Islamic Historiography

The Histories of Mas'udi

By Tarif Khalidi

Subjects: Historiography
Paperback : 9781438451046, 180 pages, June 1975
Hardcover : 9780873952828, 180 pages, June 1975

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Table of contents



List of Abbreviations

1. Sources and Style

Range of Sources

The Historian's Craft

History and adab

Mas'udi's Style

The isnad

2. Reflections on Historical Method

Reasons for Reflecting on History

The Background: History, Theology and the Natural


The Value of History

The Modes of Apprehension

Nature and the Supernatural

The Concept of bahth

3. Divine and Natural Factors in Human History

Introductory Remarks

The Creation of the World

Prophecy and Prophets

Natural Religion: Reason and Revelation

Nature and Society

Religion and Kingship

The Sources of Mas'údi's Views

4. The Ancient Nations

The Ancient Nations and Islam

Genealogy of Ancient Nations

The Seven Ancient Nations

Patterns in the History of Ancient Nations

The Problem of Progress

5. The Pre-Islamic Arabs and Islam

General Problems

Pre-Islamic Arabia

The Prophet's Life

The First Four Caliphs

The Umayyads

The Abbasids

Mu'tazilism and Shi'ism



A. Fragments of a Biography

B. Reconstruction of Lost Works



The importance of Muslim historical writing in the medieval period and the fact that few detailed studies exist, make Professor Khalidi's book of special importance both to Arabists and to medievalists. It may be read both as a source for Muslim and non-Muslim history and for the light it sheds on Arabic/Islamic civilization in its prime.