Sirat Rasul Allah

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Sirat Rasul Allah (سيرة رسول الله Life of the Messenger of Allah) is the Arabic term used for the biographies of Prophet Muhammad. Together the sirat and the hadith constitute the sunnah (way‎/example) of the prophet which is an integral part of Islam, forming the basis of many Islamic practices and laws, including the Five Pillars.

Muhammad ibn Ishaq ibn Yasār (more commonly known simply as Ibn Ishaq)(704-770 AD) was an Arab Muslim historian from Medina, responsible for the Sirat Rasul Allah, a collection of hadith that is arranged in chronological order, forming the earliest and most accurate biography of Muhammad. This, along with the Qur'an and hadith, are sometimes referred to as the Trilogy of Islam, as all major doctrines are found within these three texts.

Ishaq's work has survived through that of his editors, most notably Ibn Hisham and Ibn Jarir al-Tabari. According to Islamic scholar Fred Donner at the University of Chicago, the material in ibn Hisham's and al-Tabari's recensions are "virtually the same".[1]However, some material found in al-Tabari are not preserved by ibn Hisham. For example, al-Tabari includes the episode of the Satanic Verses, while ibn Hisham does not.[2][3]

Although it is disliked by a minority of Muslims who are embarrassed even by its censored telling of Muhammad's life, the majority of Islamic scholars, past and present, approve of Ibn Ishaq's sira, and those of Ibn Hisham, Tabari, and Ibn Saa'd.

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  1. Donner, Fred McGraw (1998). Narratives of Islamic origins: the beginnings of Islamic historical writing. Darwin Press. p. 132. ISBN 9780878501274
  2. Raven, Wim, Sīra and the Qurʾān – Ibn Isḥāq and his editors, Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an. Ed. Jane Dammen McAuliffe. Vol. 5. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006. p29-51.
  3. Cf., Ibn Ishaq [Guillaume's reconstruction, at 165-167] and al-Tabari [SUNY edition, at VI: 107-112]