Know Your Books

“The bottom line is, if we wish to walk and talk Islam then we must learn Islam and learning still remains a serious business!”

Know Your Books is the first initiative by ICN Academy to make the “Great Books” of the Muslim tradition accessible to a larger audience that does not have a background in Classical Arabic. We aspire to equip individuals with the necessary intellectual tools to be able to make significant contribution in the areas of Islamic Studies, Social Sciences, Humanities and their intersection. We plan to introduce our audience to these timeless books through comprehensive summaries that will ultimately make them competent beginners in areas such as:

  • Usūl al-Tafsīr or the principles of interpretation of the Quran;
  • Usūl al-Hadith or the methodology of Hadith classification;
  • Usūl al-Fiqh or the process of arriving at legal rulings;
  • Historiography or the rules of recording and writing history;
  • Intellectual History or the interpretation of history;
  • Logic or the sound application of reason;
  • Structure of knowledge and the relationship between its branches;
  • Pedagogy or the art of teaching.

To achieve this goal we have selected some Classics from the Muslim intellectual tradition which are so foundational that no expertise in these areas is possible without their extensive study. We plan to bridge the gap between these masterpieces and aspiring scholars, researchers and intellectuals by teaching in depth some of the major themes from these texts (in Urdu and English) and critically engaging with them in an attempt to create more interest and appreciation for them as well as a certain degree of competence for understanding them accurately.

These webinars could be the first step towards an in-depth study of Islam for an audience that is:

  • committed to learning with an intention of contributing to human knowledge;
  • without a madrassa education or Arabic proficiency but wants to study Islam through Classical Texts.
  • aspiring to lead various community projects with a grounding in traditional understanding of Islam;

Note: Our webinars could also be useful to those graduates of traditional Muslim seminaries who would like to brush up their knowledge and critically interact with the texts they are going or went through their madrasa curriculum.

The Classical texts we plan to cover (not in the same order) include but are not limited to:

Principles of understanding the Quran

*Muqaddima fi Usūl al-Tafsir by Imām Ibn Taymiyya;
*Nizam al-Quran by Maulana Hameeduddin Farahi

Hadith and Usūl al-Hadith

*Muwatta Imām Mālik;
*Sahih al-Bukhari;
*Sahih al-Muslim;
*Sunan al-Tirmidhi;

Fiqh and Usūl al-Fiqh

*Al-Risāla of Imām Shafie’
*Al-Muwāfaqāt of Imām Shatibi
*Hujjatullah al-Bāligha of Shah Waliullah (can be read as a Muslim philosophy text at the same time)

Logic, Philosophy, History, Social Sciences and Education

*Tahāfut al-Falāsifa by Imām Ghazali
*Al-Radd by Imām Ibn Taymiyya
*Muqaddima by Imām Ibn Khaldun


Commitment to work hard and ask questions until one understands what one studies.

Background of the instructor:

Arsh Islam has done his Bachelor and Master in Psychology from Jamia Millia Islamia. He has been working as a visiting faculty at both public and private universities.

Apart from Psychology he has completed a two-years online Diploma in the Introduction to Classical Islamic Texts taught by Shaykh Akram Nadwi at Cambridge Islamic College, UK.

His areas of interest include:

  • Principles of Tafsir;
  • Hadith methodology and application;
  • Usūl al-Fiqh;
  • Research methods in social sciences.

Webinars in the Series:

Benchmark in the Hadith tradition: Imām Mālik and his Muwattā.


Class on the Foundations of Sharia: The Risala of Imam Shafi (Rah)


Masterclass: Principles of understanding Qur’an as text & as speech.


Webinar 2 : A melting pot of knowledge: revisiting the genius of Ibn Khaldun


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