The Prophet Muhammad's biography, or seerah, is a profoundly inspiring story, and there is none like it in history. Many historians and philosophers, including Michael Hart, consider Prophet Muhammad (s) the most important personality throughout the human experience. In his book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History (1978), Micheal Hart contended, "My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels. Of humble origins, Muhammad founded and promulgated one of the world's great religions, and became an immensely effective political leader. Today, thirteen centuries after his death, his influence is still powerful and pervasive."
We begin learning the seerah by reading about the Prophet Muhammad in the Qur'an. Then we turn to the most trusted hadeeth in Saheeh-ul-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim, and other compilations of authentic hadeeth. Next we turn to the reports of Ibn Is-haq, the Seerah book by Ibn Hisham, and the book of Tabaqaat-ul-Kubra by Ibn Sa'd. These are among the most authentic sources of seerah. Other authentic sources include the history books of Imams At-Tabari, Ibn Katheer, Ath-Thahabi, Ibn-ul-Atheer, and other historians. This book is committed to selecting the most authentic reports and narrations of the Prophet Muhammad's life story. It is needless to note that every biography of a great personality includes some unauthentic reports, and that of Prophet Muhammad is no exception. However, we tried our utmost best to present to our learners the most authentic account of the seerah as taken from its best and most authentic sources. The purpose of studying Prophet Muhammad's seerah is not simply to memorize certain dates or events, or to just sit back and enjoy the story.
Knowledge of the seerah is very important in our lives for many reasons that we can summarize in the following:
- Knowing the Prophet's personality will increase our love and respect for him. It builds a better understanding of the Qur'an, because some verses were revealed for certain incidents "seerah in the Qur'an" sections in this book connect the reader with most of the Qur'anic verses that detail seerah events.
- It helps us imitate the Prophet's life and learn to adopt his style of judgment. We can take him as a role model.
- Living Islam sections help the reader to pinpoint the Prophet of Islam's guidance and way of life.
- We can learn the fiqh rules with examples from the Prophet's seerah.
- We come to know some of the companions and their characteristics.
- We begin to understand some of the Arabic terms used in the religion.
- Vocabulary sections throughout the book help introduce the learner to important Islamic and historical terms.
- We learn some lessons from the Prophet's seerah to apply in our lives. "Lessons to Learn" section in every chapter of the books briefs the readers with important life lessons we can learn from the seerah.
- The Prophet's story gives is a practical way to make da'wah (inviting people to Islam).
- The Prophet's life is an excellent example for Muslims of the practical Islamic way of life.
- His life conveys the spirit of the kind merciful father and the wise gentle da'i (the person that invites other people to Islam), who puts all his effort in preaching Islam.
- Indeed, the seerah introduces us to the most beloved and respected leader among his companions. It demonstrates the democracy in Islam, and represents the ideal Muslim society.
- Studying the seerah will expose us to all sides of humanity at its best, represented in the most complete and perfect picture.
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