Hadith

SOURCES OF SIRAT – PART 8

SOURCES OF SIRAT (4) (Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad) BOOKS ON HADITH The literature on traditions is divisible into three great classes: (1) Al-Hadith, or what may be termed as theological traditions. (2) Al-Tafsir, or Exegesis. (3) Al-Sirat and al-Tarikh, or Biography and History. Hadith is a general name for those collections of traditions, the main significance of which is theological, but which may also contain some historical and exegetic traditions. On the whole, such traditions reach back to the Holy Prophet. The last narrator attributes a word or deed to the Prophet himself, or the Prophet acquiesces in somebody else’s word or deed, which word or deed the Prophet heard or saw. But sometimes the traditions stop with the Companions of the Prophet. They are then called Athar. Works of Hadith were mainly composed in the second, third or fourth century of the Hijra. They do not , however, all have the same status or authority; for, not all traditionists have observed the same rigorous standards of criticism and caution. The following are the better known works on Hadith with brief comments on their relative value: – 1. Sahih al-Bukhari by Imam Muhammad b. Isma’il al-Bukhari (b. 194. d. 256 A.H.) Commonly regarded as the most reliable of all works on Hadith. Bukhari examined altogether 600,000 traditions, and out of these he selected only 4,000 for his collection. He was a very pious and righteous person and observed the utmost caution and care in his work. His standard of criticism is undoubtely the highest and the book is rightly known as occupying a position second only to the Quran. Imam Bukhari was born at Bukhara in Central Asia and travelled far and wide before he returned to his native town for compiling his great collection of Hadith. 10 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 2. Sahih Muslim, by Imam Muslim b. al-Hajjaj (b. 204, d.261 A.H.), comes next to Bukhari but is considered superior to all the other works on Hadith. A tradition agreed to by Muslim and Bukhari is regarded as the most reliable, being technically known as Muttafaq Alaih i.e., the one agreed upon). Muslim was born at Nishapur in Khurasan, a province in North-East Persia. 3. Jamf al-Tirmidhi, by Abu ‘Isa Muhammad b. ‘Isa al-Tirmidhi (b. 209, d. 279 A.H.). Abu’Isa who was a pupil of Bukhari, was born at Tirmidh, a town on the eastern bank of the Oxus in Central Asia. 4. Sunan Abu Daud, by Abu Daud Sulaiman b. al-Asha’th (b. 22, d. 275 A.H.). Abu Daud belonged to the Province of Sijistan in Central Asia, but his place of birth is not quite known. Some authorities assert that he was born near Basra in a small village called Sijistan, but the people of Basra deny the existence of such a village. He died at Basra. 5. Sunan al-Nasai, by Ahmad b. Sh’aib al-Nasai (b.215, d. 306 A.H.). The author was born at Nasa in Khurasan and died at Mecca. 6. Sunan Ibn Majah, by Muhammad b. Yazid Ibn Majah (b. 209, d. 273 A.H.). Ibn Maja was born at Qazwin in Persia and, like his contemporaries, travelled far and wide in search of traditions. The last four books, along with the first two, constitute the Sihah Sitta i.e., the Six Sound Ones. All of them are regarded as reliable, their order of reliability being indicated by their order in the above list. 7. Muwatta Imam Malik, by Imam Malik b. Anas (b.95, d. 179 A.H.). This work is of a high order, some regarding it even as reliable as Bukhari. But the style of the greater part of this work has turned it into more of a book on Fiqh (or Muslim Jurisprudence) than on Hadith. It has not, therefore, been classed with the other Sihah, although, in respect of its intrinsic merit, it is second to none among the various Hadith collections. Imam-Malik is one of the four Imams, i.e. pillars or leaders of the Science of Fiqh. He was born in Medina, the city of the Prophet, and REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 11 came in closest touch with the early leaders of Muslim thought. 8. Musnad Imam Abu Hanifa, by Imam N’uman b. Thabit Abu Hanifa (b80, d. 150 A.H.). Abu.Hanifa was born at kufa in Iraq and died imprisoned, at Baghdad, where he had been confined by the order of the Khalifa al-Mansur for refusing to become a Qadi. Abu Hanifa occupies the highest position and has the largest number of followers among the four Imams of Fiqh, being generally known as the Great Imam. He is not known as a collector of traditions, nor did he turn to this line of study, except as a preparation for his main work on Jurisprudence. His two pupils, Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad, also occupy a very high position. 