converts

  • Last updated 03/23/2011

Whenever I run across a newbie, whether on a message board or in real life, I always refer them to the same things – same websites, same books, same videos. So, why not compile a list of rahma’s complete recommendations for converts?  This list is a work in progress and is not yet definitive.

Watch this first.  Srsly.

Deh Interwebz

Online Learning

Sunnipath – in addition to their great store of question and answers, they offer courses for newbies at a 75% discount. Make sure to sign up for their mailing list, as they offer a few free courses every year as well.

Some SP Q&A that are great for converts:

Seeker’s Guidance– with an online academy, a Q&A service, a blog and a fabulous podcast, Sh. Faraz’s Seeker’s Guidance is a great place to imerse yourself.

The Rahmah Foundation – offering free courses (with a small donation accepted) for sisters by amazing female scholars.  Reclaiming the tradition of female scholarship from the dustbin of history and inshaAllah creating a new generation of awesome, learned muslimahs.

Meadows of Al-Mustafa – another amazing free opportunity for sisters to learn from awesome female scholars.  Email to get on their message list, and to inshaAllah get invitations to their courses

Al Habib Hussain as-Saqqaf’s website – free streaming dars

Mount Hira – awesome site with programs to help memorize some of the shorter surahs of the Qur’an, some duas and the 99 names of Allah (swt)

Iprofess – no longer available at it’s original location, but can still be found through the internet archives.  My favorite articles:

Websites

→ Listening to the Qur’an – alhamdulilah, there are lots of sites online where one can listen to dozens upon dozens of recitors. And, there’s always the option of searching “quran” on youtube, which yields close to 198,000 results.

→ Reading Qur’an

  • Al Tafsir – lots of translations and tafsir (commentary)
  • Qur’an Realm – read different translations, the transliteration and arabic side by side.
  • Mount Hira – awesome site with programs to help memorize some of the shorter surahs of the Qur’an, some duas and the 99 names of Allah (swt)

The Modern Religion – one of the first websites I found back in the day.

Zaytuna – an excellent center for traditional Islam in America. Sh. Hamza and Imam Zaid, both converts, bring Islam to life in a way that is easy to understand and leaves you wanting more.

Mutmainaa – a geocities site, so sometimes they exceed their bandwith and pages aren’t accessible. But, keep coming back, because the entire site is chock full of goodness. The section on dhikr is perhaps the best online resource for Remembrance (this is another site that has gone the way of the dodo, but alhamdulilah, it’s still available through the internet archives).

The American Muslim Convert Resource Page

Dar ul Iman’s Blessings of Islam – a holistic introduction to islam.  I can’t endorse the healing portion of the website (as that’s not something I know anything about), but the section on islam and prayer are fabulous.

Maqasid Press – Abdullah Hasan offers Q&A, videos and blog entries on a wide variety of subjects.

Beautiful Islam – a good collection of articles on a wide variety of topics of interest to new (and old) muslims

Specific Issues

→Allah (swt) – ok, not really an issue, but definitely important

→Salat – if you focus on anything first, let it be this!

  • My Salat cards – read the arabic aloud, and then the english meaning silently.  inshaAllah after a few weeks (or months), not only will you have your prayers memorized, you’ll actually know what you’re saying :)
  • The Right Way to Pray – although I’m not a huge fan of their approach to Islam, this is a pretty spiffy little program.  Do be aware that the Prophet (saws) varied his prayer on occasion (not the form itself, but used different supplications at different times), so if you come across something that’s different from what you’ve learned, it should be ok inshaAllah.
  • Dar ul Iman’s salat section – inward and outward aspects of prayer explained and connected.

Conversion Certificate – unfortunately, simply declaring oneself a muslim may not be good enough for the Saudi government to issue you a visa for hajj.  They may ask you for a certificate of your conversion.  If you didn’t get one at the time of your shahada, you can write one up and have the people at the masjid certify that you are in fact a muslim.

→Food, glorious food! – if you’ve read my blog, you know I love to eat and I love to cook.  But Allah (swt) has placed restrictions on what we can eat.

→Dua

  • Etiquette of Du’a
  • Reflection of Pearls – an excellent and IMHO, necessary book for any convert to own.  Lists not only important prophetic dua, but also a section on etiquette, the 99 names of Allah (swt) and extra salat.

