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Lost Islamic History: Reclaiming Muslim Civilisation from the Past

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Islam has been one of the most powerful religious, social and political forces in history. Over the last 1400 years, from origins in Arabia, a succession of Muslim polities and later empires expanded to control territories and peoples that ultimately stretched from southern France to East Africa and South East Asia. Yet many of the contributions of Muslim thinkers, scientis Islam has been one of the most powerful religious, social and political forces in history. Over the last 1400 years, from origins in Arabia, a succession of Muslim polities and later empires expanded to control territories and peoples that ultimately stretched from southern France to East Africa and South East Asia. Yet many of the contributions of Muslim thinkers, scientists and theologians, not to mention rulers, statesmen and soldiers, have been occluded. This book rescues from oblivion and neglect some of these personalities and institutions while offering the reader a new narrative of this lost Islamic history. The Umayyads, Abbasids, and Ottomans feature in the story, as do Muslim Spain, the savannah kingdoms of West Africa and the Mughal Empire, along with the later European colonization of Muslim lands and the development of modern nation-states in the Muslim world. Throughout, the impact of Islamic belief on scientific advancement, social structures, and cultural development is given due prominence, and the text is complemented by portraits of key personalities, inventions and little known historical nuggets. The history of Islam and of the world's Muslims brings together diverse peoples, geographies and states, all interwoven into one narrative that begins with Muhammad and continues to this day.


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Islam has been one of the most powerful religious, social and political forces in history. Over the last 1400 years, from origins in Arabia, a succession of Muslim polities and later empires expanded to control territories and peoples that ultimately stretched from southern France to East Africa and South East Asia. Yet many of the contributions of Muslim thinkers, scientis Islam has been one of the most powerful religious, social and political forces in history. Over the last 1400 years, from origins in Arabia, a succession of Muslim polities and later empires expanded to control territories and peoples that ultimately stretched from southern France to East Africa and South East Asia. Yet many of the contributions of Muslim thinkers, scientists and theologians, not to mention rulers, statesmen and soldiers, have been occluded. This book rescues from oblivion and neglect some of these personalities and institutions while offering the reader a new narrative of this lost Islamic history. The Umayyads, Abbasids, and Ottomans feature in the story, as do Muslim Spain, the savannah kingdoms of West Africa and the Mughal Empire, along with the later European colonization of Muslim lands and the development of modern nation-states in the Muslim world. Throughout, the impact of Islamic belief on scientific advancement, social structures, and cultural development is given due prominence, and the text is complemented by portraits of key personalities, inventions and little known historical nuggets. The history of Islam and of the world's Muslims brings together diverse peoples, geographies and states, all interwoven into one narrative that begins with Muhammad and continues to this day.

30 review for Lost Islamic History: Reclaiming Muslim Civilisation from the Past

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bilqis

    Brilliant! Such rich Islamic history I was never aware of, I am grateful to the author and the publishers for this book of knowledge. it's a must read for all Muslims. Others should read it as well it's an great eye opener. I nearly cried at the end of the Andalusian era. Brilliant! Such rich Islamic history I was never aware of, I am grateful to the author and the publishers for this book of knowledge. it's a must read for all Muslims. Others should read it as well it's an great eye opener. I nearly cried at the end of the Andalusian era.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Roberto Macias

    After going through Paul Johnson's "History of Christianity" and "History of the Jews" I read a few books on the Arabs. All have been very enlightening both on the rise and fall of the middle eastern empires, and understanding the conflicts that now plague the region. "Lost Islamic History" however, has a different scope. It encompasses all Islamic culture by avoiding 19th century definitions of identity (ethnicity and nationalism) and resorting to more period, or subject, accurate descriptions, After going through Paul Johnson's "History of Christianity" and "History of the Jews" I read a few books on the Arabs. All have been very enlightening both on the rise and fall of the middle eastern empires, and understanding the conflicts that now plague the region. "Lost Islamic History" however, has a different scope. It encompasses all Islamic culture by avoiding 19th century definitions of identity (ethnicity and nationalism) and resorting to more period, or subject, accurate descriptions, when identity was more closely related to religion. This has been particularly truth of the Islamic faith, and we ignore it at our own risk. By taking this approach, Firas Alkhateeb takes more time in explaining the fate of Muslims in al-Andalus, and in the Indiand subcontinent. He also spends some time going over the reasons for the success of the Muslim empires, specially acknowledging their contribution to the start of the renaissance. This book is a fantastic lesson in history without being burdensome. Of all history books of the region/religion I've read, this one was the easiest to read, while still being packed with lots of information. I definitely recommend it to anyone who wishes to know more about world history.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hina

