10 books like The Holy Qur’an

By Abdullah Yusuf Ali (translator),

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Holy Qur’an. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Road to Mecca

By Muhammad Asad,

Book cover of The Road to Mecca

This book combines the exciting travels in the deserts of Arabia with his spiritual journey to uncover the meaning of the faith practiced there. I find immense meaning and wisdom in his words as he explores a faith practiced by more than a quarter of the world’s population!

In one story, an old man explains what it means to pray, and it sunk into me that it is focused on the willing surrender to God, obeying His commands, and bringing peace within us and our destiny.

I admire Asad’s interpretation of 'unhappiness' when he sees unhappy faces while traveling in a subway. On reaching home, he finds an open page from Qur’an that translates to mean, “You are distracted by mutual competition in amassing (worldly benefits), until you reach the graves.” That really struck me. 

The Road to Mecca

By Muhammad Asad,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Road to Mecca as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Part travelogue, part autobiography, "The Road to Mecca" is the compelling story of a Western journalist and adventurer who converted to Islam in the early twentieth century. A spiritual and literary counterpart of Wilfred Thesiger and a contemporary of T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), Muhammad Asad journeyed around the Middle East, Afghanistan and India. This is an account of Asad's adventures in Arabia, his inner awakening, and his relationships with nomads and royalty alike, set in the wake of the First World War. It can be read on many levels: as a eulogy to a lost world, and as…


The Battlefields of the Prophet Muhammad

By Muhammad Hamidullah,

Book cover of The Battlefields of the Prophet Muhammad

There is an incorrect accusation that Islam is a violent religion. It is not, and this book shows that in the early days of Islam, the Prophet's battles were always defensive in nature and fought for the sake of truth. I think this book shows that Muhammad's (peace be upon him) behavior and conduct as the army commander was extraordinarily humane compared to similar commanders of this time. And it shows that he was the "Prophet of Mercy' not only in life but in war. And for that reason, I recommend this book.

Look at his conquest of Mecca. Mohammad asked his army of 10,000 to burn as many fires as possible when they halted for the night. He wanted to give the impression that his army was huge and convince them to surrender without bloodshed. And when Abu Sufyan, the chief of Meccans, fell into their hands, he…

The Battlefields of the Prophet Muhammad

By Muhammad Hamidullah,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Battlefields of the Prophet Muhammad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Bible, The Qur'an and Science

By Maurice Bucaille,

Book cover of The Bible, The Qur'an and Science

I am impressed with the author's substantial effort in examining the Holy Scriptures from the perspective of modern scientific knowledge. The author looks at various Quranic statements in the light of scientific discoveries and concludes that it can't be of human origin - that surely enhances that the Qur'an is a true Divine Book.

This book also has the noble purpose of promoting much-needed unity between the followers of Christianity and Islam and countering ignorant and false ideas about both religions. It was especially gratifying to learn of a Vatican document describing that Muslims profess the faith of Abraham and worship one God as Christians do – that gives me hope that we are all one.  

The Bible, The Qur'an and Science

By Maurice Bucaille,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bible, The Qur'an and Science as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this book, I reveal previously unpublished fact(s) about Dr. Maurice Bucaille to include: birth and martial records, death and burial records, images of his gravestone with a link to the actual site, close family members with their various family tree(s), and much much more.
Dr. Maurice Bucaille was a prominent French physician/surgeon, amateur Egyptologist, and renowned author who became widely known for his best selling books and for his research related to science and religion particularly the religion of Islam.
After the publication of his first book "The Bible, the Quran, and Science" a movement related to this area…


Gujarat Files

By Rana Ayyub,

Book cover of Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up

This book is about the 2002 Gujarat riots in India and the coverup. It reads like a real-life thriller as you learn about the murder of the state’s Home Minister, the complicity of the state and its officials in the massacre, and how those who went along with the cover-up were rewarded. This book inspires me with the courage and conviction of the author-activist Rana Ayyub, who dares to speak up and continues to do so!

It will surprise and upset you that the politicians who are said to be complicit in the horrendous rapes, murders, and rioting have ascended to the national level of governance in India. When the author played tapes from her undercover investigation of Gujarat at a university of Chicago event, “everybody was stunned, numb, and there was just silence in the room.” 




