Sirah Rasul Allah

Part of a series on
Hadith collections

    [ e]
Most famous
Sunni six major collections
(Al-Kutub al-Sittah):
  1. Sahih al-Bukhari
  2. Sahih Muslim
  3. al-Sunan al-Sughra
  4. Sunan Abi Dawood
  5. Sunan al-Tirmidhi
  6. Sunan Ibn Maja/Al-Muwatta
Shi'a collections:
  1. Kitab al-Kafi of Kulainy
  2. Man la yahduruhu al-Faqih of Shaikh Saduq
  3. Tahdhib al-Ahkam by Shaikh Tusi
  4. al-Istibsar by Shaykh Tusi
Ibadi collections:
  • al-Jami' as-Sahih by al-Rabi' ibn Habib
  • Tartib al-Musnad by al-Warijlani
Sunni collections
Shi'a collections
Mu'tazili collections
Sirah Rasul Allah (Life of the Apostle of God) or Sirat Nabawiyya (Life of the Prophet) (from Arabic سيرة) is the Arabic term used for the various traditional Muslim biographies of Muhammad, from which most historical information about his life and the early period of Islam is derived. The name is often shortened to "Sira" or "Sirah".


In the Arabic language the word seerah comes from the verb saara (imperfect yaseeru), which means to travel or to be on a journey. A person's seerah 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 seerah, like a resume is called a seerah or seerah dhaatihi in the Arabic language.

In Islamic sciences or the Sharia, seerah means the study of the life of the Muhammad. It is the study of his life and all that is related to him.[1]


Muslims believe that these biographies are for the most part accurate portrayals of Muhammad - although some of their reports may be treated with skepticism - and as such they are used to provide the context for interpretation of the Qur'an. On the other hand, Western historians vary in their evaluation of the sira as reliable sources. Some, such as William Montgomery Watt, see the traditional accounts being on the whole reliable; taking exception only with some passages which they view as being devotional literature, intended to glorify Muhammad rather than relating historical information. Other, more sceptical, critics such as Patricia Crone are far less trusting of the sira.

The sira literature include a variety of materials such as political treaties, military enlistments, assignments of officials, etc. which were recorded by successive generations of Muslims. In principle, the biographies of Muhammad would have been assembled from reports of what Muhammad did, just as what he said was recorded in the form of hadith. However, the sirah literature is technically different from hadith literature as it is in general not as concerned with validation through the chain of transmitters (isnad), although in the earliest sira many of the narratives are accompanied by isnads. This is probably due to a number of reasons. First, the story of Muhammad's life was probably quite well-known and frequently re-told amongst Muslims, as well as to new converts, from the early days of Islam. Second, the sira literature is concerned primarily with the narrative of Muhammad's life, whereas the intent of the hadith literature is to assemble his sayings as an authoritative source for Islamic law. The immediate relevance of many hadith sayings to legal debates made it more important that they be accompanied by isnads.

Together the sira and the hadith constitute the sunnah, or prophetic example which has formed the basis of many practices shared by traditional Muslim communities around the world.

Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah is the earliest surviving traditional biography, and was written just over 100 years after Muhammad's death. It survives in the later editions of Ibn Hisham and al-Tabari. There are a few important differences between these, however. For example, al-Tabari includes the controversial episode of the Satanic Verses, while Ibn Hisham does not. Another of the earliest siras is al-Waqidi's. Several writers are reported to have written siras before Ibn Ishaq, including: Urwah ibn al-Zubayr ibn al-Awwam (a descendant of Asma), who died in 92 AH and whom Ibn Ishaq, al-Waqidi, and at-Tabari are all said to have used as a source, and Abban ibn Uthman ibn Affan (d. 105 AH) and Wahb ibn Munabbih al-Yamani (d. 110 AH). However, their works do not survive.

Text of Ibn Ishaq

Much of the text of the Sirah Rasul Allah by Ibn Ishaq (Medina 85 A.H. - Bagdad 151 A.H.) was copied over by Ibn Hisham (Basra 1xy A.H. - Fustat, Egypt, 218 or 213 A.H.) into a work of his own. Ibn Hisham also "abbreviated, annotated, and sometimes altered" the text (Guillaume, at xvii). Interpolations of Ibn Hisham are recognizable and can be deleted, leaving as a remainder an "edited" version of Ibn Ishaq, whose original version is lost. Guillaume (at xxxi) points out that Ibn Hisham's version omits several narratives given by al-Tabari in his History (at 1192, & 1341), who cited Ibn Ishaq as their source. In the text we have, an introductory part describes pre-Islamic Arabia (about 100 pages in Guillaume), before commencing with the narratives surrounding the life of Muhammad.

