The Encyclopedia of Islamic History (www.historyofislam.com) is the work of scholars whose intent is to create an enduring record of the role played by Islam in global history. It is maintained by the American Institute of Islamic History and Culture based in California. Professor Dr. Nazeer Ahmed (email@example.com) serves as its director.
History is a Sign from the heavens. The Qur’an declares: “Soon shall We show them Our Signs on the horizon and within their own souls until the Truth is manifest to them”. ‘On the horizon’ means history and nature. Thus history and science take on a sacred character in as much as they are “Signs” from God. This guiding principle separates this encyclopedia from other works of similar nature.
In the fascinating panorama of the struggle of man on earth, faith has played a pivotal role. Each of the major religions of man imbues its followers with a particular vision of the transcendent and the relationship of the human to the transcendent. That particular vision governs to a large extent the relationship of each faith with the world at large. As the globe shrinks under the incessant impact of technology, men and women of different faiths need to come together to understand one another and shape a common human destiny.
Islam made its appearance on the world stage more than fourteen hundred years ago and immediately came into contact with the Persian and Byzantine worlds. As the Islamic world expanded it had to come to terms not just with the rationalism of the Greeks but with the belief systems of the Persians, the Hindus, the Buddhists and the Chinese. The Muslims learned, absorbed, amalgamated the ideas of the east and the west and gave to the world the empirical-scientific method, algebra, chemistry, arabesque, Tasawwuf and the Taj Mahal.
Centuries went by. There were short periods of conflict followed by long periods of cooperation between the world of Islam and the worlds of other faiths. The traces of these interactions have shaped the perceptions of Islam in the modern global consciousness.
Much of the work on Islamic history suffers from the limitation of an excessive focus on the Middle East. Islam is a global enterprise. The center of gravity of the Islamic world is closer to Delhi, Lahore and Kuala Lumpur than it is to Cairo and Baghdad. This work seeks to capture the panorama of Islamic history as it vaults the Afro-Eurasian continent from Morocco to Indonesia.
The encyclopedia is the work of Dr. Nazeer Ahmed, a scientist, inventor, historian, legislator, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Much of the work first appeared in the Minaret magazine, New York during 1994-97 and was later compiled into a two-volume treatise “Islam in Global History – from the death of Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) to the First World War”. More articles have been added over the years to capture some of the critical moments in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The book was first published by Suhail Academy, Lahore and was later republished in the United States. It has been translated into Urdu and Farsi.
An ambitious work of this magnitude cannot be the work of a single person. The American Institute of Islamic History which maintains this site invites articles from scholars around the globe about historical events or the great men and women whose footprints have shaped the historical process. All articles will go through peer review and will be published with due credit to the authors. Please forward your articles to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The material in this encyclopedia may be used for reference and study by scholars, students and non-profit organizations provided due credit is given to the authors and the website http://www.historyofislam.com.
The American Institute expresses its gratitude to Professor Dr. Seyyed Hossain Nasr, world-renowned philosopher-thinker, who read the manuscript in its early stages and provided valuable guidance and advice. Our profound gratitude also to the scholars around the world who have contributed to this ongoing enterprise.
Hard copies of Islam in Global History (2 volumes, 2001 edition) may be obtained from Amazon.com.