History, Profiles, Reviews, Occasional Meanderings
Salam and welcome.
This blog is dedicated to comment and criticism on history and politics in the Muslim world, with occasional book reviews and profiles thrown in for good measure. The writer, Ibrahim Moiz, is a history and economics student at the University of Toronto (2009-). I’ve always loved history–the twists, turns, intrigues, exploits, and achievements of the human race, all deriving from and adding to broader patterns. This blog serves as a forum to write out the stuff I usually can’t say in casual conversation
Though my love of history began sometime at the turn of the millennium reading about the medieval Near East and Western Europe, I’ve more recently shifted my focus to the general Islamic world–a good fourteen centuries filled with delightful drama, daring, derring-do and disappointment, most of its sadly unfamiliar not only to the English-speaking but also to the Muslim world itself. Admittedly, at the moment my familiarity is greatest with the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia–areas that tend to be more closely scrutinized, but the prospect of learning more about those vast, mysterious regions in Central, Eastern and Southwestern Africa as well as Central and Southeastern Asia that constitute an often overlooked part of the Muslim world is positively mouthwatering.
Since learning about history in the broad, toneless and grey swathes that too often constitute basic history classes and turn many students off at the get-go (in 1853 Britain and France tried to secure their interests in Crimea by helping the Ottoman Empire against the zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz) is no fun, I try to focus as closely as is relevant to the picture of a particular historical setting or event. This may sound equally dull, but my own opinion is that it helps land the reader headlong into the scene. The brilliant, scrupulously (indeed painstakingly) researched History of Messengers and Rulers by eminent Muslim historianMuhammad b. Jarir Tabari (838-923 CE), which details historical events and the thousands of characters who participated in them, convinced me of this. It is a genuine pleasure, for example, if seven officers were involved in a conflict, to know the names of all seven, plus an eighth or ninth officer who didn’t join. And it’s usually a nice surprise to find somebody you read about in Damascus on page 173 pop up at Nishapur on page 286. With that in mind, this blog will try to draw out some of the more interesting incidents in Muslim history with the motley crew of colourful characters involved.
As well as history, I love cricket and have written articles that have appeared on the blogs of ESPNCricinfo (a website I don’t recommend) and the Pakistani Dawn. I formerly was the main writer for the now-defunct Cricdb.com, and I once wrote match reports for each international game possible, though studies and other priorities have cut that down; I only write on games involving my native Pakistan now (and I’ve missed the last few series too because of academic concerns). These can be accessed at the excellent Cricistan site: http://www.cricistan.com/author/ibrahim-moiz/ .
Comments and feedback are usually appreciated, and I can be reached at email@example.com
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NOTE ON CATEGORIES: All blogs have these categories for their entries. Since the Muslim world is vast, and its history vaster yet, I’ve tried to split it into broad, vaguely distinctive zones as well as certain 20-40-year periods divided by certain definitive events. The most recently completed, for instance, was 1979-2011, sandwiched twixt the extraordinarily tumultuous years of 1979 (Afghanistan coup and invasion, Iranian revolution, Egypt-Israeli pact, Saudi revolt and more) and 2011 (mainly notable for the strings of revolutions and coups in the Middle East and North Africa that has been popularly and condescendingly dubbed “the Arab Spring”)