by Khalid Blankinship

[This is the second part of a post uploaded on Tabsir on May 30; to read the earlier post, click here.]

When we look for ten or more best books to use to teach about Islam, I would first of all recommend that all blatant, blaming propaganda be completely excised from consideration, including Bernard Lewis’s book mentioned by House. Secondly, while I would not want to exclude books by non-Muslims that are better, and while I myself in my introductory course use Carl Ernst (Following Muhammad), while my wife in her introductory course uses Denny (Introduction to Islam, 3rd. ed.) and Bloom/Blair (Islam), I would recommend that books by Muslims also be included in such a list, all the more so as these books are little known among non-Muslims and as Muslims should be accorded the right to represent themselves just as Jews and Christians are. The single book of this kind my wife and I have used most consistently over the years is Sachiko Murata and William C. Chittick’s The Vision of Islam (New York: Paragon House, 1994). A list of books by Muslims mostly classifiable in the classical genres of literature follows below. This list includes books that are not suitable for classroom use, such as some large multivolume reference compendia. Also, some of these books are not in the kind of English acceptable to many American English speakers. So it might be viewed more as a list of Muslim resource books. It contains no works on modern history or politics.

A List of Recommended Books on Islam in General
by Khalid Yahya Blankinship

1. Qur’ân Translations, Commentaries, and Studies:

Asad, Muhammad (1318-1412/1900-1992). The Message of the Qur’ân. Leiden and London: E. J. Brill, 1979. Reprinted at Gibraltar: Dar al-Andalus, 1980, with revised edition 1984. x + 998 pp. New ed. with transliteration: The Book Foundation, 2004. 1,100 pp.

*al-Ghazâlî, Abû Hâmid Muhammad b. Muhammad (450-505/1058-1111). The Recitation and Interpretation of the Qur’an: Al-Ghazâlî’s Theory. Translated by Muhammad Abul Quasem. London and Kuala Lumpur: Kegan Paul, 1979. Reprinted 1982, 1983, 1984. 121 pp.

al-Ghazâlî, Muhammad (1335-1416/1917-1996). Journey through the Qur’an: The Content and Contexts of the Surahs. London: Dar al-Taqwa, Ltd. 580 pp.

*Ibn Taymiyyah, Taqî al-Dîn Ahmad (661-728/1263-1328). An Introduction to the Exegesis of the Qur’ân. Translated by Muhammad ‘Abdul Haq Ansari. Riyadh: Islamic University of Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud, 1989. 72 pp. Reprinted as An Introduction to the Principles of Tafseer. Al-Hidaayah Publishers, 1414/1993. 65 pp.

Mawdûdî, Abul A‘la (1321-1399/1903-1979). Towards Understanding the Qur’ân: English Version of Tafhîm al-Qur’ân. Translated and edited by Zafar Ishaq Ansari. Leicester: The Islamic Foundation, 1408-/1988-. 7 vols. so far, about 10 planned when complete.

Özek, Ali, Nureddin Uzunoglu, Tevfik Rüstü Topuzoglu, and Mehmet Maksutoglu. The Holy Qur’an with English Translation. 1st ed. Istanbul: Ilmî Nasriyat Iç ve Dis Ticaret A. S., 1992. xvi + 623 pp. 2nd revised edition, 1994. 3rd revised edition, 1996. xvi + 623 pp. Subsequent editions evidently not revised, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003. Another, revised edition of this work is The Majestic Quran: An English Rendition of Its Meanings. Translated by Ali Özek, Nureddin Uzunoglu, Tevfik Rüstü Topuzoglu and Mehmet Maksutoglu. Edited by Abdal Hakim Murad, Mostafa al-Badawi and Uthman Hutchinson. 632 pp.

Pirzada, Shams (d. 1420/1999). Dawatul Quran: Arabic Text, Translation and Commentary. Translated by Abdul Karim Shaikh (d. 1416/1995) and Sultan Akhter. Bombay: Idara Dawatul Quran, 1991-1996. 3 vols. [20] + 2386 + lx pp.

