Ibn Ishaq

Muhammad ibn Ishaq ( محمد بن إسحاق, DMG Muhammad Ishaq b. ) (C. 704 in Medina; † 767 or 768 in Baghdad ) was a Muslim historian, for the first time, the Hadith and documents about the life of the Prophet Muhammad in a book with a thoughtful structure and chapter divisions put together. This book, which is not included in the original, but only in later reviews, edits and extracts, is one of the most important sources for the early history of Islam and served as a model for all later biographical works about the Prophet. The most famous handling of his work is the Sira of Ibn Hisham. She later replaced the original work.


Ibn Ishaq was the grandson of Yasar, who was one of the first prisoners of ʿ Ayn at- Tamr in Iraq in the years 633-634 on a campaign of Khalid ibn al - Walid, and was sent to Mecca, where he worked on Qays ibn Machrama ibn al - Muttalib ibn ʿ Abd Manaf ibn Qusayy was enslaved. Converted to Islam, Yasar was released and its Maula, he received the nisba al - Muṭṭalibī. His three sons were all known as containing historical messages.

Muhammad ibn Ishaq in the footsteps of his uncle and his father, specializing in the collection of stories and legends about the life of the Prophet, about the creation of the world and the stories of the Arab tribes in pre-Islamic times. Even the Umayyad scholars az- Zuhri, who died in 741/42, is to have him as the main authority in the field of Maghazi, the reports on the campaigns of the Prophet, blessed

First, Ibn Ishaq had in Medina. In the year 737 he went to Alexandria, where he devoted himself to the study of hadith .. Against 749 it ran again in scholarly circles his hometown of Medina, where he traditionist Sufyan b. ʿ Uyaina met, the traditions handed down by him and his scholarship valued.

But shortly afterwards ( 749/750 ), he left Medina. After Brockelmann it was not the power of the Abbasids, who prompted him, but the hostility of public opinion in this city, which accused him of having been perpetrators of legends and poems about the Prophet Mohammed. Under the Medicare Ensern is especially Malik ibn Anas mentioned, which is said to have suspected him of having had Shiite inclinations and represented the doctrine of free will of man.

759/60 held Ibn Ishaaq in the Jazirah on, then he went to the Caliph al - Mansur (r. 754-775 ) to al- Hira before he finally settled down in Baghdad. On behalf of the Caliph he put a book together. In a report in the history of Baghdad by al- Khatib al - Baghdadi is specified that this was intended for the Crown Prince, the future Caliph al - Mahdi.

The content and structure of his work

The content of the work, the Ibn Ishaq compiled for al - Mansur is specified differently. While the biographer Muhammad ibn Sa ʿ d in the 9th century, only speaks of that Ibn Ishaq al - Mansur wrote down for the Maghazi, mentioned al - Khateeb al - Baghdādī in the 11th century, the Caliph gave him the order, " to write a book from the creation of Adam to the present day. " He and others give as the title of this work of al - Kitaab al - Kabīr ( " The Big Book " ) and write that it consisted of three parts:

  • The Kitāb al - Mubtada ʾ ( "Book of the Beginning" ), which covered the period from the Creation to the appearance of Mohammed,
  • The Kitāb al - ʿ ath Mab ( "Book of posting ", ie the Prophet), which dealt with the Meccan period of the Prophet, and
  • The Kitāb al - Maghazi ( "Book of the campaigns "), which dealt with the Medinan period, and the campaigns of the Prophet.

Some authors mention that this anthology also contained a fourth part, namely a Kitaab al - Chulafā ʾ ( "Book of the Caliphs "), which treated the Caliph al - Mansur to time. The contradiction between the statements made in Ibn Sa ʿ d al - Khateeb and al - Baghdādī is solved in modern research mostly in the way that it is assumed that the title Kitāb al - Maghazi was also used for the compilation. Some modern Western writers use for compilation also the title sira, but this is not attested in classical Arabic literature.

For the two parts of Ibn Ishaq's work that dealt with the biography of the Prophet, writes the Orientalist Joseph Horovitz: " The tradition material that had been handed down to him by his teachers and he advanced with many collected by himself findings, Ibn Ishaq presented to a well-ordered presentation of the life of the Prophet together. " He understood, " the story of the Prophet and of the new faith in the history of divine revelation since the world began to classify ". After Schoelerpark the parts to the Prophet's biography were chronologically arranged and provided with chapter headings.

None of the above parts of the anthology, however, is preserved in its original, but their content and their shape can only be inferred from the traditional works of later authors.

The Kitāb al - ʾ Mubtada is known only from quotations and paraphrased statements in works such as world history and commentary on the Qur'an of al-Tabari. G. D. Newby has done in his book The Making of the Prophet load the attempt to reconstruct with the help of such quotations, the Kitāb al - ʾ Mubtada. Thus, the story of Abraham was treated particularly detailed and artfully in this book.

Those parts of his work dealing with the biography of the Prophet, are beyond his students and later edits also known by reviews ( Riwāyāt ). They are discussed in more detail in the following section.

Reviews and edits his biography of the Prophet

The Kitāb al - MAGAZI is 300 pages of manuscript ( incomplete ) is obtained in the review of his student ibn Yunus Bukair († 815), and was edited by M. Hamidullah in 1976. The work begins with the genealogy of Muhammad and ending with the Islamic legend of Muhammad's ascension. On the existence of this plant for the first time the German orientalist Johann review Fück pointed.

Characteristic of this review work are the numerous additions by Yunus ibn Bukair other sources that Ibn Ishaaq himself had not used. Thus Ibn Bukair created an independent work, which Ibn ' Asakir in his biographical history of the city of Damascus, and Ibn Hajar al-' Asqalani in his commentary on al- Bukhari under the title: Ziyadat al - Maghazi زيادات المغازي / Ziyadat al - MAGAZI /, additions ( to the book ) of the campaigns ' quote several times.

A short fragment of a further review by Muḥammad ibn Salama († 807) M. Hamidullah has issued as an annex to its above-mentioned editions of the works; it includes only a few pages and includes an episode about the campaign to Dhu Amarr, which is not received in the relevant traditions of the military campaigns of Muhammad.

In the second generation after Ibn Ishaaq has revised his work entitled Sirat Muhammad Rasulillah ( " Biography of Muhammad the Messenger of God " ) ʿ Abd al-Malik ibn Hisham († 834 ). Ibn Hisham added numerous comments in the text, but also took cuts, leaving some poems away. This processing displaced after a few centuries, the original version of Ibn Ishaq, so she was in the 13th century no longer available as a standalone book.

Another adaptation of the work, which became famous in the early 14th century, wrote Ibn Sayyid an- NaS (* 1273, † 1334 in Cairo ) under the title: Uyun al - athar fi al - Maghazi Funun wa - sh - schama'il wa -s- siyar / عيون الأثر في فنون المغازي والشمائل والسير / ʿ Uyūn al - Atar fī Funun al - mAGAZI wa - š -sama ʾ il wa -s- siyar /, the best news on the (technical ) area of the campaigns, the ( good ) properties ( of the Prophet) and ( his ) life '. In addition to Ibn Ishaq he also cites other authorities of the Maghazi literature from the 8th century, whose works no longer exist today. This work in two volumes has been (most recently in Beirut in 1974 ) printed in the East several times.