The Modern Islamic Studies Curriculum


This page presents a list of books meant for modern students of Islamic studies. These books are essential reading for any Muslim who wishes to be a capable modern intellectual who is able to think and write at the highest level and gain the respect of the other intellectuals. InshaAllah this page will be continually expanded with new high-quality books. Newly added books will be bolded and the date of addition will be shown so that you do not miss any updates to it.

Stage 1

Islamic Studies

  • Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (870)
  • Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim (875)
  • Adam Mez, The Renaissance of Islam (in English, written 1917, translated 1937)
  • W. Montgomery Watt, Muslim Intellectual: A Study of al-Ghazali (1963)
  • Martin Lings, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources (1991)
  • Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples (1992)
  • Tarif Khalidi, Arabic Historical Thought in the Classical Period (1994) (added May 3, 2019)
  • Tariq Ramadan, Western Muslims and the Future of Islam (2003)
  • Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time (2006)
  • M. A. Draz, Introduction to the Qur’an (2008)
  • M. A. S. Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an (Oxford World’s Classics) (2008)
  • Tim Winter (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology (2008)
  • James Reston Jr., Defenders of the Faith: Christianity and Islam Battle for the Soul of Europe, 1520-1536 (2009)
  • Nidhal Guessoum, Islam’s Quantum Question: Reconciling Muslim Tradition and Modern Science (2011)
  • Jonathan A. C. Brown, Misquoting Muhammad (2014)
  • Christopher de Bellaigue, The Islamic Enlightenment: The Struggle Between Faith and Reason (2017)
  • M. A. Draz and Basma Abdelgafar, Morality in the Qur’an: The Greater Good of Humanity (2018)

Western Thought

  • Jakob Burckhardt, Reflections on History (1870-1871)
  • Albert Jay Nock, Isaiah’s Job (1936)
  • Tzvetan Todorov, Imperfect Garden: The Legacy of Humanism (1998)
  • Christopher Butler, Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction (2000)
  • Roger Scruton, Beauty (2008)
  • Roger Scruton, The Face of God (The Gifford Lectures) (2012)

Western Literature

  • Frances Burney, Evelina, Or, The History of a Young Lady’s Entrance Into the World (1778)
  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)
  • Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1843)
  • Charlotte Brontë,  Jane Eyre (1847)
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment (1866)
  • George Eliot, Middlemarch (1871)
  • Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (1932)
  • Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited (1945)
  • George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)
  • Frank Herbert, Dune (1965)
  • Terry Pratchett, Small Gods (1992)

Stage 2

Islamic Studies Books and Theses

  • Marshall Hodgson, The Venture of Islam (1974)
  • George Makdisi, The Rise of Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West (1990)
  • Nicholas Heer (ed.), Islamic Law and Jurisprudence: Studies in Honor of Farhat J. Ziadeh (1990)
  • Murteza Bedir, “The Early Development of Hanafi Usul al-Fiqh.” (1999) (Download)
  • Forough Jahanbakhsh, Islam, Democracy and Religious Modernism in Iran (1953-2000): From Bazargan to Soroush (2001)
  • Yossef Rapoport and Shahab Ahmed (eds.), Ibn Taymiyya and His Times (2010)
  • Karen Bauer, Gender Hierarchy in the Qurʾān (2015)
  • Ali Ezzatyar, The Last Mufti of Iranian Kurdistan (2016)
  • Aamir Bashir, “The Development and Transmission of Fiqh in the Early Period: The Role of Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Shaybani” (2016) (Download)

Islamic Studies Papers (New Section)