Gujarat Files

By Rana Ayyub,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gujarat Files as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gujarat Files is the account of an eight-month long undercover investigation by journalist Rana Ayyub into the Gujarat riots, fake encounters and the murder of state Home Minister Haren Pandya that brings to the fore startling revelations. Posing as Maithili Tyagi, a filmmaker from the American Film Institute Conservatory, Rana met bureaucrats and top cops in Gujarat who held pivotal positions in the state between 2001 and 2010. The transcripts of the sting operation reveal the complicity of the state and its officials in crimes against humanity.

With sensational disclosures about cases that run parallel to Narendra Modi and Amit…


Muhammad and the Believers

By Fred M. Donner,

Book cover of Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam

While Boyarin challenges what we thought we knew about Judaism and Christianity, Fred Donner does the same for the history of the origins of Islam. Most of what we know, or think we know, about Muhammad comes from the hadiths (traditions), sayings, and deeds of the prophet that were transmitted orally and put down in writing two centuries after the prophet’s death. Leaving aside hadith and the traditional biographies of the prophet, Donner looks at what we can say about Muhammad and his first followers based on the Quran alone. While the terms “Islam” and “Muslim” are present in the Quran, Islam is not a "religion" apart from other monotheisms.

On the contrary, Muhammad had no intention of founding a new "religion," but saw himself as the successor to earlier prophets, from Adam to Jesus and the apostles, who all preached the same message: condemnation of idolatry, declaration of unity…

Muhammad and the Believers

By Fred M. Donner,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Muhammad and the Believers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The origins of Islam have been the subject of increasing controversy in recent years. The traditional view, which presents Islam as a self-consciously distinct religion tied to the life and revelations of the prophet Muhammad in western Arabia, has since the 1970s been challenged by historians engaged in critical study of the Muslim sources.

In Muhammad and the Believers, the eminent historian Fred Donner offers a lucid and original vision of how Islam first evolved. He argues that the origins of Islam lie in what we may call the "Believers' movement" begun by the prophet Muhammad-a movement of religious reform…


Figs, Dates, Laurel, and Myrrh

By Lytton John Musselman,

Book cover of Figs, Dates, Laurel, and Myrrh: Plants of the Bible and the Quran

Devout Christian Garrison Keillor jokes in the foreword to this book that reading it gave him a jolt because Musselman insists that Eve couldn’t possibly have given an apple to Adam. “Apples didn’t grow in the Middle East back then. It was more likely an apricot,” claims Musselman, a celebrated botanist based at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. True or not, he’s assembled years of research in the Holy Land into a thought-provoking book that’s both a reference guide and very readable. With some good photographs.

Figs, Dates, Laurel, and Myrrh

By Lytton John Musselman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Figs, Dates, Laurel, and Myrrh as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book celebrates the plants of the Old Testament, New Testament, and Quran. From acacia, the wood of the tabernacle, to wormwood, whose bitter leaves, as absinthe, flavor alcoholic drinks, 81 chapters cover the more than 100 plants in the holy texts that have true botanical counterparts. Fascinating stories of the fruits, grains, grasses, trees, flowers, and fragrances include botanical characteristics, habitat, uses, and literary context. Richly illustrated with extensive color, this delightful ecumenical botany offers the welcome tonic of a deep look into an enduring, shared natural heritage.


William S. Burroughs vs. the Qur'an

By Michael Muhammad Knight,

Book cover of William S. Burroughs vs. the Qur'an

How can you have a list of cult books without William Burroughs? I nearly put some Burroughs on this list, but as this is for hard-to-impress fans of cult books, you’ve probably already read him. I was also tempted to include Hakim Bey’s Temporary Autonomous Zone, but again, you’ve probably already read him (or object to him on reputation alone). Michael Muhammad Knight takes on both these figures while attempting to write the Great American Queer Islamo-Futurist Novel. Contains hip-hop history, gay fiction, and sacrilege – what’s not to like? A blasphemous blend of autobiography and literary experimentation.

William S. Burroughs vs. the Qur'an

By Michael Muhammad Knight,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked William S. Burroughs vs. the Qur'an as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Michael Muhammad Knight sets out to write the definitive biography of his “Anarcho-Sufi” hero and mentor, writer Peter Lamborn Wilson (aka Hakim Bey), he makes a startling discovery that changes everything. At the same time that he grows disillusioned with his idol, Knight finds that his own books have led to American Muslim youths making a countercultural idol of him, placing him on the same pedestal that he had given Wilson.

