Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood is the author of some forty books on Islam and other subjects. She gained her honours degree in Christian Theology at the University of Hull in 1963, and Post Graduate Teaching Certificate in 1964, with distinctions in theory and practice. Her professional life was spent as Head of Religious Studies at various tough UK inner city secondary schools, until she retired in 1996, to concentrate on writing and lecturing. She has since made the GCSE course in Islamic Studies available to students and converts to Islam of all ages, especially to those who have not had the opportunity to study it at school.
She grew up a devout Christian, but converted to Islam in 1986. Already established by then as an author of books on Christian and educational topics, she has since devoted her time to writing on Islam and doing dawah (explaining the faith) work to both Christian and Muslim audiences. She regularly addresses school and church groups, explaining Islam and educating in the basics of Islam, with a keen interest in presenting Islam as a world faith. She strives to raise the awareness both of non-Muslims and also of born Muslims of the traditional immigrant ethnic backgrounds living in the UK, that these numerous varieties of cultural backgrounds, tastes and emphases are all part of Islam, including cultures that are not limited to the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and North Africa.
Ruqaiyyah is an outspoken moderate Muslim, whose main interests lie in the Madinah period, the genealogy of the Prophet and his companions, and the importance of re-establishing good relationships between the Peoples of the Book (ie. Muslims, Jews and Christians who all worship the same One True God and follow the same chain of revelation) as opposed to rather ignorant hostility. Eve more important, perhaps, is the battle to preserve the true faith of Islam - tolerant, noble, and compassionate - in face of the growth of the ‘other Islam’ which is extremist and intolerant, and which she regards as both false and dangerous.