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 Allah translated into German with annotations.

Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad. Apostle of Allah (London: The Folio Society 1964), 177 pages. 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 London by F. F. Arbuthnot in 1898.

Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad. A translation of Ishaq's "Sirat Rasul Allah", with introdution [xiii-xliii] and notes (Oxford University 1955), xlvii + 815 pages. The Arabic text used by Guillaume was the Cairo edition of 1355/1937 by Mustafa al-Saqqa, Ibrahim al-Abyari and Abdul-Hafiz Shalabi, as well as another, that of F. Wustenfeld (Gottingen 1858-1860). Ibn Hasham's "Notes" are given at pages 691-798.

Authors of Sirah

Early Writers (710 C.E.- 921 C.E.)

  • Urwah ibn Zubayr , the son of Asma bint Abi Bakr
  • 'Az-Zubayr ibn Al-Awam , grandson of Abu Bakr and the younger brother of Abdullah ibn Az-Zubayr.
  • Abaan ibn Uthman ibn Affan, the son of Uthman wrote a small booklet.
  • Al-Sha'bi.
  • Wahb ibn Munabbih.
  • Hammam ibn Munabbih, a student of Abu Hurayrah
  • Asim Ibn Umar Ibn Qatada Al-Ansari
  • Ibn Shihab Az-Zuhree or Imam Al-Zuhri
  • Musa Ibn Uqba ,pupil of Al-Zuhri
  • Muhammed Ibn Ishaq ,pupil of Al-Zuhri
  • Ma'mar Ibn Rashid Al-Azdi,pupil of Al-Zuhri
  • Abdul Rahman ibn Abdul Aziz Al-Ausi,pupil of Al-Zuhri
  • Muhammad ibn Salih ibn Dinar Al-Tammar,was a pupil of Al-Zuhri and mentor of Al-Waqidi.
  • Ya'qub bin Utba Ibn Mughira Ibn Al-Akhnas Ibn Shuraiq Al-Thaqafi
  • Hashim Ibn Urwah ibn Zubayr,son of Urwah ibn Zubayr generally quoted traditions from his father but was also a pupil of Al-Zuhri.
  • Abu Ma'shar Najih Al-Madani.
  • Al-Makhzumi.
  • Ali ibn mujahid Al razi Al kindi.
  • Al-Bakka,was a disciple of Ibn Ishaq and teacher of Ibn Hisham and thus forms a very important link in Sira between two great scholars.
  • Abdul Malik Ibn Hisham,pupil of Al-Bakka.
  • Salama ibn Al-Fadl Al-Abrash Al-Ansari,pupil of Ibn Ishaq.
  • Al-Waqidi, His only surviving work is "Kitab alTarikh wa al-Maghazi" (Book of History and Campaigns)
  • Abu Isa Muhammad Al-Tirmidhi ,wrote compilations of Shamaail (Characteristics of Muhammad)
  • Ibn Sa'd ,wrote 8 volumes called the Tabaqat or The Book of the Major Classes.He was also a pupil of Al-Waqidi.
  • Imam Al-Bayhaqee ,wrote Dalial An-Nabuwwah (Argument for Prophet hood).
  • Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari,wrote his famous work History of the Prophets and Kings.

Later Writers (1100 C.E.- 1517 C.E.)

