• Tasnia Chowdhury

5 Incredible Books by Muslim Authors You Have to Read This Year

The older I got, the more reading became a chore. While the world was getting swallowed up by a pandemic, politicians and panic buyers, I found that being between the pages of a book was a much better place to be. So as lockdown re-ignited that passion and zest to get lost in a good read, I noticed my shelves lacking in some serious Muslim representation. So here are 5 books by 5 Muslim authors for you to add to yours! I’ve included a self-help guide, a historical fiction, an educational read, an autobiography and a spiritual nourisher

— happy reading!

People Like Us by Hashi Mohamed

This is a self-help guide from a barrister who had come to the UK as a refugee from Somalia and now speaks about his journey to his current socio-economic position. Hashi explores the intersectionality of all aspects of his identity and explains how he navigated discrimination as he clawed his way up a system built to keep him at the bottom.

  • Themes: imposter syndrome, racism, prejudice, social mobility, struggle

We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan

This historical novel is divided into two timelines: flashbacks to the expulsion of Asians from Uganda by then dictator Idi Amin in 1972 that is narrated to us via a series of love letters from Hasan Sa'ed to his dead wife, and then the story of Sameer (Hasan’s grandson), in present day society where we follow his contemporary struggles with racism, family duty and responsibility.

  • Themes: Ugandan history, politics, culture, racism, romance, heartbreak

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzi

An incredibly insightful and inspiring read of Malala’s struggle and fight for something most of us are privileged to receive: an education. After surviving being shot in the head at point-blank range, Malala’s impact on the world has been nothing short of remarkable. However, I can’t help but feel like her voice was often drowned out by Christina Lamb's interpretations — offered in in factual accounts that read a little like political coercion.

  • Themes: terrorism, empowerment, education, struggle, family, religion and politics

It's Not About the Burqa by Mariam Khan

So this is a book I had to read for work and, I must say, I’m glad I did. A collection of essays addressing the raw reality of being a Muslim woman whose voice is being constantly pushed to the fringes of society and left to be drowned by white male politicians. There were a lot of opinions and discourse in this book, many of which I didn’t agree with, but I certainly learnt a lot about the stance of different Muslim women.

  • Themes: religion, race, politics, feminism, misogyny, media, identity

Daily Wisdom: Selections from the Holy Qur'an by Abdur Raheem Kidwai

If there was a book I could hug, this would be it. As someone whose native tongue isn’t Arabic, it’s not as easy to engage with the words of the Quran so when resources like this exist it truly transforms your experience. This is a set of inspirational reminders, one for every day of the year. Definitely one to add to your Ramadan must reads!

  • Themes: Quran, family, God, knowledge, faith, reflection

By Tasnia Chowdhury