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14 Books You Should Read To Improve Yourself This Ramadan

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Aishah •  Apr 11, 2023

The much-awaited Ramadan is finally upon us! A month of fasting and spiritual focus and discipline. A month of rediscovering our belief, getting closer to our Creator, and ultimately, of seeking His pleasure. It is also the month for reflection and self-improvement and a means to do so is through the simple act of reading. It goes without saying that the Quran is an absolute must-read, not just during Ramadan, but every day of our lives. But if you're looking for other reads that will assist you in your personal growth quest, then read on for a list of suggestions that we hope will do just that and more.

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We've compiled a list that includes books from various genres (self-improvement, fiction, inspirational and more) for a well-rounded selection to choose from!

1. The Productive Muslim: Where Faith Meets Productivity

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As Muslims, we are encouraged to pursue success in both this world and the hereafter. In fact, we are being called to success five times a day in the azan. And one of the keys to being successful is to be productive. Enter The Productive Muslim. Subtitled "Where faith meets productivity", Mohammed Faris, the founder of ProductiveMuslim.com, provides a faith-based framework for urban Muslims around the world today. Thought-provoking and action-driven, you'll find that the practical tips and advice offered in the book are supported by Quranic verses, the latest business and scientific research plus good old-fashioned common sense. Not only will this book propel you to be more productive, but it will also help you to have a clearer focus and direction as a servant of Allah SWT.

Where to get it?

Amazon | Wardah Books | Kinokuniya (MY) | Dakwah Corner

2. Purification of the Heart by Hamza Yusuf

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Based on a poem by Muslim scholar Imam al-Mawlud, Purification of the Heart is a manual on how to purify one's heart from the many diseases of the heart such as envy, miserliness, arrogance, hatred and wrath. It delves into the religious spirituality of Islam with Hamza Yusuf providing insightful commentary from the Quran and Hadith in bite-sized, well-structured chapters, easy for us to follow and ruminate. A must-read (as well as re-read!), this is one book you'll want to take your time with as you ponder and reflect on its profound advice.

Where to get it?

Amazon | Wardah Books |Kinokuniya (MY) | Muslim Central (free audiobook!)

3. The Messenger: The Meanings of the Life of Muhammad by Tariq Ramadan

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Leading Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan offers an inspiring and accessible biography of Prophet Muhammad SAW in this book of his, The Messenger: The Meanings of the Life of Muhammad. The final prophet, Prophet Muhammad SAW is the ultimate role model be it in his actions, words or teachings. Punctuated with spiritual and philosophical reflections, the book shows how the Prophet's life and messages can be used as a guide for both Muslims and non-Muslims in today's modern world.

Where to get it?

Amazon | Kinokuniya (SG)

4. In the Early Hours by Khurram Murad

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For easy yet inspirational guidance on seeking God's pleasure, this small gem by Khurram Murrad will do just that and more. Its title refers to its core content - for the believers to wake up a little early before fajr and grasp the many benefits of the early hours. Short and concise, this book reminds us of our purpose in this life by not just focusing on our spiritual development, but to also play an active role in society.

Where to get it?

Amazon | Kinokuniya (MY) | Kinokuniya (SG)

5. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

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Regardless of time and space, the age-old question of what is the meaning of life continues to persist. Man's Search for Meaning recounts the harrowing life experience of psychiatrist Viktor Frankl as a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. It is during this dreadful moment of his life that he found a purpose to life - the conviction that it is not pleasure, but the way we cope with our suffering that will aid us in our pursuit of meaning and propel us to move forward in life. This is a book that is sure to inspire you in finding significance and fulfilment in the very act of living.

Where to get it?

Kinokuniya (MY) | Book Depository

6. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

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If you're looking for a book with a direct, no-nonsense guide on self-growth in your quest to pursue success, then The Compound Effect is your answer. A publisher of SUCCESS magazine, Darren Hardy shares the fundamental principles of how to get and stay on the path to success. At the crux of it all, it tells you of the influential power of small steps, of how consistent and persistent little habits in our everyday life have a huge impact in the long run.