  • Abdul Rahman Al-Suhaili, wrote a commentary on Ibn Ishaq's work called Raud al-Unuf.
  • Al-Hafiz Abdul Mu'min Al-Dimyati, wrote the book "al-Mukhtasar fi Sirati Sayyid Khair al-Bashar" but is commonly referred to as Sira of Al-Dimyati.
  • Ala'al-Din Ali ibn Muhammad Al-Khilati Hanafi,wrote Sirat of Al-Khilati.
  • Sheikh Zahir al-Din ibn Muhammad Gazaruni.
  • Abu-al-Faraj ibn Al-Jawzi,wrote A Great Collection of Fabricated Traditions a critique of Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal. But his book on Sira is called Sharaf Al-Mustafa (actual full Title of book(s):Uyun al-hikayat fi Sirat Sayyid al-Bariyya).
  • Ibn Kathir, wrote Al-Sira Al-Nabawiyya (Ibn Kathir).
  • Abu Rabi Sulaiman ibn Musa Al-Kala'i compiled a book titled "Iktifa fi Maghazi al-Mustafa wal-Khulafa al-Thalatha".
  • Ibn Abd al-Barr.
  • Sayyid Al-Nas, wrote Uyun al-Athar.
  • Zain al-Din Iraqi was a teacher of Ibn Hajar and he wrote Sira Manzuma.
  • Qastallani, his book on Sira is Al-Mawahib al-Ladunniya.

Modern Writers (1800C.E.- Present)

  • Al-Zurqani,wrote a commentary on the Al-Mawahib al-Ladunniya by Qastallani and it was called Al-Zurqani 'ala al-Mawahib.
  • Qazi Halb Burhan-ud-din,wrote Sirat al-Halbiya.
  • Shibli Nomani, wrote his famous 5 volume book Sirat-un-Nabi in Urdu with the help of his disciple Syed Sulaiman Nadvi.The book was translated in English by M.Tayyib Bakhsh Budayuni:ISBN 81-7151-282-8.
  • Muhammad Husayn Haykal,wrote The Life of Muhammad in Arabic, 1933; with English translation by Isma'il Razi A. al-Faruqi.
  • Syed Sulaiman Nadvi, wrote Muhammad The Ideal Prophet and Muhammad The Prophet Of Peace translated by Rauf Luther.
  • N Tawheedi ,wrote A Glance At The Life Of The Holy Prophet Of Islam .
  • Mohammad Amin ,wrote A Spark From The Dynamo Of Prophethood .
  • Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall, wrote Al-Amin A Life-Sketch Of The Prophet Muhammad
  • Syed M. Nadvi,wrote An Easy History Of The Prophet Of Islam.
  • Saif-ur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri,wrote Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar).
  • Qadi Iyad, wrote Ash-Shifa - Muhammad The Messenger of Allah
  • Ziauddin Sardar & Zafar Malik wrote Introducing Muhammad and Muhammad Aspects Of His Biography by Ziauddin Sardar.
  • Abdul Hameed Siddiqui,wrote Life Of Muhammad .
  • Dr Muhammad Shamsul Haque, wrote Life Of Prophet Muhammad The Final Messenger
  • Afzalur Rahman wrote 3 books namely, Muhammad As A Military Leader ; Muhammad Encyclopedia Of Seerah and Muhammad Blessing For Mankind.
  • Zahir Ahmed Muhammad,wrote the Glimpses Of The Prophet's Life & Times.
  • Abu Bakr Siraj Ad-Din a.k.a Martin Lings , wrote Muhammad : His Life Based on the Earliest Sources (1983), Islamic Texts Society, ISBN 0-04-297042-3
  • Ali Musa Raza ,wrote Muhammad In The Qur'an.
  • Seyyed Hussein Nasr, wrote Muhammad Man Of Allah.
  • Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi,wrote Muhammad Rasulullah .
  • Muhammad Iqbal,wrote Muhammad The Beloved Prophet.
  • Naeem Siddiqui,wrote Muhammad The Benefactor Of Humanity.
  • Dr M.H. Durrani,wrote two books namely Muhammad The Biblical Prophet and The Holy Prophet Muhammad.
  • Dr Majid Ali Khan,wrote Muhammad The Final Messenger.
  • Ahmed Deedat,wrote Muhammad the Greatest and Muhammad the Natural Successor to Christ.
  • Jamal Badawi, wrote Muhammad A Blessing For Mankind,a Short Biography and Commentary.
  • Mustafa Ahmad al-Zarqa,wrote Muhammad The Perfect Model For Humanity.
  • Maulana Wahiduddin Khan,wrote Muhammad The Prophet Of Revolution.
  • Syed Iqbal Zaheer,wrote Muhammad The Unlettered Prophet Who Changed The World.
  • Abdur Rahman Lutz,wrote Muhammad Upon Whom Be Peace.
  • Syed Athar Husain ,wrote Prophet Muhammad & His Mission.
  • Fethullah Gulen,wrote Prophet Muhammad As Commander and Prophet Muhammad The Infinite Light.
  • Kais al-Kalby ,wrote Prophet Muhammad The Last Messenger In The Bible.
  • Mufti Shafi,wrote Seerat Khaatmul-Ambiyaa - Life Of Rasulullah translated by Abbas Zuber Ali.
  • Dr Mohamed Abdulla Pasha,wrote Sixth Century & Beyond - The Prophet & His Times.
  • Zakaria Bashier,wrote Sunshine At Madinah: Studies In Life Of Prophet and The Makkan Crucible.
  • Dr Ata Mohy-ud-din ,wrote The Arabian Prophet.
  • Fakir Syed Waheeduddin,wrote The Benefactor & The Rightly-Guided.
  • Mustafa Al-Sibai,wrote The Biography Of Allah's Prophet -Lessons & Examples.
  • Muhammad Bashiruddin Mahmood ,wrote The First & The Last - Muhammad.
  • Khwaja Kamaluddin,wrote The Ideal Prophet.
  • Abdul Majeed,wrote The Last Prophet & His Message .
  • Mohammad Yusuf,wrote The Last Prophet Of Islam .
  • Muhammad Abdul Rauf ,wrote The Life & Teaching Of The Prophet Muhammad.
  • Syed Ameer Ali ,wrote The Life & Teachings Of Mohammad .
  • Tahia Al-Ismail,wrote The Life Of Muhammad - Based On Earliest Sources.
  • Sarwar Saulat ,wrote The Life Of The Prophet.
  • Abdal Rahman Azzam,wrote The Life Of The Prophet Muhammad.
  • Muhammad Al-Kidari,wrote The Light Of Certitude.
  • Muhammad Hamidullah,wrote 4 books on Sira Muhammad Rasulullah: A concise survey of the life and work of the founder of Islam ; The prophet of Islam: Prophet of migration ; The Prophet's establishing a state and his succession ; Battlefields of the Prophet Muhammad.
  • Ayatullah Jafar Subhani,wrote The Message - The Holy Prophet Of Allah.
  • Khalifa Abdul Hakim ,wrote The Prophet & His Message.
  • Syed Abdul Wahab ,wrote The Shadowless Prophet Of Islam.
  • Muhammad Abdul Hai,wrote Uswai Rasool-e-Akram (Life & Teachings Of Prophet).
  • Safdar Hosain,wrote Who Was Muhammad?.