9. Musnad Imam al-Shafi’i, by Imam Muhammad b. Idris al-Shafi’i (b. 105, d. 204 A.H.) The author who was born at Ghazza in Syria and was taken to Mecca as an infant, is yet another of the four Imams of Fiqh and his work on Hadith is a prolegomena to his work on Fiqh. 10. Musnad Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, by Imam Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Hanbal (b. 164, d,242 A.H.). The author, the latest of the four Imams of Fiqh, is also distinguished for his remarkable collection of Hadith, the largest perhaps of all collections, the general standard of which, however, is not as high as that of the-Sihah. He was born at Baghdad, the centre of Muslim culture in those days. 11. Sunan al-Darimi, by’Abdullah b. ‘Abdur Rahman al-Darimi (b. 181, d. 255 A.H.). He belonged to Samarqand and has a fairly high, position, but only after the Sihah. 12. Mu’jam al-Kabif wal-Ausat wal-Saghir, by Sulaiman b. Ahmad al-Tabarani (b. 260, d.360 A.H.). He was born at Tabariya in Syria, but later settled in Isfahan, where he died at the good old age of one hundred years. He is a well-known traditionist. 13. Sunan al-Darqutni, by ‘AH b. Muhammad al-Darqutni (b. 306, d.385 A.H.). The author was born in a quarter of Baghdad known as Dar ul-Qutn, i.e. the house of cotton. He is a traditionist of good repute who also has a book on Asma-ur-Rijal to his credit. 12 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 14. Mustadrak al-Hakim, by Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad b. ‘Abdulla al-Hakim (b. 321. d. 405 A.H.). The author, who belonged to Nishapur, was very learned man, who observed a fairly high standard of criticism in his compilation. 15. Shu’ab ul-Imam and Dalail-un-Nabuwwa, etc. comprising miscellaneous works on Tradition, theological as well as historical, by Ahmad b. Husain al-Baihiqi (b. 384, d. 458 A.H.). This author also is a well-known traditionist, who wielded a versatile pen. He was a pupil of al-Hakim and was born at Baihiq, a small village near Nishapur. Besides the above there have been other collectors of traditions, who, notwithstanding the distance which separates^some of them from early Islam, have collected traditions, the chain of which goes back to the Holy Prophet or to his Companions, but I have enumerated above the names of the better known traditionists and their works. Of this list, the collections last mentioned include traditions characteristic of the later traditionists — comparatively weak and not as trustworthy as the Sihah but still containing fairly-spread grains of truth. I have, however, mentioned the more important works on Hadith which an historian can safely use for reconstructing the Life of the Holy Prophet and the early History of Islam. And, as I have said before, the collections of Hadith are far more reliable than those collections of traditions, the primary significance of which is biographical or historical, viz., books on Sirat or biography. Compared with the authentic works on Hadith such as Bukhari, Muslim and Muwatta, the historical works have very little value indeed, and an impartial historian will not hesitate — unless there are very strong reasons for doing so —• to reject all historical traditions that clash with the traditions contained in books like the collections of Bukhari, Muslim, Muwatta, Tirmidhi and Abu Daud, and he will also generally prefer other traditions of Hadith to historical traditions. This very important point has unfortunately been lost sight of by most European biographers — they have based their work mainly on the works of Sirat, ignoring almost all relevant matter occurring incidentaly in the books of Hadith, or for that matter in the Holy Quran itself. The mistake was perhaps unavoidable: for, whereas the books on Sirat and biography contain well-arranged narratives composed and systematized in the form of history, one has to search for the scattered grains of history in the Holy Quran and the Hadith, in which historical facts have been mentioned not as part of biography or history but as material bearing on morals, theology and jurisprudence. This deplorable oversight is responsible for many errors SOURCES OF SIRAT 13 in the works of European writers. SUNNA AND HADITH Something about Sunna would be in place here. The common tendency to regard Sunna and Hadith as synonymous term is quite mistaken, for the two are quite different. Hadith is the name given to those verbal (oral or written) reports