Described as nothing less than life changing by all who have read it, The Agenda to Change Our Condition, written by the esteemed Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir, is a practical book that is crucial for the condition of the ummah today.
This book seems to have been written for all Muslims due to the concise nature in which it flows — regardless of how vast the reader’s religious understanding may be. I also recommend this book for those who don’t read much. With only five chapters and less than 100 pages, it was far from a lengthy read.
The Agenda to Change Our Condition enlightens an individual on the importance of taqwa (God-consciousness) and helps one to take part in changing the condition of the ummah by focusing on the most important part of it first: the reader’s own individual state. For “…indeed Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves…” (The Holy Quran, 13:11).
The first three chapters progress from an introduction on our current state, to the definition and benefits of taqwa, to the heart and its treatment. After theoretical ground has been covered, the next two chapters then progress into practical steps to change our condition, example exercises on attaining taqwa, and highlighting the importance of civic involvement.
The book ends with an excellent and unique checklist one can use when specifically performing the exercises on attaining taqwa. These practical and short exercises fall under the categories of guarding the prayer, tongue, eyes, ears, stomach, private parts, hands, and feet. The authors recommend that in order to make a true change, the reader must first follow the exercises for forty days. If one happens to slip, it is recommended to begin again from day one.
Using beautiful references from the Qur’an, hadith, and traditional scholars, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir provide thought-provoking, relative, modern-day examples. Reading the book and applying their practical exercises definitely left me feeling empowered and hopeful — especially during these confusing times. I highly recommend that every Muslim own this book (or borrow it from someone!) and give it a thorough read; it can be truly life changing.
Note: Priced from $10 to $20, one can purchase The Agenda to Change Our Condition from almost any Islamic bookstore and online on sandala.org.