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Before we discuss the life of the prophet PBUH we must discuss pre-islamic arabi

a. In order to understand the seerah we must being with the world at his time this is why every single book on the seerah has a number of introductory section
s.
What does the word seerah mean? It means to traverse or to journey. It is derive
d from the root word which means to travel - and the reason why seerah is called
seerah is because you are travelling his journey, following his footsteps. And
this is also why the 'seerah' is exclusively for the biography of the prophet PB
UH, the best human to ever live - even though it's use can be for the biography
of anybody, the muslim scholars have kept it only now for the prophet PBUH.
So why should we study the seerah? Benefits are numerous:
1. Allah has comanded us to know this man. Its an obligation and there are over
50 verses in the Quran that command us to take the prophet as an example. "Indee
d there is for you, in the messenger of Allah, an exemplementary manner, a perfe
ct conduct". So we have the perfect example and therefore the life of our prophe
t is the study of someone we must follow. And amazingly no matter how we look at
the seerah we will benefit from it:
(i) religion: in terms of how we worship Allah
(ii) manners and morals: mercy and tenderness
(iii) leadership: how he lead the muslims to success
(iv) how he was as a father, husband, brother in law etc.
(v) how he was a friend, neighbour etc.
Allah tells us "If We had wanted We could have sent angels. But what would you h
ave done if We sent angels? You would have rejected them". Indeed of the perfect
ion of Allah's wisdom, is that He sent down human beings. People like us, flesh
and bones so we don't say "but we can't be like them". They are born of women, t
hey marry and have women just like us. But the difference is they are chosen by
Allah and are made role models.
2. The seerah is the number one way to increase our love for the prophet PBUH. T
here is no other way as powerfully. This is a sad fact of our ummah that we negl
ected this study. Most of us are ignorant. Its embarrasing we know so much about
movie stars, actors, sports people but no clue to the real person we should kno
w about. So by studying our seerah our loves increases. But its a two way street
: in order to increase our love we must study him. But by studyding him we are e
xpressing our love. Indeed when you love someone you want to know everything abo
ut him, and you want to imitate him in every way possible. Any one who claims to
love the prophet PBUH but dosent study the seerah, then you do not love him. To
study it is a sign of love, but by studying we increase our love. Its a circle,
the more we study the more we love but the more we love the more we study.
3. It also helps us to understand the Quran. Because its so complex you cannot u
nderstand without complex. For example, surah ad duha "Your Lord has not abandon
ed you" - we cannot understand this verse. But if we knew the context that in th
is time the prophet PBUH was worried and concerned that for weeks wahi hasnt com
e down and the prophet PBUH start thinking "maybe Allah has abadoned me". This i
s the first year of revelation so shaytan gave him bad thoughts - Allah is telli
ng him "Be patient" etc. So until we understand this, the surah dosen't make muc
h sense. So the Quran gains meaning by studying the seerah.
4. It raises our hope, lifts our spirits and blesses us with optimism. We are NO
t being persecuted compared to the sahaba but we are facing a little bit of heat
. By studying the seerah we can understand the people before us suffered much mo
re, and we compare our trials and tribulations to theirs, and realise that actua
lly we have it easy. And in fact, the Quran tells us that Allah is telling the p

