykh Zuhayr Ibn Nasir al-Nasir (al-Madinah al-Munawwarah, Saudi Arabia)
‘…of whom the term ”mountain of knowledge” is most appropriate.’ – Mufti Muhammad Faruq Mirathi
A translation of Nadwi’s Tarikhe Da’wat wa Azimat
This book contains biographies of some of the most influential personalities of Islam after the beloved Companions (may Allah be pleased with them): Umar Ibn Abd al-Aziz, Hasan Basri, Nur al-Din Zangi, Salah al-Din Ayyubi, Imam Ghazali, Abdul Qadir Jilani, Ibn al-Jawzi, and ‘Allama Jalal al-Din Rumi among others. According to a scholar who read this book at a later stage in life, he said, “Had I read this book earlier on in life (in youth) I would have had a different perspective of life, and it would have made more sense.”
Mawlana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, himself one of the greats of his time, accomplished the exceptional task of writing the history of Islam through the lives of its great men. The first of these personalities is the caliph of Umar ibn Abdul Aziz and covers biographies up to Mujaddid Alf Thani. The 1st volume covers the revivalists endeavours during the first six centuries of hijrah and the 2nd volume presents luminaries of the eight century after hijrah, and the 2rd volume includes the life of Mujaddid Alf Thani, and the famous men of India.
A very comprehensive book where through the luminaries of Islam, a history of Islam is presented up to the first few centuries. Lives, achievements, thoughts and circumstances of these great men are the subject mater of these three volumes.
Each volume has its own detailed index and bibliography, chronological table and glossary are included in the first two volumes.