Scroll down to see an interactive timeline of articles on history over the last twelve months.
“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”
― Winston Churchill
Whilst aspects of history are important to be learnt by all peoples, those that have been subjected to a sustained effort to disconnect them from their heritage and legacy of world-shaping giants must pay extra attention. Epistemicide is a well studied phenomenon in postcolonial and decolonial scholarship which has played a key role in European hegemony in particular. It is often described as,
A war on knowledge, destruction of existing knowledge, and thereby aborting the possibility of new knowledge coming about from the exercise of the intellect on existing knowledge.
Epistemicide has, in the Muslim context, involved severing the legacy of Islamic history and civilisations and rewriting history based on millennium-old projections from the popular imagination of some non-Muslim societies.
This is why Islam21c has consciously tried to reconnect Muslims of the 21st century to their collective past; not to hearken back to an imagined golden utopia but to arm people with information, learn from mistakes and successes, and build confidence to shape the present and future in their respective spheres of influence.
Whilst tragic events in Paris shone a spotlight on Muslims in Europe, Islam21c’s resident historian, Z A Rahman kicked off last year reminding readers of the long existence of European Muslims and of When France Almost Went Islamic as early as the 1st century AH. Also that month, whilst millions were either celebrating ‘Australia Day’ or mourning ‘Invasion Day’, marking 228 years since the British landed on the continent, our Editor Ayshah Syed uncovered something many of us did not know: that Muslims were also subjected to the ensuing systematic extermination of the continent’s people once they were “discovered” by the British.
This was followed by an article that generated a great amount of debate last year. This was the story of Sultan Muhammad Fātih, hailed as the man the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had prophecised; boldly titled to convulse stereotypical projections, The prophecy of Islam liberating Europe. This thread was then picked up later on in the year when Ahmed Hammuda recalled When Constantinople became Istanbul | A celebration of modern times.
Modern Turkey was then the subject of a series exclusively written for Islam21c by Dr Mohamed Soudan, the Foreign Relations Secretary of Egypt’s first (and only) popularly elected President, Mohammad Morsi (may Allāh hasten his release) and prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood. In The Remarkable Story of Islamic Turkey, Dr Soudan explored the history of political Islam in Turkey out of staunch, violent secularism, and its parallels with other grass-roots popular Muslim movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood.
The 3rd of March last year also represented 92 years without the Caliphate, when journalist Dilly Hussain reflected on “arguably, the darkest chapter in Islamic history after the death of Rasūl-Allāh (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)”. Z A Rahman then argued Why the world needs to know about Edwin S Montagu, the Jewish MP that opposed the Balfour Declaration in 1917, who passionately argued in the debate to give the land of the Palestinians over to European Zionists—creating what is today the last remaining European colony in the Middle East. The author then argued in another article that Zionist ideology, at the core of this colonisation, is in fact The Struggle of Our Generation.
There were also many other positive pieces of history published to show the long, celebrated history of Islam and Muslims with other peoples. We learned that the Ottomans had a very friendly relationship with the Japanese (and robots!), and that Muslims were vital to the resistance to imperialism in the West Indies. The football champions of Europe, Seville and Portugal also are no strangers to Islam and Muslims, and one beautiful Mediterranean Island even invited Muslims to ‘conquer’ it!
In a time when some are manufacturing tensions between Muslims and other people, societies and countries, it is more important than ever to relearn simple history and reinforce the fact that Muslims are not new. Before the forceful spread of certain vicious, feeble man-made values, the cult of modernity that has split communities apart and industrialised oppression and injustice, the world was by no means perfect. But those of us who do look into the past with a critical eye will often be pleasantly surprised.
Scroll down to see an interactive timeline of historical articles over the last twelve months.
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The views expressed on Islam21c and its connected channels do not necessarily represent the views of the organisation.