rophet PBUH the stories of the earlier prohpets, why? "We are going to recite to
you the stories of the previous prophets in order that your hearts attain affir
mation". That is it increased the prophet PBUH optimism and eeman. It affirms ou
r eemaan.
5. Yet another benefit is that the seerah itself is a miracle. "Splitting of the
moon, taling of the tree etc" but rather his whole life is an indication that h
e was truly the prophet PBUH. Coming from where he came and bringing forth the e
legance of the Quran, leadership, patience, success from the middle of a pagan a
ncient civilisation that didn't even have a library or script - and yet he came
from the midst from a barabic nation and within 50 years Islam spread and within
100 years it ruled the world. This is a miracle. The seerah is an affirmation o
f this miracle - the power he weilded and yet the simplicity with which he lived
his life. And it is impossible for a human not to be affected by that power or
luxury unless there is a pure, divine sincerety. Ibn Hazam, a famous andaloos sc
holar said "Walahi, if the prophet PBUH had not been given any miracle other tha
n his life and times, it would have been sufficient to prove he's a prophet of A
llah." How he revolutionised Arabia and changed the entire world - this is truly
a miracle. Within 20 years - nobody would have EVER predicted a group came from
Arabia and destryoed the Roman and Persian empires. A group with a new religion
, new theology - and yet Allah allowed these people that were less educated and
less civilised with no where near the army or weaponry to be victorious because
of the Islam they held firm to.
6. The seerah lays out a perfect methodology to revive this ummah. There are man
y islamist groups with their methods to do so - but if you want to being honour
and glory back then look at the seerah! The prophet PBUH began literally from ze
ro and look where he reached. We look at the ummah and ask "Why oh Allah" but we
should look at the seerah for the answer for revival.
7. We will also see the life and times of the best people to ever live. The best
generation is indeed the sahaba RA Allah says "Allah is pleased with them, and
they with Allah". And the prophet PBUH said "the best ummah is my ummah" and Ibn
Masood said "Allah looked at the hearts of his servants, and he chose the best
and most purest to be the prophet PBUH. And then He chose the purest next, and m
ade them the sahaba of the prophet PBUH". So we will study the story of Abu Bukr
, Omar, Sa'ad, Talha and Zubair ETC. And our eemaan goes up by listeining to the
lifes of these legendary people. Their sacrifices, struggles etc. They are all
role models for us. The prophet PBUH said "my sahaba are like the stars".
8. The seerah brings about knowledge with which we can defend the honour of our
prophet PBUH. The honour of our prophet PBUH will always be attacked. The Qurays
h did so, they said he was a mad man, magician, poet etc because no one can expl
ain how the Quran came. Where did this unlettered shepeard get the Quran from? A
nd they said all this. And it continues to this day. And in our times how many p
eople say the prophet PBUH was a blood thirst terrorist, he was a womeniser, he
married this etc. If we want to defend our prophet PBUH, how can we do so if we
don't know whether they are true, and if they are how we can defend? And there i
s no way other than to study the seerah. And this is why the sahaba used to teac
h the seerah along with sciences. Ali ibn Husayn, the great grandson of the prop
het PBUH said "We would teach our children the seerah, just like we would teach
them the Quran". And so the ciricculum was Quran + seerah. And we must do all th
e same with our children. So many books for children.
To summarise, the study of the seerah is the study of the best and the best and
the best. It's the study of the life of the best single human to ever live. The
prophet PBUH said "I am the leader, the paragon of virtue of the children of Ada
m and I am not saying this out of arrogance". And the best time and people - the
sahaba, mecca and madina. These are the holiest places on Earth. But he knew th
is and really cared about mecca and madina until the prophet PBUH lived there? A

nd indeed espeically madina, where the prophet PBUH said "I am making madina hol
y like Ibrahim made mecca holy". And it was the best era. In every angle its the
best of the best of the best. So studying the seerah is studying how Allah chan
ged the world with Islam. And its only 23 years.
Next question, where do we begin? And how do we know what happened 1400 years ag
o? Where do we get our stuff from? What is our sources?
1. The Quran. The number one source is the Quran. This is a source that is overl
ooked by many. Because it was revealed during the seerah so it caters to situati
on arose during his life. And it references to every single major event that hap
pened during the life and even before the prophet PBUH. So the Quran tells us st
ories from the beginning all the way to end. Of the benefits, its the best sourc
e for many reasons:
(i) It is the speech of Allah so we canot doubt it
(ii) The elequence is unparallaled - how beautifully Allah describes battles and
the feelings of the sahaba aswell; the Quran tells us the inward.
(iii) Phenomenon we don't understand - in badr "We sent down 3000 angels"
One of the issues of the Quran is that it's not chronological and another proble
m is that we don't see the reference mentioned. So Allah dosen't say "Uhud or Ba
dr". So the seerah and the Quran go hand in hand.
2. Hadith. In fact every hadith is one snapshot of the seerah. Lots of thousands
books of hadith - the 6 most famous books are the main source.
3. Books written specifically for seerah - the first people who did this were th
e sons of sahaba. So many stories were told. Uruwa the son of Zubair wrote one o
f the greatest accounts. And Uruwa is the son of a sahabi, grandson, his father,
mother, grandmother and brother is a sahabi. But he isn't a sabahi. And his aun
ty is Aisha RA. So he is one of the primary narrators to fiqh, hadith and seerah
because he had access to Aisha RA - he is a mahraam. So Uruwa is the primary na
rrator from Aisha RA. Also the Son of Uthman Ibn Affan whose name is Abaan. He d
ied 105 hijra - he also wrote a booklet on seerah.
Finally a great scholar came called Ibn Shiaab az Zuburee who dies 129 hijra who
wrote one of the first early books of seerah. None of these books however are n
on existant. And the reason is simply, when later books came the later writers a
bsorbed these. Imagine someone comes and takes Urawa and Abban and puts both in
a bigger book. And this is what happened - there was no need for Uruwa or Abbaan
anymore. So we do have books in the very next generation which shows us seerah
was compiled even before hadith because of its importance.
And the greatest scholar of seerah is Ibn Ishaaq. His name is Muhammad ibn Ishaa
q and he was born 85 Hijra which means he is living in Madina (where the prophet
PBUH lived and died) and so he grew up around the sahaba, their children and gr
andchildren. So Ibn Ishaaq met the sons and maybe saw some of the sahaba and he
wrote every thing he heard. He had a huge passion for seerah and began to compil
e events in chronological order unlike the eariler phanlets. So Ibn Ishaaq compl
ied a very large book and just to be on the safe side he went to other cities an
d met i.e. Ibn Masood etc. His primary source was however Madina. And one of the
best thing is that he compiled everything with isnaad (chain of narrations). It
s a uniquely islamic miracle in that the chain tells us were the story comes fro
m. Because in Islam we always verify authenticity. WE know every person in the c
hain - when he was born, how he died, was he a good person, did he have a good m
emory etc. And thus we can judge the isnaad. And so Ibn Ishaaq complied the life
of the prophet PBUH and he wrote a massive book. So big that it was almost 15 v
olumes and was difficult to copy. Ibn Ishaaq died 150H. So from 85 to 150.

