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Farhat Hashmi Khatam e Nabuwat Lectures. Book Review. Then he proceeds with the stories of the Prophets. The next part covers the seerah of Rasulullah. The advantage of his coverage of seerah is that he combines what the scholars of seerah such as ibn Ishaaq, al Waqidi, and Musa bin Uqba wrote along with what the scholars of hadith have included in their books such as Bukhari, Muslim, the four books of Sunan, al Bayhaqi, Ahmad, and al Hakim. This makes his coverage of seerah very comprehensive and useful.
The downside is that the story does not flow as it would with the seerah of Ibn Ishaaq, for example, and there is also a lot of repetition and sometimes there are contradicting narrations. This makes it serve better as a reference than a book to read. This part is translated into English by Trevor Le Gassick. However there are a few mistakes in this translation.
Then he covers the period of the Umayah khilafa. After that his history becomes quite Shaam-centric. Imam Ibn Kathir, in some cases almost conclusively, focuses on the histories of al Shaam the area encompassed by present day Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq. There is some talk about North Africa and its relationship with the establishment of the Fatimi dynasty whom Ibn Kathir refers to as liars, and Impersonators, who wished no good for the Muslims The Fatimids were outwardly Shia and inwardly Ismailis.
Andalusia gets mentioned briefly but many important events in its history are missing. Ibn Kathir talks about the land of Sind while mentioning the great conquests that occurred on the hands of Muhammad bin al Qasim but then neglects it completely until Mahmud Sabaktakeen arrives on the scene and achieves great victories on the Indian subcontinent.
The Arabian peninsula is covered sparsely and when it is, it is mostly about what was going on, or who was ruling in Makkah and Madina. Yemen and Oman are lost in this narrative. And there was absolutely nothing on some areas such as East Africa, for instance. Imam Ibn Kathir mentioned an apology at a place for not covering these areas in a lot of detail due to lack of resources. It is something to ponder about.
This great Imam who wrote some of the greatest works lacks resources on some important issues such as the history of Andalusia which made him omit almost years of Muslim history in Spain Ibn Kathir lived during the 8th hijri century while we today have all the resources at our fingertips.
Modern technology has brought with it a proliferation of Islamic knowledge but where are the ones who would take advantage of that? Therefore, al Bidayah wa al Nihaayah is an excellent reference on the history of the prophets, seerah, the history of early Islam and the history of al Shaam and Iraq up until the year H.
The book also recounts stories from the lives of the Prophets and their nations, up to the times of the Children of Isra'eel and the Days of Ignorance, which ended with the advent of the final Prophet, Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him. A unique feature of the book is that it not only deals with past events, but also talks about future events mentioned by Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him until the Day of Judgment. That treatise was found by Dr. We have included a copy of its English translation in our bookshelf for our readers to benefit from.
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Mukhtasir Al Bidayah Wan Nihaya (Arabic Only)