Where to get it?

Kinokuniya (MY)

7. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Ahmad (Fiction)

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Don't let its slim size fool you for this book packs a lot into its small space. The novel begins with Changez, a young Pakistani man, recounting his life story to an American visitor in a bustling cafe in Lahore. We then learn that Changez is a Princeton graduate who had a successful career working as an analyst in Manhattan - he was pretty much living the American dream. But then the tragic event of 9/11 happened and following its aftermath, Changez begins to reassess his American life. Quietly told in brief yet evocative prose, this is a thought-provoking read that will lead you to question the relationship of your identity to your religion and to other "outside" cultures, among others.

Where to get it?

Kinokuniya (MY) | Books and Bobs (secondhand)

8. The Minaret by Leila Aboulela (Fiction)

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Providing a glimpse into the life of an immigrant in increasingly multicultural London, Minaret tells the story of Najwa, a young upper-class Sudanese woman who migrated to London due to a political coup involving her father. Once leading a secular privileged life back in Khartoum, she is left penniless in London and starts to work as a maid. Thus begins her spiritual journey to finding contentment and love in the new environment. You'll find Najwa's struggles as an immigrant and her return to religion for solace to be both moving and relatable, especially in this today's modern world.

Where to get it?

Amazon

9. Siri Jalanan by Teme Abdullah (Malay)

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If you're a loyal following of Malay novels (and well-acquainted with the Malaysian Twitter scene), then the name Teme Abdullah is not a stranger to you. Based on his own experiences during his studies abroad, the Siri Jalanan series is, at the heart of it, a motivation book. Filled with his own life story, reflections, social commentary and a small dose of Islamic advice, his writing tugs at people's hearts for its simple yet mature way of looking at things. Inspiring and heart-warming, this is a series that will not only benefit students who are struggling with their studies but also those who are seeking to get more out of life.

Where to get it?

Iman Shoppe | MPH | Popular

10. The Sultan of Hearts: Prophet Muhammad

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Offering a comprehensive narrative of one of the most fascinating life stories of human history, The Sultan of Hearts is an authoritative work on the life of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. The book relies firmly on canonical Hadith collections and Sirah literature and is rich with references to many contemporary biographical works. It's the perfect read for Ramadan as we bring ourselves closer to Islam and our Prophet.

Where to get it?

Wardah Books

11. Remembering Beautiful Days in Jerusalem

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Shaykh Mohammad Akram Nadwi is a seasoned travelogue writer. His fluid pen flows with insights, reflections and meticulous observations that are missed by most. He visited Jerusalem during Ramadan 2015 and he wrote this book after the trip. The blessed city of Jerusalem or in Arabic ‘al-Quds’ is one of the precious and dazzling jewels of human civilization. That it occupies centre stage in the history and narratives of many different people should come as no surprise. Its place in the Islamic world has been marked by tremendous trauma and pain in the past century, but its rank and position in the faith is no less central.

Where to buy?

Wardah Books

13. Reflecting on the Names of Allah

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Understanding and connecting to God in our daily lives. This book provides a comprehensive explanation of Allah's names and attributes. The author has effectively defined the attributes of Allah in such a way as to ensure sufficient detail is provided for the reader, without excessively analysing and overcomplicating the topic. The aim and achievement of this book are to introduce God in the term in which He introduces Himself, and thereby make the approach to Him easier for willing hearts and minds. Furthermore, it allows for a lighter, more pleasant and more rewarding experience on the journey of reconnecting and strengthening the bond with our Creator.

Where to buy?

MPH| Wardah Books

14. Timeless Seeds of Advice: The Sayings of Prophet Muhammad

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A selection of beautiful and practical pieces of advice from the Quran, the Prophet PBUH and Islam’s great scholars on repentance, guidance and purification. This book is designed to serve as a source of hope and strength for those going through difficult times while providing numerous important pieces of knowledge and guidance for all readers and all times.

Where to buy?

IMAN Shoppe | MPH


We hope these reads bring you many benefits in your journey towards self-betterment during this holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan Mubarak, all :)