In the name of God, most Gracious, most Compassionate!
In the name of God, most Gracious, most Compassionate!
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Sirat Rasul Allah-Ibn Ishaq
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Sirat Rasul Allah-Ibn Ishaq (The Life of Muhammad)

Ibn Ishaq -(Muhammad ibn Ishaq (d. 767 or 761)) The earliest Islamic historian whose work still survives.  He collected oral traditions that formed the basis of an important extant biography of the Prophet. Although is original books have been lost his work survived through that of his editors, such as  Ibn Hisham and Ibn Jarir al-Tabari.

This is a translation by Alfred Guillaume who has attempted to compile the original text of Ibn Ishaq by combining his work referenced in several sources. This is mainly from  Ibn Hisham but with additions from other sources. Ibn Hisham work was well known for having redacted large sections of Ibn Ishaq when it was felt it was controversial or did not comply with orthodox doctrine.  

If you research Ibn Ishaq you will find that many Muslim scholars both past and present have dismissed his work as “week” some have even claimed he lied! This accusation has never been proven and is disputed my many scholars. If you read his work you will see that he goes to great lengths to state his sources. Where he is not sure of the source or there is contradiction he states this. Also one must remember this is the earliest surviving source and is the work of a historian recording what is being relayed to him by others.

  Alfred Guillaume has also come in for criticism from many for the translation of Ibn Hisham. He is accused of being a non Muslim and as such approaching the work with a bias. This however can be said of any person who translates a earlier work. The reader is how ever advised that Alfred Guillaume work is the only English translation of this important historical text. Alfred Guillaume takes great care to reference all sections that are not from the original work and his comments and additions a clearly indicated so the reader can tell them apart from the source material.

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