    What an amazing amazing read! This should be made part of every school course! The writing is precise just giving enough information to know the events but not overly detailed so people end up getting bored. I know because I am not much into history and stuff. I love how the events are connected from the time of the Prophet to the 'modern' world today. Ottoman rule intrigued me the most.. looked up quite alot on it. One thing is clear though as long as the rulers and people followed the teaching What an amazing amazing read! This should be made part of every school course! The writing is precise just giving enough information to know the events but not overly detailed so people end up getting bored. I know because I am not much into history and stuff. I love how the events are connected from the time of the Prophet to the 'modern' world today. Ottoman rule intrigued me the most.. looked up quite alot on it. One thing is clear though as long as the rulers and people followed the teachings of Islam they saw massive successes in every field but when they indulged in selfish gains and petty politics it ended in chaos for them and their people. A must must read.. Highly recommended!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ali

    I usually try to be measured, deliberate, and even kind in my review of a book. But I’ll say it right off the bat: “Lost Islamic History” is terrible. This is a chauvinistic, nationalist summation of Muslim history, which suffers from epistemic fallacies, and poor scholarship. It is essentially Muslim propaganda, and bad even at that. The book attempts to counter the inferiority many feel to the West by focusing on the material and scientific accomplishments of past Muslim civilizations. Of cours I usually try to be measured, deliberate, and even kind in my review of a book. But I’ll say it right off the bat: “Lost Islamic History” is terrible. This is a chauvinistic, nationalist summation of Muslim history, which suffers from epistemic fallacies, and poor scholarship. It is essentially Muslim propaganda, and bad even at that. The book attempts to counter the inferiority many feel to the West by focusing on the material and scientific accomplishments of past Muslim civilizations. Of course, that isn’t what defined those civilizations; it is what defined those civilizations that led to their material and scientific success. The same holds true for the modern West, or the many successful societies throughout history – the principles they adhered to are what make them distinct, and what is responsible for their material achievements. However, are their greatest achievements then not the principles themselves? The author manages to edify the reverse of this into the reader’s mind, establishing material success as the metric of note for a society. But what does it mean when societies that are not Islamic are materially successful, and when societies that are Islamic, are not? Evidently, this is not good. Hence the author attempts to convince the reader that the positive material trends in Muslim society all came from religiosity, while the negative all came from their reversal. Towards this end, the author writes lengthy listicles noting different scientific achievements of Muslim society, and appropriates a few from others along the way. One should ask, are long lists the best way to communicate a Muslim harmony with, and contribution to scientific literature? And what also is the implication for Muslim society when some of the items the author claims Muslims to have invented, like the decimal system's number zero, are by common knowledge known to have been invented by others? To the first question, given the materialist hole he had dug himself, I’m not surprised the author felt he had to create lists of achievements to get himself out; that may very well have been his only option. The second question raises many more significant points. For one, if other civilizations are creating equal or greater material achievements, I’m not sure what makes Muslim society particularly unique. Secondly, the fact that he got this simple matter wrong implies he is either willfully twisting history (more on that later), or lacks any factual rigor (more on that later). It calls into question everything he writes, and because everything he writes is literally his opinion/narrative of history, without a single footnote to speak of, that’s a serious problem. Material success is obviously important for a society. I’m not some hermit living in a hut, and in fact Islam clearly supports the opposite: Quran 28:77 “But seek, with that (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on you, the home of the Hereafter, and forget not your portion of legal enjoyment in this world, and do good as Allah has been good to you, and seek not mischief in the land.” What the author fails to communicate is that all civilizations rise and fall. The failure of one classical civilization simply gave rise to the next. All good things must come to an end, but from its ashes often arises something new and as beautiful, if not more. The end of the Greeks doesn’t mean a condemnation of their ideas (evidently not, as they are potentially the most influential philosophical tradition in human history). The end of the British Empire doesn’t mean we should reject common law. In the same way, just because Muslim society isn’t doing so well today, doesn’t mean we should give up on Islam. In the end, the Mongols conquered and captured more intensely than any civilization before it – does that mean they were a better society? Many of the successes that the author lists are products of thinkers and ideologies that are viewed as heretical today, like the Mutazila. Does that mean that Islam is in fact the problem? Muslims should focus on taking the good of what has worked, and examine what hasn’t. Instead of ingratiating themselves to some external philosophy or metric, as this author inadvertently makes the reader do, they should focus on incorporating these lessons into their own independent philosophy and tradition (which are often lessons that are purely material in nature, and have no implications to religion, as science and religion are two mutually exclusive domains) – but I’m beginning to diatribe a bit here and should get back on topic. This failure of the author to appropriately establish the rise and fall of civilization plays into some Arab-centrism as well. The Abbasids existed for hundreds of years, but relatively early into that reign their existence became purely nominal in nature. The author attributes everything during this period