The one who converts to Islam or someone who has just decided to know more about Islam, you may have come across this dilemma as to which books are better to study and which would give you a fuller and more comprehensive view of Islamic matters.
In what follows we have suggested some of the most significant Islamic books which are essential for anyone who is interested in Islam or is looking for answers to his/her questions. The books in this list include basic pillars of Islam, the most important obligatory practices, as well as ethical, historical and philosophical matters related to the religion of Islam.
The intellectual miracle of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the Quran is the holy book of Muslims which includes many historical, ethical, spiritual and social matters brought through a unique, cohesive and capturing language. This book offers anyone who is in search of the truth with revealing and thought-provoking information and is a must-read book for converts to Islam.
Nahjul Balagha includes a series of sermons, letters, and sayings by Imam Ali (AS) and compiled by Allamah Sharif Razi which deal with many a wide variety of topics including our existence, our relationship with God, Islamic codes of ethics in all aspects of life whether personal or social. Reading this book helps you realize the deep moral concerns of Islam and the wisdom that lies behind this religion.
Written by an influential German scholar, Annemarie Schimmel provides us with unbiased, simple and introductory information about the religion of Islam. This book approaches Islam with a more historical attitude through which the pre-Islamic time, the emergence of Islam, the figure of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUHHP) as the messenger of this religion and the process of Islam’s expansion are explained. It also includes some information about the Quran, the Islamic law, and tradition, the philosophy of Islam, different Islamic sects, mysticism, etc. It can be a very helpful guide for converts to Islam.
This brief e-book provided by Salam Islam explains the three significant steps before the action of converting to Islam. These include the belief in one God (Monotheism), belief in the prophets (Prophethood) send by God and the belief in the afterlife (Ma’ad).
This book, written in a relatively simple language, presents a summary of the teachings of Islam to provide some information for those who are not able to examine Islamic matters deeply and in a specialized manner. The book starts with a general reflection on the concept of religion and belief, explains the pillars of Islam and finally gives an insight into the practical principles of Islam.
This book is an attempt to bring a clearer understanding of the concepts that are mentioned in the Quran which is very helpful for converts to Islam. It starts with the ways the Quran can be understood, and it comprises of two main parts: Understanding the Quran analytically and Reason in the view of the Quran. Very thorough and interesting work.
Have you ever wondered about your existence? Why have you been created? What is the purpose of your life? This book discusses the goal of life from the viewpoints of the Quran and various schools of thought. The topics discussed throughout this book include the goal of creation, the basis of individual and social ethics, faith, schools of thought and world vision, Islamic faith, and human perfection, and the summary of Islamic monotheism.
This book offers a timely presentation of the core spiritual and social values of Islam: peace, compassion, social justice, and respect for the other. Seizing this unique moment in history to reflect on the essence of his tradition, Seyyed Hossein Nasr seeks to "open a spiritual and intellectual space for mutual understanding." Exploring Islamic values in scripture, traditional sources, and history, he also shows their clear counterparts in the Jewish and Christian traditions, revealing the common ground of the Abrahamic faiths.
Why do we need religion? What is the benefit of believing in a particular religion? This book written by one of the most significant Muslim scholars offers an in-depth discussion on the philosophy behind the concept of religion and how it shapes our lives toward perfection and happiness.
10. What is Hajj (the holy pilgrimage) and Why Do We Perform It? By Salam Islam
The ritual of Hajj or the Islamic holy pilgrimage is one of the most important occasions in the Islamic calendar. During this period Muslims from all around the world gather in the holy city of Mecca to perform certain rituals. In this e-book, you will get familiar with the basic rituals that must be performed during Hajj and know more about the philosophy behind these rituals.
Hijab in Islam is a common term that represents a range of personal and social codes of behavior and addresses women specifically while requiring specific actions on the part of men as well. In this e-book Hijab and modesty in Islam will be explained through six facts that reveal different aspects and reasons regarding this concept.
What are the rules and regulations that Muslims should observe in their eating habits? This e-book provides the converts to Islam with a brief and straightforward guide to the kinds of foods and drinks Muslims are allowed to use and those that are forbidden to them.
Why do Muslims perform the prayer (Salat)? What are the spiritual and mental benefits of this action? What are the secrets that lie behind the disciplines of Salat? This book offers a great insight into one of the most important obligatory practices of Muslims, prayer (Salat), and help new Muslims and converts to Islam to have a better understanding of this action.
Written by one of the converts to Islam, this book illustrates common challenges and issues faced by converts, the reasoning behind the conversion, analysis from a Western view of many controversial or misunderstood topics in Islam, and basic information needed by new converts.
Please note that here we have attempted to name a few most significant books that can give you a better insight into the religion of Islam and help you in your path toward converting to Islam. However, there are many other helpful and great books that approach Islamic matters sophisticatedly many of which you can find in Salam Islam’ s library and other online Islamic libraries.
“Put a piece of meat in various parts of town and see in which place it will get rotten more slowly, that would be the proper place for a hospital.” That was the extraordinarily wise and innovative advice of a famous Iranian physician, who at that time lived in Baghdad, to the people who were in search of the most suitable place for building a hospital.This great physician is no one other than Muhammad Ibn Zakariya Razi, also known as Ar-Razi or Rhazes among European scholars, who for the first time in the history of medicine and chemistry, discovered a chemical substance, which served a great deal to these fields, called “alcohol.”
