Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem
So, I have been on a big personal development and/or feminist reading kick lately, so I decided to bring this one back off of the shelves for a review!
Rising Soul, a Guide to Personal Development by Muhammad Mansur is obviously a personal development book, but it is written through an Islamic lens. What more could I ask for?!
A friend of mine bought this for me back when I was still living in the States, and when I need a good kick in the pants I still like to read a chapter or two sometimes.
One of my favourite things about the book is how it is laid out: it begins, naturally, with an introduction, and then moves on to separate out behaviours into chapters.
In the first few chapters (I’m sorry I can’t remember how many; the book actually just got packed away for the move!) it details some of the major bad habits within the Islamic community. These are things like gossiping, backbiting, lying, saying foul words, thinking badly of others, jealousy, etc.
In each chapter it goes through why this is such a destructive habit, what the Qur’an and hadith say about this habit, and some productive ways to counter it.
I appreciate the fact that in these chapters the book doesn’t sound like “YOU are and awful person because YOU do this!” It takes a much gentler tone, and reminds you that these are bad habits that anyone can fall into, and that no one is perfect, though we should strive to be as close as possible.
In the last few chapters, then, it details some of the good habits that should be cultivated in place of these bad habits. These are things like loving for your brother what you love for yourself, smiling at people, making excuses for your brothers and sisters in faith, being happy for others’ blessings, and defending someone when others are gossiping about them.
Much like the format in the previous sections, it takes you through what the Qur’an and hadith say about people who practice these good habits, and it gives you the practical tools to begin to cultivate them in your own life.
I really love this book because you can pick it up and pick out any chapter; maybe you are feeling jealous of a friend, so you can go read the chapter on jealousy, or maybe you want to get better at not judging people based just on appearances, you can go to that chapter.
It is a great motivational read, and has plenty of practical tips to get you moving in the direction of self-improvement. Plus, it is all based on Islamic sources!
If you want to check it out, you can find it on Amazon, or potentially at your local Islamic bookstore.