Hands down, one of the best books about Islamic history. Aslan provides an accessible telling of the Islamic story from pre-Islamic Arabia through modern times. The book covers political conditions in Arabia, which gave ground to the rise of Islam, through Islamic civilizations’ modern decline and struggles.
The stories of the Prophets as told through an Islamic perspective. The book covers every Prophet mentioned in the Qur’an, including Adam, Enoch (Idris), Noah (Nuh), Abraham (Ibrahim), Lot (Lut), Ishmael and Isaac (Ismail & Ishaq), Jacob (Yaqub), Joseph (Yusuf), Job (Ayoub), Moses (Musa), Aaron (Harun), David (Dawud), Solomon (Suleiman), Elijah (Ilias), Jonah (Yunus), John (Yahya), Jesus (Isa) and Muhammad.
Muslims in America
One of the most fascinating and complex characters in modern history. Born Malcolm Little, the man who became Malcolm X lived a wild early life and was on the path to destruction until he discovered the Nation of Islam in jail. Tutored and groomed and eventually split from the Nation of Islam and enigmatic Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X was one of the most powerful leaders of the US Civil Rights Movement, speaking of the disenfranchisement and oppression of American blacks with a power matched only (and some say not even by) the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. Denzel Washington’s 1992 movie, Malcolm X, is one of the better movies on the man.
A really terrific biography of one of the 20th century’s seminal sports figures. Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Clay, was not necessarily the most Muslimy of Muslims, but his conversion shocked the nation and his truly larger-than-life personality has not been matched in boxing or sports in general since his retirement from the ring. Ali, Will Smith’s 2001 movie, is also worth a watch.
Translations of the Qur’an
The first volume in a series deconstructing the texts of the Qur’an without the interjection of religious scholarship, this book delves into the issue of accepting faith without being bound to ritual. This book covers the first two surahs of the Qur’an.
This is one of the most popular translations of the Qur’an available. It’s the one with which I grew up. Although the prose is a little archaic, it has an almost melodic quality to it. This version contains numerous footnotes which provide history and interpretation from the author.
One of the better modern English translations of the Qur’an available. Malik inserts connecting words and descriptions to provide context and flow with the translation. It reads more like stories than A Yusuf Ali’s translation, which is more melodic.
Another of the older traditional translations. Not as olde-English as Yusuf Ali but by no means modern English like Malik. The advantage of this addition is that it contains the English transliteration (Arabic script in roman letters).