History of Islam & the West

Current Status
Not Enrolled
Registrations closed
Get Started
This course is currently closed

Course Content

We are pleased to announce that the popular course, History of Islam & the West, will be launching again in September 2021, insha Allah. The course will be face to face, but online access will also be available through live streaming and recordings of the lectures.

This course is delivered in collaboration with Hounslow Muslim Centre.

Start date: Weds 22 September 2021

Length: 25 weeks, every Weds 7.30 – 9.30pm  (breaks during school holidays)

Venue: This course is Face to Face at Hounslow Muslim Centre (location) and LIVE STREAM ONLINE. 

Instructor:  Shaykh Dr Ridhwan ibn Saleem, Senior Lecturer at LCI. Guest lecturers include Shaykh Dr Talal al-Azem (Oxford University) and Shaykh Jawad Khalid.

Fees: Pay What You Want (normal fee £180)

At LCI, we want our courses to be accessible for everyone. For that reason, we have decided to waive our course fees altogether, and allow students to Pay What You Want (minimum small registration fee).

We hope that this will allow all genuine seekers of knowledge to connect to our highly-qualified teachers and benefit from their company and knowledge.

Course description

The Civilisations History Initiative is based on presenting the intertwined history of the Islamicate and Western civilisations, from their inception in the Early Middle Ages up to the present time.

We aim to highlight the rich heritage that links both great civilisations throughout their history, as well as to debunk many of the myths and misconceptions that have arisen over the centuries, and to provide an alternative to the prevailing Eurocentric telling of history.

The main project of the Initiative has been the popular Civilisations History Course – A Story of Two Civilisations – which has run in Hounslow (2016-17), High Wycombe (2017-18), and Woking (2018-19). Read past student testimonials.

Start date: Wednesday 22nd September 2021

Venue: Hounslow Muslim Centre (location)

Class times: Every Wednesday 7.30 pm – 9.30 pm (breaks for half-terms and school holidays).

End date: Wednesday 30th March 2022

Fees: normally £180 (Pay What You Want)

Course structure

The course focuses on a broad sweep of the major historical personalities, events and processes of the Islamic (622-1707) and European (1707-present) Ages. The Islamic Age, or Islamic Millennium, is further divided into 3 major periods: (1) the High Caliphate Period (622-1066), in which most of the Muslim world is united under one caliph who commands the greatest empire in the world; (2) the Middle Period (1066-1500) of Islamic sultanates, emirates and khanates, in which myriad polities and dynasties come and go but which form the “Muslim Commonwealth” united by a common language, religion and culture; and (3) the Gunpowder Period (1500-1707), dominated by the emergence three great empires in the Muslim world, the Ottoman, Mughal and Safavid, which continue Muslim global pre-eminence, while Western Europe is undergoing its Renaissance, Reformation and Age of Discovery.

The final period, the European Age, (1707- present), witnesses the gradual rise of the European colonial empires which come to dominate most of the world by the end of the nineteenth century. Following the momentous and self-destructive power struggles between these colonial powers in the 20th century – the two World Wars – the mantle of Western civilization is taken on by the new world superpower, the United States of America, which proceeds to fashion a new global order under its direction.

The passage of ages, empires, dynasties and the later emergence of nation-states will be studied in relation to the world situation as a whole, and with particular regard to three inter-related aspects: political-military, intellectual and the economic.

Civilizations History course outline

The writing of history
Overview of the period: 622-2000
The Advent of Islam
Rashidun Period (632-661) 1 | Abu Bakr
Rashidun period 2 | Umar
Rashidun period 3 | Uthman
8Rashidun period 4 | Ali
9High Caliphate period 1 | Umayyads & Abbasids
10 High Caliphate period 2 | Harun Rashid and Baghdad
11 High Caliphate period 3 | Barbarian kingdoms & Vikings
12High Caliphate period 4 | Bayt al Hikma & intellectual fluorescence in Muslim world
13Middle period 1 | Normans, Crusaders & the Turks
1Middle period 2 | Intellectual trends of the Middle period (Sh Talal al Azem)
15 Middle period 3 | The Mongol expansion
16Middle period 3 | some notable personalities of the Middle period
17 The Gunpowder period 1 | Europe and the Ottomans
18 The Gunpowder period 2 | The Mughals (Sh Jawad)
19Intellectual trends in the European Age
20 18th century: The European Enlightenment
21 18th – 19th century: Revolutions and European world empires
22 19th century: “Excuse us please, we’re British!”
23Economies of the Muslim and western worlds, and the rise of capitalism
24 Early 20th century: the World Wars
25 Late 20th century: Cold war and American empire
26Final class – review of the period 622-2000

If we do not know where we came from, we do not know who we are. It is hoped that this course will help connect us to our forefathers because, after all, it is their story that we are telling.

