Verily, the angels spread out their wings for the seeker of knowledge out of their delight for him, so that he walks over them.
– Al Nawawi

Overviews of Islam

Hammudah al Ati., Islam in Focus
Very readable and thorough overview of Islam designed for Western audiences

Roger Du Pasquier., Unveiling Islam
Philosophical discussion of Islam and it merits in the modern world, penned by a non-Muslim

Abdul Wadud Shalobi., Islam: Religion of life (edited by Abdul Hakim Murad)
Perhaps the best short introduction to Islam for non-Muslims and indeed Muslims, with a sophisticated and deep style

Gai Eaton., Islam and the Destiny of Man
Inspirational book on Islam, written by a highly educated English convert to Islam

Quran and Tafsir

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Vol.s 1-10)
Authoritative interpretation of the verses of the Qur’an

Hadith, Sunnah and Seerah

Imam Nawawi., Riyad-us-Saliheen (Volumes 1& 2)
Comprehensive collection of – and modern commentary upon – a large number of the sayings of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him)

Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo., Commentary on the Forty Hadith of Al-Nawawi (3 Volumes)
Extremely rigorous commentary on Imam Nawawi’s famous collection of ahadith

Martin Lings., Muhammad
Wonderfully readable biography of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him)

Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri., The Sealed Nectar
Original Arabic won first prize in a world-wide competition for a modern biography of the Prophet (pbuh). Still a great read in translation

Karen Armstrong., Muhammad
Very interesting biography that achieves a great deal in placing the life of the Prophet (pbuh) in its historical, social and economic context

Fiqh and Prayer

Al-Shafi’i’s Risala
Important work by Imam Shafi’i outlining the fundamental principles of Islamic jurisprudence

Taleem ul-Haq
Basic hanafi fiqh guide, covering a wide range of matters

Ashraf Ali Thanwi., Heveanly Ornaments
Indispensable hanafi text covering all of the aspects regarding the management of a household

As-Sayyid Sabiq., Fiqh Us Sunnah: Rulings for Everyday Islamic Worship (Volumes 1-5)
Well-known series of five books outlining Islamic positions and rulings on basic practices

Naqib Misri & Nuh Ha Mim Keller., Reliance of the Traveller
In-depth exposition of Shafi’i law, translated and annotated from the 14 th century original

Muhammad Albaani., The Prophet’s Prayer Described
Detailed exposition on the Prophet’s prayer, relying on original sources


Akbar Shah Najeebabadi., The History of Islam (Volumes 1-3)
Extensive and very readable history based upon the works of famous writers At-Tabari, Ibn Athir, Masudi, Ibn Khaldun and Suyuti

Ibn Kathir., Stories of the Prophets
Fascinating account of the 25 prophets mentioned in the Qur’an

Abdul Wahid Hamid., Companions of the Prophet (Volumes 1 & 2)
Excellent collection of short biographies on the companions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), providing wonderfully personal insight

Ibn Batutah., Travels of Ibn Batutah (edited by Tom Mackintosh) 
Book chronicling the 29 years of travels undertaken by a truly intrepid Muslim traveller of the 13th century

John Esposito., Oxford History of Islam
A wide-ranging and authoritative account by the most well-respected non-Muslim authority on Islam in the world

Comparative Religion

Ahmad Deedat., The Choice (Volumes 1 & 2)
Polemical comparison of Islam and Christianity, and of the proofs of Islam in the Bible

Huston Smith., The World’s Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions
Regarded as a masterpiece of its type in exploring the essential elements and teachings of the world’s predominant faiths

Muslim Character and Personality

Abu Ghuddah., Islamic Manners
Outlaying of various essential adab (manners) in Islam

Imam Ghazali., On the Manners Relating to Eating
Wonderful illustration of the comprehensiveness of Islam and the possibility of virtue in every action, even the most simple.

Imam Ghazali., The Remembrance Of Death And The Afterlife
A classic discussion of death stressing the importance of its contemplation and the stages to follow our inevitable end


Abdur Rahim., Arabic Course for English-Speaking Students (Volumes 1-3)
Renowned ‘Madinah’ books outlining a three-volume Arabic course


Khurram Murad., In the Early Hours: Reflections on Spiritual and Self-Development (edited by Riza Mohammed)
Collection of inspirational advice on the subject of spiritual and self development

Imam Ghazali., Dear Beloved Son
Enduring and essential book offering 24 invaluable pieces of advice

Imam Ghazali., The Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship
Covers the dimensions of Islamic rituals which are essential to the fulfilment of their inner quality

Imam Ghazali., Disciplining the Soul
Details the sophisticated spiritual techniques needed during the Muslim’s constant struggle against his/her ego

Muhammad Ghazali., Remembrance and Prayer 
A short excursion into the importance of dhikr and du’a

Contemporary Issues

Seyyed Hossein Nasr., A Young Muslim’s Guide to the Modern World
Very readable exposition of the teachings of Islam and their relevance to the context of the modern world

Tariq Ramadan., Western Muslims and the Future of Islam
Seminal book that explores the balance between staying true to underlying principles while participating fully in the civic life of Western secular societies

Tariq Ramadan., To Be A European Muslim 
Superbly written global overview that helps in understanding the underlying influences and tensions upon this new community


Ibn Khaldun., The Muqadimmah
An enduring book written by the father of the modern social sciences in the 14 th century

Imam Ghazali., The Incoherence of the Philosophers
Enduring refutation of theology and metaphysics

Ibn Taymiyyah’s Essay on Servitude
A discussion by one of Islam’s most famous scholars, on striving to attain the virtuous and noble status of being a slave of Allah

Sulaiman Al-Ashqar., The World of Jinn & Devils
Fascinating discussion of the notion of spirits in Islam