Build a Foundation of Faith: Top 5 Books for New Muslims

… Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do. (Quran 58:11)

The beauty of Islam penetrated your heart and, through the infinite wisdom of Allah Almighty, He chose you to be a Muslim. As a new Muslim, you’re like a blank canvas just waiting to be ‘painted’ in the beautiful colors of faith, obedience and righteousness.

This time in your life is both precious and precarious. Tread carefully, as you begin to learn more about your faith and seek knowledge.

It’s easy to find credible sources of Islamic knowledge. However, it’s even easier to find unreliable sources of information that appear Islamic but are really steeped in disbelief and shirk, or ascribing partners to Allah.

Fortify your faith with the top five books to quench your thirst for knowledge and help construct a solid foundation of learning that you can build upon over the course of a lifetime.

1- The Clear Quran – Dr. Mustafa Khattab (Translator)

The Noble Quran, in all its splendid glory, was delivered to the Prophet Muhammad in Arabic. In over 1,400 years, not a single letter has been changed. As Allah Almighty promises the believers:

Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian. (Quran 15:9)

For non-Arabic speaking Muslims, however, the Quran cannot be read in its purest form of Arabic. A translation of the Quran is the only way a new Muslim can learn about the Final Revelation without first learning the Arabic language.

Quite notably, it’s difficult to translate the language of the Quran into English because there is a risk that something might get lost in the translation.

For example, there are many Arabic words that don’t exist in English and require the use of several words to grasp the meaning in Arabic. It’s important for new Muslims to find a good translation of the Quran. Also to strive, one day, to learn it in its original form of Arabic.

The Clear Quran” is an easy to read and understand English translation of the Quran. The translator Dr. Mustafa Khattab “…made use of the greatest and most celebrated works of old and modern tafsir (Quran commentaries)…” in compiling this Quranic translation. He also took great care to translate the Arabic verses of the Quran into the best English translation possible. Several Imams across North America reviewed it to offer their own input and approvals prior to publication.

2- The Sealed Nectar – Safiur Rahman Al Mubarakpuri

To know the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is to love him. He was the greatest man that ever lived and was a Prophet of God, statesman, orator, teacher, commander, husband, father and so much more. One only has to look back towards Islamic history to learn about Him.

There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful. (Quran 9:128)

The book the “The Sealed Nectar” is a detailed autobiography of the Prophet Muhammad from the story of his birth all the way through until his death. It beautifully outlines his life and all the struggles he faced to fulfill his Prophethood. The reader will never forget the remarkable life and journey of the Prophet.

3- The Prophet’s Prayer Described – Muhammad Nasir ud-Din al-Albani

The Islamic prayer is one of the five pillars of Islam and it is the key to salvation on the Day of Judgment. Muslims offer the obligatory prayers five times a day and there are additional times for optional prayers, in accordance with the Sunnah.

For new Muslims, it might seem overwhelming when you first begin to learn to pray. However, practice really does make perfect and the importance of the daily prayers can never be ignored. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad. (Al-Tabarani)

The Prophet’s Prayer Described” teaches the reader how to pray according to the way of our Noble Prophet (peace be upon him). This book is a blessing to mankind and gives us the exact method of prayer of Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself. It also provides references that are both helpful and beneficial to the reader.

4- Riyad us-Saliheen – Imam al-Nawawi

In addition to the Noble Quran, the teachings or hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are an excellent source of knowledge for Muslims. Known as the “Walking Quran”, the Revelation was revealed to the Prophet  in real time and applied to the lives of the early Muslims immediately.

The book “Riyad us-Saliheen”, or Gardens of the Righteous in English, is a compilation of hadith that have to do with the character of a Muslim in all manners of life and worship. Allah Almighty revealed:

This is (part) of Al-Hikmah (wisdom, good manners and high character, etc.) which your Lord has inspired to you (O Muhammad SAW). And set not up with Allah any other ilah (god) lest you should be thrown into Hell, blameworthy and rejected, (from Allah’s Mercy). (Quran 17:39)

For new Muslims, this book is an excellent introduction into the hadith. It contains over 1,900 hadith that are categorized into chapters and many are preceded by a Quranic verse.

5- Road to Makkah – Muhammad Asad

The journey to Islam is different for all reverts. Some are inspired in their youth to embrace Islam while others are touched by the Quran in old age. There simply is nothing like listening to a revert tell how they came to know about this beautiful religion and why they chose it for themselves. As Allah Almighty reveals in the Noble Quran:

Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided. (28:56)

In the book, “Road to Makkah”, a Jewish man, Leopold Weiss, traveled across Arabia and through his travels he became a devout Muslim who took the name of Muhammad Asad. He met kings, shahs and ordinary people along the way.

It is an inspiring story that highlights the mercy of Allah upon mankind and serves as a wonderful reminder about the importance of turning back to our Creator in devotion.

There are scores of books about Islam that give a new Muslims knowledge and a greater understanding of this faith. When selecting a book about Islam or even utilizing an Islamic website, verify that it is an authentic source of Islam before you delve too deeply. Safeguard your faith and, when in doubt, ask a friend you trust or an Imam for an Islamic book recommendation you can trust.

(From Discovering Islam’s archive.)

About Sumayyah Meehan
Sumayyah Meehan reverted to Islam over 23 years ago. She is a Waynesburg University graduate with a BA in Criminal Justice. Sumayyah is a journalist, marketer and freelance graphic designer. She is also a single-mother residing in North Carolina with her children.