Each science has its history and the specific peculiarities of its formation; the historical processes and the figures that possessed the ability to exercise the powerful influence on the scientific and cultural progress are also frequently named as the major incentives for emergence of certain sciences. The personality of Prophet in religion is also a vast field of inquiry that has given the start to many sciences and studies. Speaking about the figure of Prophet in Islam, one can surely admit that this person has become a monumental figure and played a significant role in the creation of Islam and Islam-related sciences. Muhammad possessed a set of strong leadership qualities, represented the ideal man, the perfect character model, and conducted highly varied activities in the country for which he was responsible, thus becoming the model figure, educator, and activist. The sciences that can be said to have developed around the personality of Prophet Muhammad are Sirah, Sunnah, and Hadiths.
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However, despite the multitude and versatility of sciences that have developed around the personality of the Prophet, the most influential and extended on is the science of Sirah. It is the science directed specifically on studying the Prophet’s life and personality. It has evolved as a historical account of the events connected with the life and activity of Muhammad – “the Prophet’s life-story was transmitted by story tellers and then compiled in books called sirah” (Hadith and the Prophet Muhammad).
Nonetheless, it was further extended to become the source of beliefs and faith for Muslims. The principle according to which it was done dictates that one cannot believe in something that he or she does not know. Hence, learning the life and personality of the Prophet through the science of Sirah, one will reaffirm his/her religious faith, and will become close to Islam (The Importance of Science of Sirah).
In addition, the Sirah has become a much wider framework for considering the issues connected with Muhammad – his attention to institutional development includes the establishment of wise and rational laws, economy, social and political activities and participation in the international relations both at times of war and peace (The Importance of Science of Sirah). The function of Sirah in the modern studies of Islam is to show the virtuous nature of Muhammad, to explain how he practiced the teachings of Qur’an, and how he lived (Godlas). It may be said that Sirah is a practical guide to virtuous and religious life for a regular Muslim, and it provides examples of how Muhammad lived and acted in accordance with the sacred truths of the religion.
The science of Sirah possesses the key importance in studying the personality of Muhammad nowadays as it gives the essential connection between the distance Qur’an as a holy writing, and the life of a Muslim that is practical and realistic. It serves as a practical guide for Muslims in their daily conduct hence saving them from sins and helping them realize what a truly religious life is. The science of Sirah started to take shape as early as the very religion was formed, as the roots of all academic and spiritual studies in Islam developed very early in the history of this religion. The onset of Islam was marked with the emergence of such subfields as
“the commentary on the Qur’an (tafsir), Traditions (Hadith) and Asma’ al-Rijal (biographies of Hadith scholars), Sirah (Biography (of the Prophet) and Maghazi (Battles of the Prophet), Usul al-Din (theology), Fiqh (Jurisprudence) and Usul al-Fiqh (methodology/principles of Jurisprudence)” (Beg 1)
Sirah, in its original sense, means ‘life’ – it is the life of Prophet Muhammad that was studied very precisely, and was recorded in much detail. What is of particular importance is that the scripts about Muhammad’s life, words, and blessings were made during his lifetime and not afterwards, which ensures that the Prophet was worshiped and respected while conducting his prophet’s mission. There are several variants of Sirah that have become the most popular and influential ones throughout the whole period of Islamic development:
“The earliest work on the biography of Muḥammad was by Urwa b. al-Zubayr, but the dominant work became that of Muḥammad ibn Isḥāq whose Sīra survives in a recension by ibn Hishām. Also of importance are the works of al-Wāqidī, especially his Kitāb al-Maghāzī” (Bowker)
The exact purpose of developing the science of Sirah was to ensure the continuity of Islamic experience, and the ability of each Muslim to learn the teachings of Muhammad personally, without any third parties, priests etc. It is obvious that reading the Sirah writings reveals the biography of Prophet Muhammad and gives a clear idea of the consistency of his words and blessings, the lifestyle he had, thus giving an opportunity to follow a blessed example. There are many themes discussed in Sirah, some of them including the early years of Muhammd Rasulullah and His family, the Revelation that He had, and surely the Hijrah (Framework – Sirah and Hadith). In addition, there are many provisions regarding the lifestyle that true Muslims should have – the necessity of hygiene and cleanness, the love towards all people and animals, charity etc. – it is called the Ahadith of Muhammad (The Prophet’s Qualities).
The science of Sirah has undergone a long period of transformation and evolution, but its purpose has remained the same in the modern times – to guide a Muslim on the way of developing his/her soul and heightening his/her morality. However, Sirah has become something more than the individual account of a virtuous life to be followed – it now comprises a wider set of guidelines that may be first of all helpful for governors and politicians, as there is much useful information on the wise attitudes and actions of the Prophet on “institutional development and in the progress of Muslim societies in aspects of law, the economy, social and political arenas, international relations, and in times of war and peace” (The Importance of the Science of Sirah). Therefore, it is necessary to examine Sirah as a comprehensive set of recommendations and successful lessons of the past, which may help avoid some mistakes of the present and future.
Drawing a conclusion from the present account, one has to note that Muhammad has been a person with model behavior that resulted in studying his life and attempting to follow his lead across centuries. All three sciences directly related to the personality of Muhammad, i.e. Hadiths, Sunnah, and Sirah, have been designed to approach the personality of Muhammad from various angles and to give Muslims an opportunity to better understand their Prophet and to lead a life to resemble him and the provisions of Qur’an. He has been conducting considerate activities in many fields of the private and public life; he proliferated humbleness, sincerity, and fidelity in all fields of life, and has earned respect and awe from believers for his charismatic leadership abilities.
Muhammad was a relentless promoter of virtue and religiosity, and the ways to achieve these states for Muslims are much better and plainer discussed in Sirah, Sunnah, and Hadiths, offering a practical, hands-on guideline to become true believers. There are Prophet’s lessons about the attitude to morality, about kindness to animals and equality of all people, about good, virtuous manners that people should never forget. The Sirah writings also contain the information about the tolerance of Prophet towards other religions, about the humanity before the Prophet, and surely there is much exhaustive information about the mode of living, the love of Prophet to all people, the infallibility of Prophet Muhammad etc., which represents the whole framework of the Prophet’s heritage essential for the preservation and proliferation of Islam.
Beg, M.A.J. (2010). The Origins of Islamic Science. Muslim Heritage. Web.
Bowker, J. (1997). Sīra. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. Web.
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Framework – Sirah and Hadith (n.d.). Iqrafoundation.com. Web.
Godlas, A. (2003). Hadith and the Prophet Muhammad. Web.
The Importance of the Science of Sirah (2007). His Life. Web.
The Prophet’s Qualities (2011). Supporting Prophet Muhammad Website. Web.