to the Arab rule of the Abbasids, yet in fact many different dynasties and empires arose that operated autonomously, and were led by different ethnicities. If you want to discuss scientific advancements during the so-called Golden Age, it is for example, impossible not to mention the Persians, who are not Arabs. They brought their own effective system of bureaucracy which lent itself to such material advancement (it wasn’t some inherent character of the Persian gene), and was not a product of Arab rule. The effective splitting up of empires within a nominal Muslim umbrella allowed for the rise and fall of empire to occur naturally while maintaining cohesive unity, and demonstrates how real Muslim societies could operate, rather than the caliphate utopia that this book essentially puts forward in its place. In fact, it is clear both this multi-culturalism, and decentralization/diffusion of authority played a large role in helping Muslim societies prosper. The book continues to get worse by taking the traditional nationalist propaganda route of victimhood, the reductive and convenient other, and more bad scholarship. The discussion of the Fatimids is laughable. For starters, the author continually says ‘the Muslims’ and ‘the Shias’, as if to imply they are two mutually exclusive groups. There is no problem if a work is meant for a specific religious audience (that being Sunni, if that wasn’t clear by this point, though it gets even more narrow later on). In fact, I’d encourage this. And if that group has negative views of others, it is okay to essentially say as much, without compromising the truth. However, given the world’s Sunni authorities don’t say all Shias are not Muslims, even though they voice often vociferous disagreements, it’s a bit hilarious that the author decided to kufr-blast Shias right out of the pall of Islam. Moving on, the author says things like the Fatimids and their ‘Sunni-free agenda’, along with a bunch of other statements implying the Fatimids are essentially evil, and that Shia-Sunni conflict is inevitable and everlasting. I’m sure the author believes this (it turns out he has made some very interesting statements). But later on, the author mentions that the Abbasid seat of the Caliphate is effectively run by the Buyids, a Persian dynasty. What he fails to mention at this time, however, is that the Buyids are in fact a Shia dynasty. If Sunni-Shia conflict is so inevitable, and Shias are sooo evil, how is that they are, without catastrophic war, running the seat of the Sunni Caliphate??? Evidently, this a serious problem for the narrative he has crafted, and so he decides to leave it out. This review is becoming very large, but still there tons of things I can discuss. The author mentions the House of Wisdom, his convenient center to the Golden Age, but it is questionable if it was ever so important. He mentions Ibn Sina, but one should look up Ibn Sina to see for themselves if Ibn Sina fits the author’s mold. There are more characters for which could be said the same. Some of his sections on the Edge are of questionable historicity (though at this point I guess that’s par for the course) and a bit misleading if you know a little bit more. I can’t recall the author every really mentioning the atrocities that Muslim leaders committed, though it would often be truthful to do so. It was an interesting and non-normative choice to use Aurangzeb as the dividing line for the Mughals in the way he did (usually its Akbar, and Aurangzeb is often blamed for their downfall, which is very debatable). Unfortunately, I doubt the author did it on any historical basis, but simply made an ideological choice. I found it funny how he defended Aurangzeb by accusing his critics of being anachronistic, while never extending that courtesy to others. It would’ve been nice if he illuminated some of the modern debate around that historical figure, but alas this was asking too much. It was interesting, also, that he chose to break again with conventional history in his description of the preacher Abdul Wahab, and what he left out when discussing the Arab revolts. And there are indeed many many more things I could add -- but if I keep doing so now, I’ll never stop. The author did do an almost A-Z of Muslim history, and the book was simple enough for easy consumption, though I wouldn’t say the writing itself was a particular strong suit. But this doesn’t mean this is an exactly Islamic book, or one I would give to a Muslim to be read, given its shortcomings. If water was warm, I’d consider giving it to someone -- but I wouldn’t if it was dirty and near poisonous. Two things, I think, capture the fundamentally broken nature of this book. First off, and most revealing I feel, it chooses to not include the suffix of respect (pbuh) after the Prophet’s ﷺ name. Ostensibly, this to appear more secular, detached, and academic (of course, he seems to throw this out the window when writing the material of the book itself). Yet the Islamic tradition refutes the notion that you cannot write (pbuh) after the Prophet’s ﷺ name and be objective. What does it say when he chooses to not do this? Secondly, most, or an especially large part of the book, is spent on the Islamic Golden Age. That isn’t too surprising, given the books focus on material matters. However, the very idea of the Islamic Golden Age is seen by many as Western Orientalist invention (whether it is or isn't is not my point). The author's use of this narrative contradicts his Lost and Islamic premises, and his bland regurgitation of it is non-insightful. Many argue that the idea the great demise of the Islamic world was due to the Mongols, and that the Islamic zenith merely happens to coincide with the period that most benefited Europe is in question (especially as many regions were autonomous anyways, later Muslim empires arguably reached equal heights to the Abbasids, and recognized Golden Age figures are only the ones that contributed to European philosophy). The author does not entertain this at all, and due to the totality of his work it seems evident that it is not a choice made on merit of argument, but lack of depth. Does it make sense to use Western ideas of Muslim history to reclaim our ‘Lost Islamic History’? I’ll leave that question up to you. I will, however, make one clear statement. If this is our history, and what the Muslim world seeks to reclaim through such novels – chauvinistic nationalism, shoddy untrue claims, victimhood and otherization – then it is best our history stays lost. On that I insist.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mahnoor Asif