Shafî‘, Mufti Muhammad (1315-1396/1897-1976). Ma‘ârif ul-Qur’ân. Translated by Muhammad Hasan Askari (d. 1397/1977), Muhammad Shamim (d. 1424/2002), Muhammad Wali Raazi, Muhammad Ishrat Husain, and Ahmed Khalîl Azîz. Revised by Muhammad Taqi ‘Usmani (b. 1362/1943). Karachi: Maktaba Darul-Uloom Karachi, 1419/1998-1425/2004. 8 vols. xxv + 6,086 pp.

Umm Muhammad (b. 1359/1940). The Qur’ân: Arabic Text with Corresponding English Meanings. Edited by Saheeh International. Jeddah: Abul-Qasim Publishing House, 1997. ix + 943 pp.

Von Denffer, Ahmad (b. 1368/1949). ‘Ulûm al-Qur’ân: An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’ân. Leicester: The Islamic Foundation, 1403/1983, reprinted 1985, 1989. 189 pp. Revised ed., 202 pp.

*Waliyullah [al-Dihlawî], Shah (1114-1176/1703-1762). al-Fauz al-Kabir fi Usul al-Tafsir: The Principles of Quran Commentary. Translated by G. N. Jalbani (b. 1332/1914). 1st edition. Islamabad: National Hijra Council, 1405/1985. ix + 93 pp.

2. Hadîth and Its Principles:

‘Abdul Hameed al-Halabee al-Atharee, ‘Alee Hasan ‘Alee. Forty Hadeeth on the Islamic Personality. Translated by Aboo Talhah Daawood ibn Ronald Burbank. Birmingham, UK: Al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution, 1416/1995. 67 pp.

Fazlul Karim, editor, commentator, and translator. Al-Hadis: An English Translation and Commentary of Mishkat-ul-Masabih. Vol. I. Calcutta: Mohammadi Press, 1938. Vol. II. Calcutta, 1939. Vol. III. Calcutta, 1940. Vol. IV. Calcutta, 1939. 2nd ed. Dhaka: Azifa Khatun, 1963-1964; New Delhi: Islamic Book Service, 1988-1989; Lahore: The Bookhouse, no date; Karachi: Darul Ishaat, 1994. Vol. I, xvi + 738 pp. Vol. II, 780 pp. Vol. III, [vi] + 818 pp. Vol. IV, [vi] + 608 pp. Total 4 vols. xxviii + 2944 pp.

*Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalânî, Ahmad ibn ‘Alî (773-852/1372-1449). Forty Ahadith (Honoring the Muslim, Refraining from Harming and Thinking Evil of Him). Translated by Assad N. Busool. Chicago: Kazi Publications, 1982. 95 pp.

Ibrahim, Ezzedin (b. 1347/1928), and ‘Abd al-Wadûd Denys Johnson-Davies (b. 1340/1922), translators. Forty Hadith Qudsi (al-Arba‘ûn al-qudsiyyah). Damascus: The Holy Quran Publishing House, 1980. 151 pp. Many reprints, some of which are unattributed to place or publisher. and at

*al-Mundhirî, ‘Abd al-‘Azîm ibn ‘Abd al-Qawî (581-656/1185-1258). Forty Traditions: On Assisting the Muslim and Giving Support to the Troubled. Translated by Assad Nimer Busool. Reprinted Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Igram Publishers, 1984. xiv + 40 pp. + 63 pp. of Arabic text.

*al-Nawawi, Muhyî al-Dîn Abû Zakariyyâ’ Yahyâ ibn Sharaf al-Dîn (631-676/1233-1277). The Complete Forty Hadith. Translated by Abdassamad Clarke. 1st ed. London: Ta-Ha Publishers, Ltd., 1419/1998. 147 pp. 2nd ed., 1421/2000. ix + 158 pp. Another version at and at

Usmani, Muhammad Taqi (b. 1362/1943). The Authority of the Sunnah. Reprinted New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, no date. 126 pp.

