Tom Holland writes:1
The voices of the Arab warriors who dismembered the ancient empires of Persia and Rome, and of their sons, and of their sons in turn—let alone of their daughters and grand-daughters—have all been silenced, utterly and for ever. Neither letters, nor speeches, nor journals, if they were ever so much as written, have survived; no hint as to what those who actually lived through the establishment of the Caliphate thought, or felt, or believed. It is as though we had no eye-witness accounts of the Protestant Reformation, or the French Revolution, or the two World Wars.
The historical critical tools that were earlier turned on the Bible are now being trained on early Islamic history. The paucity of witnesses is fascinating.
- From the book: In the Shadow of the Sword: The Birth of Islam and the Rise of the Global Arab Empire.