Islamic History: Why Muslims should study their past? – Reclaiming our identity – Niyaz Ahmed

We are one Ummah united on the Shahadah. Our history is a global one, and transcends races, colour, and nationalities. Despite this, the Islamic identity in the West is constantly questioned, especially amongst our youth. From Western practises to the flaws of cultural traditions, many of our youth see Islam as unrelatable. This comes from a lack of sound knowledge of the wisdom behind Islam and its practises, but forgetting our history has also played a part. Through the good and the bad that our Ummah has faced, an enlightened mind must critically analyse our history to realise that I am more relatable to the Muslims who lived in Spain or East Africa to the ideologies and practises that permeate our society today.

To put it frankly – if we do not learn our history – our history will be told to us by somebody else, who will tell us who we are. The sad reality is that Islamic History has been dictated to us by orientalists who have actively studied and bought manuscripts and resources from the East and Muslim lands to take it back to Europe and attack Islam using our own books. Those who do not believe are telling us the story of our Ummah. Muslims need to reclaim this narrative by actively studying their history from the Islamic tradition. In the same way we challenge the modern portrayal of Muslims, we must also challenge those who seek to steal our historical narrative from us.

We face many challenges today as a global Muslim community. We have to make sure that completely losing our Islamic identity is not one of them. Islam has the cure for mankind. We must never forget that. We must remember when it says in the Quran in Surah Hashr, verse 19:

“And do not be like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves. It is they who are ˹truly˺ rebellious.”

By Niyaz Ahmed