Friday, June 8, 2012

What is history?

History is usually defined as a record of the past. Moreover, we have histories of literature, cinema, art, religion, education and almost everything else. These are usually seen as sub-domains of history. So, "the" history itself is sometimes called "General History" in order to distinguish it from these other histories. However, if we look into what is called "general history", we may find that it is not as general as it claims to be. More often than not it turns out to be just a "political history".

These are some of the items of our intellectual luggage that may need to be put aside (if not throw away) when we embark on the journey which I propose in The DNA of History: History According to Iqbal.

History does not seem to be the things mentioned above, when we look at it in the light of Iqbal's views (which he claimed to be based on his understanding of the Quran). In the light of Iqbal's thought, history may be better described as "series of goals collectively adopted and achieved." 

This is my own definition but I have arrived upon it through my understanding of Iqbal's thought.


  1. Series of goals collectively adopted and achieved...sounds like a business it history or one's life, goals are set to be achieved because then we have something to look forward to. Once we achieve those goals we set new ones for ourselves and so on. Interesting post!

  2. When I read about Iqbal's views on anything,instead of keeping my mind on the subject at hand,I think about him and how great he is, and how lucky I am to be studying about him.I think this time I will have to focus on what it is I am studying.I also would like to mention I find his writing sometimes quite challenging to comprehend.I am anxious to know history in the light of Iqbal's views.

  3. What a fine description of history:
    "series of goals collectively adopted and achieved."

  4. Greetings,

    Thank you for this post. I like what you've shared here about history being a "series of goals collectively adopted and achieved."

    Studying Iqbal's views on history is opening me to a new history that grows, with purpose, like I had not previously considered.

    All good wishes,


  5. My recent published article on this very topic: