Sumbul Ali-Karamali

Award-Winning Author and Speaker

All my books are introductory books about Islam and Muslims, though the focus of each is a little different. The Muslim Next Door and Growing Up Muslim explain Muslim beliefs in everyday contexts. Demystifying Shariah is about shariah (often called "shariah law" or translated as "Islamic law"), how it developed, and how Muslims engage with it in modern contexts. But I always have so much to write about and so little space! My books cannot cover all the fascinating, interesting aspects of this field. So please do read some of the wonderful books below. They're all readable and many are quite epiphanous. 

1. On Islamic history:

  • Reza Aslan, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam (New York: Random House, 2005).

  • Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair, Islam: A Thousand Years of Faith and Power (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002). 

  • Juan Cole, Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires (New York: Nation Books, 2018). 

2. On images and perceptions of Muslims in European and American history and culture, which still infuse our culture, literature, and arts today

  • Sophia Rose Arjana, Muslims in the Western Imagination (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).

  • Peter Gottschalk and Gabriel Greenberg, Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008). (Images of Muslims in political cartoons.)

  • Edward Said, Orientalism (Routledge, 1978, rpt. Penguin 1991).

  • Norman Daniel, Islam and the West: The Making of an Image (Oxford: OneWorld, 1960; rpt. 2009).

3. On Anti-Muslim prejudice and the reasons for it:

  • Erik Love, Islamophobia and Racism in America (New York: NYU Press, 2017)

  • Nathan Lean, The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims (London: Pluto Press, 2012)

4. On Terrorism in the Name of Islam:

  • John Esposito, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002). Really, anything by John Esposito is to be recommended, but this covers terrorism in an easy, matter-of-fact format.

  • Mahmood Mamdani, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror (New York: Pantheon, 2004)

  • Charles Kurzman, The Missing Martyrs: Why There Are So Few Muslim Terrorists (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011