In an attempt to forge his own path, Knight pledges himself to an Iranian Sufi order that Wilson had almost joined, attempts to write the Great American Queer…


“Muslim”

By Zahia Rahmani, Matt Reeck (translator),

Book cover of “Muslim”

Translated from French, this beautiful 101-page narrative reads like a poetic meditation. Our character once lived a deeply rural life in North Africa, a cultural and linguistic outsider. Now, as a refugee plunged into a new world of identities, she has been informed that she is Muslim. But what does it mean, this word, across languages and cultures? Deep questions about the interlacing of culture, religion, and geopolitics are posed here with startling urgency in a style that evokes not only the machinations of the state, but the deeply interior world in which we define ourselves to ourselves.

“Muslim”

By Zahia Rahmani, Matt Reeck (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked “Muslim” as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Muslim" A Novel is a genre-bending, poetic reflection on what it means to be Muslim from one of France's leading writers. In this novel, the second in a trilogy, Rahmani's narrator contemplates the loss of her native language and her imprisonment and exile for being Muslim, woven together in an exploration of the political and personal relationship of language within the fraught history of Islam. Drawing inspiration from the oral histories of her native Berber language, the Koran, and French children's tales, Rahmani combines fiction and lyric essay in to tell an important story, both powerful and visionary, of identity,…


Al-Qushayri's Epistle on Sufism - Al-Risala Al Qushayriyya Fi 'ilm Al-Tasawwuf

By Abu 'l-Qasim Al-Qushayri, Alexander D. Knysh (translator),

Book cover of Al-Qushayri's Epistle on Sufism - Al-Risala Al Qushayriyya Fi 'ilm Al-Tasawwuf

Written by the renowned Sunni scholar and Sufi teacher Abu ’l-Qasim al-Qushayri (986–1074) of Khorasan in Eastern Iran, this is probably the most popular Sufi training manual ever. It is still widely used by Sufis today, so you can begin your Sufi journey by reading it. It also serves as a window onto the life of “Sufi friends of God” or “saints,” whom the author depicts as uncrowned kings of this world. We see them in a variety of contexts: suffering from hunger and thirst in the desert during a pilgrimage to Mecca, participating ecstatically or quietly in spiritual concerts, reciting and interpreting the Qur’an, waging war against outward enemies (“infidels”) and their own demonic desires, earning livelihood, meditating in a retreat, praying, working miracles, interacting with the commoners, their family members and peers, dreaming, and dying.

Al-Qushayri's Epistle on Sufism - Al-Risala Al Qushayriyya Fi 'ilm Al-Tasawwuf

By Abu 'l-Qasim Al-Qushayri, Alexander D. Knysh (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Al-Qushayri's Epistle on Sufism - Al-Risala Al Qushayriyya Fi 'ilm Al-Tasawwuf as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The author of the "Epistle on Sufism, Abu 'l-Qasim al-Qushayri" (376/986-465/1074), was a famous Sunni scholar and mystic (Sufi) from Khurasan in Iran. His Epistle is probably the most popular Sufi manual ever. Written in 437/1045, it has served as a primary textbook for many generations of Sufi novices down to the present. Al-Qushayri has given us an illuminating insight into the everyday lives of Sufi devotees of the eighth-eleventh centuries C.E. and the moral and ethical dilemmas they were facing in trying to strike a delicate balance between their ascetic and mystical convictions and the exigencies of life in…


Oxford Companion to World Mythology

By David Leeming,

Book cover of Oxford Companion to World Mythology

The Oxford Companion is an encyclopedia, not a narrative, but I love that it includes stories from the Bible, the Quran, and other sacred texts alongside fantastical legends that span the globe. The line between myth and religion is, after all, largely subjective. King David, the nymph Daphne, and the Dayak myths of Borneo all share the same page. For those of us seeking inspiration in myth, the Oxford Companion offers ideas from Abraham to Ziusudra.

Oxford Companion to World Mythology

By David Leeming,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Oxford Companion to World Mythology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cave paintings at Lascaux, France and Altamira, Spain, fraught with expression thousands of years later; point to an early human desire to form a cultural identity. In The Oxford Companion to World Mythology, David Leeming explores the role of mythology, or myth-logic, in history and determines that the dreams of specific cultures add up to a larger collective story of humanity. Stopping short of attempting to be all-inclusive, this fascinating volume will
nonetheless be comprehensive, opening with an introduction exploring the nature and dimensions of myth and proposing a definition as a universal language. Briefly dipping into the ways our…


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