Summer Reading List 2008

[1] William C. Chittick’s, Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul The Pertinence of Islamic Cosmology in the Modern World [re-read]. [2] The Book Of Illumination Sign Of Success on the Spiritual Path by Shaykh Ahmad Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah Al-Iskandari. [3] Jamaluldeen Abdullah Ibn Hisham al-Ansari’s, Sharh Shudhur al-Dhahab; [4] Sherman Jackson’s, On the Boundaries of Theological Tolerance in Islam Abu Hamid Al Ghazali’s Faysal L Tafriqa; [5] Seyyed Nasr’s, Science and Civilization in Islam; [6] Awdhah al-Masalik ila Alfiyat Ibn Malik Ibn Hisham al-Ansari; [7] Seyyed Hossein Nasr’s, Knowledge and the Sacred [re-read]; [8] Mystical Dimensions of Islam by Annemarie Schimmel; [9] A History of Islamic Legal Theories An Introduction to Sunni Usul Al-Fiqh, by Wael B. Hallaq; [10] also by Wael B. Hallaq, The Origins And Evolution Of Islamic Law; [11] Sufi Essays from Seyyed Hossein Nasr; [12] The Sacred Foundations of Justice in Islam The Teachings of Ali Ibn Abi Talib by Reza Shah Kazemi, M Ali Lakhani, and Leonard Lewisohn; [13] The Art of Reciting the Qur’an by Kristina Nelson; [14] Muhtar Holland’s Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship – Al Ghazali; [15] The Essential Seyyed Hossein Nasr edited by William C. Chittick; [16] Daniel Abdal Hayy Moore’s Ramadan Sonnets/Poems; [17] Al-Ghazali’s Path to Sufism; [18] Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya on the Invocation of God from Al-Wabil Al-Sayyib Min Al-Kalim Al-Tayyib Muhammad Ibn Abi Bakr Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyah; [19] Al-Ghazali’s Letter to a Disciple (Ghazali Series) Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali [re-read]; [20] Mulla Sadra’s The Elixir of the Gnostics Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim Sadr Al-Din Shirazi; [21] Ebrahim Moosa’s Ghazali And The Poetics Of Imagination [continuation]; [22] The Self-Disclosure of God Principles of Ibn Al-‘Arabi’s Cosmology from William Chittick; [23] also from Chittick, Fakhruddin Iraqi Divine Flashes; [24] Hadith study: Sunan Abu Dawud; [25] Ira M. Lapidus’ A History of Islamic Societies [continuation]; [26] Ibn Ishaq’s al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah; [27] The Sufi Path of Knowledge by William Chittick; [28] The Practice of Everyday Life by Michel De Certeau; [29] After the Death of God by John D Caputo and Gianni Vattimo; [30] Tommie Shelby’s We Who Are Dark; [31] The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization by Richard W. Bulliet; [32] Imam al-Ghazali’s Ihya’ uluwm al-Deen [Arabic version]; [33] The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State by Noah Feldman; [34] al-Ghazali on the Manners Relating to Eating Book XI of the Revival of the Religious Sciences, translation by Denys Johnson-Davies; [35] David C. Lindberg and his The Beginnings of Western Science: The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, Prehistory to A.D. 1450; [36] al-Ghazali’s On Disciplining the Soul and on Breaking the Two Desires Books Xxii and Xxiii of the Revival of the Religious Sciences Nakamura; [37] White by Richard Dyer [continuation]; [38] Deliverance from Error and Mystical Union With the Almighty Al-Munqidh Min Al-Dalal by al-Ghazali; [39] Martin Lings’s Muhammad His Life Based on the Earliest Sources [continuation]; [40] Hadith Qudsi; [41] The Connectors in Modern Standard Arabic by Nariman Naili Al Warraki and Ahmed Taher Hassanein [review].

And while this may seem a bit ambitious, I will do my best to wade through this impressive stack this summer. I am going to try to adhere to the order as much as possible.

31 Replies to “Summer Reading List 2008”

  1. Ambitious would be a kind word 🙂

    I tried to set an aim or goal that was further than what I could normally achieve such that I can get the maximum out of it. If I really do read all these by summer’s end I might just quite my day gig and rent myself out as a walking library!

    I put them in that order as I roughly felt that they related to one another as the list descends, although the Arabic texts are peppered to give me a chance to absorb them at a more diligent rate.

    What are you studying in grad school? I’m hoping to take that plunge within the next year or two, in sha’ Allah.

  2. Baba – perhaps I can make an analogy between drinking and our jahili times as American converts.

    Drinking takes stamina. And for some, who are unaccustomed, they will become inebriated even with a small amount of imbibing. But, like any tried and true drunk can tell you, you build a tolerance. The more you drink, the more you can drink, until one gets to the point that downing an entire bottle is nothing at all. The flip side is that one comes to need his or her drink more and more frequently to the point that in order to feel like you’ve drank anything at all, you must be completely inundated by it.

    Such is drinking – such is reading.

  3. Salaam brother-wow, that is an ambitious list mashaAllah. I’m reading #34 and #36 from your list myself (both from Ihya Ulum Al-Deen) as well as “The Alchemy of Happiness”, but between those and grad school reading, it’ll take me at least a month or so. Do you have these books in any order for any particular reason? Just wondering.