    Absolutely stunning! So I decided to read this gem just after PM Imran Khan's recommendation. This book consists of 11 chapters. Each chapter covering major aspects of Islamic history except the last one which discusses the reason for the decline of Muslims. This book covers the superficial history of Islam that means it covers all important events but everything briefly. I wasn't much into history and everything I know previously was like broken pieces and this book helps me to assemble all chu Absolutely stunning! So I decided to read this gem just after PM Imran Khan's recommendation. This book consists of 11 chapters. Each chapter covering major aspects of Islamic history except the last one which discusses the reason for the decline of Muslims. This book covers the superficial history of Islam that means it covers all important events but everything briefly. I wasn't much into history and everything I know previously was like broken pieces and this book helps me to assemble all chunks of information. My absolute favorite chapter from the book was the Intellectual Golden Age which covers all major work of Muslim scholars and scientists. I was actually so oblivious to Muslim contribution to Science :p The last chapter was thought-provoking as it discusses the decline of Muslims and tells two different opinions regarding it. We decline because we left Islamic values and Prophet SAW's teachings and way. The second group shared the opinion that we lag behind because we just didn't give importance to education, researches, and science. I find both opinions flawless. Just a need of some maps, otherwise the book is super duper. Highly recommended to everyone. :)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Shoohada Khanom

    I honestly couldn't put the book down, it goes through the history of Islam in the last 1400 years and how it spread from one country to another beginning with Prophet Mohammed SAW. It talks about rulers, statesmen, soldiers and personalities that have been neglected. It talks about the Umayyads, Abbasids and the Ottamans. I can see myself reading this again as its so informative. If you're a history kinda person and want to find out more about Islam, this is the book for you. I honestly couldn't put the book down, it goes through the history of Islam in the last 1400 years and how it spread from one country to another beginning with Prophet Mohammed SAW. It talks about rulers, statesmen, soldiers and personalities that have been neglected. It talks about the Umayyads, Abbasids and the Ottamans. I can see myself reading this again as its so informative. If you're a history kinda person and want to find out more about Islam, this is the book for you.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Hasham Rasool

    A LIVELY AND ILLUMINATING HISTORY OF ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL RELIGIOUS, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL FORCES IN HISTORY. Over the last 1,400 years, a succession of Muslim polities and empires expanded to control territories and peoples stretching from southern France to East Africa and South East Asia. Yet many of the contributions of Muslim thinkers scientists and theologians not to mention statemen and sliders have been overlooked. The bestselling Lost Islamic History, now in a new updated edition, res A LIVELY AND ILLUMINATING HISTORY OF ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL RELIGIOUS, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL FORCES IN HISTORY. Over the last 1,400 years, a succession of Muslim polities and empires expanded to control territories and peoples stretching from southern France to East Africa and South East Asia. Yet many of the contributions of Muslim thinkers scientists and theologians not to mention statemen and sliders have been overlooked. The bestselling Lost Islamic History, now in a new updated edition, rescues from oblivion a forgotten past, charting its narrative from Muhammad to modern-day nation-states. From Abbasids and Ottomans to Mughals and west African kings, Firas Alkhateeb sketches key personalities inventions and historical episodes to show the monumental impact of Islam on global society and culture. Firas Alkhateeb holds a Masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies with a specialisation in Islamic intellectual history from the University of Chicago. He previously taught Islamic history at Universal School in Bridgeview, Illinois and currently teaches and studies at Darul Qasim in Chicago. He founded and writes the website lostislamichistory.com.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shuja Ul Hasan

    Looking at the title I drew a picture of this book as a research paper on a particular historical event showing facts that previously might have been overlooked but unlike my prediction, it just gives superficial knowledge of 1400 years of Islamic history. Everything mentioned is true to the general perspective of a common Muslim so nothing can be said as was lost in compiling Islamic History. The book takes a drive from the Pre-Islamic Arabia through the expansion of Islam from the middle east Looking at the title I drew a picture of this book as a research paper on a particular historical event showing facts that previously might have been overlooked but unlike my prediction, it just gives superficial knowledge of 1400 years of Islamic history. Everything mentioned is true to the general perspective of a common Muslim so nothing can be said as was lost in compiling Islamic History. The book takes a drive from the Pre-Islamic Arabia through the expansion of Islam from the middle east to the borders of Europe under the influence of certain dynasties to the fall of Caliphate and conversion of Last Muslim Empires into separate states. Inter mingling with the progress of different dynasties the book lost it's touch of chronological order which makes dates difficult to handle. Discussing certain matters I find the writer prejudiced against Shia sect of Islam, mentioning a controversial Hadith again and again as not done in other any other chapter. He somehow finds it unimportant to mention events relating to fights among Caliphates of Late 600s and also comments upon certain controversial matter as done nowhere else in the book, again somewhat biased against Shia sect of Islam. However I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to have a casual knowledge of Islamic history with an advice that this work requires further insight.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Hamza

