Over on Al Mihrab, Irfan Rydhan, who I have volunteered with before on a couple of organizations, posted 5 Good Books for American Muslims (and everyone else). Apologies for yet another list but his post inspired me to come up with my own ‘five books’ and so I’ve done that below. Just like Irfan’s list, mine can be consumed by non-Muslims as well:
With all the negative media we get regarding Islam and Muslims in the U.S., reading a book where the protagonist is a Syrian-American practicing Muslim is a welcome change of pace. Abdulrahman Zeitoun faced a lot of adversity after he opted to stay behind in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and yet despite the almost unreal circumstance in he found himself in, his faith remained unshakable. I know it’s cliche to say this, but I couldn’t put this book down. An intense true story, this book was also picked by Entertainment Weekly as the #1 Nonfiction book for 2009. What. Up.
2. Al America: Travels Through America’s Arab and Islamic Roots
This one has to be on the list. San Francisco Chronicle journalist Jonathon Curiel writes about how Muslims and Arabs have extensively influenced the United States. From coffee to rock and roll, there are many things in this country that have been shaped by Arabs and Muslims. Curiel also has a lot of supplementary material on his website.
3. The Vision of Islam
As someone who was born Muslim in a non-Muslim country, I found this intermediate ‘intro’ to Islam book to be very valuable. In addition, the authors Murata and Chittick did something that some Islamic school teachers I had when I was younger failed to do – they gave Islam a soul.
4. Waiting ‘Til The Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America
Not a book on Islam but it’s still quite important. Author Peniel Joseph gives us a narrative history in which he tells the reader about a great many people and events that helped shape the Civil Rights movement, which the Muslim American community has looked to from time to time. An excellent read.
5. Lost History: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers, and Artists
Man, those Muslims. They have never amounted to anything… Actually, quite the opposite. In this book, Michael Morgan goes through many of the scientific and mathematic achievements made by Muslims. Just a note though, this book really is only an introduction into the topic and is not meant to be an academic work. However, it’s a good stepping stone into further study.
So there you have it. I’ll go ahead and apologize for any future lists I make but hey, doing 30 posts in 30 days isn’t too easy for me ;)