In the Arabic language the word sirah Arabic: سيرة comes from the verb saara (present yaseeru), which means to travel or to be on a journey. A person's sirah is that person’s journey through life. It is the story of the person’s birth, the events surrounding it, his life and his death, and his manners and characteristics. In modern times this is still called sirat, like a resume is called a sirat or seerah sirat in the Arabic language. The name is often shortened to "Sīra", "Sīrah" or "Sīrat" ("life" or "journey").
In the Arabic language the word seerah comes from saara yaseeru.Linguistically it means to travel or to be on a journey. When we’re talking about someone’s seerah we’re talking about that person’s journey through life. You are talking about the person’s birth, the events surrounding it, his life and his death, and you are also studying the manners and characteristics of that person. In modern times we still call it seerah, like a resume is called a seerahor seerah dhaatihi in the Arabic language.
In Islamic sciences or the Sharee’ah7, seerah means the study of the life of the Prophet Mohammed (Sal Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam), the last and final prophet and the messenger of Allah. It is the study of his life and all that is related to him. The information related to him would be like the events and aspects surrounding his biography. This would include knowledge of events that preceded his birth, his interactions and dealings with his companions, his family, the people around him, and also the events that occurred shortly after his death. No book of seerah stops at the death of the Prophet (Sal Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam), it goes a little further in time or a few events further. And any seerah book usually talks about the Prophet (Sal Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam)’s birth, his parents, his lineage, his tribe, and people that lived before him and the major events that took place around his (Sal Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) birth. Usually when a book on someone’s biography is written it is imperative that a little information about the people that the subject interacted and dealth with. The seerah of the Prophet (Sal Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) is no exception, it includes knowing about his companions, the disbelievers, the hypocrites, and the People of the Book tha the interacted with.
The original text of the Sīrat Rasūl Allāh by Ibn Ishaq (Medina, 85 A.H. –
Gustav Weil, Das Leben Mohammeds nach Mohammed ibn Ishak, bearbeitet von Abd Malik ibn Hischam (Stuttgart: J. B. Metzler'schen Buchh. 1864), 2 volumes. The Sirah Rasul Allahtranslated into German with annotations.
Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad. Apostle of Allah (London: The Folio Society 1964), 177 pages. From a translation by Edward Rehatsek (Hungary 1819 – Mumbai [Bombay] 1891), which has been abridged and introduced [at 5–13] by Michael Edwards. Rehatsek had completed his translation; it was given to the Royal Asiatic Society of
The Life of Muhammad. A translation of Ishaq's "Sirat Rasul Allah", with introduction and notes (
Muḥammad ibn Isḥaq ibn Yasār (Arabic: محمد بن إسحاق بن يسار, or simply Ibn Isḥaq ابن إسحاق, meaning "the son of Isaac") (died 767, or 761 )was an Arab Muslim historian and hagiographer. He collected oral traditions that formed the basis of the first biography of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. This biography is usually called Sirat Rasul Allah ("Life of God's Messenger").
Ibn Isḥaq was born circa AH 85, or roughly 704 CE, in
Ibn Isḥaq was born circa AH 85, or roughly 704 CE, in
There are no details of his early life, but in view of the family nature of early akhbār and ḥadīt̲h̲ transmission, it was natural that he should follow in the footsteps of his father and uncles and become specialized in these branches of knowledge. In 119 AH/737 CE around the age of 30, he arrived in
Ibn Isḥaq wrote several works, none of which survive. Apart from the Sīra an-nabawiyya he is credited with a Kitāb al-Ḵh̲ulafāʾ, which al-Umawwī related to him (Fihrist,92; Udabāʾ, VI, 401) and a book of Sunan (Ḥād̲j̲d̲j̲ī Ḵh̲alīfa, II, 1008).
His collection of traditions about the life of Muhammad also called Sīrat Nabawiyya or Sīrah Rasūl Allāh, survives mainly in two sources:
an edited copy, or recension, of his work by his student al-Bakka'i, as further edited by Ibn Hisham. Al-Bakka'i's work has perished and only Ibn Hisham's has survived, in copies. (Donner 1998, p. 132)
an edited copy, or recension, prepared by his student Salamah ibn Fadl al-Ansari. This also has perished, and survives only in the copious extracts to be found in the volumimous historian al-Tabari's. (Donner 1998, p. 132)
fragments of several other recensions. Guillaume lists them on p. xxx of his preface, but regards most of them as so fragmentary as to be of little worth.
According to Donner, the material in Ibn Hisham and al-Tabari is "virtually the same". (Donner 1998, p. 132) However, there is some material to be found in al-Tabari that was not preserved by Ibn Hisham. The notorious tradition of the Satanic Verses, in which Muhammad is said to have added his own words to the text of the Qur'an as dictated by a jinn is found only in al-Tabari.
The English-language edition of Ibn Ishaq currently used by non-Arabic speakers is the 1955 version by Alfred Guillaume. Guillaume combined Ibn Hisham and those materials in al-Tabari cited as Ibn Isḥaq's whenever they differed or added to Ibn Hisham, believing that in so doing he was restoring a lost work. The extracts from al-Tabari are clearly marked, although sometimes it is difficult to distinguish them from the main text (only a capital "T" is used).