Ibn Ishaq wrote a book that elucidated the life of Muhammad. The work can be counted as a hagiography, as it is a biography of the saint. The saint, in this situation, is Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam. The work encompasses large numbers of episodes related to the life of Muhammad. The work validates the status of Muhammad as the spiritual leader of Muslims.
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They look upon Muhammad as their master. The devotees derive lessons from the life of the prophet. The work commends the spiritual power of the prophet. At the same time, there are episodes that can be deemed as worldly. Despite this, it is not possible to take the work as a historical text.
The work refers to the account of the birth of Muhammad. His foster mother recounts the story of her experience with the Prophet. His foster mother aspired to offer milk to Muhammad, but she did not have milk in her breast. In the meantime, there was a miracle. Muhammad’s foster mother could give milk to the baby.
Camels of the family of Muhammad also produced large quantities of milk. This episode reveals the exceptional powers of the Prophet. Interestingly, camels of other tribes could not produce milk. Milk was adequate to not only the Prophet, but also other members of the family. The foster parents of Muhammad comprehended the godly qualities of the child (Gentleman and Stuart 71).
The book avers that Muhammad obtained the divine message, and he preached the same to his disciples. He also endeavors to educate various Arab tribes concerning the need to pursue his path. The Prophet encountered resistance from polytheists who did not believe in monotheism preached by the Prophet. The outcome was the clash between Muhammad and the antagonistic group that challenged his religious beliefs.
Muhammad had complete faith in God, and he motivated his followers to fight for the righteous cause. In the end, Muhammad achieved his mission. Muhammad heeded the hostility from a few relatives. For example, his uncle did not accept his religious views. Muhammad interacted with his uncle, and convinced him to follow his path (Gentleman and Stuart 119).
Mohammad is called the “apostle”. He is the disciple of the God, and he obtains the message from the God (Gentleman and Stuart 650). The inference is that disciples of Muhammad need to obtain guidance from him while taking vital decisions. They can learn lessons from the life of Muhammad.
A disciple named Abdullah recounts an occurrence related to the life of Muhammad. Abdullah is invited to Mecca by the apostle. He is asked to execute a victim in the temple at Mecca (Gentleman and Stuart 650). This episode reveals that Abdullah admired the Prophet, and he would not disregard the orders of the master.
Prophet Muhammad demonstrates the importance of pilgrimage, hajj, to his disciples. Devotees are persuaded to pay attention to the voice of God. He offers pragmatic advice to his disciples. They are encouraged to abstain from usury, even though they are permitted to retain their capital. The Prophet also counsels men concerning their rights over property and family members (Gentleman and Stuart 650). This discourse is noteworthy, as it intends to improve the condition of Muslims in the sacred and secular spheres. Disciples are expected to study the advice given to them by their spiritual master.
The Prophet has educated his disciples relating to their rights and obligations. For example, believers should discern the significance of issues such as pilgrimage, throwing stones at the offender, organization of ceremonies at the temple, and the need to fight for the holy land. The religious leader has located the place, which is termed as the slaughterhouse. The Prophet has completed the pilgrimage. Devotees need to follow the model of the spiritual master. In this way, they can accomplish their spiritual goal (Gentleman and Stuart 652).
The work refers to Jesus, the son of Mary. Jesus is also termed as a Prophet. Muhammad avers that God has sent him to liberate people from the material world. He counsels them not to repeat the blunders that they committed earlier. For example, Jesus had asked them to follow his path. His disciples failed to follow Jesus, and this led to his death. Muhammad demonstrates that he has a direct connection with God.
Jesus had sent his disciples to different parts of the world. Similarly, Muhammad decides to send his disciples to Palestine. The Prophet directed his disciple Usman to rule Syria. His disciples have followed his counsel (Gentleman and Stuart 653). The work, in this way, demonstrates the perception regarding not only Muslim Prophet, but also the Christian religious leaders.
The work also refers to ill health and demise of the Prophet. He has declined to take medicine. He chastises his family members when they coerce him to take medicine. The Prophet, even during his infirmity, offers a prayer to the God along with his disciples. He has sanctified his disciples (Gentleman and Stuart 683).
The work can be deemed as a hagiography. It has recounted the life story of Prophet Muhammad. His spiritual powers have been explicated. Muhammad is the central character of the work. His disciples have appreciated his guidance.
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Gentleman, Marvin, and Stuart, Schaar. The Middle East and Islamic World Reader. New York: Grove Press, 2012. Print.