Finding new books to read is refreshing from time to time, especially when we’re starting a new month. Whilst February may still be a cold and gloomy month, starting a new read is a surefire way of staying warm and cosy.
This time we recommend Islamic history books. Muslims from around the world will unanimously agree that this topic is a favourite. From delving deep into the stories of the Ottomans to exploring what life was like for early Muslims in the Caribbeans, Islamic history – in many ways – can help us better understand life as we see it today.
What’s more, with Islamophobia on the constant rise, reading books about our history can help us to reflect on how to deal with this ever-growing crisis.
If you’re looking for some of the best reads on Islamic history, here are five books that we recommend.
Lost Islamic History by Firas Alkhateeb
There’s no complete list of Islamic history books without mentioning Lost Islamic History. Revolutionary in its very own way, this book has attracted wide interest from Muslims and non-Muslims. Written meticulously and rather tastefully, Lost Islamic History is the perfect summation of the entirety of what transpired from the time of the Prophet ﷺ to this day. With a focus on dynasties and empires that are often neglected in the genre, Alkhateeb revives certain figures and notables that would have otherwise been forgotten about. This is the book to read if you want to connect with Islamic history on many different levels.
Women Around The Messenger by Shaikh Muhammad Qutb
Rewinding time and exploring the lives of some of the most remarkable individuals is integral in our modern times. Not only can we learn from the best, but in doing so, we get to pick up some of the main reasons why the companions held substantial and lofty positions in Islamic history. This book focuses on the women at the time of the Prophet ﷺ and aims to dispel any misconceptions about early female believers. It does this by touching on the lives of the first generation of Muslim women and the important role they played in the overall development of their society, right from the beginning.
Bengal To Barbados by Sabir Nakhuda
With the hope of preserving the vast history of East Indian Muslims in Barbados, Sabir Nakhuda went on a mission to explore the rich history of Islam in the Caribbean. His work gave him the opportunity to travel around the world, speaking to Muslims and recording orally their experiences. The East Indian Muslims were an integral part of Barbados society and still are to this day. Through contributing to Barbados and its economy in numerous ways, East Indian Muslims became a part of the country’s culinary arts, economics, medical services, government and meteorology services. This book is firstly a wake-up call to preserve recent history and secondly one of the only complete works on the history of Muslims in the Caribbeans.
The Muqaddimah by Ibn Khaldun
This book is undoubtedly the most important Islamic history of the premodern world. Written by Ibn Khaldun who was a 14th-century scholar, the book was revolutionary in that it laid out – for the first time ever – the foundations of several fields of knowledge, including the philosophy of history, sociology, ethnography, and economics. Although it was translated in 1958 by Franz Rosenthal in three volumes, in 1969, a one-volume abridged version was published. Over the course of four years, Ibn Khaldun freed himself from all obligations and set out to write his masterpiece about historical methods, the philosophy of history, the nature of society and the science of culture. This is more than just a history book. It’s a blueprint for how history should be read and understood.
Prophet of Mercy by Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi
The Prophet of Mercy is a translated copy of al-Sirat al-Nabawiyyah written by Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi. As the Shaykh was a profound historian, the book is extremely credible and provides a wonderful yet academic insight into the life of the Prophet ﷺ. With detailed analysis, readers will be well-informed about some of the finer details and nuances surrounding the life of the Prophet ﷺ. What’s more, the book has been written after thorough research of old and new material so that it suits a more contemporary audience. If you’re looking to explore the life of the Prophet ﷺ in more detail, this Seerah book will not disappoint.
Juber Ahmed is our Digital Editor and travel enthusiast with a keen interest in Islamic history and heritage. He travels with his wife to various places around the world and writes about his experiences.
Juber's favourite Quote...
"The World Is a Book and Those Who Do Not Travel Read Only One Page" [Saint Augustine]