See also

External links

  • Sirah Rasul Allah the traditional name for biographies of Prophet Muhammad.
  • Sirat Rasul Allah the earliest survived sirah by Ibn Hisham
  • Al-Sira Al-Nabawiyya by Ibn Kathir

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''This is a sub-article of hadith.
According to Muslims tradition, the collection of ahadith or sayings by or about the Prophet Muhammad was a meticulous and thorough process that began right at the time of Muhammad.
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Sunni Muslims are the largest denomination of Islam. Sunni Islam is also referred to as Sunnism or as Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamā‘h (Arabic:
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The Six major Hadith collections (Arabic: Al-Sihah al-Sittah) are the works of some individuals from Islamic scholars who by their own initiative started collecting sayings that people attributed to Muhammad approximately 200 years after his death.
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The authentic collection (Arabic: الجامع الصحيح, al-Jaami al-Sahih [1]) or popularly al-Bukhari's authentic
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Sahih Muslim (Arabic: صحيح مسلم, ṣaḥīḥ muslim) is one of the Sunni Six Major Hadith collections, collected by Imam Muslim.
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as-Sunan as-Sughra (Arabic: السنن الصغرى), also known as Sunan an-Nasa'i
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Sunan Abu Da'ud (Arabic: سُنن أبو داوود) is one of the Sunni Six Major Hadith collections , collected by Abu Da'ud.
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  • Jami al-Tirmidhi (Arabic: جامع الترمذي), popularly Sunan al-Tirmidhi (Arabic:

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Sunan Ibn Maja (Arabic: سُنان ابن مجا) is one of the Sunni Six Major Hadith collections , collected by Ibn Maja.
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Al-Muwatta (الموطأ) is an early collection of hadith of Muhammad that form the basis for the jurisprudence of Islam. It was compiled and edited by Imam Malik. The Maliki school is popular in North Africa.
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Shī‘a terms

