Mufti Taqi Uthmani recommended the following books in response to a question, as mentioned in his famous book, Fatawa Uthmani. We have also provided the links to the recommended books, where-ever possible.
We keep hearing from the ‘Ulama’ that learning the fundamentals of our religion is necessary (farḍh) upon every male and female, as per ḥadīth, “learning knowledge is incumbent upon every Muslim.” However the task to identify what constitutes as fundamentals is beyond lay Muslims like myself.
Similarly, the manner in which you have set a syllabus at the seminaries for students training as ‘Ulama’, there is no such syllabus for lay Muslims. This is despite scholars having produced many works in Urdu with the hope to spread the teachings of Islam amongst the masses.
My request is for you to gather a selection of Urdu works, which can constitute a syllabus, for lay Muslims wanting to learn the teachings of their religion; a syllabus after the completion of which a layperson will have acquired all the fundamental and necessary teachings of his religion and meet the criteria laid out in the above-cited ḥadīth. Bayyinū, tu’jarū.
I received your letter. The question you ask is indeed a very important one. Acquiring knowledge according to one’s need is definitely a duty (farḍh) upon Muslims. Accordingly, the reading list should be divided into two categories: the first comprising of primary literature without which one cannot live as a true Muslim and the second, being a completion and complement to the first, literature strengthening one’s fundamentals and deepening his knowledge enough that he would not be lead astray by deviants.
Books which I find necessary reading for the first category are as follows: