An Introduction to
Department of Islamic History and Culture
The University of Rajshahi in Rajshahi, Bangladesh was founded in 1953 under the Rajshahi University Act 1953. It started its academic activities during the session 1954-55 only with eight Departments. The Department of History was one of them. Teaching of Islamic History and Culture was started within the History Department at the Masters previous level during the session 1955-56. Only four students got admitted into this year. In November 1956 Islamic History and Culture emerged as a full-fledged Department with its separate entity. A renowned scholar and historian Professor Dr. M.A. Bari was the founder head of the Dept. He was a man with his profound knowledge later on became the Vice-Chancellor of Rajshahi University and National University Bangladesh. He also performed duty as Chairman of the University Grants Commission for two terms. He did a lot for the qualitative and quantitative development of the Department. With the passage of time, three year Honours course was introduced in this Department in 1962. Changes took place in academic and extra-academic activities to face the need of the time. Integrated course system was also introduced since 1994-95 session. Thereafter in 1998 four year Honours course was introduced. Later on it was modified and grading system was introduced at the Honours and Masters levels since 2006-2007 sessions.
Throughout the period the Department was enriched with its academic staff. Some of them are considered nationally and internationally reputed. At the moment there are twenty eight teachers in the Department and out of them two are Emeritus Professors. They are Dr. A.B.M. Hossain and Dr. A.K.M. Yaqub Ali. The number of students at the graduate and post-graduate levels is 600. To expedite the extra-curricula activities, a student organization namely Islamic History and Tamuddan Majlish was founded after framing its preamble in 1965. Later on, it was renamed as Islamic History Association (Bmjv‡gi BwZnvm mwgwZ). The executive body of the association is generally formed through direct election every year. But for a number of reasons, no election took place for years together. Naturally, the association is operated by the combined direction of the Chairman and the Treasurer of the Department. The quality of a Department is evaluated through its teaching capacity and research progress. In this context the role of the Department is appreciable. The former students of the Department have established themselves in various fields with reputation. The trend is still in force. A good number of M.Phil and Ph.D students have been awarded degrees as a result of strict and close supervision of the respective teachers of the Department.
Every year the students of B.A (Honours) Part-4 used to pay a visit to the historical sites of the country. Annual excursion also takes place for M.A. students. The Department possesses a dark room and mini museum. Students are taught about Islamic Art, Architecture and Archeology through slide projector in the mini museum. The Department has got a Seminar library with more than four thousand local and foreign books excluding research journals and periodicals. The students of the Department use the Seminar Library for gathering subject oriented knowledge. A World Bank project entitled HEQEP had already been completed for enhancing the qualitative and quantitative development of the Department. Under the project, a number of junior teachers of the Department had been trained nationally and internationally for improving their academic attainments. They also had to pay a visit to some historical sites of the country. In addition, workshop, national and international seminars had been organized under the project and a number of reputed scholars from home and abroad took part in the seminars. In addition, a modern computer lab has been set up in the Department. Internet connection has also been taken from the computer centre of the University. It contributes to enhance curricular and extra-curricular knowledge of the students and teachers. The Department had passed 60 years in 2016 since its establishment.
The successful event of fulfilling sixty years (Diamond Jubilee) and in this context, formation of the Alumni association and its conference on the 19 March 2016 bears the testimony of gradual and on going development of the Department. The event was no doubt extremely dignified and joyful to all teachers including Alumni, officers and officials as well as to all the students of the Department.
Facilities of the Department
In addition to the University Central Library, there is a Seminar Library in this Department. It is very rich. A good number of Text books, important reading books, Daily News Papers and related Journals are available there for the students and teachers. A Seminar Librarian looks after it.
The Department has a full furnished computer Lab with internet facilities. It has been established with a view to make the students knowledgeable about the use of computer and modern information technology. This Lab had been established under the HEQEP (Higher Education Quality Assurance Project) in 2012 and it is now running by the Department.
The Department has a mini museum. It had been established in 1984 with the avowed aim of enlighten the students about art history. Hence a good collection of antiquities, coins and slides of some architectural buildings, Islamic paintings, archaeological antiquities, maps and drawings, terracotta objects of different countries have been preserved here. Slides are shown through the multimedia projector.
The Departmental teachers are always co-operative and sincere towards solving the problems of the students regarding academic and extra-academic activities through counseling. This provides with students extra knowledge and guidance outside the classroom. It also helps to develop reciprocal teacher-student relationship and sound academic atmosphere in the Department.
Extra Curricular Activities
There is a students’ association in the Department entitled Islamer Itihasa Samity. All the students of the Department are its full members. It has multi-disciplinary works. It organizes fare-well and reception for the outgoing MA students and incoming BA (Honours) 1st year students respectively.
The Department has an Alumni Association. The Alumni Association has been established in 2015 and it is called Islamic History Alumni Association. A committee of 33 members has been formed for enhancing its quantitative and qualitative development.
The Department arranges study tour in historical places annually for the Masters students in Bangladesh and sometimes beyond it i.e., in India. The students of fourth year Honours course used to pay a visit to historical and archaeological sites of the Country. The Departmental teachers generally help the students in this regard.
The Department helps to organize picnic annually for both the Honours and Masters students. Interested students generally take part in the picnic. These are supervised by a number of respective teachers. This trend helps to develop social bondage and personal attachment of the students. Generally historical sites of the country are selected for the same. This also helps to build up close relationship of teachers and students.
