In the last ten years, I’ve read countless books about Islam and related topics. Throughout my studies, I found that too many books about Islam are either dense drivel or zealous hot air. I’ve spent a lot of time sifting through unhelpful or boring texts and I wanted to save you the trouble. I’ve compiled this foundational reading list for anyone interested in deepening their understanding of Islam.

Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time 

Karen Armstrong is one of my favorite authors. She offers a clear, accessible, and balanced biography of our Prophet (PBUH). This was one of the first books about Islam that I read and it has stayed with me ever since. I remember reading this book thinking…

“If a non-Muslim historian believes that Muhammad (PBUH) was a worthy role model, then Islam deserves serious consideration.”

Almost a decade later, I’m still going strong

 اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰه

2. Islam: A Short History 

This is another one of my favorite works by Karen Armstrong. Her discussion of historical events provides additional insight the spiritual side of Islam. Her words paint a clear picture about the past social climate of Arabia, and how Islam shaped the region.

3. Don’t Be Sad 

This book contains practical advice on how to replace sadness with an Islamic outlook on life. It details how Islam teaches us to deal with the tests and tribulations of this world. Although this book leans on the conservative side, it has a lot of useful advice. Each page is filled with practical ways to replace a negative outlook with positive thoughts.

4. Reclaim Your Heart 

Reclaim Your Heart is an inspirational book that discusses themes such as redemption, hope, and renewal. It aims to provide each reader with a new perspective on love, loss, happiness, and pain. I read snippets whenever I have a chance for a pick-me-up on even the worst of days.

5. Purification of the Heart: Signs, Symptoms and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Heart

Hamza Yusuf is a controversial character at the moment, but this book is one I have read over and over again. Each chapter discusses the spiritual diseases of the heart and how to battle them. This book is going to be on my shelf forever!


Of course, there are many books on Islam and more being published every day — my reading list is a mile long! However, these books will at least provide a solid foundation to those who are interested in knowing more about Islam — Muslims and non- Muslims alike.