This page is dedicated to the most important historical chronicles (ta’rīkh or tārīkh) written in Arabic between 900/300 AH and 1900/1200 AH. Most are arranged by year and are valuable sources for the political and social histories of their day. The list of significant texts below is adapted from the outline of history writing in R. S. Humphreys, "Ta’rīkh: Historical Writing," EI2. Texts on this page are arranged in chronological order, by death date of author, given in Gregorian (CE)/Hijri (AH).
A history of the Muslim conquest of the Sasanian and Byzantine Empires by Aḥmad ibn Yaḥyā al-Balādhurī (d. ca. 892).
A "universal history" by Abū Ja‘far Muḥammad ibn Jarīr al-Ṭabarī (d. 923 CE/255 AH). This foundational work begins with the Flood, recounts the lives of the Biblical prophets, and covers the kingdoms of late Antiquity, the rise of Islam, the Rashidun Caliphs, the Umayyad Caliphs, and the first century and a half of the Abbasid Caliphate.
Series 1, Volume 1 (Internet Archive) -- Creation; Flood; The Prophets & Biblical Kings
Series 1, Volume 2 (Internet Archive) -- Persian Kings in Babylon - Sasanian Kings)
Series 1, Volume 3 (Internet Archive) -- Life of the Prophet Muhammad; The Hijra; Years 1 - 8 AH
Series 1, Volume 4 (Internet Archive) -- Years 9 - 16 AH
Series 1, Volume 5 (Internet Archive) -- Years 17 - 33 AH
Series 1, Volume 6 (Internet Archive) -- Years 33 - 40 AH
Series 2, Volume 1 (Internet Archive) -- Years 40 - 65 AH
Series 2, Volume 2 (Internet Archive) -- Years 66 - 96 AH
Series 2, Volume 3 (Internet Archive) -- Years 97 - 130 AH
Series 3, Volume 1 (Internet Archive) -- Years 131 - 180 AH
Series 3, Volume 2 (Internet Archive) -- Years 181 - 232 AH
Series 3, Volume 3 (Internet Archive) -- Years 233 - 266 AH
Series 3, Volume 4 (Internet Archive) -- Years 234 - 302 AH; Biographies of Companions and Successors
A work by ‘Alī ibn al-Ḥusayn al-Mas'udi (d. 956/345 AH) that combines historical scholarship and human geography. The first part of the work contains sacred and ancient history up to the time of the Prophet Muhammad, as well as descriptions of the earth, its seas, its regions, and its peoples. The second part is a history of Islam from the Prophet to the Abbasid Caliphs.
Volume 2 (Bibliotheca Alexandrina) -- better for Arabic readers
A universal history by ‘Izz al-Dīn Abū al-Ḥasan ‘Alī Ibn al-Athīr (d. 1233/630 AH). This work represents a pinnacle of the genre for the early medieval Islamic period and is especially valuable as a document for the Crusades.
Walī al-Dīn ‘Abd al-Raḥmān ibn Muḥammad ibn Khaldūn (d. 1382/784 AH) is one of the most important figures in the history of Arabic literature. Born in Tunis and traversing the Islamic west from Spain to Egypt during his tumultuous and peripatetic career, he observed what he believed to be the beginning of a decline in Islamic civilization at a time of political and cultural upheaval. He formulated these thoughts in a universal history titled Kitāb al-‘ibar wa-dīwān al-mubtada' wa'l-khabar fī ta’rīkh al-‘Arab wa’l-'Ajam wa'l-Barbar wa-man ‘āṣarahum min dhawī al-sulṭān al-akbar (known as Kitāb al-‘Ibar for short). The first part of this book, known as al-Muqaddima (Introduction or Prolegomenon), is of particular importance as it describes Ibn Khaldun’s theory of political history and the rise and fall of civilizations, as well a discussion of the process of writing history. It is thus one of the earliest works of historiography known. No critical edition of the text yet exists. The Bulaq edition cited below is the first scholarly edition. A commercial edition was printed in Beirut in 1956-1959 and has the advantage of indices.
Source: M. Talbi, "Ibn Khaldūn," EI2.
Volume 1 (Arabic Collections Online) -- al-Muqaddima
Unfinished history by Nāṣir al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Raḥīm known as Ibn al-Furāt (d. 1405/807 AH). The text only covers ca. 1100-1400 CE/ 500-800 AH but it is specific and valuable or this time period. Only parts of the text have been edited and published.
Volume 4, Part 2 (Arabic Collections Online) -- years 587-599 AH
Volume 5, Part 1 (Arabic Collections Online) -- years 600-615 AH
Volume 7 (Arabic Collections Online) -- years 672-682 AH and index
Volume 8 (Arabic Collections Online) -- years 683-696 AH
Volume 9, Part 1 (Arabic Collections Online) -- years 789-792 AH
Volume 9, Part 2 (Arabic Collections Online) -- years 793-799 AH and index
A history of Egypt by Taqī al-Dīn Abū al-‘Abbās Aḥmad ibn ‘Alī al-Maqrīzī (d. 1442/845 AH). It is particularly valuable for its information on Cairo and its monuments, to which much space is devoted. It is a unique resource on the history of an Islamic city. Full title name: al-Mawā‘iẓ wa’l-I‘tibār fī dhikr al-khiṭaṭ wa’l-āthār.
‘Abd al-Raḥmān ibn Ḥasan al-Jabartī (d. 1826 CE) was an Egyptian historian of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries CE. His main work, whose full title is ‘Ajā’ib al-āthār fī al-tarājim wa’l-akhbār, covers the history of the Islamic world from 1688/1100 AH to 1821/1236 AH. Source: D. Ayalon, "al-Djabartī," EI2.