    This was yet another book that took me way longer than it would've two years ago. I think I'm losing my touch, because I can't focus as well when trying to read on public transit. That said, I think it helped because I went over a lot of sentences and even paragraphs more than once. This book is fantastic, despite the difficult task of cramming 1400 years of Islamic history into only a little over 200 pages. The author clearly knows his stuff, and I now wish I'd taken the class he co-taught on it This was yet another book that took me way longer than it would've two years ago. I think I'm losing my touch, because I can't focus as well when trying to read on public transit. That said, I think it helped because I went over a lot of sentences and even paragraphs more than once. This book is fantastic, despite the difficult task of cramming 1400 years of Islamic history into only a little over 200 pages. The author clearly knows his stuff, and I now wish I'd taken the class he co-taught on it at my mosque a few months back. I initially frowned a bit at the lack of citations, but maybe that's just not his style. He did include a bibliography at the back of the book, for which I'm grateful. I'd highly recommend this book for anyone interested in history, Islam, or both. I know I certainly don't get to mix the two in my readings as often as I'd like to. While one (including the author himself, during a halaqa at my mosque) could argue that it should be called "Muslim history" rather than "Islamic history", the central theme of Islam being influential on different governments did exist throughout history, regardless of just how influential it really was.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Najia Talpur

    It's a Mind-blowing book. I loved it❤ It's a Mind-blowing book. I loved it❤

  11. 4 out of 5

    Faiza Sattar

    A wonderful, enlightening read that everyone, irrespective of their religion, should get their hands on. Illuminates the roots of many of current world problems, especially the rapid loss of empathy for our fellow brethren. New World conflicts are very reminiscent of clashes faced by ancient societies, and perhaps we can all learn a thing or two by reading and analyzing the glorious Islamic history. But above all that, the book succeeds in making an excellent point in a few last pages - that of A wonderful, enlightening read that everyone, irrespective of their religion, should get their hands on. Illuminates the roots of many of current world problems, especially the rapid loss of empathy for our fellow brethren. New World conflicts are very reminiscent of clashes faced by ancient societies, and perhaps we can all learn a thing or two by reading and analyzing the glorious Islamic history. But above all that, the book succeeds in making an excellent point in a few last pages - that of our Muslim identity, and its utmost importance in solidifying our spiritual connection with Islam as basis of reviving the lost spirit of the perfected religion. Perhaps the only flaw of the book is the lack of maps and diagrams accompanying the text which could have aided my understanding of historic invasions and span of empires even more. For someone who is as geographically challenged as myself, consulting the internet time and time again becomes tedious, especially concerning ancient city names that have now changed. That being said, it's a highly recommended book owing to the simplicity of narration which makes it an effortless read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Omama.

    Really a great book, filled with tremendous history starting from the advent of Islam, the life of prophet, establishment of Khilafat, the arise of Shia, the golden age of Muslims regarding scientific advances, medicine, mathematics, astronomy; the military prowess which led to Islam reaching it's apex to the three continents, covering crusades, holy wars, politics, traditions, culture, honor codes; the gradual decline from every aspect ending with the dissolution of Khilafat after he first Worl Really a great book, filled with tremendous history starting from the advent of Islam, the life of prophet, establishment of Khilafat, the arise of Shia, the golden age of Muslims regarding scientific advances, medicine, mathematics, astronomy; the military prowess which led to Islam reaching it's apex to the three continents, covering crusades, holy wars, politics, traditions, culture, honor codes; the gradual decline from every aspect ending with the dissolution of Khilafat after he first World War. Clear, concise and well-organized, really enjoyed reading this book, engaged me till the last page. Must thank the prime minister for recommending this book :D

  13. 5 out of 5

    Papatia Feauxzar

    Aside from the few shia bias from the author (I'm Sunni btw but I want to believe I have no issues with Shias lol) and the unclear stand to me of the author on the founder of Wahabism, the book is a must read. To understand the world of today, we must look at Islamic history and this book does a pretty good job at that. Great read I recommend to anyone; Muslims who have no idea of our history and non-Muslims who want to understand Islam. Aside from the few shia bias from the author (I'm Sunni btw but I want to believe I have no issues with Shias lol) and the unclear stand to me of the author on the founder of Wahabism, the book is a must read. To understand the world of today, we must look at Islamic history and this book does a pretty good job at that. Great read I recommend to anyone; Muslims who have no idea of our history and non-Muslims who want to understand Islam.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rashed

    MARVELLOUS!! It's our history, the stories of our ancestors are really amazing and this book also.. . MARVELLOUS!! It's our history, the stories of our ancestors are really amazing and this book also.. .

