A Biography of the Prophet of Islam
In the Light of the Original Sources
An Analytical Study
This work on the life history of the Prophet (S) stands out from other works in quite a few ways. Firstly, every detail that has been mentioned here, has been traced back to original sources, and the authenticity has been conversed extensively in the footnotes. Secondly, the events of the life of Muhammad have been related to modern times and lessons drawn for the benefit of those who happen to face similar situations in their struggle to spread the Prophetic message.
This is a set of 2 volumes by Dr. Mahdi Rizqullah Ahmad, and translated Syed Iqbal Zaheer
Darussalam feels proud to present another book on the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) . He was the most outstanding person that the world has seen. He was a religious guide, a social and moral reformer, a political visionary, a military general, and an administrator who founded a state, built a nation and established a dynamic society to usher in a new philosophy of human thought, action and behavior. Moreover, he accomplished all these in a short period of only twenty-three years. There is no human in history who contributed to humanity so much in such diverse fields, as did the Prophet (S).
Although there have been other Prophets in past who contributed their share to the world, but as they were sent to particular nations or geographical regions, we find no traces of them as regards details of their lives and teachings, the time and place of their birth, and details about the exact impact they produced on the human society. This is not the case with the Prophet (S). We know about his birth, childhood, the latter days until he got married, the beginning of his mission, the difficulties he faced, his migration, his success, have all been fully and accurately documented and preserved for the rest of the time.
Today, after more than 1400 years, details of the life, manners, actions and teachings of the Prophet (S) are available without any loss, alteration or modification. They offer the same light for treating the many ills of our times as in the past, but in fact acquire greater importance in view of new dimensions to human suffering because of the wrong policies of those countries that consider themselves above the Law. The United Nations and other bodies that were set up to secure the rights of the wronged are being manipulated to oppress weaker nations, resulting in untold sufferings, and desperate acts on the part of the victims.
The Prophet (S) had also made a body to secure the rights of the oppressed, but it was not a window dressing. It was a grand success for the honesty behind it. In the words of Prof. Hurgronje, "The League of Nations founded by Prophet of Islam put the principle of international unity of human brotherhood on such universal foundations as to show candle to other nations. The fact is that no nation of the world can show a parallel to what Islam has done towards the realization of the idea of the League of Nations." George Bernard Shaw said, "If Muhammad were alive today, he would succeed in solving all those problems which threaten to destroy human civilization in our times."
Let us study the life of the Prophet whose teachings and examples can change our lives, our thinking, our behavior and the whole world for the better. He is truly a Blessing for Mankind. May Allah shower His blessings on him!
General Manager Darussalam
Historical personalities fade with time. But this is not true of the Prophet of Islam, on whom be peace. Our own times are witnessing a renewed interest in him, his character and his message. Written both by Muslims as well as non-Muslims, books continue to appear on him at a regular pace.
The work at hand is one of the most comprehensive ones of our times. It stands out in a few ways. First, every detail has been traced back to the original sources. Second, events of the Prophet's life have been related to modern times and lessons drawn for the benefit of those who happen to face similar situations in their struggle to spread the Islamic faith. The authors complete objectivity could be cited as another outstanding characteristic of the book. In contrast with the Western method - of judging a personality they struggle to come to terms with - Dr. Mahdi Rizqullah Ahmad meticulously chronicles the life as preserved by the earliest authorities, and leaves the reader to make his own judgment.
Except for the authors foreword, which has been considerably reduced in size, and which introduces source books and authors, the rest of the book has been translated in full. Subsequent to the publication of the work in Arabic (called, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah, fi Daw Al-Masddir Al-Asliyyah, Dirdsah Tahliliyyah, Faisal Foundation, Riyadh, 1992), the author has continued to work and has produced some 56 pages of fresh material to be added to future publications. These pages, still in manuscript form, have been incorporated in this translation.
A word about the equivalents to the technical terms used by Hadith scholars is perhaps in order. To allow for fluency, I have substituted Arabic terms with words closest in English, not unaware that sometimes they can be misleading. For example, to render a Da'if Hadith as a 'weak report' is far from satisfactory. The term Da'if needs a lengthy definition. Not every Da'if report is untrustworthy.
Moreover, the connotation carried by the term 'weak' is sometimes not there in the original. This applies to several terms used in Hadith criticism. But the difficulty in using original Arabic terms is that they affect the flow. Therefore, terms such as 'Good' for Hasan reports, 'Disconnected' for Mursal, 'Suspended' or 'Discontinued' for Mu'allaq or Mawquf, 'Interrupted' for Munqati', etc., have had to be employed. Where an easy rendering was not possible, the original was used. The reader will have to look into a work on Hadith Criticism to understand the exact implication of these various Arabic terms.
The translator has tried to retain the author's style of writing, but not at the cost of inaccuracy. The endeavor has been to give minimum possible idiomatic turn to his phrases and sentences.
This translation was originally done at the request of World Association of Muslim Youth, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia (WAMY), who got it read by the author himself, and then by two other persons. Both the brothers preferred to remain anonymous, but offered some very good suggestions and are responsible in no small way for the improvements in the translation. In addition, the first chapter was read through by another anonymous person who also helped remove some defects. Finally, brother Ali Haider of Darussalam did the painstaking job of correcting, formatting and indexing work of the book. May Allah reward them all generously.
Brother Abdul-Malik Mujahid of Darussalam needs special mention for his personal interest and earnestness, which went above business considerations, without which this book would not have appeared in the present form. May Allah reward him amply; He is the best of those who reward.
Syed Iqbal Zaheer
Dammam, KSA August 2005