Siddîqî, Muhammad Zubayr. Hadîth Literature: Its Origin, Development and Special Features. Edited and revised by Abdal Hakim Murad (b. 1380/1960). Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1993. xiv + 174 pp.

3. Fiqh (Islamic Law and Jurisprudence):

al-Âbî, Sâlih ‘Abd al-Samî‘ (early 14th/20th century). al-Thamr al-dânî fî taqrîb al-ma‘ânî: Sharh Risâlat Ibn Abî Zayd al-Qayrawânî (922-996). Tr. by Aisha Bewley.

*al-Akhdarî, ‘Abd al-Rahmân (d. 920/1514). al-Mukhtasar. Tr. by Aisha Bewley.

*Ibn Naqîb al-Misrî, Ahmad (702-769/1302-1368). The Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law. Translated by Noah Ha Mim Keller (b. 1373/1954). Dubai: Modern Printing Press, 1991. xxii + 1232 pp. Reprinted Evanston, IL: Sunna Press, 1993. Revised ed., 1994. Reprinted in smaller size with same pagination Beltsville, MD: Amana Publications, 1997.

*Ibn Rushd, Abû al-Walîd Muhammad ibn Ahmad (520-595/1126-1198). The Distinguished Jurist’s Primer: A Translation of Bidâyat Al-Mujtahid. Translated by Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee (b. 1364/1945). Reviewed by Muhammad Abdul Rauf. Reading, UK: Garnet Publishing Limited, 1994-1996. 2 vols. 1335 pp.

*Al-Qayrawânî, ‘Abdallâh Ibn-Abî Zayd (309-386/922-996). The Risâla: Treatise on Mâlikî Law. Translated and annotated by Fr. Joseph Kenny. Minna, Nigeria: Islamic Education Trust, 1992. viii + 245 pp.

al-Qaradâwî, Yûsuf (b. 1344/1926). The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam (Al-Halal wal-Haram fil Islam). Translated by Kamal El-Helbawy, M. Moinuddin Siddiqui, and Syed Shukry. Translation reviewed by Ahmad Zaki Hammad. Indianapolis: American Trust Publications. xii + 355 pp. Reprinted Delhi: Hindustani Publications, c. 1986; also Lahore: Islamic Publications (Pvt.), Ltd., 1988. Also published as Halal and Haram in Islam. Delhi: Albooks, 1988.

Sabiq, as-Sayyid (d. 1420/2000). Fiqh us-Sunnah. Translated by Muhammad Sa‘eed Dabas, Jamal al-Din M. Zarabozo, ‘Abdul-Majid Khokhar, and M. S. Kayani. Indianapolis: American Trust Publications, 1410-1413/1989-1992. 5 vols. lxxv + 807 pp. Reprinted at Riyadh: International Islamic Publishing House. Also at Jeddah: Maktabat al-Khadamat-e al-Hadithah, 1407/1987 with the same pagination.

4. Introductions to Islam, Basic Practices, and ‘Aqîdah:

Akef, Mahmoud A., ed. Islam in Focus: Introduction to Islam. Tr. by Noor ad-Deen Ingalls and Munir Zilanawala. 2nd ed. Cairo: Safeer International Publishing, 2003. 158 pp.

*al-Bayhaqî, Ahmad ibn al-Husayn (384-458/994-1066). The Seventy-seven Branches of Faith. Abridged by ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmân al-Qazwînî (653-699/1255-1300). Translated by ‘Abdal-Hakim Murad (T. J. Winter). UK: Quilliam Press, 1990. xiii + 65 pp. Reprinted with some revision but same pagination, 1996.