  4. That is a serious reading list. Even when I read mostly fiction, I would be pushing it with 41 books!

    Marc, exactly how long is your summer? lol.

  5. that is a reading list….i don’t think i have read that many books in my entire life…i guess you thought i was learned!!! good luck…i will go to sparknotes instead…

  6. I have to compile my reading list for my comprehensive exams maybe like 150 books and some odd articles in 2 quarters. But 40 something books in 40 something days? Dang you got me beat. The truth is, Marc, you can read all of us under the table.

  7. Marc, where do you get your books from? It’s hard for me to find books beyond the general “basics of Islam” theme.

  8. Wanda – and are both great resources for buying Islamic books online, also your local unversities have extensive libraries that you can borrow from, especially if there is a good religious studies/islamic/arabic program there.
    Marc – My masters program is in peace operations. It’s sort of a hybrid of peacekeeping, international development, conflict analysis/resolution, and lots of UN stuff. InshaAllah, you’ll do fine in grad school, it many ways it’s easier than undergrad. The course of study is more focused and the schedules are more accomodating for older students who work full time.

  9. marc: please go to and request “Dolphin Food” reading list[ 12 years old; top 100 books, with “electees”[new books replacing one or more of the codified 100 ‘pieces’ of “Dolphin Food”. there is also a ‘short version’ of Dolphin Food, “”do;phin snacks'[ 38 books for “Accelerated High-School
    Students”. I hope these 2 lists will “hose ya” !

  10. Salaams sadiyazeyn,
    There was a time when I wanted to work for the UN clearing mines. I know, I know..long story. But I could never figure out how to break into the whole UN business. Just in case this whole academia thing doesn’t work out for me, anyways any suggestions.

  11. Great list – these books will be excellent resources that you’ll go back to time and again long after the first reading. Whenever time permits you may want to see if you can locate a copy of “The History of Islamic Philosophy” by Henry Corbin – a very readable and indispensable overview of the many intersecting philosophical and theological threads that have emerged over the span of Islamic history. In the meantime, you’ve got quite a sumptuous reading feast already picked out.

  12. LOL Fairuza! I don’t think that it’s all that sophisticated. But thanks – makes it seem so much more studious than it really is.

    I second your notion on professor Chittick. I greatly admire his writings.

    Speaking of Chittick, I met Seyyed Houssein Nasr this weekend while photographing at ISNA. I wish I had brought a book for him to sign.

  13. Chittick is a professor at the University I went to. I took a Islam with him. Great class. Great teacher. I also took Islam & Confucianism with his wife Sachiko Murata. She’s also great.

  14. I met Seyyed Houssein Nasr this weekend while photographing at ISNA. I wish I had brought a book for him to sign.

    Oh Marc, that sucks that you didn’t have your book! I just bought that a few weeks ago too. Remember to put the pictures up!

  15. Salaam Margari, Yeah, the UN was my dream job for a while too. Generally, it’s very hard to get a job there but once you do, it’s great. Knowing a second language helps, there is a junior professional program for applicants 35 and under, also they offer internships in NY. Also, getting familiarized with all the different agencies and figuring out where your interests are is helpful. Lots of people in the international community are really critical of the UN (a whole other topic) because the bureaucracy is so vast that they aren’t as effective as they could be. Their agencies usually will partner with other NGOs in the field and if you are interested in land mine work, for example, working with an NGO would be the most direct route to go. By the way, I really enjoy reading your blog. I went to college in the Bay and lived there for a while afterwards, too bad we didn’t get to meet then.

  16. Update: personal book expenses since February 2008 [excluding school books] = $1,025 and climbing. Will crest $1,300 with the new edition of Lisan al-‘Arab this week. Please feel free to make donations.

  17. That’s quite a list!!! I guess I should compile my list now I’m currently reading some DH Lawrence and re-reading The Ideal Muslimah. You have inspired me to finish reading Ihya Ulum Al-Deen.

    ma’a salaamah,


  18. You have inspired me to finish reading Ihya Ulum Al-Deen.

    That’s high praise indeed. May Allah give you the perseverance to make it through it. It is a highly rewarding read.

  19. Wow, Marc. I don’t what to say. $1025 for books? I think I might have spent that much on books for my entire BA.

    You need a tip jar or something.

  20. You need a tip jar or something.

    That’s a great idea. I’ll have to go and get me one of those. And some card board to break dance on down on Broad and Chestnut.

    Perhaps if you have time you can give us a brief “book report” when you finish your list, insha Allah.

    I will, iA, try to get that done. It should be out sometime between Summer 2008 and Summer 3008.

  21. Ameen. Perhaps if you have time you can give us a brief “book report” when you finish your list, insha Allah.

  22. Marc – “The Scar” would probably add a dash of fiction to the great demands of your intellectual pursuit… would be like a tasty dessert.

  23. What do you think of Lapidus’ book? I wanted to get a book that combined history with a bit of encyclopedic knowledge and was thinking of either his book or Hodgson’s “Venture of Islam”. Any recommendations?

  24. Lapidus book is good if you want a compendium. I don’t recommend it for just a through and through reading as it’s quite large.

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