One of the writers whose works I have come to relish and cherish is the man that has worked actively in “Dissemination of knowledge society.” His name is Osman Nuri Topbas. His works are endearing to my heart due to his extensive chronicles on the life of Prophet Muhammad. One of his books, Exemplar beyond Compare extols the unparagoned virtues of the greatest man on earth ever which inspires the reader to aspire to lofty ideals.
I have read most of his books, articles. Watched some of his videos and seminars. However, what lingers in mind from his works is a short statement. The statement can be found in the book Islam, Spirit and Form. The statement carries the essence of Islam and further gives fillip to the meaning of the first five verses of the Quran. Allah states in the Quran chapter 96: “Read (Proclaim!) In the Name of your Lord Who created. Created man, out of a clot (of congealed blood). Read (Proclaim), and your Lord is the Most Generous. Who taught by the Pen, Taught man that which he knew not.” The statement reads “Islam is not the religion for the ignorant. Islam rather is the last system sent to fight ignorance.” Poignant!
Copious verses and statements from the Prophet and his companions go a long way to reduce to rubble the foundations of ignorance and raise high the banner of knowledge and the need to seek it before any other act in Islam. Islam places a high premium on knowledge due to how regressive and malignant ignorance and its related issues are. An ignorant person is a burden on himself and his community. “Without a doubt, ignorance is one of the most chronic causes of lethargy, conservatism and prejudice; and it is the most difficult to correct.” I have therefore resolved to seek knowledge so long as I find myself in this transient world. Five books that have their credibility proven and authenticity certified are recommended to every Muslim as we start Ramadan in few days.
Let’s find them and read and we will have a better and a more Islamic Muslim Community in this country and beyond.
One can never be a Muslim without the Quran. Islam is a skeleton and the Quran is its flesh. That is where Islam takes its dictates from. What the deen entails, what it includes, what it eschews and abhors are all deeply embedded in this doubt-free book. Your success as a Muslim is commensurate with how well you know and apply the teachings of the Quran. It contains guidelines, sign-posts, fine light and all things you need to survive as a Muslim. With the Quran, we are attaining success. Without which, we are doomed and forever going to be in a state of absolute despondency.
The Two Saheeh:
The most authentic book after the Quran in Islam is Sahih Bukhari. This is a book containing sayings and acts of Prophet Muhammad compiled by Mohammed ibn Ismail al Bukhari. Together with Sahih Muslim, they encapsulate the authentic life of the Prophet for us in a bit. Out of the six canonical books of Hadith, these two are the highly-placed ones above the spurious lies, concoctions, fabrications and other mundane descriptions that have come to characterize some of the statements purported to have come from the Prophet. Within these books contain the various clarifications on how to pray, fast, worship Allah on the whole and live a fruitful life as a Muslim. You can’t practice the deen without these.
Life of Muhammad by Haykal:
In the Quran, Allah states in Chapter 33 specifically verse 21, “Certainly, is for you in (the) Messenger (of) Allah an excellent example for (one) who has hope (in) Allah and the Day the Last, and remembers Allah much.” This indicates the standard for every Muslim. Our standard is Prophet Muhammad with which we measure all aspects of our life. How he lived, ate, drank, sat, slept and how he went through his life processes are sign posts for us to emulate and live. This behooves on us to know his life.
The most popular biography of the Prophet is Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar) which was awarded first price by the Muslim World League among 170 other entries in 1979. However, this particular book written by an Egyptian journalist, Muhammad Husayn Haykal who became a Minister is scientific in its approach. It addresses issues raised by the Orientalists and non-Muslim biographers who try to tarnish the sparkling image of the Prophet. If you have not read this book, you will never have a considerable appreciation of the life of the Prophet.
30 Lessons for those who Fast:
Aidh-al-Qarni, the Saudi Cleric, documents advice and words which soften the heart with verses from the Glorious Quran clothed in the garments of attractive literature and present them with exquisite expression and eloquence. It highlights the significance of the third pillar of Islam and manifests how it affects all aspects of our life. Spiritual, social, physical and other spheres of our lives are seriously impacted by Ramadan. It is captured succinctly in this book.
Western Civilization through Muslim Eyes:
Islam brought the greatest civilization the world has ever seen. Islam raised the most backward of people to become a people of power and wealth throughout the world. This people changed the course of history, pushed the existing frontiers of knowledge and achievement of the world to a higher pedestal. However, Muslims now are the hewers of wood and drawers of water. We are in a state of helplessness and hopelessness. This book by Sayyid Mujtaba Lari shows us the way. It shows us how the western world took over from Islam yet lampooning the inadequacies of that system. In the end, he teaches us how to go back to our lost glory.
NB: The writer is a Youth-Activist and the Executive Secretary of Success Book Club.