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Abu Muhammad 'Abd al-Malik bin Hisham ibn Ayyub al-Himyari al-Mu'afiri al-Baṣri (Arabic: أبو محمد عبدالملك بن هشام ابن أيوب الحميري المعافري البصري‎),[1] or Ibn Hisham, edited the biography of Islamic prophet Muhammad written by Ibn Ishaq.[2] He was said to have mastered Arabic philology in a way which only Sibawayh had.[3]

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 has been said to have grown up in Basra and moved afterwards to Egypt,[4] His family was native to Basra but he himself was born in Old Cairo.[5] He gained a name as a grammarian and student of language and history in Egypt. His family was of Himyarite origin and belongs to Banu Ma‘afir tribe of Yemen.[1][6]

Biography of Prophet MuhammedEdit

Ibn Hisham wrote As-Sirah an-Nabawiyyah, an edited version of Ibn Ishaq's original work.[7] It is now considered one of the classic works on the biography of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.[8][9] His knowledge of Ibn Ishaq's biography was derived from Ziyād al-Baqqāʾi (d. 183/799), who lived mostly in Kufa.[10] Later Ibn Hisham's As-Sira would chiefly be transmitted by his pupil, Ibn al-Barqī.[10]

Ibn Ishaq's work is lost and is now only known in the recensions of Ibn Hisham and al-Tabari, although several other recensions existed that are now lost or survive only in fragments.[11] According to Fred Donner, the material in Ibn Hisham and al-Tabari is "virtually the same".[11] Ibn Hisham provided more accurate versions of some of the poems mentioned in the Sira, and explained difficult words and phrases.[10] However, there is some material to be found in al-Tabari that was not preserved by Ibn Hisham, mainly material not directly relevant to Muhammad.[10] Al-Tabari also includes the controversial episodes of the Satanic Verses and the story of Muhammad's attempted suicide, while ibn Hisham does not.[12][13] Ibn Hisham admits in the preface that he omitted matters from Ibn Ishaq's biography that "would distress certain people".[14][15]

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. ^ a b Nadwi Muinuddin (1929). Catalogue Of The Arabic And Persian Manuscripts Vol Xv. pp. 182–183.
  2. ^ Kathryn Kueny, The Rhetoric of Sobriety: Wine in Early Islam, pg. 59. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001. ISBN 9780791490181
  3. ^ Ibn Khaldun, Muqaddimah, vol. 2, pg. 298. Trns. Franz Rosenthal. Issue 43 of Bollingen Series (General) Series. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1967. ISBN 9780691097978
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Mustafa al-Suqa, Ibrahim al-Abyari and Abdul-Hafidh Shalabi. Tahqiq Sirah an-Nabawiyyah li Ibn Hisham (PDF) (in Arabic). pp. 44-45–46.
  7. ^ 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
  8. ^ Antonie Wessels, A Modern Arabic Biography of Muḥammad: A Critical Study of Muḥammad Ḥusayn , pg. 1. Leiden: Brill Publishers, 1972.
  9. ^ Ira M. Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies, pg. 18. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. ISBN 9780521779333
  10. ^ a b c d Montgomery Watt, W. (1968). "Ibn Hishām". Encyclopaedia of Islam. 3 (2nd ed.). Brill Academic Publishers. pp. 800–801. ISBN 9004081186.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Cf., Ibn Ishaq (Guillaume's reconstruction, at pp. 165-167) and al-Tabari (SUNY edition, at VI: 107-112).
  14. ^ Holland, Tom (2012). In the Shadow of the Sword. Doubleday. p. 42.
  15. ^ 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.

External linksEdit