of the sayings and doings of the Holy Prophet, which the Companions and Successors’ successors to later times, and which doctors of Hadith, after the criticism, reduced to a systematic form. Sunna, on the other hand, is the name given to the Prophet’s practice, which has been transmitted from generation to generation, not through any verbal reports, but through the collective and continuous practice of the believers. For instance, the Holy Quran teaches about Namaz, the institution of Muslim worship. Now whether or not the Holy Prophet gave any determinate instructions to the companions on this subject, there can be no doubt that the details of Namaz were imparted to them effectively by the Prophet’s own living example. This example was spread over the lifetime of the Prophet, and this the Companions constantly observed. Its value was enhanced by the Prophet’s own vigilance. So the Companions learned the details of Namaz from the Prophet’s own daily example. The Companions imparted it to the Successors, the Successors to their successors and so on. Throughout this process, practice was transmitted as practice and, for all we know, was transmitted without much or any verbal instruction. Other institutional practices of Islam have been transmitted to subsequent generations in the same way. The primary source of Islam, therefore, turn out to be the Holy Quran and the Sunna; and these have been co-ordinated from the very beginning. Hadith, as distinct from Sunna, turns out to be only a secondary source of Islam, the main function of it being to provide philosophical explanation or incidental evidence for the Sunna; it is not a primary source. It is a mistake, therefore, to’ regard Hadith and Sunna as the same thing. I should not have pointed this out but for a tendency to ignore the genesis and the distinctive importance of the Sunna and to think, in consequence, that the institutions of Islam are founded on sources that came into existence about 200 years after its rise. BOOKS ON TAFSIR The second division of works on tradition is devoted to Tafsir or Exegesis of the Holy Quran. As this division is concerned with the interpretation of the Holy Quran, it often tends to be philosophical 14 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS and speculative. The standard of criticism which, it observes is, like that of historical traditions, somewhat lower than that of theological traditions. But it is, nevertheless, a useful collection which can be turned to good account by writers on biography and history. The more important works on the exegesis of the Holy Quran containing the sayings of the Prophet and the Companions are the following: 1. Tafsir Ibn Jarir, in 30 vols., by Imam Abu Ja’far Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (b. 224, d. 310 A.H.). Of all the exege_tical works on tradition this is the earliest and the most comprehensive. But a number ‘ of weak traditions have found their way into it. 2. Tafsir Ibn Kathir, in 4 vol., by Hafiz Imaduddin Isma’il b. Omar Ibn Kathir (b. 700, d. 774 A.H.). This work- is commonly regarded as very reliable and authentic. According to Zurqani, himself a critic of no mean repute, there is not another work like it. 3. Al-Durr ul-Manthur fil Tafsir bil Mathur, in 6 vol., by Shaikh Jalaluddin Abdur Rahman b. Abi Bakr al-Suyuti (b. 849, d. 911 This is a later work which, though comprehensive, contains material of very unequal value. EARLIER WORKS ON BIOGRAPHY AND HISTORY The third division of works on tradition is devoted to biography, history and early wars of Islam. The aim of these works is to bring together traditions about the Life of the Holy Prophet, the wars and the earlier History of Islam. But, as I have pointed out already, the standard of these works is inferior to that of works on theology. The purpose which inspired their original collection was to make historical material safe and secure before it was destroyed by the ravage of time. Their standard of criticism was not so strict, because their authors assumed that with material made safe and secure, its criticism could be left to later generations. Indeed, with the Holy Quran and the Hadith in our possession, such a task is not difficult. The earlier works of this division, which also includes works on the Geography and History of Arabia, are the following:- 1. Kitab ul-Maghazi, by Muhammad b. Muslim b. Shihab al-Zuhri (b.5l, d. 124 A.H.). This is probably the earliest work on the Life of SOURCES OF SIRAT 15 the Holy Prophet and the earlier wars. Imam Zuhri, himself a Tabi’i (i.e. a Successor), had met many Companions, and had heard from their lips accounts of the earlier History of Islam. He had a most balanced mind, and was very learned and well-informed. Unfortunately his work has perished. References to it, however, are to be found in many other works. Traditions reported orally by him are also recorded in many works and are usually regarded as very reliable. Zuhri was a native of Medina. 