A Muslim perspective towards learning history and taking lessons from it is perhaps one of the very conceptual matters pertaining to attaining the righteous knowledge.
Even the general Muslims have to be clear and cautious regarding any inputs they receive and understanding they develop through them; they cannot absorb history through the same methodology which the most common non-Muslim people do today. Unfortunately, due to acute lack of knowledge, general Muslims are doing so; while pursuing an academic degree in history or studying history to gather knowledge of the past, they miss some facts, which should have been accepted as guiding principles to study and take lesson(s) from history. It seems that the majority general Muslims are completely unaware of learning, teaching, and taking lessons from history, which ultimately leads them to many wrong notions, understandings, conclusions and consequently grows severe misconceptions of Islam in them. It is true that a large group of people may never delve into the historical matters; they just know the wrong thing or get information/knowledge wrongly, however, this is also a matter not to be ignored because such comprehensions may lead to the destruction of Imaan or at least lose/miss fundamental prerequisites of good actions. When it comes to knowledge-acquisition and its use in real life, Islam is definitely very serious. A vague, questionable, and confusing understanding always leads to wrongful beliefs and actions, which Islam doesn’t permit at all. There is a limit set in the fundamental beliefs and concepts of Islam, where if there is any gap found, the person ‘with such a gap’ might be out of the fold of Islam — not a Muslim — only because fulfilling such gap(s) was a stark necessity to embrace Imaan and Islam.
Coming back to our topic: how important is History’s role in Islam and to help us grow as a good Muslim? The straight answer is: History is a fact. Any fact is true. The truth is always welcomed in Islam. Islam has been set as the code of human life to establish the truth, to repel the falsehood. Now if ‘genuine’ or real history means everything written in the history books (be in paperback or digital), this is a wrong notion and feeling. History books cover incidents of the past described with several experiences of historians — human beings. Human experiences, information, and all other sharing are never absolute; it is not possible to be so! There are so many opinions, commentaries, and sides of history which have been preserved that an enthusiastic reader has to be very careful to examine which are the facts (genuine history) and which are manmade stories. A great amount of the history book stories and related information are imaginary tales and/ opinions and incidents which do not have any authentic sources. If someone or a group of people or nation could be satisfied with the questionable or doubtful history, of course, any history may suffice their appetite for knowledge, which would sensibly and logically be ridiculous and reprehensible. Indeed, there has been a lot of malpractices in this field already! The consequences are, of course, quite disgraceful. When genuine history is covered up and concealed intentionally, evil efforts of hiding the truth has been practiced. How ‘could hiding the truth’ be fruitful for a nation?!
The negative impact of concealing the truth creates the worse ripple-effect! The generation becomes audacious regarding all the evildoings to pursue wealth and power; they dare to violate all the legal and ethical norms of the society, country, and nations. They refer to the false history and continue doing all the mischief; they never pay attention to the genuine history and success stories of the noblemen.
Therefore, a Muslim history learner should bear in mind:
– History itself is NOT adequate according to the age of this world and neither is it’s most part accurate or authentic.
– The Holy Quran has revealed, acknowledged, and provided us with such histories that are completely authentic because there is nothing manmade.
– We should NOT engage ourselves in delving into the history connected to futile matters and attractive-like incidents which has no basis or doubtful basis.
– The intention of learning and teaching history should be to take lessons from them; apply those in our lives in light of the Quran and Sunnah; for this, we should take related guidance from the pious scholars who are aware of the place, time, and individual(s).