He was born in 865 A.D in the city of Rey, located in Iran. Though his father tried so hard to make him follow his occupation which was gold smithery, he finally pursued his interest which was alchemy and chemistry at that time.
Having spent many years of his life as an alchemist, he eventually found out that the only field worth learning and working in, was medicine. Moreover, as Al-Birooni  claimed, he lost his eyesight when he was occupied in alchemy, and finding a cure for this disability became his motive in turning his direction to medicine.
To learn medicine thoroughly, he left his hometown for Baghdad where the most advanced hospitals were located. He studied and practiced medicine at the local hospital. After spending many years in Baghdad and gaining experience, he moved back to his beloved hometown, Rey.
There, he became the head of its local hospital. He is known to have been the first person who introduced the method of teaching medicine in its modern form used today in our hospitals. As compassionate and devoted as he was, he never stopped curing sick people, rich or poor, and teaching medicine to the students of any background.
He died on the 15th of October in 925 A.D where he was born and spent most of his life, in the city of Rey.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica , he was the first physician who differentiated between measles and smallpox. Besides he is considered to be the father of pediatrics and a pioneer in ophthalmology- the study and treatment of eye disorders and diseases.
He also believed in treatment with proper diet rather than prescribing medicines to his patients. The translation of his most important works in medicine such as “Al-Hawi”  and “Al-Mansuri”  has long been taught in medical universities of European countries such as Germany and France.
He was a devoted Muslim who was profoundly influenced by the teachings of Islam. His idea about the importance of seeking knowledge with one’s full capacity is in close association with the idea of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) when he said: “those who peruse knowledge, will be perused by heaven”  & .
The great Iranian Muslim physician, chemist, and philosopher, Muhammad Ibn Zakariya Razi, with his everlasting contributions in medicine and chemistry, did not remain limited to his time or geographical boundaries. He was the great physician of his time and is considered a respected and influential doctor of our age in all parts of the world.
- "ar-Razi." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.Jun. 2014
- Mahmud Najm Abadi, The History of Medicine in Iran and World of Islam.
- Mottaqi Hindi, Kanz al-Aamal.
- Muhammad, Mizan al Hekmah, vol. IV, Qum: Dar al-Hadith Institution, 1386. p.398.
One of the aims of sending Prophets (PBUT), including Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) , was to recite to faithful people the signs of Allah Almighty, to purify them and to teach them the Book and wisdom (3:164). Therefore, the Quran considers Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) as an excellent exemplar for the believers (33:21). It means that all his deeds and behaviors at the individual, social, political, and cultural levels and even with other nations of that era, are instructive and he (PBUH & HP) is a perfect role model to be followed. Besides, he (PBUH & HP) was sent as a mercy to all the nations (21:107), both Muslims and non-Muslims. Hence, his approach in spreading peace and concordance in the world can be an excellent model to be followed. Here, we review how Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) acted in this regard.
Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH & HP) Sunnah did not ignore other nations and their internal independence at all. On the contrary, Islam is a worldwide religion that has recognized other tribes and nations, whether inside or outside of the Islamic state’s territory. Clear evidence for that are the treaties that have been made between the Islamic state and different nations or tribes during the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP). In the pre-Islamic Arab era, fighting other tribes, killing, and bloodshed was a culture. But, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) made various treaties and emphasized on adhering to them to demonstrate how the tension between parties can be peacefully reduced and fighting back is the option only when invaded. The Islamic state was always faithful to the peace treaties as far as other parties were so.
As an example, as soon as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) arrived at Medina, he drew up a covenant among those who had emigrated with him from Mecca (Muhajirin) and the Jewish tribes of Medina including Aws and Khazraj (who were known later as Ansar (i.e. helpers, since they helped Muhajirin). This covenant was called the Constitution of Medina. This constitution aimed to guarantee the security and coexistence of various groups who lived in Medina and formed the basis of a multi-religious Islamic state. Some of its articles were:
• Muslims and Jews constitute “one nation” (Ummah Wahidah). Muslims are on their religion, so are Jews;
• Muslims and Jews are gracious to each other;
• The Jews adhered to this constitution should be protected and helped. No oppression upon them. No alliance with their enemies;
• Each party of this constitution should be allied with the other in case one of them is invaded;
• Both parties should ally whenever Medina is invaded;
• Both parties should take part in the expenses in case of a war. Muslims should pay their expenses, so do the Jews .
At the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP), Mecca was under the control of one of the most significant Arabian tribes called Quraysh, who were polytheists. They had forbidden Muslims to enter the city and perform Hajj rituals. After Prophet (PBUH & HP) had dreamed entering Mecca doing Hajj rituals with companions, this Ayah confirmed his (PBUH & HP) dream: “Certainly Allah has fulfilled His Apostle’s vision in all truth: You will surely enter the Sacred Mosque, God willing, in safety, with your heads shaven or hair cropped, without any fear.” (48:27). Hence, The Prophet (PBUH & HP) and a group of Muslims with some other Arabs of around Medina, marched peacefully towards Mecca without arms, in the hope of making a pilgrimage. At first, Quraysh prevented them from entering Mecca. Still, after some negotiations, a treaty called the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah was drawn up between the two parties, which helped to decrease the tension between them.
This treaty guaranteed a 10-year peace between Quraysh and Muslims and authorized Muslims to return to Mecca in the following year to perform a peaceful pilgrimage .
- M. A. Amini, “The principle of peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims in Islam,” Ma’rifat Journal, no. 165, p. 35-52.