2. Al-Maghazi, by Musa b. ‘Uqba (d. 141 A.H.), one of the most distinguished .of Imam Zhri’s pupils. He had met some Companions, was a most careful writer and never accepted anything until he had fully weighed and considered it. Imam Malik took lessons in Hadith from him. Musa was a freed slave and lived at Medina. 3. Sirat Ibn Ishaq, by Muhammad b. Ishaq (d. 151 A.H.), another pupil of Imam Zuhri and a recognised authority on Biography. Ibn Ishaq was a native of Medina. His work has been commonly regarded as the source-book on the Life of the Prophet and on the early Muslim wars. Later historians mostly draw on this work. Some people have doubts about his reliability, but these do not seem justified. Only, he is an historian by temperament. His standard of criticism is not as high as that of Hadith. That is why Imam Bukhari has not drawn on his Hadith at all, but has drawn freely on his History. His work is not available, but Ibn Hisham has reproduced, most of it in his own work. 4. Sirat Ibn Hisham, by Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul Malik b. Hisham (d. 213 A.H.). Ibn Hisham originally belonged to Basra but migrated later to Egypt, where he died in the year 213 or 218 A.H. He was a great historian whose reliability is commonly acknowledged. His work, based mostly on Ibn Ishaq’s, is both comprehensive and complete. Of all the works on the Life of the Prophet, his is the best known and the most popular. 5. Kitab ul-Maghazi, by Muhammad b. ‘Omar al-Waqidi (b. 130, d. 207 A.H.). Wadiqi was a resident of Medina but later settled down in Baghdad, where he served as Qadi for a number of years. A very widely informed historian, but being indifferent to truth and falsehood, he is condemned by all authorities as quite unreliable and unauthentic. I am appending a separate note about him. 16 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS volumes, contains a mass of detailed information. The first two and a half volumes are devoted to the Holy Prophet, the rest to the Companions. ‘Stripped of Wadiqi’s influence which, unfortunate- ly, is not small, this work should possess great value and validity. Ibn S’ad also was a Medinite. 7. Tarikh ul-Umam wal-Muluk, by Abu Ja’far Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (b. 224, d. 133 A.H.). This is a work not on biography but on history, but it includes a detailed account of the Prophet’s life. Tabari was born at a place called Amul in Tabaristan and died in Baghdad. He is one of the best known and perhaps the most reliable of Muslim historians. His work, in twelve volumes, is a most comprehensive work on History. Besides collecting traditions from Ibn Ishaq, Wadiqi, and Ibn S’ad, he has added many traditions of his own. He has left on the whole a very worthy collection of material on history and biography. 8. Shamail ul-Tirmidh, by Abu Tsa Muhammad bin ‘Isa al-Tirmidhi (b. 209, d. 279 A.H.). His work on Hadith has already been mentioned. This work contains personal details about the Prophet, and describes in a brief but beautiful manner his personal appearance, habits, and character. Tirmidhi, who was a pupil of Bukhari, is one of the great collectors of Hadith. 9. Kitab ul-Ma’arif, by ‘Abdullah b. Muslim b. Qutaiba (b. 213, d. 276 A.H.). This is a general work on history; accounts of the Holy Prophet and of the more distinguished Companions are included. 10. Futuh al-Buldan, by Abu J’afar Ahmad b. Yahya b. Jabir al-Baladhuri ( d. 279 A.H.). This popular work contains an account of the victories of the Holy Prophet and his Successors. Baladhuri is a well-known historian. 11. Kitab ul-Kharaj, by Qadi Abu Yusuf Ya’qub b. Ibrahim (d. 182 A.H.). Abu Yusuf was a well-known legist, and one of the most distinguished pupils of Imam Abu Hanifa, founder of the Hanifi School of Muslim jurisprudence. His work gives an authoritative account of the various taxes which the Holy Prophet and his Khalifas levied upon populations under their rule. SOURCES OF SIRAT 17 12. Muruj uz-Dhahab,by Abul Hassan ‘All b. Husain al-Mas’udi (d. 346 A.H.). This book begins with a history of the people of the world and passes on to a history of Arabia right up to the Abbaside period. Mas’udi is a writer of great repute. 