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tehreem Ranjha

    Say hi to my recent obsession AKA history.Lately I've been wanting to devour everything related to history generally and Muslim history specifically. Like all of us average Pakistanis I only knew random tidbits about Muslim history.(You know the kind of stuff we use to write in Urdu exam while explaining Iqbal's poetry)Which is a sharmindagi ka muqaam because come on,what kind of people don't know anything about their own ancestors?We apparently.I wanted to know more but I had no idea where shoul Say hi to my recent obsession AKA history.Lately I've been wanting to devour everything related to history generally and Muslim history specifically. Like all of us average Pakistanis I only knew random tidbits about Muslim history.(You know the kind of stuff we use to write in Urdu exam while explaining Iqbal's poetry)Which is a sharmindagi ka muqaam because come on,what kind of people don't know anything about their own ancestors?We apparently.I wanted to know more but I had no idea where should I start.(Really how do you start reading up on centuries worth of history of a world spread on half the globe?) I'd been looking for recommendations here and there when I stumbled across Lost Islamic History. I didn't know anything about the book's contents but I still randomly ended up getting it. The universe must have been paying a close attention to my quest because this book turned out to have EXACLY the content I was looking for:A BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF ISLAMIC WORLD!That too within 210 pages! How crazy is THAT! So naturally I was over the moon. Within the span of a few days I went from knowing practically nothing about Islamic History to knowing everything???!From the four Caliphs to Qarbala to the Abbasid Caliphate, the Umayyads,the Turks,the Mughals.Not only the rulers but the scholars,the philosophers,the scientists..You name it and it's there. THAT TOO IN DETAIL!! Honestly putting so much of it in 210 pages is nothing short of a miracle and I still can't comprehend how the author did it.And I know what you're thinking.”Ughh history!! But it's so dryyy" Let me tell you something. Not even the adrenaline packed fantasy fiction has ever made me feel the emotions that I felt reading this book.To say that it's brilliantly written would be a massive understatement.One moment I'd be feeling disheartened to read about the downfall of a dynasty and the next I'd be laughing at some crazy ironic moment.All of it hits you right in the heart. I'm literally begging you all READ. THIS. BOOK. I don't think you'll find another book that so comprehensively yet so engagingly covers our history like this.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mehraj Hussain kawsar

    despite its flaws, it still is a worthy read!! A good book to start ones journey in studying Islamic history!! But not before one authentic seerah atleast!!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Iman Adipurnama

    Islam has been one of the most powerful religious, social and political entity. For over 1400 years, originates from Arabia, a succesion of Muslim political power and later empires expanded to control territories and people that stretched over two third of the world. But, somehow, many contributins from the muslim thinkers, scholars, rulers, statesmen and scientists have been excluded from the formal curriculum. This book tried to rescue their story and offering the reader a new narrative from Is Islam has been one of the most powerful religious, social and political entity. For over 1400 years, originates from Arabia, a succesion of Muslim political power and later empires expanded to control territories and people that stretched over two third of the world. But, somehow, many contributins from the muslim thinkers, scholars, rulers, statesmen and scientists have been excluded from the formal curriculum. This book tried to rescue their story and offering the reader a new narrative from Islamic perspectives and in objectives way. The explanation itself, Firas Alkhateeb tried not to restrict himself to a certain Islamic school of thought or any Islamic movements. Further, he gives the explanation objectively in a plain and order way, so that the reader can get a glimpse what have been lost in Islamic worlds today. The history of Islam and the worlds muslims brings together diverse peoples, geographies, and states, all interwoven into one narrative that begins with Muhammad and continues until this day. This book is recommended one for a muslim or non-muslim who want to learn about Islamic history in a short-well educated way.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Md. Tahmid Onik

    The book starts with the geopolitical situation of the pre islamic Arabia. Then it covers the arrival of the last prophet, the birth of Islam and rise of islam as a world superpower. With the passage of time, we move from one dynesty to another, let it be the Umaiyyad, Abbasid, Mamluk or the Ottoman, the book travels through history of last 1400 years with such pace and elegance that it will never cease to mesmerize readers. The writer knows how to keep a book of history interesting and lively e The book starts with the geopolitical situation of the pre islamic Arabia. Then it covers the arrival of the last prophet, the birth of Islam and rise of islam as a world superpower. With the passage of time, we move from one dynesty to another, let it be the Umaiyyad, Abbasid, Mamluk or the Ottoman, the book travels through history of last 1400 years with such pace and elegance that it will never cease to mesmerize readers. The writer knows how to keep a book of history interesting and lively enough so that readers always feel interested. In the end, it shows us a glimpse of European renaissance and the demise of muslims as world superpower. It's an amazing journey and the book will never disappoint you.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Zweffa

    All my respect goes out to the author who managed to give us this compact summary of such a broad history. As Alkhateeb mentions himself, looking into the bibliography for deeper research is the next step to take for all interested readers. It did not bore me at all but rather kept me reading: I was fascinated by all Islamic establishments, their growth and at last.. their decline. I will hold on to this to read back whenever I feel like it!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hafsa

    I recommend this book for anyone who’s into history or wants to learn more about the origin of Islam. The facts in this book are told in an easy story-telling format that keeps the book interesting and the writing flowing, and the content covers a lot without confusing or delving too deeply. This book also cleared up a lot of facts that I was previously confused about.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Fahed Al Kerdi