Another student called Ibn Hishaam came along, his name is Abdul Malik Ibn Hisha
am. Where does the seerah come from? These two people. So ibn hishaam realised t
hat Ibn Ishaaq's volumes were too big so he decided to summarise. He did not add
anything but rather he subtracted. He deleted and made it into a book that is m
uch more managable and now it's available in 4 volumes. In those days there was
no printing press so if you wanted a book you had to write it cover to cover - t
his is one of the reasons why he reduced. Also Ibn Ishaaq was one of the first p
eople to write a history of humanity. From Adam AS to Nuh to Ibrahim to the prop
het PBUH. So Ibn Hishaam deleted the entire section of earlier history and other
information about the life of the prophet PBUH that he thought was not that use
ful. So now people just copied Ibn Hishaam and today you won't find Ibn Hishaaq.
Thus now to buy a copy of the book you will find 'Seerat ibn hishaam' - you won
't find 'seerat ibn ishaaq' as it's now gone missing.
However there was a very famous scholar called Dr Hamidhullah. And he became one
of the greatest scholars/researchers and he discovered many manuscripts in Fran
ce etc. And this is because the westerners came to islamic lands, purchased the
mushaffs who just valued them as art and took them back to Germany, France etc.
This is why the largest collection of mushaffs are found in Germany. So anyway H
amidhullah went through all these treasures in Paris, London etc. and he discove
red a partial copy of Ibn Ishaaq. Around 1/4th! So he edited and published it, a
nd when now we compare Ibn Ishaaq to Ibn Hishaam, we find its exactly as Ibn His
haam said - that is the seerah is the same but only parts have been cut out. Whi
ch parts? Things like long poetry, lineage of the arabs etc (i.e. every time Ibn
Ishaaq mentioned a name he would take it back to Nuh AS (!)). So yes, Ibn Hisha
am was indeed accurate in what he did, so for sure when we read Ibn Hishaam we a
re truly reading something just 100 years after the prophet PBUH died. And this
is amazing. So we have the whole seerah just 100 years after the prophet PBUH di
ed.
4. Fourth source is the books written about the characteristics of the prophet P
BUH. In Arabic these are called shamaa'il. And the most famous is shamaa'il tirm
idhi. And shamaa'il is a genre of books that deals with looks, manners, houses e
tc of the prophet PBUH.
5. Dalaa'ial - books of the miracles of the prophet PBUH. The most famous is dal
aa'il nabuwa of al-bayhaqee. Massive book in 12 volumes
6. Histories of the sahaba
7. Histories of mecca and madina - by reading this we extract seerah.
And so these
earch in the
the muslims
this is more

are the most primary sources of seerah. There is a new genre of res
western world which is "what did the romans, persians etc say about
at the time? What did they say about the prophet PBUH?". But using
complicated.

