DR. ABDUL AZEEZ YUSUF
Book Review of “Lost History” by Michael Hamilton Morgan (30th NOVEMBER 2012)
MEHRAN QADRI (A11CS2005)
AHMAD AL RAZI (A11KP2008)
MUHAMMAD SAYID SABIQ (AC102001)
The book that we have chosen to review is titled “Lost History, the Enduring Legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers and Artists”. The author of the book is Michael Hamilton Morgan. The book was published in the year 2007 and also holds the same copyright date. The book is a non-fiction. The main subject matter of the book is the history of the Islamic civilization from the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in 570 A.D. until the end of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century. The author has focused mainly on the achievements of early Muslim scholars in the fields of science, philosophy and arts. The book contains some pictures of early inventions of Muslim scientists such as the water pump which was invented by al-Jazari in the 13th century and Ibn Sina’s Canoe of Medicine, to mention a few.
2. Purpose of the Book:
The author has written this book to enlighten people, especially those of the west, about the Muslim intellectual achievement that was once the envy of the world. This book has been published in an era in which the relationship between Islam and the West is fraught with misunderstanding. The foreword of the book has been written by His Majesty King Abdullah (The Second) of Jordon. He mentions that the book is telling an often untold story about Islam’s cultural and intellectual history as well as its relationship with the West. He further goes on to say that too often the achievements of the Islamic civilization and its strong link to Western civilization are limited to scholarly works or to academic journals. The author clearly wants to challenge other books written on this subject matter that paint too stark a picture of confrontation between the Islamic and the Western civilizations, when the reality was often one of exchange and mutual dependence. The author hopes that his book will finally afford Muslim pioneers with the credit and respect they deserve and also contribute to a greater understanding of Islam by Westerners, and will help them to appreciate that if the Islamic and Western civilizations were able to intertwine in constructive ways in the past, they can do so in the future as well.
3. Theme and Thesis
Title: Lost History, the Enduring Legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers and Artists. General Subject Matter: History of the Islamic Civilization. Theme: Significant events and discoveries in the Muslim world from the 570 A.D to the 19th Century. Thesis: Scientific discoveries and inventions made by Muslim Scientists from time to time during the period of the Islamic Empire.
4. Methods of Development
The author uses a descriptive method in some parts of his book like when he takes the reader to Mecca, Arabia, in AD 570, and traces the beginning of Islam, its rapid spread over the ensuing century and the pivoted battle in Tours, Neustria (France) in AD 732, in which this early encounter between mainland Europe and the Muslims resulted in a halt to the rapid expansion of the Muslim empire and set it free to turn its energy to invention and creation. The author sets the scene beautifully for the battle in Tours by explaining in detail the surroundings of the battlefield, the armour worn by the Muslim soldiers etc. The reader’s imagination starts flowing and the reader starts to create a mental image of the scene which is very enjoyable. The author also brings many important facts to life, which was largely unknown especially to the modern western civilization. For example the author mentions Caliph Al-Ma’mūn’s House of Wisdom, where Christian and foreign translators rendered the Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Persian, and Hindu classics into Arabic,...