Ibn Ishaq was born in Medina about eighty-five years after the hijra (AH 85) and died in Baghdad in AH No copy of Ibn Ishaq’s biography in its original form. Ibn Ishaq’s sira is passed down to us in an abridged and annotated recension by a later scholar, Ibn Hisham (d. c. CE), although it is. Ibn Isḥāq, in full Muḥammad Ibn Isḥāq Ibn Yasār Ibn Khiyār (born c. , Medina , Arabia—died , Baghdad), Arab biographer of the Prophet Muḥammad.

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Full text of “Sirat-Life Of Muhammad by -Ibn Ishaq”

Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. The communication territied him and he spoke of it and of a number of others which followed only to Khadija and a few close friends.

But finally he received a command to proclaim publicly what had been revealed to him. Most of his family had scornfully rejected his teaching and his early converts were slaves and people of the lower classes. His preaching soon drew not only mockery but active opposition from the people of Meccawho believed that his mission threatened their position as guardians of the Kaba a position which brought them great wealth from the pilgrim traffic.

The Meccans tried to discredit him, charging him with sorcery and with stealing his ideas from Jews and Christians. From opposition to persecution was but a step. A hundred of his followers emigrated to Abyssinia, and finally Muhammad himself decided to leave Mecca and went to Medina in AD From this year the Muslim Era is dated. From a persecuted religious teacher in MeccaMuhammad In Medina became the leader of a religious community and was acknowledged to be the messenger of God.

He still, however, had doubters and enemies. The Jews, whom he had hoped would welcome him, were among his bitterest opponents. His assumption of authority at Medina was also resented by some of that city’s leading men. Nevertheless, by careful diplomacy and firmness of purpose, he began to create a brotherhood of the faith, transcending all other ties and relationships, even those of father and son.

This brotherhood united all Muslims by giving them a common purpose – the defence of the faith – and made God, and His prophet, the final source of law. This achieved, Muhammad began to look outward, not only because he wished to convert all Arabs to his teaching, but also in an attempt to alleviate growing economic distress in Medina. Muhammad’s first step was to persuade the Medinans that they must attack Mecca. This was, in fact, the first test of the new brotherhood, for many of those in Medina had relatives in Mecca and to the Arabs the ties of blood were sacred.

Muhammad, however, insisted that war was a sacred duty, demanded by Allah, and he was finally able to persuade his followers that this was so.

Muhammad first sent parties to attack the caravans of Mecca on their journeys to or from Syria. One attack was carried out during the sacred month of Rajab Januarywhen war was banned throughout Arabia. In the Koran, Muhammad justified this break with tradition by claiming that there could be no scruples in the fight to overcome idolatry.

From this time onwards events moved rapidly. Two months later a battle took place at Badr between three hundred Muslims and nearly a thousand Meccans. The former were triumphant, taking many prisoners.

Soon after, Muhammad began a series of campaigns to expel the Jews from around Medina. These campaigns were interrupted firstly by an attack by the Meccans, in which the Muslims were defeated at Uhud, and then by an unsuccessful Meccan attempt to besiege Medina.

After the Meccans had retired, Muhammad dealt with the last Jewish tribe near Medina which had supported the Meccans.

The men were killed and the women iwhaq children enslaved. Muhammad now began to subdue the tribes surrounding Meccaand the result was a ten-year truce permitting the Muslims to return to Mecca for the yearly pilgrimage to the Kaba.

After this, adherents tlowed in and, though the prophet only lived four more years, in that time the future of the countries of the Near East was to be determined for hundreds of years to come.


The attacks on Jewish tribes continued and much of the wealth of the country, which had previously been monopolized by Jewish traders Sirat Slra Allah by Ibn Ishag and landowners, was seized by the Muslims.

From a despised minority the tbllowers of Muhammad were now becoming the most powerful single force in Arabia.

The truce was broken by the Meccans in ADwhen the Quraysh attacked a tribe under Muslim protection. Muhammad marched on Mecca and occupied the city with very little opposition. The prophet showed great magnanimity in dealing with his opponents and only four people were put ishaa death after the capture of the city, though one was a singing-girl who had composed satirical verses about Muhammad.

He was now accepted as the apostle of God. Soon his armies were moving out to areas occupied by Christians, but an expedition against the Byzantines was soundly defeated. Deputations, however, came to pay him homage and there were so many that sirra year 9 of the hijra AD 63 1 is known as the Year of Deputations. But the prophet had not much longer to live. He died at Medina on 8 June There is no doubt that Muslims are right when they date the beginning of an era from the prophet’s migration to Medina in In MeccaMuhammad had been merely a preacher of unpopular doctrine.

In Medinahowever, he found a centre from which to propagate a new religion. In organizing a community of believers, Muhammad gradually established religious, social and political laws, and from them produced a distinct religious system. The system was all-embracing, and from it emerged something like a totalitarian state, with Allah as ixhaq universal king and His prophet ruling in His name. Muhammad, though preaching compassion and mercy, sometimes acted cruelly, but he must be judged within the context of his times and none of his contemporaries criticized his actions on moral grounds.