→ Convert related advice

→ Hadith or not to hadith?  That is the question.  Do we accept hadith are part of the religion (hint, the answer is yes)?

  • Rethinking Tradition in Modern Islamic Thought – the main meat of the book discusses modern reinterpretation of the hadith corpus, but the first part provides a good introduction to how and why hadith were compiled, and the conflicts around it. It’s a scholarly work, not apologetics.

→Madhab yay or nay?

→Men and Women

→Adab

Lectures and Videos


Real Life

→ Books

  • An English Translation of the Qur’an (if you’re a native english speaker of course) I started out with the Shakir and Arberry translation. Overtime, I’ve aquired probably a dozen different translations. Most of the time, I use the Muhammad Asad and Saheeh International translations together. Saheeh International has smooth, modern, easy to read and understand english, and Muhammad Asad has dynamite footnotes that survey centuries of Qur’anic Commentary.
  • Submission, Faith & Beauty – my absolute favorite introduction to Islam
  • Salat: the Islamic Prayer from A to Z – an overall good look at how to make wudu and the salat. The only quibble I have is wiping over the socks in wudu – some say this is permissible, but the 4 madhabs hold that your socks must be leather (khufs) if you want to wipe over them. Regular, every day socks don’t cut it.
  • A Biography of the Prophet – I like 3: Muhammad by Martin Lings – perhaps the most traditional in approach, it sounds more like the traditional sirah than a western biography. Muhammad by Yahya Emerick – more of a traditional western biography, reads like a story. In the Footsteps of the Prophet by Tariq Ramadan – highlights aspects of the Prophet’s life that are often overlooked by the anti-islam crowd.
  • Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship – once you have the how to down of the 5 pillars, like salat, zakat and fasting, learn how to connect them to your inward character.
  • Books of Dua – a dua is a supplication, what we westerners think of when someone says prayer. A good dua book will give you duas from our beloved Prophet (saws) and from the Qur’an. Reflection of Pearls is a good general dua book that gives duas for everyday situations, as well as those found in the Qur’an and Sunnah. Accepted Whispers is a little more advanced. It gives a number of dua to say every day from the Prophet (saws), not for any particular situation, but rather just for making dua.
  • Purification of the Heart – a must read for those who wish to polish their character. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read this book.
  • Treatise for the Seekers of Guidance – a commentary on a classical text that causes you to reflect on how to live islam in your life

→ CDs

→ Videos

Shopping

I’ll only recommend places that I’ve had good experiences with

11 thoughts on “converts

  1. Just clicked on this today. Nice selection of material. I always wanted to compile my own list too. I suppose it would probably look much like this one. Oh, and I really liked the video you put up there. Good advice. Of course, I’m biased though. That brother and his wife are good friends of ours and live 5 minutes away from us. LOL.

  2. If you have any suggestions to what should be added, please let me know. And tell that brother his video is fabulous and he HAS to make more! Wisconsin muslims rock!

  3. That is a good point seekerofthesacred. I’ve benefited tremendously from reading Riyad as Saliheen with AbuS, but am aware of my limits as to actually “knowing” the text.

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this list. I can’t say thank you enough. I just don’t have the words. I converted during Ramadan 2009 and I’ve been struggling ever since to find support and resources and just plain help. I’ve never regretted or doubted my decision to say the Shahada, but it feels like ever since I’ve just been beating my head against a brick wall. This list gives me hope. THANK YOU.

  5. Assalamu Alaikum PeaceSeeker,

    You are very very very welcome :) If you have any questions, please feel free to email me -ummsqueakster at gmail dot com. I’m usually pretty good about finding answers. I’d just like to point you towards two great resources – sunnipath and seeker’s guidance – http://seekersguidance.org/ – both have courses and question and answers services that I wish had been around when I converted.

  6. Assalamou alaykoum.

    May Allah Most High reward you for this beneficial list.

    Sister, did you already think about publishing this list in PDF format? In case your blog goes off-line or also generally to reach out a wider audience it might be good to have it in PDF…

    What do you think?

    Wassalamou alaykoum.

    • wa alaikum assalam,

      Hmm, I suppose I could. The problem is that I try to update it often. I will try to make sure that I won’t take it offline without any warning.

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