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Abu Muhammad 'Abd al-Malik bin Hisham ibn Ayyub al-Himyari (Arabic: أبو محمد عبدالمالك بن هشام‎), or Ibn Hisham, edited the biography of Islamic prophet Muhammad written by Ibn Ishaq.[1]

Abu Muhammad 'Abd al-Malik bin Hisham
TitleIbn Hisham
Died7 May 833
EraIslamic golden age
RegionBasra and Egypt
Main interest(s)Prophetic biography
Notable work(s)The Life of the Prophet
Senior posting



Ibn Hisham was probably a native of Basra and moved later to Egypt,[2] It seems possible that while his family were from Basra, of Himyarite origin, he was born in Old Cairo.[3] In Egypt he gained renown as a grammarian and student of language and history. His origins have alternatively been traced to both Mu'afir ibn Ya'far, and to Dhuhli.[2]

Biography of Prophet Muhammed & other worksEdit

  • As-Sirah an-Nabawiyyah, an edited version of Ibn Ishaq's original work,[4] and considered a classic biography of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.[5][6] His knowledge of Ibn Ishaq's biography derived from Ziyād al-Baqqāʾi (d. 183/799), who lived mostly in Kufa.[7] Later Ibn Hisham's As-Sira would chiefly be transmitted by his pupil, Ibn al-Barqī.[7]

Ibn Ishaq's work is lost and is now only known in the recensions of Ibn Hisham and al-Tabari, although several other recensions exited that are now lost or survive only in fragments.[8] According to Fred Donner, the material in Ibn Hisham and al-Tabari is "virtually the same".[8] Ibn Hisham's more accurate versions of some poems mentioned in the Sira, provide explanations of difficult words and phrases.[7] However some material found in al-Tabari and not preserved by Ibn Hisham, is mainly not directly related to Muhammad.[7] Al-Tabari also includes the controversial episodes of the Satanic Verses and the story of Muhammad's attempted suicide, while ibn Hisham does not.[9][10] Ibn Hisham admits in the preface that he omitted matters from Ibn Ishaq's biography that "would distress certain people".[11][12]

Other worksEdit

Ibn Hisham wrote a work on South Arabian antiquities: Kitab al-Tijan li ma'rifati muluk al-zaman (Book of Crowns in knowing kings of the age).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Kathryn Kueny, The Rhetoric of Sobriety: Wine in Early Islam, pg. 59. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001. ISBN 9780791490181
  2. ^ a b Mustafa al-Suqa, Ibrahim al-Abyari and Abdul-Hafidh Shalabi, Tahqiq Sirah an-Nabawiyyah li Ibn Hisham, ed.: Dar Ihya al-Turath, pp. 23-4
  3. ^ William Muir, The Life of Mahomet: With Introductory Chapters on the Original Sources for the Biography of Mahomet, and on the Pre-Islamite History of Arabia, vol. 1, pg. xciv. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1861.
  4. ^ Mahmood ul-Hasan, Ibn Al-At̲h̲ir: An Arab Historian : a Critical Analysis of His Tarikh-al-kamil and Tarikh-al-atabeca, pg. 71. New Delhi: Northern Book Center, 2005. ISBN 9788172111540
  5. ^ Antonie Wessels, A Modern Arabic Biography of Muḥammad: A Critical Study of Muḥammad Ḥusayn , pg. 1. Leiden: Brill Publishers, 1972.
  6. ^ Ira M. Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies, pg. 18. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. ISBN 9780521779333
  7. ^ a b c d Montgomery Watt, W. (1968). "Ibn Hishām". Encyclopaedia of Islam. 3 (2nd ed.). Brill Academic Publishers. pp. 800–801. ISBN 9004081186.
  8. ^ a b Donner, Fred McGraw (1998). Narratives of Islamic origins: the beginnings of Islamic historical writing. Darwin Press. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-87850-127-4.
  9. ^ Raven, Wim, Sīra and the Qurʾān – Ibn Isḥāq and his editors, Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an. Ed. Jane Dammen McAuliffe. Vol. 5. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006. p29-51.
  10. ^ Cf., Ibn Ishaq (Guillaume's reconstruction, at pp. 165-167) and al-Tabari (SUNY edition, at VI: 107-112).
  11. ^ Holland, Tom (2012). In the Shadow of the Sword. Doubleday. p. 42.
  12. ^ Newby, Gordon Darnell; Ibn Isḥāq, Muḥammad (1989). The Making of the Last Prophet: A Reconstruction of the Earliest Biography of Muhammad. University of South Carolina Press. p. 9.

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