Who Writes History? Is our History Fabricated

مجلة مدارات ونقوش – العدد 5

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?Who Writes History? Is our History Fabricated

Jamal Bin Howaireb
Some people say “History is written by the victors”. It is a fact that we cannot ignore, but does it mean that the victors lie, exaggerate or distort historical facts because they have won and spread their power by taking lands.
 
History is not limited to wars and conquering countries where it gets written by the victors only. Unless they were totally exterminated, which rarely happens, historians and poets of those who were defeated in these battles and lost their influence, can write down other facts that can be neglected, reduced or distorted by the victors.

History may be written by the defeated, especially if the victor descended from illiterate nation, as in the case of illiterate and pagan Anglo-Saxon who expelled the Romans from Britain and Western Europe. The Romans were civilized and used to write down their history, and today the only available information about Anglo-Saxon comes from the writing of their enemies – the Romans.   

 
Hence, the statement “history is written by the victors” may be interpreted in another way that the victors record their history and keep their achievements, so it may mean that they are the ones who build civilization and attain achievements at the expense of defeated.
 
Today, some youngsters argue that our Islamic history has been distorted and fabricated over the centuries to please the caliphs, princes and influential people of the past ages. I reply: “what are your substantiations? Provide your evidence”. Their reply would be “history is written by the victors”. To them I would repeat the above-mentioned argument. They would say: “Those historians did not rely on the correct scientific rules in the origins of research adopted by universities today”. I would reply: “The modern rules of science were taken from the first pioneers in science of Impugnment and Validation, transfer of news and critique of science. After that they were forged in new molds to arbitrate history again”.     
 
Our great scholars have conveyed our Islamic history honestly through serial ascription, as did Al-Tabari in his book “History of Al-Tabari”, in which he renounces lies and shows accuracy in transferring history. Al-Tabari, in the preface of this great book, teaches us and explains how history should be transferred by saying: “For no knowledge of the history of men of the past and of recent men and events is attainable by those who were not able to observe them and did not live in their time, except through information and transmission provided by informants and transmitters. This knowledge cannot be brought out by reason or produced by internal thought processes. This book of mine may (be found to) contain some information, mentioned by us on the authority of certain men of the past, which the reader may disapprove of and the listener may find detestable, because he can find nothing sound and no real meaning in it. In such cases, he should know that it is not our fault that such information comes to him, but the fault of someone who transmitted it to us. We have merely reported it as it was reported to us”.
 
This is the achievement of our historian scientists, and we are required to research it and use modern scientific rules to examine it. We should not destroy it or accuse our early historians, may God have mercy on them.