13. Tajarib al-Umam, by Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Miskawaih (d. 421 A.H.). This is a book on general history, beginning with the period just following the time of the great deluge of Noah and containing a brief sketch of the Holy Prophet’s life, finally ending with the Abbaside period. Ibn Miskawaih was an intelligent writer and, although his work is mainly based on the collections of earlier historians, he has been able to bring to light some new phases of Muslim History. 14. Tarikh Makka, by Abul Walid Muhammad b. Abdul Karim al-Azraqi (d.233 A.H.) Contains an historical account of Mecca, the Ka’ba and the Quraish. 15. Sifatu Jazirat il-Arab,.by Abu Muhammad Hasan b. Ahmad b. Ya’qub al-Hamadani, popularly known as Ibn ul-Haik (d. 334 A.H.) One of the earliest and most reliable Geographies of Arabia. These works constitute the historical sources of the Life of the Holy Prophet and of the earlier History of Islam. All later works derive material from them. Not all of them, however, are works on biography and history. But their subject-matter is closely connected with the Life of the Prophet and the early History of Islam. Of proper works on biography that still exist, there are only four, viz., Sirat Ibn Hisham; Kitab-ul-Maghazi by Waqidi; Tabaqat Ibn S’ad; and Tarikh ut-Tabari. Of these four, Waqidi is universally condemned. We are, therefore, left with only three, viz., Ibn Hisham, Ibn S’ad and Tabari. There is no doubt that next to the Holy Quran and the Books of Hadith, biographical material is to be derived mainly from these three sources. WAQIDI I might have spared this separate note on Waqidi, but for the 18 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS amazing importance which some European biographers of the Prophet have attached to this historian. Waqidi lived from 130 to 207 A.H. and there is no doubt that, judging from the times during which he lived, his position is no less fortunate than that of any other biographer of the Prophet. But this fact cannot alter his personal qualities and character, and it is but a sad truth that, in spite of his learning, Waqidi is an utterly untrustworthy writer, all authorities unanimously declaring him to be a liar and a fabricator. This is not to say that all his traditions are fabrications. The most hardened liar does not always lier and many things he might say would yet be true. But as Waqidi was given to lying, he cannot command our confidence. He was no doubt very learned; few historians have been as well-informed. as he. But it seems as though learning itself had corrupted him, so that instead of confessing ignorance about matters of which he knew nothing, he would proceed to construct them out of his own imagination. Truly has one authority said of him:- “Waqidi is always remarkable, whether he tells a truth or a lie.” Unfortunately, the powers of elaboration and graphic description which should condemn him as a scientific biographer, seem to have endeared him to some European writers. It does not seem to concern them whether Waqidi has regard for truth or not, whether he is at all as careful and cautious as a true historian should, be , or whether he is not a clever and voluble writer who constructs much and reports little. They are infatuated by his concreteness and realism, and remain unimpressed by the strongest testimony against him. All traditions according to them have equal claims, and they are their best judges. The portentous care and industry with which Muslim savants have collected the life-histories of narrators, and provided the world with an almost unerring instrument of criticism, does not seem to impress them at all. Nobody of course can stop them from pleasing themselves as they like, but to give the reader some idea of the kind of authority Waqidi is, I append here the opinions which well-known authorities of acknowledged integrity and judgement have expressed about Waqidi: (a) Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal (b. 161,d. 241 A.M.), says: “Waqidi is a great liar who used to distort traditions.” (b) Abu Ahmad ‘Abdullah b. Muhammad, known as Ibn ‘Adi (b. 277, d. 365 A.H.) says:- “Waqidi’s traditions are not reliable and the fault springs from his own character.” SOURCES OF SIRAT 19 (c) Abu Hatim Muhammad b. Idris (b. 195, d.277 A.H.) says:- “Waqidi fabricates traditions himself.” (d) ‘AH b. ‘Abdullah b. Ja’far, known as Ibn ul-Madini (b.161, d.234 A.H.) says:- “Wadiqi used to cook false traditions. I do not consider him