"A Small Geography" and "An Abridged History of the Prophets"


Jughrāfīyah-ʼi kūchak (A small geography) is a geography text for students. It begins with a definition of geography (“the science that reveals to us cities, mountains and the rivers on the earth”) and a discussion of the cardinal directions. The basic features of the earth’s surface are then defined and in some cases (as with continents and oceans) clarified by the listing of examples. There follows a discussion of Afghanistan’s borders, mountain ranges, and rivers, and short entries on its population, its capital, its political divisions and government, and prominent Afghan cities and well-known high schools. The section on Afghanistan is followed by a presentation of the continents, with a list of the main rivers, mountains, countries, and famous cities of each. Notable features of the work include a short guide for teachers as an aid in teaching the cardinal directions. The work is bound with another textbook entitled Khulāṣah-ʼi tarīkh-i anbiyā (An abridged history of the prophets). This work begins with a definition of history as “a science that teaches us the lives of famous persons such as the prophets … and the circumstances of past nations and peoples and the reasons for their advancement and decay.” What follows is a series of short biographies of more than 20 prophets and religious figures revered in Islam, including the prophets Adam, Hud, Abraham, and Moses. The final section discusses the Virgin Mary and what is said to be the foretelling by her son Jesus of the Prophet Muhammad. Both works were published in 1922 under the auspices of the minister of education, Hayatullah Khan (1888‒1929), brother of the Afghan king, Amanullah Khan (1892‒1960, reigned 1919‒29). Subsequent to serving as minister of education, Hayatullah Khan was minister of justice (1925). He later was killed in the insurrection that toppled his brother from power in 1929. Both books were printed in editions of 10,000 copies.

Last updated: September 30, 2016