A friend and colleague in ministry recently asked me to recommend what I would consider to be the top ten books that someone should read in order to understand Islam. For this reason, I’ve produced this reading list in the hopes that it would help anyone who is interested to develop a good understanding of Islam, especially Christians who are involved in evangelism and apologetics towards Muslims.


Gabriel Said Reynolds, The Emergence of Islam: Classical Traditions in Contemporary Perspective (Fortress Press, 2012). A historical introduction to Islam, published by one of the premier scholars on Islam from Notre Dame University.

James R. White, What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an (Bethany House, 2013). One of the best introductions to Islam written from a Christian perspective. Highlights the most important relevant apologetical issues (see my longer review here).

Primary Sources

Seyyed Hossain Nasr, et. al. (eds.), The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary (HarperOne, 2015). One of the most recent scholarly English translations of the Qur’an to come out on the market, with numerous supplementary study notes explaining the text.

Ibn Ishaq (translated by Alfred Guillaume), The Life of Muhammad (Oxford University Press 2002). This is one of the earliest accounts of the life of Muhammad, which noticeably contains many stories that have dropped out of the later hadith traditions (such as the Satanic Verses incident).

On the Accusation of Biblical Corruption

Gordon D. Nickel, The Gentle Answer to the Muslim Accusation of Biblical Falsification (Bruton Gate, 2015). A lengthy rebuttal to Islamic arguments against the corruption of the Bible (see my longer review here).

Gordon D. Nickel, Narratives of Tampering in the Earliest Commentaries on the Qur’ān (Brill, 2010). A more technical text by Nickel that focuses on what early Qur’anic commentaries say about the corruption of the Bible.

Historical Studies

Jonathan A.C. Brown, Hadith: Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World (Oneworld, 2009). An excellent historical introduction to hadith studies.

Fred Donner, Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam (Belknap Press, 2012). An exploration of the early history of Islam, questioning some of the traditional accounts of how Islam emerged.

Gabriel Said Reynolds (ed.), The Qur’an and its Biblical Subtext (Routledge, 2012). Contains recent research on how Jewish and Christian biblical and post-biblical traditions have influenced the text of the Qur’an.

Gabriel Said Reynolds (ed.), New Perspectives on the Qur’an (Routledge, 2014). An anthology of essays on some of the most up to date historical research on the Qur’an.