The Life of the Prophet Muhammad: Volume I

Compiled in the fourteenth century AD by a prominent Syrian scholar al-Sīra al-Nabawiyya is a full examination, in chronological order, of the background, life and mission of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. Drawn from the earliest and most reliable Arabic sources, it offers the fullest available account of the historical circumstances and personalities most important in the founding of Islam. The quotations and anecdotes that constitute its core are evaluated in terms of the trustworthiness of their sources. Variant wordings that are related through differing lines of transmission are noted, and Ibn Kathīr gives both his own assessments and those of the earliest Islamic authorities concerning the likely authenticity of these records. The comments and conversations, derived from ancient texts, that are quoted in this work constitute the basis of our knowledge of Islam during the lifetime of its founder.

The first volume of this four-volume set relates the history of the Arab tribes who were the Prophet’s forebears, the lives of his parents, and the accounts of unusual events surrounding his birth. It then goes on to relate anecdotes regarding his childhood, the signs of the prophethood, and the first revelations.

Ibn Kathīr was born in approximately 1313 in the Boesra district of eastern Damascus, and studied with the many great scholars working in the city during his time. He died in 1374.

Trevor Le Gassick is Professor of Arabic Literature at the University of Michigan. He has devoted himself to the translation and commentary of important works, both contemporary and from earlier eras, that reveal important aspects of the rich texture of Arabic literary culture.