Sports and Cultural Programme
Sports and Cultural Programme fall within the context of extra curricula activities in the University platform. No Department can ignore it. The Department of Islamic History and Culture is not an exception. The students of this Department take part in the inter-hall and inter-university sports competition every year organized by the Physical Education Department. Showing the ability and success in a number of items the participants of the Department by this time have got some soccer and this has enhanced the prestige of Department.
Mission of the Department
The mission of the Department is to develop human resources exploring fullest potential capability and intellectual ability. This needs to enhance the cultural, ethical, religious and social values of the students towards building better life and prosperous nation. The teachers of the Department are fully aware of it and they keep themselves busy with the fulfillment of the motive. Hence the academic programmes of the Department relate to make the students:
- Good citizens with enlightened careers, sophisticated customs and manners;
- Capable enough to contribute towards the socio-economic development of the country for its world-wide identity;
- Competent enough to cope themselves with the changing global perspective;
- Fully conscious about the history and culture of the country in particular and the world in general.
BA (Honours) Programme: Objectives
The general objectives of the programme relate to –
- Make the students acquaintance with relevant conceptual and comprehensive knowledge about the Ancient, Medieval and Modern history of the Muslim world in particular and the history of Europe and World in general. It aims to inspire the students for the origin and development of their questioning mind and profound knowledge and also keen thinking along with analytical ability and skills.
- Develop the ability to dive into the subject-matter for its effective application in the future professional and practical life.
- Building the interpersonal leadership and team building capability towards facing the challenges in the global perspectives.
The tenure of BA (Honours) programme is four year. The education policy of the government defines it a terminal degree. After completion of BA (Honours) degree graduates are eligible to seek jobs in all sorts of government and non-government sectors and organizations. But the higher educational institutions are an exception. The Department publishes hand book for the students every year having the contents of the subject. The contents bear the testimony of the objectives for building up the career of the students. The year-wise objectives are shown below:
|1st year Honours Courses||The students are introduced with the development of pre-Islamic history and ancient civilization of Arabia as a prelude to the advent of Islam and the beginning of Islamic History with the establishment of State of Medina under the Prophet (sm.) along with its politico and socio-economic, intellectual and cultural changes. In addition, gradual development of the Islamic State and expansion out side Arabia under the Pious Caliphs, evolution of the state under the Umayyads – social stratification and social discontents plus changes under the Abbasids, origin and activities of a good number of regional minor dynasties are given adequate attention. Furthermore, spread of Islam and rise and fall of dynastic rule in Egypt, North Africa, Spain and India fall within the context of the syllabus of this year. Moreover, political, socio-economic, cultural and administrative developments of Bengal since ancient days are also taught in this year.|
|2nd year Honours Courses||To make the students understand the course of the history of mediaeval and modern Bengal, Socio-economic histories of early and mediaeval Islam are given special emphasis. In addition some allied papers i.e., Basic Principles of Economics including Bangladesh Economy and the Development of Political theory and organizations are also included in this year. All these help to diversify the knowledge of the student for making them fit in the competitive job markets.|
|3rd year Honours Courses||History of the establishment of the Ottoman Empire and its gradual developments along with the History of Persia and Afghanistan are taught in this year. In addition, History of Modern Europe, Religious, Philosophical, Literary and Scientific Development in Islam, Development of Muslim Art and Architecture, Development of Muslim Painting, Development Muslim Administration and the history of the emergence of Bangladesh and its aftermath are included in this year. All these help the students to enhance their sense of proportion and knowledge about the area under study.|
|4th year Honours Courses||Dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire and emergence of new states in the Middle East are important phenomenon in the course of Islamic History and Culture. All the events relating to it are taught in this year. In addition, History of Modern Europe till today, Western and US Diplomacy in the Middle East, International Affairs and the Development of Muslim Architecture in India including the History of Bengal Architecture do fall within the context of the courses of this year. An evaluation of all the courses from Ist year to 4th year no doubt bears the testimony of making the students knowledgeable about all aspects of Islamic History and Culture. It also helps the students for their qualitative development to face the challenges of the today’s global needs.|
It is imperative that the BA (Honours) students ought to acquire the following skills:
- Basic and specialized knowledge : Basic and specialized knowledge in Islamic History and Culture covering Mediaeval and Modern history of the Middle East, India, Spain, Egypt, Afghanistan, Bengal including the administrative, socio-economic, intellectual and cultural aspects plus Art and Archaeological themes are ought to learn.
- Intellectual Skills: Research bent mind, intellectual skills, curiosity and questioning mind are the most important aspects of higher education. It develops among the students gradually through learning history. History also makes a man perfect and informative. Intellectuality develops through learning history.
- Linguistic Skills: To acquire good knowledge in history linguistic skill is essential for its in-depth study. Original sources of Islamic History and Culture till today are available in Arabic, English, French and German languages. Hence the students ought to acquire knowledge in different languages.
- Communicative Skills: Expression ability of ideas and subject oriented knowledge and beyond it is essential for advantageous position in the competitive job markets. The students are instructed to fit in the way.
- IT Skills: Quality education lies not only in gathering subject oriented knowledge, but also providing themselves with IT skills for interaction on a global stage, where IT is increasingly considered as an effective and convenient means of communication. So, it is important for the students to have the ability to use modern technology for their easy access to have any sorts of information and its proper explanation.
- Interpersonal and teambuilding Skills: It relates to have respect for other individuals and groups including appreciation of human values and cultural diversity. Ability to work in a team respecting and accommodating others’ opinion are important in the present day global and multicultural environmental setting.
- Numerical Skills: It is essential to have ability to recognize process and interpret numerical information with accuracy to face all sorts of global challenges.
Dr. Mohammad Fayek Uzzaman
Professor & Chairman
Department of Islamic History & Culture