reliable from any point of view.” (e) Imam ‘Ali b. Muhammad al-Darqutni (b.306, d.385 A.H.) says:- “Waqidi’s traditions are weak.” (f) Ishaq b. Ibrahim, known as Ibn Rahwaih (b. 161, d. 238 A.H.), says:- “Waqidi is one of the fabricators of Hadith”. (g) Imam Bukhari (b.194, d.256 A.H.), says:- “Waqidi is not one of whom we may accept any traditions.” (h) Imam Yahya b. Mu’in (b.185, d.233 A.H.), says:- “Waqidi deserves no respect. He used to mutilate and distort traditions.” (i) Imam Shafi’i (b.150, d.204 A.H.), says:- “Waqidi’s books are without exception a mass of falsehood. He used to forge authorities for his traditions.” Q) Imam Abu Daud Sijistani (b.202, d.275 A.H.), says:- “I shall not accept Waqidi’s traditions at all; he used to fabricate.” (k) Imam Nasai (b.215, d. 303 A.H.), says:- “Waqidi was one of those liars whose lies are patent and known to everybody.” (1) Muhammad b. Bashshar Bundar (b. 167, d.252 A.H.), says:- “I have not known a bigger liar than Waqidi.” 20 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS (m) Imam Nawawi (d.674 A.H.), says:- “All authorities are agreed that Waqidi is a reporter of weak traditions.” (n) ‘Allama Dhahabi (d. 748 A.H.), says: “All authorities are agreed in regarding Waqidi as feeble.” (o) Qadi Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Ibrahim, known as Ibn Khallikan (d. 681, A.H.), says:- “Waqidi has been judged feeble and has been much criticised.” (p) ‘Allama Zurqani (d. 1122 A.H.), says:- “When Waqidi is alone in reporting a tradition, he is not believed; what would you then think of a tradition which he reports in contradiction to others ” This is the considered opinion which Muslim savants of acknowledged repute and unimpeached integrity many of them being Waqidi’s contemporaries •—• have expressed of him. What our Western friends would still think of their favourite authority, I leave to them to judge. I do not at all mean to suggest that everything which Waqidi reports is false. Probably many of his reports are true. But an authority whose integrity has been so gravely impugned, cannot have much respect from us; he will have to be dismissed in cases in which he is alone in reporting anything, more so in cases in which he is in conflict with other reporters. Two motives have been assigned for Waqidi’s fabrications. Firstly, it is thought that he was too imaginative and prided himself on giving the-very minute details of incidents. This coupled with his lack of scruples often made him trespass the bounds of truth. Secondly, it is said that he was a favourite in the Court of Baghdad and., being untruthful and addicted to lying, he did not hesitate to fabricate traditions to provide his masters with religious sanctions for some of their un-Islamic activities. Be that as it may, there is no denying the fact that Waqidi is universally condemned as an inventor of false traditions and as such he cannot be accepted as an authority, of any kind. SOURCES OF SIRAT 21 Among original authorities on biography, the only works-, therefore, are those of Ibn Hisham, Ibn S’ad, and Tabari. I do not at all suggest that everything recorded by them is unquestionably true, but only that they are on the whole reliable, though even they may have occasionally reported wrongly owing to want of proper criticism or some defect in the chain of narrators. But, leaving aside the Quran and the books of Hadith, these are undoubtedly the main sources of the Life of the Prophet, whatever use we may still make of other works. LATER AUTHORITIES Other works on biography and history, however comprehensive and useful, cannot be treated as original sources of our subject. For, they themselves have been mainly derived from the three works which I have mentioned above. We can, therefore, only quote them for purposes of collaboration or convenience. As for myself, I have made only such use of them in my Life of the Prophet. I have often found it convenient to quote one later authority instead of many earlier ones, but in all such cases I have satisfied myself that the traditions quoted from the later works are to be found in the earlier ones. Still, the later works are of great value. They embody a tremendous amount of industry. In them have been brought together traditions from the original works on Hadith and History.In many cases they record traditions from works which have since perished, so that — within certain limits of course — they can take the place of earlier but extinct works. The following, out of these later works, may be mentioned:- 1. Al-Raud al-Unuf, by ‘Abdur Rahman b. ‘Abdulla al-Suhaili (b. 508, d. 581 A.H.). A work in two volumes designed as a commentary on Ibn Hisham. A very reliable and authentic work. 2. Tarikh-ul-Kamil by Hafiz Ibn Athir al-Jazari (b. 555, d. 630 A.H.). A work in twelve volumes mostly derived from Tabari, and well edited. The biographical part relating to the life of the Holy Prophet is contained in two volumes. 