Lost Islamic History: Reclaiming Muslim Civilisation from the Past
By Firas Alkhateeb
2017, Hurst Publishers, 978-1-84904-689-3, £9.99 pb.
Reviewed by JOSEPH HAMMOND on January 15, 2019
Presenting 1,400 years of Islamic civilization in a comprehensive, easy-to-follow manner is no small feat. Firas Alkhateeb has been doing that for years as a high-school teacher in Illinois, and he puts those skills to work in Lost Islamic History, a revised and updated version of the title originally published in 2014. Alkhateeb pays close attention to the foundation of Islam and the early Caliphate. Elsewhere, he focuses on Muslim accomplishments both in the sciences and in governance, and discusses such topics as philosophy (fiqh) and theology (‘aqaidah). Sidebars highlight “lost” aspects of Islamic civilization, from the Bengali architect who planned the Sears Tower in Chicago, to the Islamic school established in China by the Ottomans in 1908. The book is valuable not only for its insights into lesser-known aspects of Islamic history, but also as a general introduction to the subject.