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Hospitals, grand public buildings and numerous public endowment based charities characterised the generosity of Damascus.These institutions inspired the innovations and new learning which developed there.His instructions to the chiefs of the Syrian army went: Remember that you are always in the presence of God, on the verge of death, in the assurance of judgment, and the hope of paradise.Avoid injustice and oppression; consult with your brethren, and study to preserve the love and confidence of your troops.Neither is it its prerogative to dwell on secondary sources.So only brief mention is made of the latter, most particularly the phase relating to the Muslim conquest of the country, including Damascus.From a truly military aspect, nothing can beat Glubb’s works on the subject of Muslim advance/conquests.Glubb, an army general by profession, a great scholar, too, had qualifications which other authors do not have: he lived and worked as a military officer in the region for many years.

That gives him the superiority over any other author on the subject.The reader can easily see the logic of his narration.The reader can also notice how Al Tabari is very careful to give his sources, quite many of them for nearly every event.Readers are hence directed to these sources, and only one modern Muslim source is worth looking into: Akram’s book on Khalid ibn Waleed, a truly excellent work despite its lacuna (but all books bear weaknesses and defects except the Qur’an of course).

Akram’s work highlights the immense role played by this great Muslim general (Khalid) in the Muslim conquests as no other work has been able to.

Although the work contains interesting stuff, it also shows very clearly that many insertions had been made into it by second and third hands.