Lessons in Islamic History

Lessons in Islamic History

Shaykh Muhammad Al-Khudari Bak Al-Bajuri

Translator: Mariam Madge Conlan

Reviewed by Abdul Hai

“A community receives light from its history. And it becomes aware of itself by the remembrance of its history”. 

Allama Iqbal

One of the salaf said, “We learned Islamic history just like we learned a surah from the Quran”.  The importance of studying Islamic history cannot be overemphasized, especially in our post-modern era.  Lessons in Islamic History is the English translation of Durus fi al-Tarikh al-Islami by Shaykh Muhammad Al-Khudari Bak Al-Bajuri (1872-1927).

Lessons in Islamic History is divided into forty-six lessons.  A color-coded map of the areas that were ruled by the major Islamic dynasties is provided at the end of the book.  It also provides an index from page 233 to 245 and at the end of the mention of every dynasty’s history, a genealogical map is also provided in black and white print.

The book starts its history from the time of the pre-Islamic Arabian Peninsula down to Abbas Hilmi II (1874-1944).  It covers the life and time of our blessed Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him), the lives of the four rightly guided Khulafa and all the dynasties and their rulers, along with their religious-socio-political achievements.  The author gives special attention to the history of Egypt, his native land, covering all its rulers, including Muhammad Ali Pasha (1769-1849) and Napoleon Bonaparte (1769- 1821) and their method of ruling the country.  It also sheds some light on the conditions of the general public and the suffering they were under.

Although the book is a summary of the subject, it nevertheless provides sufficient information to help one begin one’s journey to discovering the vastness of Islamic history.  The author at times provides his understanding of the reasons behind the success or failure of a dynasty.  For example, after talking about the history of Andalusia, the author notes (in page p.108) “They continued in this manner until Satan came between them, turning them against one another in pursuit of delusive power.  Thus, they split into factions, leaving each city with its own commanders….”.  The author further notes, “in such circumstances, truthful advisors [the ulama] recoil and sincere counselors hide.  Only those who cheated and betray are successful…” 

The translator has used standard and basic language but has kept all the names of personalities and places in their original format.  It is a fairly easy read and follows a chronological system, linking one chapter to the other which helps one to map the development of Islamic history.  

1 Comment

  • Abubakr Posted 04/11/2020 2:12 pm

    Reading and writing are a significant part of our Islamic tradition. What can be a greater commendation of reading and writing than the fact that Qura’nic revelation initiated with the very word “Read”. As it was the Quran that brought light to an era of Darkness, the very first few verses of revelation informs us that the way to enlightenment and illumination shall always be the book and the pen i.e. reading and writing.
    Allama Iqbal had lamented the situation of the Muslim Ummah in the following phrase, “Shocking! The very nation whose beginnings were “Iqra” are so behind in education and progress”
    The legacy of reading and writing has been the distinctive hallmark of our predecessors, and as the cliché goes, history only knows two colours: Black and Red; Ink of the scholars and the blood of the martyrs.
    Alhamduillah, with the intention of reviving this legacy the Islamic Literary Society has taken a very innovative and revolutionary Step by establishing a Society and providing a unique website for Muslim writers and readers to expand the horizon of their thinking and to discover their hidden inner abilities by sharing their thoughts and ideas on various texts and topics amidst an arena of passionate readers and writers.
    I have just recently visited the Islamic Literary Society website, and as a passionate writer and reader I found it to be my real home. It is true that we do lack such services specifically for Muslim readers and writers, and to my knowledge the Islamic Literary Society is a unique platform out of the few that may be available. I would earnestly request any Muslim with an ambitious mind to join the Islamic Literary Society and not just benefit themselves but also humanity at large. It is a unique opportunity to be introduced to new books, meet authors and even benefit from a wide range of discounts for all your book needs. We pray that Allah accepts this revolutionary endeavor and take it to its heights in the coming future. Ameen!

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