*al-Ghazâlî, Abû Hâmid Muhammad b. Muhammad (450-505/1058-1111). The Book of Knowledge: A Translation, with Notes, of the Kitâb al-‘ilm, from the Ihyâ’ ‘ulûm al-dîn. Translated by Nabih Amin Faris. Lahore: Shaykh Muhammad Ashraf, 1962. 2nd revised edition, 1966. 240 pp. Later reprint: The Book of Knowledge: Being a Translation with Notes of the Kitab al-‘Ilm of al-Ghazzali’s Ihyâ’ ‘Ulûm al-Dîn. Translated by Nabih Amin Faris. Lahore: Shaykh Muhammad Ashraf, 1962. Reprinted 1991. vii + 246 pp.

*al-Ghazâlî, Abû Hâmid Muhammad b. Muhammad (450-505/1058-1111). The Faith and Practice of al-Ghazâlî. Translated by W. Montgomery Watt. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1953. Reprint: Chicago: Kazi Publications, 1982. Reprint New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, 1996. 155 pp.

*al-Ghazâlî, Abû Hâmid Muhammad b. Muhammad (450-505/1058-1111). The Foundations of the Articles of Faith: Being a Translation with Notes of the Kitâb qawâ’id al-‘aqâ’id of al-Ghazzâlî’s ‘Ihyâ’ ‘ulûm al-dîn’. Translated by Nabih Amin Faris. Lahore: Shaykh Muhammad Ashraf, 1963. Reprinted 1969, 1974. 144 pp.

Haneef, Suzanne. What Everyone Should Know about Islam and Muslims. 1st edition. Chicago: Kazi Publications and Library of Islam, 1979. 12th edition, 1995. x + 202 pp.

Islahi, Sadruddin (1334-1419/1916-1998). Islam at a Glance. Translated by M. Zafar Iqbal. 1st. ed. Delhi: Markazi Maktaba Islami, 1978. viii + 231 pp.

Lemu, B. Aisha. Tawhid and Fiqh (Belief and Jurisprudence) (Junior Islamic Studies, Book 1). Minna, Nigeria: Islamic Education Trust, 1988. 192 pp.

Murata, Sachiko (b. 1362/1943), and William C. Chittick. The Vision of Islam. New York: Paragon House, 1994. xxxix + 368 pp.

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (b. 1352/1933). The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2002. xiv + 338 pp.

*al-Nawawî, Yahyâ ibn Sharaf (631-676/1233-1277). Al-Maqasid: Imam Nawawi’s Manual of Islam. Translated and annotated with appendices by Noah Ha Mim Keller (b. 1373/1954). Evanston: Sunna Books, 1994. xiii + 134 pp.

Nomani, Mohammad Manzoor (1323-1418/1905-1997). Islamic Faith and Practice. Translated by Mohammad Asif Kidwai (b. 1919). Lucknow: Academy of Islamic Research and Publications, 1962. xvi + 168 pp. Reprinted 1969, 1973, 1977.

Robinson, Neal (b. 1367/1948). Islam: A Concise Introduction. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 1999. xvii + 195 pp.

Siddiqui, Muhammad Abdul Aleem. Elementary Teachings of Islam. N. p.: n. p., n. d. (but 3rd ed. before 1373/1954).

*al-Tahâwî, Abû Ja‘far [Ahmad] (239-321/853-933). The Fundamentals of Islamic Creed. Commentary by Ali Ibn Abi-Al-‘Izz Al-Adhru‘i. Abridged by Abdul Mun‘im Saleh Al-‘Ali Al-‘Izzi. Translated by Syed Iqbal Zaheer. 2nd ed. Scarborough, ON: Al-Attique Publications, 2000. [x] + xvii + 255 pp.

Waines, David. Introduction to Islam. 2nd ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003. xii + 367 pp.

5. Zuhd, Ethics, and Spirituality:

*Birgîvî, Mehmet Efendi (929-981/1522-1573). The Path of Muhammad: A Book on Islamic Morals and Ethics. Translated by Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi al-Halveti (b. 1344/1926). Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, Inc., 2005. xv + 351 pp.