    This book is representing the Islamic point of view on history. To me, it was such a great experience to read how Islam make its way to China, SEA, west and east Africa. The dust of the ongoing cases has occupied us, neglecting the fact that today is son of yesterday, and “Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it” as quoted from Edmund Burke. The encyclopedic books are really seducing! learning the whole concept, from A to Z, about a certain idea, where you don't have to read except This book is representing the Islamic point of view on history. To me, it was such a great experience to read how Islam make its way to China, SEA, west and east Africa. The dust of the ongoing cases has occupied us, neglecting the fact that today is son of yesterday, and “Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it” as quoted from Edmund Burke. The encyclopedic books are really seducing! learning the whole concept, from A to Z, about a certain idea, where you don't have to read except one book, is an extraordinary experience. I skipped the very first chapters; the prophecy era, the first four caliphs, Umayyad and Abbasid, and the golden age of the Islamic Civilization, because I am families with all of these details, I started my intensive reading from the Mongols and crusades era, and the subsequent chapters. The book can be criticized and praised in too many points, it was really confusing to review the book. I will start my review with the positive side: 1- Comprehensiveness and Inclusiveness: politically, all the ages has been well covered. Geographically, all territories of Muslims population has been mentioned properly. The author was very fortunate in his research and reference reading to reach all of the needed information to mention all of these details. 2- Easy language: the chapters design was very wise and simply, he used the chronic order to move from chapter to another, taking into consideration the geographical segmentation, which is the best way to present a book about the history of an idea such like Islam. The book language was easy to understand even by an average English speaker or those who speak English as a second language. 3- Emotions: Even though the book is very informative, the concept of each chapter was emotionally mentioned and expressed. Touching the Muslims catastrophic contemporaneity days, and their luxurious and glorified past, was clearly shown by the progress of the book, the author is trying to raise the question of "what happened to the Muslims nations?" without answering it. 4- Neither sympathy or pity was found, nor exaggerated proud was mentioned 5- Although I am not a fan of the modern Islamist trash, which may they will value this book, but it's fair enough to learn about the failure of the Caliphate to stand tall against the test of time and conquer. The Caliphate did not fall because the Muslims has betrayed it, or because the Jews, or even the western conspiracy, it fall because it was outdated and not proportionate with the current circumstances, as the Islamist will always fail to raise their concept because they are also outdated and not proportionate Moving on to the negative side of the book: 1- No citation: it is really bad to lean on the biography by the end of the book to check some facts mentioned in this book, I think the author need to enhance his research ability. 2- Consider Fatimid a destructive factor: the Fatimid is not only Shawar of Egypt or Al-Hakim, the author need to read more about the Fatimid and how they transfer Cairo to a hub of knowledge, agriculture and manufacturing. 3- I, personally disagree with the author point of view regarding the Ottoman Empire, the author failed to mention the complete truth about the race of Caliph; it's very known that the Caliph must be descended from Quraysh tribe, according to the Prophetic hadith, that's why Muslims accept Abu Bakr at the early beginning, and they kept obeying the rest of Caliphs since it is part of the Islamic perspectives, Ottoman Empire was part of the Sultanates in its early days, and then it was part of Imperialism and and big games, they claim the Caliphate even though they are not descended from Quraysh tribe! So how we could consider them as a rebirth of the Islamic Civilization! Shura concept and Saqīfah Banī Sā'idah story must be always linked with the idea of Caliphate ------------------- Very recommended for Non-Muslims and English speaking Muslims.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nik

    Before reading this book, I only knew some of the history during pre-Islamic, the time of the Prophet p.b.u.h, a bit on the time of the rightly guided caliphs and some basic of Ottoman Empire, Abbasids and Andalusia (I mean the real basic thing that can even be considered as I just know it existed). I assure you this book is very concise. It may not comprehensive but it covers all important details starting from the pre-Islamic era as to the situation before the coming of Islam. During the life Before reading this book, I only knew some of the history during pre-Islamic, the time of the Prophet p.b.u.h, a bit on the time of the rightly guided caliphs and some basic of Ottoman Empire, Abbasids and Andalusia (I mean the real basic thing that can even be considered as I just know it existed). I assure you this book is very concise. It may not comprehensive but it covers all important details starting from the pre-Islamic era as to the situation before the coming of Islam. During the life time of the Prophet which include the early life of the Prophet, the first revelations, the persecution where the all-out boycott was implemented which led to hijra, political order on Medina, the battles and victory to the end of prophethood. On the chapter of The Rightly Guided Caliphs, I was getting to know the leadership of Abu Bakar, 'Umar, 'Uthman and 'Ali. I was amazed on 'Umar leadership and I just learnt how the event of Ali's murder take place - the controversial event that initiated the Shi'ism and the actual situation between 'Ali and Mu'awiyah. From there, the Muslim state was established - the Abbasid caliphate. The best part that I enjoyed most was on the chapter of Intellectual Golden Ages. Fascinating. Astonished. This is the arising of Islamic civilization. The establishment of House of Wisdom and its contribution the development of education. The development of area of studies such as Mathematics, astronomy, geography, medicine, physics, fiqh and hadith, theology and shi'ism. During the time of upheaval, apart from Isma'ilism, the Fatimids and the crusades, I'm shocked and sad to know the Mongols and its brutality which caused major destruction towards Islamic civilisation. It is estimated that almost 1 million of Muslim were killed. The House of Wisdom was destroyed. The Islamic civilisation that was built in 600 years was destroyed just within few weeks. This book event touched on the part of Africa, how Islam arrived there. I just learnt that Mali was the first native Muslim kingdom on West Africa - where Mansa Musa build up Muslim empire while the Middle East was dealing with the Mongols. It is a pleasing fact to know the fact that the African Muslim who were made slave in America were well educated compared to non-Muslim African slave. In every part of the world that involve the coming of Islam are written in this book. That includes China, India and Southeast Asia (this is where Malacca was mentioned). The rebirth of the Islamic civilisation during the Ottoman Empires, the success and victory of the Ottoman Empires to the liberal reform of Ottoman Empire. The decline of Muslim political power around the world - India, Southeast Asia and every part of Muslim World. The formation of states that we known today. All this were discussed in the book. Learning the history, I see how the world today has become. But I still can't understand the Muslim as I looked into the Muslim State that we have today. The major mistake that we never learnt from the history has make us today. Thanks to the writer, I wished to learn it further. It is a disappointment that we don't learn this in our school or even in university.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Momina Kamran