Course Content

Did you know?

Did you know that the Caliph Harun Rashid ruled over an empire that was almost twice the size of the Roman empire at its height? 

Did you know that the great city of Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid empire, had a population of one million citizens while the largest cities in Western Europe at that time had only about 40,000? 

Did you know that all major Muslim cities during the Middle Ages had hospitals funded by wealthy patrons and endowments, which were open to all and provided free healthcare? 

Did you know that while peasants in Western Europe in the Middle Ages toiled under the virtual slavery of serfdom, peasants in the Muslim world were free men and women with rights to justice, property and movement? 

Did you know that non=Muslim communities living under Muslim empires of the past were allowed to follow their own religion, customs and laws, including drinking wine and eating pork? 

Did you know that the philosophical writings of Muslim scholar, Ibn Rushd, were translated into Latin and spread through Europe in the 12th  and 13th centuries leading to a rationalist movement? 

Did you know that Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, was probably the richest man in the world of his time, and that he had the Taj Mahal, which is considered by many to be the greatest architectural work existing today, built in memory of his beloved wife? 

These are just small glimpses of our proud and rich heritage which spanned over a thousand years in which the Islamicate civilization dominated and led the world in learning, art and culture.  


The Civilizations History course has been developed in response to a perceived pressing need and a major gap in the English-medium syllabuses of our Muslim madrassas and schools in the UK. The aim is to empower  Muslims with the knowledge of where we have come from, what our forefathers did before us, and where we are now. This knowledge will enable us, God willing, to embrace our heritage, understand our situation, and inform our responses to the challenges facing our ummah.  

Re-reading history 

We believe that the true reality of events can only be fully known when examined through the lens of revelation and a Quranic worldview. During this course, we unapologetically re-read and re-examine the received history that we find in many western textbooks, and challenge many Euro-centric biases and distortions that have inevitably crept in especially since the time of colonial domination. This unique course has the lofty ambition to re-namere-claim and re-tell our history.  

Then it is up to the intelligent student to decide which version corresponds closer to reality.  

Past student testimonials

Enrol Now – Pay What You Want

A Story of Two Civilisations:

Islam and the West

Almost 1,500 years ago, an honest Arab trader from a small desert town sat in a contemplative retreat on a mountain in the sandy wilderness. As he sat, deep in his thoughts, of a sudden he witnessed something extraordinary, something that no-one on earth had experienced for over six hundred years. He came face to face with the Angel of Revelation.


The advent of the Final Prophet signalled that the time of the ancient empires was coming to a close. The long-awaited Apocalypse was imminent. The End of Time (akhir al zaman) had drawn close.


The Prophet sallalahu alaihi wa sallam said, whilst pointing with his index and middle fingers, “The time of my advent and the Hour are like these two fingers.”


Verily, a day with your Lord is like a thousand years of your reckoning.

(Quran 22:47)


The final chapter of human history inaugurated by the auspicious appearance and mission of the Messenger of God (may peace and mercy be upon him) was destined to be dominated by two great civilisations: that which emerged in the lands of Islam, and that of Western Christian Europe, later to be known as the West.

The Civilizations History course is a study of these two world civilizations. The syllabus has been carefully crafted to facilitate students to gain an understanding of the history of the Islamic and Western civilizations, and how they interrelate, from the early Middle Ages (advent of the Prophet) up to the end of the 20th century.

