The much-awaited Ramadan is finally upon us! A month of fasting and spiritual focus and discipline. A month of rediscovering our belief, of getting closer to our Creator, and ultimately, of seeking His pleasure. It is also the month for reflection and self-improvement and a means to do so is through the simple act of reading.
It goes without saying that the Quran is an absolute must read, not just during Ramadan, but every day of our lives. But if you’re looking for other reads that will assist you in your personal growth quest, then read on for a list of suggestion that we hope will do just that and more 😊
We’ve compiled a list that includes books from various genres (self-improvement, fiction, inspirational and more) for a well-rounded selection to choose from!
1. The Productive Muslim: Where Faith Meets Productivity
As a Muslim, we are encouraged to pursue success in both this world and the hereafter. In fact, we are being called to success five times a day in the azan. And one of the keys to being successful is to be productive. Enter The Productive Muslim. Subtitled “Where faith meets productivity”, Mohammed Faris, the founder of ProductiveMuslim.com, provides a faith-based framework for urban Muslims around the world today. Thought-provoking and action-driven, you’ll find that the practical tips and advice offered in the book are supported by Quranic verses, the latest business and scientific research plus good old-fashioned common sense. Not only will this book propel you to be more productive, but it will also help you to have a clearer focus and direction as a servant of Allah SWT.
Where to get it?
2. Purification of the Heart by Hamza Yusuf
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Based on a poem by Muslim scholar Imam al-Mawlud, Purification of the Heart is a manual on how to purify one’s heart from the many diseases of the heart such as envy, miserliness, arrogance, hatred and wrath. It delves into the religious spirituality of Islam with Hamza Yusuf providing insightful commentary from the Quran and Hadith in bite-sized, well-structured chapters, easy for us to follow and ruminate. A must read (as well as re-read!), this is one book you’ll want to take your time with as you ponder and reflect on its profound advice.
Where to get it?
3. The Messenger: The Meanings of the Life of Muhammad by Tariq Ramadan
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Leading Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan offers an inspiring and accessible biography of Prophet Muhammad SAW in this book of his, The Messenger: The Meanings of the Life of Muhammad. The final prophet, Prophet Muhammad SAW is the ultimate role model be it in his actions, words or teachings. Punctuated with spiritual and philosophical reflections, the book shows how the Prophet’s life and messages can be used as a guide for both Muslims and non-Muslims in today’s modern world.
Where to get it?
4. In the Early Hours by Khurram Murad
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For easy yet inspirational guidance on seeking God’s pleasure, this small gem by Khurram Murrad will do just that and more. Its title refers to its core content – for the believers to wake up a little early before fajr and grasp the many benefits of the early hours. Short and concise, this book reminds us of our purpose in this life by not just focusing on our spiritual development, but to also play an active role in society.
Where to get it?
5. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
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Regardless of time and space, the age-old question of what is the meaning of life continues to persist. Man’s search for meaning recounts the harrowing life experience of psychiatrist Viktor Frankl as a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. It is during this dreadful moment of his life that he found a purpose to life – the conviction that it is not pleasure, but the way we cope with our suffering that will aid us in our pursuit for meaning and propel us to move forward in life. This is a book that is sure to inspire you in finding significance and fulfilment in the very act of living.
6. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
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If you’re looking for a book with a direct, no-nonsense guide on self-growth in your quest to pursuing success, then The Compound Effect is your answer. A publisher of SUCCESS magazine, Darren Hardy shares the fundamental principles on how to get and stay on the path of success. At the crux of it all, it tells you of the influential power of small steps, of how consistent and persistent little habits in our every day’s life have a huge impact in the long run.
7. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Ahmad (Fiction)
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Don’t let its slim size fool you for this book packs a lot into its small space. The novel begins with Changez, a young Pakistani man, recounting his life story to an American visitor in a bustling cafe in Lahore. We then learn that Changez is a Princeton graduate who had a successful career working as an analyst in Manhattan – he was pretty much living the American dream. But then the tragic event of 9/11 happened and following its aftermath, Changez begins to reassess his American life.
Quietly told in brief yet evocative prose, this is a thought-provoking read that will lead you to question the relationship of your identity to your religion and to other “outside” cultures, among others.
8. The Minaret by Leila Aboulela (Fiction)
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Providing a glimpse into the life of an immigrant in the increasingly multicultural London, Minaret tells the story of Najwa, a young upper-class Sudanese woman who migrated to London due to a political coup involving her father. Once leading a secular privilege life back in Khartoum, she is left penniless in London and starts to work as a maid. Thus begins her spiritual journey to finding contentment and love in the new environment. You’ll find Najwa’s struggles as an immigrant and her return to religion for solace to be both moving and relatable, especially in this today’s modern world.
Where to get it?
9. Siri Jalanan by Teme Abdullah (Malay)
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If you’re a loyal following of Malay novels (and well-acquainted with the Malaysian Twitter scene), then the name Teme Abdullah is not a stranger to you. Based on his own experiences during his studies abroad, the Siri Jalanan series is, at the heart of it, a motivation book. Filled with his own life story, reflections, social commentary and a small dose of Islamic advice, his writing tugs at people’s heart for its simple yet mature way of looking at things. Inspiring and heart-warming, this is a series that will not only benefit students who are struggling with their studies but also those who are seeking to get more out of life.
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