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Comprehensive History of the Prophets



                                     One of the factors that holds Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him) matchless is his unique biography. There are world-renowned biographies of various leaders and writers. Some of them have had tempestuous impacts upon the public. But, the biography of prophet surpasses all other biographies in the world in its perfection and well documentation.

     This is not as easy to understand as the first. So it has to be discussed in a little detail. Before examining the nature of prophet’s history we must go through that of the others. Generally the biography of an elite person is written by himself or by a second writer. Most of the biographies consist of the important details of the person regarding his birth, parentage, education and so on. The rest of the book would be entirely devoted to describe his experiences and ideals in an emotional language. This is because, there is not much significance to record each and every minutest details of his day to day life, so far as the reading public is concerned. If it is done so, it would create but sheer boredom to readers.

     The life and teaching of prophet Muhammad (PBH) cannot be compressed in a book like this. Nor hundreds of this kind will serve the purpose. Books on prophet are not only written by Muslim authors but by Orientalists, Zionists, Christians and polemic writers as well. Writing biographies is quite common these days. But we should keep in our mind that, prophet lived 1400 years back. Still, the entire events of his life have been more authentically and microscopically recorded than those of a living figure today!

     As hinted before each and every minutest details of prophet’s life are recorded in history. His words, deeds, views, silence, in day and at night, in public and in private, at home and outside, in country and abroad, in war and in peace, in mirth and misery, in health and illness, with wives and companions, with sons and daughters, with children and grown ups, with friends and enemies, with kings and ambassadors, with beggars and monarchs, with birds and animals, and so on. His followers as well as his opponents observed every aspect of his life and described to the coming generation. The style of his walking, his brushing, his eating, his smiling, his talking, his bathing, his sleeping, his dressing, his cleaning, and what not. They narrated his speeches, his writing, his messengers, his writers, his servants and assistants, his journeys, his expedition, his vehicles and apartments, his household, his instruments, even his food items, his curry items, his lamps, his mats, his rings, his foot wears, his tooth brushes, his combs, his mirrors, his perfumes, his turbans, and what not. His physical features are described so specifically and elaborately that there remains no aspect to be high lighted, such as his face, his eyes, his nose, his teeth, his lips, his eyebrows, his hairs, his shoulders, his palms, his legs, his feet, his chest, his breast, his beard, his moustache, his stomach, and his complexion. Even they sharply counted the gray hairs from the rest! When he is in the crowd they reported everything they observed and when he is with his family, the wives and children did the same. He had nothing to conceal from the mass because everything of his life was a model to the world, just as the Holy Qur’an said, ‘O Mankind you have in the messenger of God, a perfect role model’(Qur’an 33:21).

     We should bear in mind the fact that, these details are not written by a particular historian lived recently using his abundant imagination. But, all those things have been directly observed by the Companions (Sahabas) of the Prophet (PBH). They reported them all to the subsequent generation (Thabien) and they to the next (thabiu thabieen) and so forth. After one or two centuries the scholars not only studies the text of prophet transmitted orally by the proceeding generation but they devoted their life in studying the life of those reporters as well. From then onwards, the new practice of close and critical study of the reporters become vigilant. Thus a new science called Criticism and justification of Hadîth reporters was formed. Thus the complete history of the reporters from prophet to that age was clearly collected and recorded.

     They accepted the honest and rejected not only dishonest but even the slightest dubious ones. Some of them are so conscious in this regard that, if the reporter was suspected to have told a lie in life, they would not accept his report at all. Numerous works and in a number of volumes have been written on this ‘name of reporters’ (Asmau Rijal’) not only did they memorize the text of prophet but they thoroughly learnt by heart the name series of reporters, their birth, death, education, teachers, students’, journey and their complete history also.

     Scholars devoted their lives in specializing the particular accepts of prophet’s life. Special works on the holy foot wares of Prophet, on parents of Prophet, on grandfather of prophet, on uncle of prophet, on wives of prophet, on daughters of prophet and on followers of prophet are composed separately not because they have any other personal grandeur but merely they are concerned with prophet. Now let us turn to the challenge. Who can suggest another name except Prophet Muhammad whose history has been kept, recorded, protected more authentically than this? D.G Hogarth assures having no other instance.

     “Serious of trivial, his (Muhammad) daily behavior has instituted the canon which millions observe at this day with conscious memory. No one regard it by any section human right as this perfect man has been imitated so minutely. The conduct of the founder of Christianity has not so governed the ordinary life of his followers. Moreover no founder of religion has been left so solitary an eminence as the Muslim Apostle (D.G Hogarth, A History of Arabia, P.52 Oxford, 1922).

     As has been indicated earlier, this part has to be studied more carefully, because some polemic writers have fabricated Hadîth, in order to tarnish the glowing image of  Prophet. This has caused confusion regarding the credibility of prophet’s biography. Some western writers have highlighted this aspect in order to serve their defaming purposes. Among them are Sir William Muir, Sprenger, Grimme, Weil, Goldziher and Schaoht. Muir writes; ‘the biographer of Muhammad continuously runs the risk of substituting for the realities of history some puerile fancy or extravagant invention. In striving to avoid this danger he is exposed to the opposite peril of rejecting as pious fabrication what may in reality be important historical fact’(William Muir, The Life of Muhammad from original sources, 1858-61, p.xii). Muir assumes the possibility of falsity in prophet’s biography, so that he advises the European leader to be careful, for the ‘floodgates of speculation, error, exaggeration and pure fiction over flung open’(Ibid). Muir only knew about the possibility of fancy and falsity and he is purely ignorant of the science of Hadîth criticism. Leopold Weiss, who embraced Islam after having thoroughly studied it, clarifies the issue; ‘The fact that there were numberless spurious Hadîth did not in the least escape the attention of the Muhaddiths (The scholar who knows the text of Hadiths and the chain of narrations in detail), as European critics naively seem to suppose. On the contrary, the critical science of Hadîth was initiated by the necessity of discerning between authentic and spurious.... The existence, therefore, of false Hadiths does not prove anything against the system of Hadîth as a whole no more than a fanciful tale from the Arabian nights could be regarded as an argument against the authenticity of any historical report of corresponding period’(Muhammad Asad, Islam on the cross roads 1975, pp 127- 8).
It is clear that abortive efforts to put confusions regarding Hadîth would be fruitless. Hadîth critics have keenly differentiated the original from the hands of manipulators. 



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