“Lost Islamic History: Reclaiming Muslim civilization from the past” by Firas Alkhateeb
This is the clearest book I’ve ever read so far on the history of Islam. It is focused, it has a clear timeline, and it is very concise, with no distracting facts that are irrelevant with the narrative. It is detailed enough, but without being complicated.
As a result, we can easily follow the development of Islam since its birth in the 600s until now 1400 years later, spanning territory from Muslim Spain to the Middle East and Africa to India and South East Asia, complete with all the ideological debates, the spiritual struggles, and all the many political frictions and conquerings.
Indeed, it is a perfect book to understand the complete picture, before proceeding to other books with more in-depth topics such as the life of the Prophet Muhammad, Muslim Heroes, the Muslim Empires, Islam and Science, the interpretations of Al Quran, the validity of Hadiths, the theological debates between the Fiqh, Islamic fundamentalism and its terrorists, and so much more.
By the time I finish reading this book I have this great sense of clarity of what Islam is about, and why the many different beliefs, sects, organisations or customs – from the liberals to the moderates to the conservatives – behave the way they do, something that no other book on Islam have managed to summarise so far.