  • George Augusts Wallin, “Narrative of a Journey from Cairo to Medina and Mecca, by Suez, Arabá, Tawilá, al-Jauf, Jubbé, Háil, and Nejd.” (1852) (Download)
  • Jonathan Brown, “How We Know Early Ḥadīth Critics Did Matn Criticism and Why It’s So Hard to Find.” (2008) (Download)
  • Livnat Holtzman, “Ahmad b. Hanbal.” (2010?) (Download)
  • Livnat Holtzman, “‘Does God Really Laugh?’ – Appropriate and Inappropriate Descriptions of God in Islamic Traditionalist Theology.” (2010) (Download)
  • Uri Rubin “Quraysh and their winter and summer journey: On the interpretation of Sura 106.” (2011) (Download)
  • Christian Lange, “The Discovery of Paradise in Islam.” (2012) (Download)
  • Arezou Azad, “Female Mystics in Medieval Islam: the Quiet Legacy” (2013) (Download)
  • Jari Kaukua, “Suhrawardi’s Knowledge as Presence in Context.” (2013) (Download)
  • Catherine Bronson, “Eve in the Formative Period of Exegesis.” (2014) (Download)
  • Johanna Pink, “Where does Modernity Begin? Muhammad al-Shawkani and the Tradition of Tafsir” (2014) (Download)
  • Nadia I Harhash, “Al- Ghazālī’s View on Women: A Comparison with Ibn Rushd” (2014?) (Download)
  • David Powers and Pavel Pavlovitch, “‘A Bequest May Not Exceed One-Third’: An Isnad-cum-Matn Analysis and Beyond.” (2015) (Download)
  • Harald Motzki, “Abraham, Hagar and Ishmael at Mecca: A Contribution to the Problem of Dating Muslim Traditions” (2015) (Download)
  • Mairaj Syed, “The Construction of Historical Memory in the Exegesis of Kor 16, 106.” (2015) (Download)
  • Catherine Bronson and Sean Anthony, “Did Ḥafṣah bint ʿUmar Edit the Qurʾan? A Response with Notes on the Codices of the Prophet’s Wives,” (2016) (Download)
  • Matthew B Ingalls, “Zakariyyā al-Anṣārī and the Study of Muslim Commentaries from the Later Islamic Middle Period” (2016) (Download)
  • Christopher Melchert, “The Etiquette of Learning in the Early Islamic Study Circle.” (2017) (Download)
  • Younus Mirza, “Ibn Taymiyya as Exegete: Moses’ Father-in- Law and the Messengers in Sūrat Yā Sīn” (2017) (Download)
  • Pavel Pavlovitch, “The Manda Family: A Dynasty of Isfahani Scholars” (2018) (Download)
  • Caterina Bori, “The Many Roads to Justice: A Case of Adultery in Sixteenth-Century Cairo” (2019) (Download)

Western Thought, Literature and Other Non-Fiction

  • The New King James Version of the Bible
  • George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier (1937)
  • Frank Herbert, God Emperor of Dune (1981)
  • Paul Woodruff, On Justice, Power, and Human Nature: Selections from The History of the Peloponnesian War (1993)
  • Roger Scruton, A Short History of Modern Philosophy (1995)
  • Roger Scruton, An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Philosophy (1999)
  • Anne Applebaum, Gulag: A History (2003)
  • Ha-Joon Chang, Economics: The User’s Guide (2014)
  • Alister E. McGrath, Dawkins’ God: From The Selfish Gene to The God Delusion (2015)

Stage 3

  • Jon Hoover, Ibn Taymiyya’s Theodicy of Perpetual Optimism (2007)
  • Jonathan A. C. Brown, The Canonization of al-Bukhari and Muslim  (2007)
  • Frank Griffel, Al-Ghazālı̄’s Philosophical Theology (2009)
  • Umar F. Abd-Allah Wymann-Landgraf, Mālik and Medina: Islamic Legal Reasoning in the Formative Period (2013)
  • Kenneth Garden, The First Islamic Reviver: Abu Hamid al-Ghazali and His Revival of the Religious Sciences (2014)
  • Ulrich Rudolph, Al-Maturidi and the Development of Sunni Theology in Samarqand (2015)
  • Henri Lauzière, The Making of Salafism: Islamic Reform in the Twentieth Century (2016)
  • Sabine Schmidtke (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Theology (2016)
  • Shahab Ahmed, What is Islam: The Importance of Being Islamic (2016)
  • Shahab Ahmed, Before Orthodoxy: The Satanic Verses in Early Islam (2017)
  • Sohaib Saeed, “Intraquranic Hermeneutics: Theories and Methods in Tafsīr of the Qurʾān through the Qurʾān” (2017) (Download)
  • Omar Farahat, The Foundation of Norms in Islamic Jurisprudence and Theology (2019)

Islamic Studies Papers (New Section)

  • Carl Sharif El-Tobgui, “Ibn Taymiyya on the Incoherence of the Theologians’ Universal Law.” (2018) (Download)
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