Islamic Historical Writing - Macmillan 2004

Since I "discovered" Encyclopedia Iranica, I realize that academic encyclopedia articles are actually a reasonable source to research which authors/works are considered "canonical" to the extent that encyclopedia authors feel their names should be included in an entry.


Below are the names mentioned in a not-even 3 page article by Konrad Hirschler, "Historical Writing," Encycopledia of Islam and the Muslim World, Volume 1, published by Macmillan in 2004 (p.306-309). Based on the depth of writing, I would characterize this to be a reference work intended for high school / community college -- clearly not on the order of EIr or EI2 / EI3 (the latter I wish I somehow gain access later!).



1. al-'Iji (d. after 1381/1382) - Persian religious philosopher who composed in Arabic the first reflection on the technique and methodology of writing history

2. Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406) - developed a theoretical pattern to classify events in the past


<Central Islamic Lands - Premodern>

3. Muhammad Ibn Ishaq (d. 761) - sira, biography of the Prophet

4. a-Tabari (d. 923) - History of Prophets and Kings

<<Biographical dictionaries>>

5. Ibn Sa'd (d. 845) - Grand book of the Generations (as an early example of biographical dictionaries)

6. Ibn Khallikan (d. 1282) - included individuals from more varied backgrounds

7. Ibn Abi Usaybi'a (d. 1270) - Generations of Physicans, example of more specialized works on specific professions

<<Examples of members of ulema writing histories who linked tightly with courts>>

8. Ibn Shaddahd (d. 1234) - biographer of Saladin

9. Ibn al-'Adim (d. 1262) - local chronicle of Aleppo 


10. Rashid al-Din (d. 1318)


<Beyond Central Islamic lands - Premodern>


11. Nur al-Din Raniri (d. 1658)

12. Malay Annals

<<Central Asia>>

13. 'Ali Jalayiri - Collection of Chronicles, Turkic-language, completed in 1602, earliest surviving history for the Volga-Ural area

<< Sub-Saharan Africa>>

14. Kilwa Chronicle (c. 1530) - East Africa

15. al-Sa'di (17th c.) - Ta'rikh al-Sudan, west Africa

16. Ahmad Baba (d.1627) - biographical dicionary, west Africa


<Central Islamic Lands - Ottoman and Modern>

17. Mustafa Na'ima (d. 1716) - History of Events, "enjoyed considerable popularity"; recourse to Ibn Khaldun, typical for the period's historiography

18. Jurji Zaydan (d. 1914) - History of Islamic Civilization, authro was Syrian Christian

19. Muhammad Yamin (d. 1962) - wrote Indonesian national history based on Malay Annals


Interesting things about this list vs. my CWANA list is that the the one text each pick of Persian and Turkish history are identical (Rashid-al-Din and Na'ima. For Arabic historiography, I have Tabari, Mas'udi, and Ibn Khaldun, while this article replaces Mas'udi with Ibn Khallikan, something I should probably consider from the basis of genra mix.


For the non-Central Islamic regions, the Malay ones I am familiar with (still reading Braginsky!) and would not dispute, while 13-16 are interesting names in case I were to expand my lists broader (say to include some texts in Sub-Sahara Africa). 18-19 are interesting names if I were to expand list to 20th century. 

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