Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem
I am sure you can go to a book store and pick up 500 different books on “intro to Islam,” but I wanted to share with you the two or three that I read back in the day. Islam the Natural Way and Islam in Focus were both recommended to me before I converted, and I loved both of them. I also remember picking out Welcome to Islam on my own, and finding that one quite helpful. Writing this right now actually makes me want to go back and re-read these, just to see how far I have come since then!
2.Other reverts’ stories:
One thing I found super interesting when I was considering Islam was reading about others who had been down the same path. I loved books by G. Willow Wilson and Lucy Bushill-Matthews. You can find short videos and interviews with reverts over on overcome.tv, something that I have just recently discovered through blogging! I found it helpful to see the diverse paths of women to Islam, and even how differently their stories went after they converted; it comforted me to know that I could be a Muslim and still be myself, and it was good to see how others dealt with the struggles. There are also plenty of blogs all about the revert experience out there, this, this, and this are some of my favorites!
3.Lecture series on Seerah and the Prophets:
So much of what I have learned about Islam comes straight from the seerah lessons I have watched and listened to online. The seerah is the story of the life of the Prophet (saws), and Yasir Qadhi’s YouTube class as well as Qalam Institute’s podcast are so in-depth, with so many lessons to be learned from each hour-long session. They teachers usually go into minute detail, covering so many things from big historical events like battles and conquests, to the smallest every-day interactions of the Prophet (saws) with his companions, wives, and the community as a whole. I also loved listening to Mufti Menk’s series on the stories of the prophets when I first converted, to get a better idea of the Islamic tradition of the prophets. If you come from a Christian or Jewish background, I would definitely recommend that as an overview of what Islam has to say about the various prophets that we share throughout the three monotheistic traditions.
4.Islamic Personal Development Books:
Ok, this is an odd one. I’ve never been into personal development or “self help” type books, but after I converted I found that these kinds of books were really helpful to give me reminders of the type of person I was striving to be. The Ideal Muslimah is one of my favorites, though please do remember that this deals with all of the characteristics of the ideal Muslimah, and you don’t need to feel bad for not living up to all of them! I also loved Rising Soul, which was a gift from a friend of mine back in the early days. Productive Muslim tends to have some pretty decent articles on there, and if you are looking for some more topic-specific personal development you can try books like Don’t Be Sad, Blissful Marriage, and Reclaim Your Heart.
5.This post right here:
A little while ago Chelsea from Wellness Muslimah did an amazing post for me as a sort of “first-aid kit” for reverts. She put in all of the fundamental things that a new Muslim needs to know right off the bat, and leaves out all of the “do this, don’t do that, halal, haraam, etc.” that can easily overwhelm a recent convert. She also included plenty of resources in each section to help provide a basis for beginning to practice Islam, which basically made it a must-read post for new Muslims who aren’t sure where or how to start. I wish I had had a post like this to read when I first converted!! And as a bonus, you should definitely check out Karrie’s (formerly of The Covert Life, now over at MeMuslima) guest post on the biggest lessons she has learned in being a Muslim for over 20 years now.