As many of us emerge out of lockdown, we see a drastically changed world. A world that sees isolation as a necessity, and nature as a luxury. For many us this has translated into spending more time amongst family, more time at home and more time away from the hustle and bustle that we may have once thrived in.
Now more than ever, we find ourselves searching for options on how to occupy our minds, and above all maintain our physical and spiritual well-being. What better pace to start than our bookshelves? Here is a wrap up of our top 5 post-lockdown read recommendations!
Every reader is familiar with the phrase ‘I couldn’t put it down’, but it is not often that we get to experience reads that are gripping from the get-go. Sugich certainly brings that notion back into reality by relating various winding paths that were taken by pillars of our communities to find Allah SWT.
From travelling across Muslim nations to experience the true essence of Muhammadan societies, to being walked around the inner walls of the blessed Ka’bah itself. Sugich recalls the extraordinary accounts of diverse figures from across the globe on their journey to finding Allah swt, often at the most unexpected points in their lives. Sugich affirms for us the vulnerable nature of humanity, the dependency we have on our Lord and the sanctity of our most intimate connections with Him, SWT.
Sugich’s writing is one that people from all walks of life can relate to, he tactfully relates to each individual’s nature, be that humorous, intimidating, intelligent or simply human. As a reader we learn to invest in each personality differently, bringing to light our own desires to improve ourselves, and search for our purpose with Allah SWT as our goal.
This read will bring to light a whirlwind of emotions, but I stand by my earlier statement – you won’t be able to put it down!
Lockdown has no doubt affected us all differently. In these unprecedented times it is normal for us to have felt our anxieties heightened and our mental health significantly challenged. This read provides us with a rare exploration of key psychological issues from both an Islamic and medical position.
It undoubtedly serves as a symbol of the historical process of Western thinkers silencing non-white academic voices, through appropriating non-Western ideals and discoveries. We find this to be a typical theme in history, here we have an example of Balkhi presenting us with his ground-breaking findings separating mental and psychological disorders, as well as suggesting key preventative methods to address them.
This contrasts with the usually prescribed therapy that most Western thinkers would have continued to prescribe, had they not arguably been influenced by Balkhi’s findings. For these reasons alone, I would give this text a read, in order to understand the importance of Islamic academia on topics that affect us daily.
Balkhi’s rich intellect and wisdom are apparent in his analysis of certain behaviours and how we as Muslims have the most perfect tools for recovery available to us. Whilst each of us interpret our anxiety, fear and depression differently from one another – Balkhi provides us with clear instructional and spiritual advice to aid our recovery and realign our focus.
A key notion that is thought provoking, is his suggestion to create an internal monologue with oneself during a time of spiritual high, or internal peace. This should serve as a reminder and conviction of the fragility of this life and the realities of this dunya. According to Balkhi, one can then draw upon these realities more easily at a time when endurance is needed.
No matter what stage you are at in your journey of self-actualisation, this read will serve a purpose in piecing together some part of your journey to understand yourself and the world better insha’Allah!
For those who would like to read something short, yet spiritually nourishing– this abridged translation of Ibn Qayyim’s work is a perfect place to start! In the current climate, this read serves as an uplifting reminder for us to find the light within the darkness that may surround us. As Muslims our faith encourages us to see the positive within all situations, but how easy is that to translate within our lives?
Ibn Qayyim encourages us to embrace and embody the practice of patience, through affirming the idea that even if patience is not a quality that comes naturally to us, it is certainly one that can be cultivated.
He draws upon various real-life examples of how we can solidify our relationship with Allah SWT, by practicing gratitude until we make it second nature. For example, he describes how loving and emulating a characteristic of Allah SWT, will not only grant us His pleasure, but also His company!
Written by one of the foremost Islamic Scholars of the Hijaaz, this read served as my lockdown highlight, and inspired many a step to implement in my post-lockdown spiritual journey.
Many of us growing up came to learn of the Prophet SAW’s prominent and lofty station in our faith, history and tradition through our families, friends and teachers. However, often it seems that as much as we may have an intrinsic love for him, SAW, we ebb and flow in our connection and closeness to him.
This read stood out on my spiritual journey as it went beyond evoking emotions that the Sirah alone usually does. This read not only sets out elements of the Prophet SAW’s life, but goes further to highlight each perfect attribute of him. It debunks arguments or ideas that claim any inclination of sin or imperfection against him, thus making an insightful and thought provoking read, through understanding the innate miracles that the Prophet SAW bestowed upon us all.
Contrary to many reads, Shaykh ‘Alawi sets a precedent in referring to the Prophet SAW by adopting the utmost respect and awe. His entire work is a beautiful form of praise and adornment that is undoubtedly both an intellectual and spiritual masterpiece. This is reflected in the emotions and attachment one feels towards the Most Beloved, SAW when reading this text. It’s most definitely a life changer!
Last but not least, a lighter read for those who love a good joke book! Idreis Shah collates the famous stories that your mum or your dad have often related to you. It’s a great go-to if you need a pick me up while you’re having your morning coffee!
This compilation of Mulla Nasrudin’s anecdotes has been told for centuries across Persia, the Middle East and Asia. Finally we millennials have a written version that can continue to be told for generations to come!
The idea that Mulla Nasrudin forms an integral part of our Islamic history, as a jester, as a companion and as spiritual master is one that inspired me to pick up this read. Some of the tales read like riddles, and others have the reader questioning their morals and values. Although jokes, each has a substantial message and heart touching meaning. Through such figures, we come to understand fragments of our history that we can slowly attempt to bring back to life, one book at a time! Insha’Allah!
For more reviews, recommendations and reader’s tips, check out our instagram page: @albatul_bookclub .