Reading lists

10 books about Muslim experiences to read this Ramadan

As Muslims around the world prepare to mark the month of fasting, here are 10 books that offer entertainment and enlightenment to Muslims and non-Muslims.

A flatlay of books about and by Muslim people
How many have you read? Image: Vicky Ibbetson/Penguin

Muslims are often conveyed as a monolith, especially in popular culture, where more often than not they are still either shown as oppressors or being oppressed.

Thankfully, a more nuanced view can be found in books, which show a vast array of experiences, covering everything from Islamic history to love stories to discussions about feminism, sexuality and more in Islam.

The books on this list are all by authors who identify as Muslim, or about people and characters of Muslim faith, and they'll entertain and enlighten.

This Green and Pleasant Land by Ayisha Malik (2019)

This novel begins with a death bed request: Bilal's mum would like him to build a mosque in his very small, very English village of Babel's End.

Grieving and undergoing a mid-life crisis, Bilal decides to forge ahead with the project, causing huge divisions in the community he was previously welcomed into.

As the villagers face off against one another, an unlikely friendship begins between Bilal's elderly aunt Rukhsana and his nemesis Shelley, despite the pair not speaking the same language.

A warm and wise book about family and the meaning of home, this book will have you laughing out loud.

This Green and Pleasant Land was shortlisted for the Diverse Book Awards.

Muslim, Actually by Tawseef Khan (2021)

Originally published under the title The Muslim Problem, lawyer Tawseef Khan's book is a look at the common ways in which Muslims are misunderstood. Through the course of chapters on sexism, homophobia and more, he chronicles what it's really like to live as a Muslim in the western world. Described as a "wake-up call for non-believers and a passionate new framework for Muslims to navigate a world that is often set against them", the book combines history, memoir and original research.

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