Now we begin by discussing pre-islamic arabia. And we being by discussing who th


e arabs were. This is a topic of geneology - of ethnicity. Who are the arabs the
prophet PBUH lived with? The beginning of Ishaaq indeed begins with this aswell
. Most of arabs today are not truly arabs - they cannot trace their lineage back
.
The scholars have divided arabs into two broad categories of arabs:
1. The extinct arabs 'al arab al bai'ida' - the earliest civilisation that lived
in Arabia. Pre islam by 1000 of years. Earliest civilisaton of humanity in the
arabian penincilla. The Quran mentions some of their stories is A'ad and Stham'o
od. They have nothing to do with the later arabs. They are simply called arabs b
ecause they live in the lands which became Arabia. And Shamood was the earliest

humanity that flourished around 3000BCE. So around 5000 years ago. We have docum
ented evidence of the shamoood flourishing 5000 years ago. And also Sal'eh. The
people of Sal'eh - we can see their palaces etc. And the people of A'ad. And the
se people fled from the acienct cities of Babel and came to Arabia. So Shamood a
nd A'ad are the earliest civilisation to live in Arabia. And eventually they all
became extinct.
2. 'Al arab al ba'qiyah'. They are two categories:
2a) Kahthaan - the father of the arabs. His son was named Ya'rab so Yar'ab is wh
ere the term arab comes from. And it is said Ya'rab was the first to speak arabi
c. The arabic language is traced to him, Ya'rab the son of Kahthaan. And so thes
e are the kahthaani arabs. Now who are they? We don't know. Where did Kahthaan d
escend from? Majority says he descended from the children of Nuh AS - in paticul
ar Sam. And he is the father of the semites who are the sons of Sam. And they ar
e a group of people who speak a similar type of language - the hebrews, arabs et
c are all semites. 'Legend' has it Nuh AS had three sons. First of these we don'
t know. But Sam is the father of the semites - the hebrew race, the aramaeic spe
aking people ibrahim AS etc. His brother was Ya'fif whose descendents is the rom
an race. The caucasions and white people. His brother Ham is the father of the a
fricans. The bible says this and there is a da'eef hadith which supports this. A
nd so Kahthaan is one of the descendants of Sam. Then Kahthaan and Ibrahim AS co
me from Sam both but there isn't a direct link. Another opinion is Kahthaan is t
he descendent of Ibrahim AS. Majority is Kahtaan is NOT linked to Ibrahim AS. Th
ey were both descendants of Sam however. Note Kahthaan is WAY before Adnaan. The
y lived in southern Arabia. Number of kingdoms. The ous and khajraj are khathani
s. These are called the original arabs because they invented arabic - they spoke
it.
2b) Adnaan - is the ancestor of the Prophet PBUH. And of course the Prophet PBUH
came from Adnaan. So we know alot of him. The Prophet PBUH is adnaani. Who is A
dnaan? One of the desendants of Ismail AS. Now ibrahim AS is from Iraq - made hi
s way through Egypt. So Ismail AS is also from Iraq. He is left as a baby with H
ajar in Mecca an area where kahthaanis don't normally inhabit. They don't live t
here - it's a barren land. And one of the tribes of Kahthaan passes by and Ismai
l marries into them. And so he begins speaking their language, arabic, and their
children are a mixture of Ibrahim AS and the kahthaanis and a few generations d
own Adnaan appears. He is a direct descendant. There is about 7-10 generations b
etween Adnaan and Ismail AS. And from Adnaan the arab tribe spring forth. All of
the adnaani tribes, famously, Quraysh come from Adnaan who came from Ismail. Is
mail AS also had other children who weren't arabs. The adnaani arabs are called
'al arab al must'aibya' - the arabs who learnt arabic. There is no difference of
opinion that the Prophet PBUH is the 20th offspring - 20th generations between
Prophet PBUH and Adnaan. Now the adnaanis actually spoke better arabic than the
original arabs. Because they settled in central Arabia. So all of the other trib
es went through them etc. Because they interacted with so many original arabs th
ey took the best of the culture so they became more prestigious than the origina
l arabs. And so Prophet PBUH came from them.
We need to understand the tribes and lineage of the arabs to fully understand th
e seerah of the Prophet PBUH.