    Highly recommend! A well written, brief yet complete introductory text. (The only thing I would have maybe preferred would be a visual timeline to accompany the map)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Edwin Setiadi

    This is the clearest book I’ve ever read so far on the history of Islam. It is focused, it has a clear timeline, and it is very concise, with no distracting facts that are irrelevant with the narrative. It is detailed enough, but without being complicated. As a result, we can easily follow the development of Islam since its birth in the 600s until now 1400 years later, spanning territory from Muslim Spain to the Middle East and Africa to India and South East Asia, complete with all the ideologica This is the clearest book I’ve ever read so far on the history of Islam. It is focused, it has a clear timeline, and it is very concise, with no distracting facts that are irrelevant with the narrative. It is detailed enough, but without being complicated. As a result, we can easily follow the development of Islam since its birth in the 600s until now 1400 years later, spanning territory from Muslim Spain to the Middle East and Africa to India and South East Asia, complete with all the ideological debates, the spiritual struggles, and all the many political frictions and conquerings. Indeed, it is a perfect book to understand the complete picture, before proceeding to other books with more in-depth topics such as the life of the Prophet Muhammad, Muslim Heroes, the Muslim Empires, Islam and Science, the interpretations of Al Quran, the validity of Hadiths, the theological debates between the Fiqh, Islamic fundamentalism and its terrorists, and so much more. By the time I finish reading this book I have this great sense of clarity of what Islam is about, and why the many different beliefs, sects, organisations or customs – from the liberals to the moderates to the conservatives – behave the way they do, something that no other book on Islam have managed to summarise so far.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Afnan Neyaz

    Basic, simple, outlining the most remarkable events and relatively unbiased which is -to me- the most important attribute of a political/religious book; I liked how he chose the words cautiously, especially when it came to controversial topics -like sunna and shi'aa. But I fell in love with the life of the prophet, the rightly guided caliphs, intellectual golden ages and Al-Andalus chapters. Though I admit that I read the imperialism (decline) chapter and some parts quickly and carelessly. Overal Basic, simple, outlining the most remarkable events and relatively unbiased which is -to me- the most important attribute of a political/religious book; I liked how he chose the words cautiously, especially when it came to controversial topics -like sunna and shi'aa. But I fell in love with the life of the prophet, the rightly guided caliphs, intellectual golden ages and Al-Andalus chapters. Though I admit that I read the imperialism (decline) chapter and some parts quickly and carelessly. Overall it's a really good book summarizing the ups and downs of the islamic history.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Abu Kamdar

    Lost Islamic History is one of the best history books I have read in the English language. I highly recommend this book and hope it will eventually become part of Muslim High Schools' History syllabus. It is a very important work outlining the most important highs and lows of Muslim history in a balanced manner. Lost Islamic History is one of the best history books I have read in the English language. I highly recommend this book and hope it will eventually become part of Muslim High Schools' History syllabus. It is a very important work outlining the most important highs and lows of Muslim history in a balanced manner.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Natiq Khan

    The first half of this book was quite interesting and enjoyable to read, but as the book neared its ended, it started to feel like the author was cramming in his knowledge. Almost every other line mentioned a new name, a new place, another date, without any sort of solid connection and it soon felt like a chore to read it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mohsin Shiraz

    The fast paced book on Islamic history is a must read for the starters. Though not everything is dealt in detail but you get a summarised picture of Islamic history for the past 1400 years across various geographies.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Riaz Rahaman

    Masha Allah, an amazing booking. I am extremely enlightened by the Islamic history. A must read for Muslims to know more about their past history and the glory/golden days

  30. 4 out of 5

    Abubakar Izhar

    Got a tear in my eyes after reading this book. May Almighty help Muslim Ummah to regain its strength and change the going scenario for Muslims into complete eternal peace

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