  • Shi'a Islam
  • Moderate Shi'a
  • Real Shi'a
  • Shi'a of Ali
  • Shi'a of Uthman
  • Shi'a of Mauwiyah
Shī‘a Islam, also Shi‘ite Islam or Shi‘ism
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The Nahj al-Balagha (Arabic: نهج البلاغة "Peak of Eloquence") is the most famous collections of Shia hadith, attributed to Ali ibn Abi Talib.
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The Four Books (Arabic Al-Kutub Al-Arb'ah) is a Shi'a term referring to their four best known Hadith collections.
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The Kitab al-Kafi is a Shia hadith collection compiled by Mohammad Ya'qub Kulainy. It is divided into three sections: Usul al-Kafi, which is concerned with the principle of religion, Furu al-Kafi
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Abu Ja'far Muhammad bin Yaqoub al-Kulainy
Title: Thiqatul-Islam Kulainy
death: 329 AH

Maddhab: Shia Jafari
Main interests: Hadith
works: Usul al-Kafi and Furu al-Kafi
Influenced: Shaikh Saduq

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Man la yahduruhu al-Faqih is a hadith collection, by the famous Shi'a hadith scolar Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn 'Ali ibn Babawaih al-Qummi, commonly known as Ibn Babawaih or Shaykh Saduq.
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Muhammad ibn Ali ibn-e Babuyeh
Title: al-Shaykh al-Saduq
Birth: 306 AH
death: 381 AH

Maddhab: Shia Jafari
Main interests: Fiqh and Hadith
works: Man la yahduruhu al-Faqih
Influences: Mohammad Ya'qub Kulainy

Al-Shaykh al-Saduq
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Abu Ja'far al-Tusi
Title: Shaykh al-Tayefah
Birth: Ramadan 385 A.H.
death: 22nd Muharram, 460 A.H.

Maddhab: Shia Jafari
Main interests: Kalam, Tafsir, Hadith, Ilm ar-Rijal, Usul and Fiqh
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Abu Ja'far al-Tusi
Title: Shaykh al-Tayefah
Birth: Ramadan 385 A.H.
death: 22nd Muharram, 460 A.H.

Maddhab: Shia Jafari
Main interests: Kalam, Tafsir, Hadith, Ilm ar-Rijal, Usul and Fiqh
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Al-Ibādhiyyah (Arabic الاباضية) is a form of Islam distinct from the Shi'a and Sunni denominations. It is the dominant form of Islam in only one Muslim country, Oman. There are also Ibadis in Algeria as well as Libya.
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Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal is the collection of Hadith collected by the famous Sunni scholar Ibn Hanbal to whom the Hanbali madhab of Sunnis is attributed.
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Al-Mustadrak alaa al-Sahihain or Mustadrak al-Hakim (Arabic: المستدرك على الصحيحين Al-Mustadrak 'ala al-Sahîhayn
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A Great Collection of Fabricated Traditions (Arabic: Al-Mawdu'at al-Kubrah) is a book written by Abul-Faraj Ibn Al-Jawzi. The book consists of narrations declared fabricated by the author arranged by subject.
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Riyadh as-Saaliheen (The Gardens of the Righteous) is a collection of hadith (sayings of Muhammad), is the most famous book by Imam an-Nawawi.
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Mishkat al-Masabih is the improved version of Masabih al-Sunnah. Al-Tabrizi d. 741H [1] essentially rendered a version of the text more preferable to those who don't posses a more advanced knowledge of the science of
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Talkhis al-Mustadrak is an abridged version of Al-Mustadrak alaa al-Sahihain, written by Al-Dhahabi


Hakim al-Nishaburi, is the author of Al-Mustadrak alaa al-Sahihain, who wrote it in the year 393 AH, i.e.
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insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter.
Please help [ improve the introduction] to meet Wikipedia's layout standards. You can discuss the issue on the talk page.
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Bulugh al-Maram is the shortened name of the collection of hadith by al-Hafidh ibn Hajar al-Asqalani entitled, Bulugh al-Maram min Adillat al-Ahkam
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Treasure of the Doers of Good Deeds [1](Arabic: Kanz al-Ummal fi sunan al-aqwal wa'l af`al [2]
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