He was a man of extraordinary powers and he must have had great personal charm, for he was able to attract and keep the devotion of men of widely differing types.

Within a century of his death the cry Allah is most great! Today, over two hundred million people in the Near East and Africa, sirw South and South-east Asia, still listen to the same call to prayer that was first heard in ihn remote Arabian desert thirteen centuries ago. The followers of Muhammad, like the followers of Christ, are ‘People of the Book. The Bible of the Christians was once believed to be the literal word of God.

Today, modern research has made this difficult to accept. To the Muslims, however, the doctrine of God’s infallible word is a fundamental article of faith and very few have ever questioned it. The sacred book which contains the word of God is called the Koran.

The actual words were given to Muhammad by an angel, Gabriel, over a period of some twenty years, firstly in Mecca and then in Medina. Muhammad, who is said to have been unable to read and write, repeated the angel’s words from memory and they were either written down or memorized by his followers.

After the death of the prophet, Abu Bakr, his successor as Caliph of Islam, commissioned the prophet’s secretary Zayd to make the first collection of the Koran.

The final form was reached under the third Caliph, Uthman. The Koran is divided into 1 14 chapters, called suras.

Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah – The Life of Muhammad Translated by A. Guillaume

They are not chronologically arranged, and only occasionally is there a clue as to when the words were spoken or upon what occasion. The arrangement is based upon length, the longest suras first and the shortest, last. For sirs hundreds of years scholars have been trying to relate individual suras to particular periods of Muhammad’s life, but until the same scientific treatment that has been given to the Christian Bible is given to the Koran skra great Sirat Rasoul Allah by Ibn Ishag progress can be expected.

The contents of the Koran can be divided ib four main heads: The delights of paradise are very considerable. There, beautiful girls and youths minister to the pleasures of believers; but hell is black smoke and terrible heat.


The laws expounded show the intluence of Judaism and Christianity, but are in many cases adaptations of old Arab customs. The chief religious duties laid down by the Koran are prayer, alms-giving, fasting and pilgrimage. Prayer is the ‘key to paradise’ and requires religious purifications, bathing before prayer, and so on. Isra are five prayers every twenty-four hours, and the face of the worshipper must be turned towards Mecca. Alms were originally collected by the ruler and were supposed to represent one- fortieth of a man’s income in money sra kind.

Today, however, it is left to the conscience of the individual. The third duty is fasting. This is based upon Christian and Jewish practices and is specifically stated to be so in the Koran.

The month of Ramadan, which does not fall at the same season every year – since the Muslim calendar is a lunar one – often occurs in the hottest time of the year and, in consequence, imposes very considerable strains on Muslims. During the fast, eating, drinking, smoking, smelling perfumes, bathing, and all other worldly pleasures are forbidden between sunrise and sunset.

None except the sick, travellers, and soldiers in time of war, are exempt, and they must fast an equal number of days at some other time in recompense. Nurses and pregnant women need not fast at all.

The last of the principal – and binding – duties is that of a pilgrimage. Every Muslim, unless prevented by sickness or poverty, is expected to make the pilgrimage to Mecca once in his life. There he must walk around the Kaba seven times, kiss the black stone set in one of its walls, run between the two hills of Safa and Marwa near by, travel to Arafat, a hill some twelve miles from Mecca, and on the way back sacrifice sheep and camels at Mina, where a ceremonial stoning of devils takes place.

These four duties plus the profession of faith in Allah and Muhammad, His prophet, are known as the five ‘Pillars of the Faith’. Among the many other ordinances contained in the Koran is a prohibition against alcohol, as giving rise to ‘more evil than good’.

Pork is also forbidden, and animals must be slaughtered according to fixed rules. Idolatry is an unforgivable sin and the laws against the making of images and pictures are particularly stringent.

Anyone who makes an imitation of any living thing will, on the day of judgement, undergo punishment in hell for a certain period of time. Slavery is recognized, but slaves must be kindly treated and even encouraged to purchase their liberty. Women slaves may be taken as concubines. The Koran has much to say about the position of women. That position is implicitly detined by the word for marriage, which is the same as that used for the sexual act.

A man may have four wives and any number of concubines, but all his wives must be treated equally. A man may divorce his wife, but a woman cannot divorce her husband.

The Koran specifically states that women are inferior to men. An injunction to fight the infidel guarantees to those who die in defence of Islam the reward of martyrdom and entry into paradise. People of different faiths on whom war is declared are first to be offered the choice: One-fifth part of any spoil belongs to the ruler.

Ethical teaching of the Koran is high and it may be said to represent a sort of mercantile theology, emerging as it does from the commercial background of Muhammad and the Arabs.

It was the duty of an Arab in Muhammad’s time to support his tribe, to give food and shelter to the traveller, and to protect those who claimed his protection. Commerce was impossible without good faith and honest dealing.