With two weeks until Ramadan, check out this special edition of our monthly book list, a roundup of four book recommendations to inspire and prepare us for the blessed month.
1) Seeds of Admonishment and Reform
A translation of the illustrious sixth century scholar Ibn al-Jawzi’s work, this book
presents a series of short chapters and poetic reflections designed to inspire reflection in the reader. The “seeds” range from short stories of Sahabah, to descriptions of the changing seasons, to reflections on the beauty of night prayers. Poetically interwoven with verses from the Qur’an and saying of the scholars, this book is the perfect read to get you motivated for Ramadan. You can download a free PDF here.
Length: 219 pages
The journey of night is unbearable except by the one starving. The legions of indolence assemble to clutch onto the tail of slackness and so they embellish the beauty of sleep, adorn the comfort of the bed, and picture the coldness of water as intimidating. However as soon as a spark of strong will and endeavour is provoked, the path of worship becomes illuminated, thereupon the heart of certainty hearing the call: “Is there anyone seeking anything so that I may fulfil it for him.”
2) Imam al-Ghazali’s Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship
Consisting of a selection of writings by Imam al-Ghazali, magnum opus Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din, this book
uplifts readers by looking at the spiritual, social and moral intricacies of acts of worship and our relationship with Allah ﷻ. Primarily examining the five pillars of Islam, the chapter on sawm (fasting) is the perfect thing to inspire you to perfect your fasts in the upcoming month. Buy it on Amazon here.
Length: 144 pages
Worship in Islam is not only observance of the prescribed worship rites – Prayer, Almsgiving, Fasting, Pilgrimage – but living one’s entire life in obedience to God, doing His will and seeking His pleasure, exactly in the way He has laid down.
3) In the Shade of the Qur’an
As the month of the Qur’an approaches, many struggle to find an explanation of the Qur’an that relates to the challenges we face today. Sayyid Qutb’s 30 volume explanation does just that. A modern commentary, it was primarily written during Qutb’s imprisonment under the rule of Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt. The explanation aims to reassure and reaffirm the essence and value of faith and its profound role in the life of man instead of focusing on legalistic issues. This foregrounds the moral and social wisdoms of each command, along with their role in personal and collective life. You can download a free PDF here.
Length: 30 volumes
Highlight: Prefaced to each chapter is an introduction to its content summarizing the main message of the surah. Moreover, each chapter is divided by topic in order to draw out the prevalent themes in a harmonized way.
4) Agenda to Change our Condition
Agenda to Change Our Condition is a practical manual on inculcating taqwa (God-consciousness) and ikhlas (sincerity) through daily practice. It contains descriptions of the concept of taqwa, the process of purifying the heart, and practical steps to engage in this process in mutliple aspects of one’s life. This manual includes forty-day exercises to undertake to purify the various inroads to the heart, which one can begin during Ramadan to form & maintain good habits. You can buy it on Amazon here.
Length: 79 pages
Spiritual struggle is not something that miraculously comes into one’s life. It is a move of the heart that begins to affect the limbs and then results in sincere repentance (tawbah), in which we seek to purify ourselves of prior wrongs and remove them from our present activities and make a strong commitment to a future free of the mistakes of the past.