We often get questions about books. One of the most common categories for that question is in tazkiyah/spiritual development. So here's our list of the top 5 best books on tazkiyah for the everyday Muslim.
"Sincerity: The Essential Quality" by Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Edited and published by MAS Youth. (For the print version click here).
- This work is a very simple and short read but gives really important foundations for understanding the concept of sincerity in Islam. Sincerity is the core issue of spirituality so starting with a text that focuses solely on it is a great way to build your foundation.
"Rising Soul: A Guide to Personal Development" by Muhammad Mansur. Edited and published by MAS Youth. (For the print version click here).
- This work is also very simple, but it systematically covers most of the main ideas in tazkiyah in an easy to read and practical way. It's a great primer before the coming texts and a good text for younger audiences.
"Purification of the Soul" compiled from the writings of al-Ghazali, Ibn al-Qayyim, and Ibn Rajab.
- I can't tell you how many of us grew up on this text. Before the more recent publications this was our bread and butter. It takes different major concepts in tazkiyah and compiles works from the mentioned authors to provide insight on them. A great text because of the greatness of its authors. It also has a part two.
"In the Early Hours: Reflections on Spiritual and Self-Development" by Khurram Murad.
- Another text that many of us grew up on. It's not laid out in the classical style of tazkiyah works, but a very simple read. The author had a lot of experience in working for Islam and so his guidance is straightforward and practical.
"Purification of the Heart: Signs, Symptoms, and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Heart" by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf.
- This text is a commentary by Shaykh Hamza on a traditional work in purification of the heart by Shaykh Muhammad Mawlud. The original poem goes through the traditional categories and topics of tazkiyah in alphabetic order and discusses diseases of the heart and their cures. Shaykh Hamza's commentary is truly beautiful and brilliant making every page profound and impactful.
Closing note: Tazkiyah is meant to be practiced and not simply read about. Someone may look at this list and think to themselves "I've read these before." This field is not about finishing texts. The texts are simply guides for us in familiarizing and reminding ourselves of the core issues in spiritual development. Then it is upon us to apply them and remain in the company of those who are seeking to practice them.