*al-Ghazâlî, Abû Hâmid Muhammad b. Muhammad (450-505/1058-1111) Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum-id-Din, or The Revival of Religious Learnings. Translated by Fazlul Karim. Dacca: F. K. Islam Mission, 1971. Reprinted as Imam Ghazzali’s Ihya Ulum-id-Din (The Book of Religious Learnings). Reprint: New Delhi: Islamic Book Service, 1992. Revised edition, 2005. 4 vols. 1318 pp. Vol. 1, 288 pp. Vol. 2, 244 pp. Vol. 3, 319 pp. Vol. 4, 467 pp.

*al-Haddâd, ‘Abd Allâh ibn ‘Alawî (1044-1132/1634-1720). The Book of Assistance. Tr. by Mostafa al-Badawi. UK: Quilliam Press. 142 pp.

*al-Haddâd, ‘Abd Allâh ibn ‘Alawî (1044-1132/1634-1720). Two Treatises: Mutual Reminding and Good Manners. Tr. by Mostafa al-Badawi. Chicago: Starlatch Press, 2002. xiii + 81 pp.

Islâhî, Amîn Ahsan (1322-1418/1904-1997). How to Attain True Piety and Righteousness in Islam. Tr. by Sharif Ahmed Khan. Safat, Kuwait: Islamic Book Publishers, 1982. 2nd ed., 1987. [xii] + 242 pp.

*al-Jîlânî, ‘Abd al-Qâdir (470-561/1077-1166). Revelations of the Unseen (Futûh al-Ghaib): A Collection of Seventy-eight Discourses. Translated by Muhtar Holland (b. 1354/1935). Houston, TX: Al-Baz Publishing, Inc., 1992. xx + 192 pp.

*al-Jîlânî, ‘Abd al-Qâdir (470-561/1077-1166). The Secret of Secrets: The Manifestation of Lights (Kitâb Sirr al-Asrâr wa Mazhar al-Anwâr). Tr. by Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi al-Halveti (b. 1344/1926). Reprint Delhi: Muslim Media, n.d. xlix + 122 pp.

6. Prophet’s Biography and Other History:

‘Azzâm, ‘Abd al-Rahmân (1310-1396/1893-1976). The Eternal Message of Muhammad. Translated by Caesar E. Farah. Introduction by Vincent Sheean. New York: Devin-Adair, 1964. Reprinted Mentor Books, 1965. 254 pp. Reprinted Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society, 1993. xxii + 297 pp.

*Ibn Ishâq, Muhammad (d. 151/768). Ibn Ishaq’s The Life of Muhammad. Translated by Alfred Guillaume (1305-1385/1888-1965). London: Oxford University Press, 1955. Reprinted Karachi, 1967, 1978. 815 pp.

Lings, Martin (Abu Bakr Siraj al-Din) (1327-1426/1909-2005). Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources. London: Islamic Texts Society and George Allen & Unwin, 1983. 359 pp. Reprinted 1991.

*Ibn Khallikân, Ahmad ibn Muhammad (608-681/1211-1282). Ibn Khallikan’s Biographical Dictionary: Wafayat al-a‘yan wa anba’ abna’ al-zaman (M. de Slane’s English Translation). Edited and annotated by S. Moinul Haq (b. 1319/1901). Karachi: Pakistan Historical Society, 1961-1976 or later. Reprint New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, 1996. 7 vols., of which Vol. II consists of two separate parts in the original edition, though these are combined in the Kitab Bhavan reprint. li + 2988 pp.

*Ibn Sa‘d, Muhammad (168-230/784-845). Ibn Sa‘d’s Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir. Translated by S. Moinul Haq (b. 1319/1901) and H. K. Ghazanfar. Karachi: Pakistan Historical Society, 1967- . Reprint: New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, n. d. 2 vols. xxxviii + 1097 pp. Vol. I, xxiii + 601 pp. Vol. II, xv + 496 pp.

* indicates a text originally authored before 1275/1859.

Khalid Blankinship
Temple University