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My first memory of actually sitting down and finishing a book from cover to cover was in Primary 2, in 1982. My first reading role-model was my elder brother. He didn’t tell me to read, but I saw him reading so I wanted to be like him. He was the one who made me realise that you can read for pleasure – the sheer frenzied joy of following a really good story. Over time, I saw that there are other modes of reading in addition to reading for pleasure, namely reading for purpose, reading to learn, reading as contemplation, reading for inspiration, and reading to understand. Books are a major part of my personal and professional life, and it is a privilege to serve readers of all stripes every single day.

Ibrahim's Picks

Travelling Home

by Abdal Hakim Murad

I would rank this book as one of the most important books published this decade. And I think I am only on the tip of the iceberg in terms of unpacking what this book is trying to convey. This is the book for our times. We all are facing so many issues relating to modernity and it is time we stop limiting our understanding of the Din merely in the context of fiqh and fatwa. There is a real need to come home to Islam’s wide tent of ethics, morality, aesthetics, philosophy and epistemology, so that we Muslims can again be healers to an ailing world. We must see ourselves not as adversaries of the West (or of Moderns), but as healers and ‘dervishes of conscience’ operating out of love and mercy.

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A Thinking Person's Guide to Our Times

by Prince Ghazi Muhammad

The central message of this book is that we are in a crisis. The author enumerates the causes of the crisis as he sees it and proposes solutions. In sum, we need to work on ourselves, to realise our destiny, to lift our aspirations, to set our sights on Heaven. He concludes: ‘Vices corrupt the vicegerent, and the vicegerent corrupts the world. Therefore to purify the world of corruption, the vicegerent must start with his or her own vices.’

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Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources

by Martin Lings

The subject of this book is the Sirah of the Last Prophetﷺ, and you can tell that the author did not take this responsibility lightly. The language Lings employs soars with beauty and lands with precision. A masterpiece.

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Amusing Ourselves to Death

by Neil Postman

This book changed me. It turned me from a bookseller to a reading activist. If you have any doubts that reading is a civilization-building activity to be embarked by every literate citizen, then you have to read this book.

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Imaginal Worlds: Ibn al-'Arabi and the Problem of Religious Diversity

by William C. Chittick

This book is a masterclass in academic religious writing. Cosmic-level themes are elaborated and dissected with clarity and erudition. Good books open doors for its readers, and this book opens whole vistas of possibilities.

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