3. Tarikh-ul-Khamis fi Ahwal Anfas al-Nafis, by Husain b. Muhammad bin Hasan al-Diyarbakri (d. 966 A.H.), in two volumes. Contains well arranged matter and is fairly comprehensive. 4. Insan al-‘Uyun fi Sirat al-Amin al-Mamun, by ‘AH 22 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS b. Burhanuddin al-Halabi (b. 975, d. 1044 A.H.). A work in three volumes — popularly known as Sirt Halabiya •— very comprehensive, but rather ill-arranged. 5. Sharh Mawahib al-Ludunniya, by Muhammad b. ‘Abdul Baqi b. Yusuf al-Zurqani (d. 1122 A.H.). A work in eight big volumes, all devoted to the Life of the Prophet. Comprehensive, reliable and scholarly. Makes use of theological as well as historical traditions. I should have no hesitation in acclaiming it as the most comprehensive and, on the whole, the most reliable Life of the Holy Prophet in Arabic. 6. Mu’jam al-Buldan, by Abu ‘Abdullah Yaqut b. ‘Abdullah al-Hamvi (d. 623 A.H.), in eight volumes. This book is full of detailed and useful information on geography. Besides these, we have the following works on the Life of the Prophet- (1) Sharaf ul-Mustafa Naisapuri (406 A.H.) (2) Sirat Ibn ‘Abdulbarr(463 A.H.) (3) Sharaf ul-Mustafa Ibn Jauzi (597 A.H.) (4) Sirat Ibn Abi Tayi (630 A.H.) (5) Iktifa (634 A.H.) (6) Sirat Kazruni (694 A.H.) (7) Sirat Dimyati (705 A.H.) (8) Sirat Khilati (708 A.H.) (9) Tarikh Abdulfida (732 A.H.) (10) ‘Uyun al-Athar (734 A.H.) (11) Sirat Mughlatai (762 A.H.) (12) Nur al-Nibras Sharh ‘Uyun al-Athar (841 A.H.) (13) Kash ul-Litham (855 A.H.) (14) Mawahib al-Ludunniya (923 A.H.) Some of these have perished and such as have survived, have little value compared with the works I have already mentioned. SUMMARY To summarize, the sources of the Life of the Holy Prophet and of the early History of Islam are the following:- (1) The Holy Quran. (2) The Hadith. (3) Works on Tafsir or exegesis which record the Prophet’s own interpretations of the Quran, as well as those of. the Companions. SOURCES OF SIRAT 23 (4) Works on the Life of the Prophet and on early Muslim wars. The relative value of these sources is indicated by the order in which they have been put in the above list. By far the most reliable is the Holy Quran, about the authority of which there can be no question at all. Its revelation was spread over the twenty-three years of the Prophet’s ministry, and was recorded as it was received. It is the solution of all difficulties connected with the Life of the Prophet and the early History of Islam. Next to the Quran is Hadith, in the collection of which the greatest possible care has been taken but which, nevertheless, cannot have the authority of the Quran, particularly as feeble traditions have also found their way into it. Next to Hadith are those traditions whose primary significance is exegetical. They provide the setting and the environment in which portions of the Quran were revealed, also reports of what the Holy Prophet himself said to enlighten the Companions on the meaning of those portions. But here also a good many feeble traditions have crept in. Last of all come works on the Prophet’s life and Muslim history, which -are indeed the mainstay of the Prophet’s biographer. Unfortunately, however, this is the source most infected with feeble traditions. The primary concern of the Prophet’s biographer is, therefore, to hold fast to the Quran and the Hadith and never lose sight of them; else he will not succeed in getting to the true spirit and the right significance of the Prophet’s Life. We may build up a bony skeleton out of material provided by work on biography and history, but the flesh and blood and, above all, the inner soul can come only from the Quran; and the Hadith. And these only would tell us how to put the right bone at the right place. THE MAGNANIMOUS MAN “He is reticent, and somewhat slow of speech, but speaks his mind openly and boldly when occasion calls for it. He overlooks injuries. He is not given to talk about himself or about others; for he does not care that he himself should be praised, or that other people should be blamed. He does not cry about trifles, and craves help from no one.” (Aristotle)

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