Why There Is No Shi'a Biography Of The Prophet? - Our Prophet 1
The most documented personality in history is the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him. A man sent 14 centuries ago, everything about him was documented. How he would walk, how he would speak, how he would give a sermon, how he would live amongst his companions, him going to war, him making peace treaties. Really, no figure in history in that era was as documented as the Holy Prophet, salla Allahu 'alayhi wa alihi. He is the most documented figure in history. And that is truly amazing.
You know, one of the sermons of the Prophet, Khutbat ul-Ghadir. He gave a sermon before appointing Imam 'Ali, 'alayhi as-salam. It was a one hour sermon, one hour, and probably based on my research, the longest sermon the Prophet ever gave. One hour under the hot sun in Ghadir Khumm. Every word of it is documented. Do you have something similar to that where a figure who lived 1400 years ago gave a speech and every word of it was preserved?
This is one of the blessings of Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, that so many details about the Prophet's life survived until today. And Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, really blessed this Muslim Ummah by giving us so much information about the Prophet's life.
Now, when we talk about the biography of the Prophet, while there were issues and challenges, yet we can reconstruct the Prophet's life and biography in several ways. First of all, we have the Imams of Ahl ul-Bayt peace be upon them, who would give us a lot of details about the Prophet's life. Yes, we do not have a Shi'a biography.
Why? Because at that time, the Shi'a were heavily persecuted. They did not have the freedom to go and write about the Prophet's life. They were monitored and persecuted by the government. So really, you do not have a Shi'a Sirah book, a Shi'a biography book from those times. They were not given that opportunity.
Secondly, you really needed a lot of resources because you had to go travel, gather the clues, find documents. This required a lot of money and effort. And that is why you will find the major historians who wrote the biography of the Prophet, they were employed by who? By the governments of their time. Like Harun Rashid al 'Abbasi, he was not Rashid, he was not guided. Harun al 'Abbasi, this 'Abbasid caliph, he would employ historians, some of them have written the biography for us. He would give them the money and the support, and he would tell them, write the biography of the Prophet. Of course, according to their own perspective.
But for the followers of Ahl ul-Bayt, the governments would persecute them. And that is why you do not have a full Shi'a biography of the Prophet. Because the Shi'as were heavily persecuted. So, what we have is like a jigsaw puzzle. We have to fill in the pieces.
We examine these books of Sirah that we have. Anything that is compatible with the Qur'an, with the Ahadith of Ahl ul-Bayt, with the character of the Prophet, we accept. Because the Prophet, he himself says in a number of Hadiths [narrations], he says, whatever you hear about me, if it is compatible with the Book of God, accept it. If it is not, then reject it. And he warned - the Prophet, peace be upon him, in our Hadith books, even the Sunni Hadith books, there are Hadiths that say the Prophet warned. He forewarned that after me, so many liars will come, 'Takthuru 'alayya Kadhdhaba'- 'So, many liars will come and they will forge hadiths.' So be careful.
Ibn 'Abbas, he has an interesting Hadith. He says, if you ever hear me talking about the Prophet and giving you details, if you find that it contradicts the principles of the Qur'an, and it is something that people find unacceptable, then know that I am lying. In other words, he is telling us that there is nothing about the Prophet's life that is immoral, that is unacceptable to society. So if you find a Hadith that is difficult for society to accept, it is defaming the Prophet, it is contradicting the principles of Qur'an, automatically know that what? This is a false Hadith.
So, the Imams of Ahl ul-Bayt peace be upon them, they really contributed to giving us a picture of the Prophet's life. But we have to fill in the pieces. It is a big puzzle. We have to solve the puzzle. We have to look at every segment of the Prophet's life. First, see what exists in these biographies and then we have to see, is this contradictory or not? Does this fit with the Qur'an or not? Does this fit with the personality of the Prophet or not? That gives us a better understanding of the Prophet's life.
Now, today there are Shi'a biography books today, but we do not have any early sources. What we have is basically the Qur'an, the verses of the Qur'an, the Tafsir, the Ahadith of Ahl ul-Bayt and these Sirah books. You put them all together and you get a biography book.
The most comprehensive biography book that we have today is "As-Sahih min as-Sirat an-Nabi". It is 35 volumes by as-Sayyid Ja'far al-'Amili. It is 35 volumes on the life of the Prophet. So, this is what he does in this book. And a lot of what we will discuss will be based on this book. It is in Arabic, "As-Sahih min as-Sirat an-Nabi" Salla Allahu 'alayh wa alihi. So, what is authentic from the Sirah of the Prophet. This was written in the last decade. This is recent. He is still alive. The author is still alive. Sayyid Ja'far al-'Amili. He lives in Lebanon. Sayyid Ja'far Murtadha al-'Amili. He is also known as the Sayyid Ja'far Murtadha. No, this has not been translated into English, it should be. Because it is a great work. It is full of sources, references.
So, he starts from day one. He analyses the Prophet's life. What does Ibn Ishaq says? What does Ibni Hisham says? The Qur'an, the Ahadith of Ahl ul-Bayt and he gives us an analysis about that event and that stage and the Prophet's life. So this is the most comprehensive work that we have. We have some small biographies here and there, but this is 35 volumes. So it is huge. And there is a lot of analysis in it.