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History..science or literature?  |  Yehia Zaki

History..science or literature? | Yehia Zaki

Yehia Zaki

Why do we read history? A question that many have answered in several theses and writings, but we can notice that many of those answers confirm that we read or study history to learn from past mistakes or learn about the laws that govern history and affect events to move forward, but those answers cannot explain that we Despite our fondness for history and our study of its laws through various tools and curricula, we repeat the same mistakes, and there are those who specialize in monitoring this aspect. After we are well acquainted with the premises and causes of the event that may be similar to the premises we are experiencing, we reproduce the same result that occurred in the past.

Some read history to establish something in the past, this happened in various aspects of our contemporary culture, and therefore you will find those who spoke about reason in heritage, as well as about freedom. It is rooted in the writings of our philosophers, and the same situation applies to freedoms, and even the joints of civilization itself. Hence, we witnessed many battles between those who matched the two concepts of reason in Arab civilization and Europe in the Enlightenment era, and those who rejected that conformity. For example, Zaki Najib Mahmoud asserts in one of his books that freedoms in the Western concept are worldly and have nothing to do with religion.

As for Muhammad Abed Al-Jabri, he approached the same position with regard to the mind. The mind in modern Western philosophy starts from nothing in order to prove the self and the surrounding world, unlike the mind in the Islamic concept. These attempts at rooting have been discontinued for a while, perhaps because each culture has its own premises and peculiarities that do not accept conformity or reproduction.

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A third team reads history to engage in the struggles of the present on the ground of the past. It cannot confront directly, so it goes back to the past to employ the symbol and reference, and therefore we find that a period or one of the characters was subjected to negative reading, and soon the conflict ends around it, so a later historian comes to read the period or character itself from a different and positive perspective. There are historical theses that question the occurrence of famous historical events, here the difference is no longer about the interpretation of the event and monitoring the role of each participant in it, searching for motives and reading the results, but the event itself has become in doubt.

There are no fixed facts in history. There are views, visions, and testimonies of contemporaries of the period, memoirs of those who participated in them, and documents that are revealed in succession. There are analyzes, jurisprudence, and approaches borrowed from several sciences..All of this combines to make history that “science” constantly transforming and readable time and time again. “Science” is closer to literature than to applied or natural sciences, and therefore we read it or study it for pleasure first before anything else.