Enrol Now – Pay What You Want

Detailed syllabus

1IntroductionIslamic and European (Western) civilizations
Beginnings of human history
Ancient Arabian peoples
Arabic Language
The myth of Europe
The Evolution Myth  
2The writing of historyExamine the historian
Reclaiming our history – “Middle Ages”
The Apocalyptic Jesus
The Islamic Age 622 – 1707 CE
Overview of period 622-2000  
3Overview of the period 622 – 2000High Caliphate period 622-1066
Prophetic and Rashidun periods
High Caliphate period
The Middle Period – Age of emirates, sultanates and khanates.
Gunpowder Period – Mughals, Safavids & Ottomans
European Age    
4Rashidun Period (632-661) 1 | The ApocalypsePre-Islamic world;
Ancient empires
Pre-Islamic Arabia & Arabic language
The Apocalypse
Biographical sketch of the Prophet (upon him be mercy and peace)  
5Rashidun Period 2 | Abu BakrElection of Abu Bakr
Inaugural address
Army of Usamah
Virtues of Abu Bakr
Wars of Apostasy
Gathering of the Quran
6Rashidun period 3 | UmarA note on sources
Biographical sketch
Virtues of Umar
Major events during his caliphate
Battle of Yarmouk
Battle of Qadisiyyah
Conquest of Jerusalem
Administration of Umar
Appointment of his successor 
7Rashidun period 4 | Uthman  Biographical sketch
Virtues of Uthman
Caliphate of Uthman
Military conquests
Rebellion and martyrdom  
8Rashidun period 5 | Ali  Biographical sketch
Virtues of Ali
Caliphate of Ali
Rebellion and martyrdom
The party of Ali
Caliphate of Al-Hasan
Evaluation of Rashidun period  
9High Caliphate period (622-1066) | The Umayyads and AbbasidsThe Umayyad Caliphs
Rise of Abbasid power
Sayyid Hussain and Kerbala
The idea of the ‘Family of the Prophet’
The Abbasid Caliphs
Successor states and Muslim commonwealth period 10th/11th c.
Turks/ghilman & Bedouin tribes  
10High Caliphate period | Harun Rashid & BaghdadHarun al-Rashid
Description and character
Courtly life & culture
Jihad & cultural exchange with Byzantium
The Barmakids – rise and fall
Society and life in Baghdad    
11High Caliphate period 3 | Barbarian Kingdoms & Vikings  Europe during High Caliphate period
Barbarian kingdoms
Conversion of Barbarians to Christianity
Angles & Saxons
Viking Age
Intellectual trends in Muslim world
Economic miracle of Abbasids  
12High Caliphate period 4 – Bayt al Hikma and intellectual fluorescence in the Muslim world
13Middle period (1066-1500) 1 | Normans, Crusaders & Turks  Normans & The Crusades;
The Turks  
14Middle period 2 | Intellectual trends in the Middle period  intellectual trends IN MIDDLE PERIOD
Rise of Sufi tariqas
Unity of Sunni orthodoxy  
15Middle period 3 | The Mongolian ExpansionGenghis & the Mongols
Khanates and conversion to Islam
Expansion of Islam
Sultan Timur  
16Middle period 4 – some notable personalities of the Middle period
17Gunpowder empires 1 | European renaissance & Ottoman expansionReconquista of Spain and ‘discovery’ of America
Europe during the 16th & 17th centuries
Reformation, Renaissance & Discovery
Scientific revolution
Spanish Gold and Silver Mercantilism 
The ‘Turks’ and Solomon the Magnificent    
18Gunpowder empires 2 | The Mughals  Muslim history in India
Legacy of the Mughals
Aurungzeb – misrepresentations    
1918th CENTURY: the European EnlightenmentOverview and major events and figures of 18th century
Intellectual trends of 18th c.Liberalism, socialism, and science
Reform movements of Shah Waliullah and Ibn Abdul-Wahhab
Transatlantic slave trade
European rivalries  
2018th/19th CENTURY 1 | European Empires & revolutionsPolitical revolutions – American and French revolutions
Napoleonic wars
Global capitalism & European rivalries in 19thc.
Ideas in 19thc. – democracy, nationalism, racism, liberalism/socialism/conservatism  
2119TH CENTURY 2 | “Excuse us please – we’re BritishMuslim response in 19thc.
Ottoman tanzimat
Jamalud-deen Afghani
Pax Brittanica– East India Company and the Opium Wars
The White Flood – destruction of native Americans and Australians and settlement of their continents
The Scramble for Africa  
22Medieval economies & the rise of capitalism
2320TH CENTURY 1 | the World WarsOverview of 20thc. in 5 slides
The world in 1900:
European world order WW1
Interwar years 
Post WW2 ordering:
UN and Bretton Woods 1945 – 1971:
the 50s and 60s American Empire    
2420th CENTURY 2 | The Cold War and American empire1945 – 1971:
the 50s and 60s
American Empire
Children of Israel 1945-1971:
Muslim world 1971 – 1991:
global capitalism & religious revivals
Collapse of Soviet Union
The 90s: New World Order    
25Final class- review of period 622-2000Review of the prophetic and Rashidun periods
Review of the High Caliphate period
Review of the Middle period: the Age of emirates, sultanates and khanates
Review of the Gunpowder period
Review of the European Age

Enrol Now – Pay What You Want

Student welcome booklet and course syllabus 

student booklet and syllabus HMC 1442-2021

Brief history of Islam & the West - course companion