Next in importance are historical works by writers of the 2nd and 3rd centuries of the Muslim era (AH – 8th and 9th century CE). These include the traditional Muslim biographies of Muhammad (the sira literature), which provide further information on Muhammad's life.
The earliest surviving written sira (biographies of Muhammad and quotes attributed to him) is Ibn Ishaq's Life of God's Messenger written c. 767 CE (150 AH). The work is lost, but was used verbatim at great length by Ibn Hisham and Al-Tabari. Another early source is the history of Muhammad's campaigns by al-Waqidi (death 207 of Muslim era), and the work of his secretary Ibn Sa'd al-Baghdadi (death 230 of Muslim era).
Many scholars accept the accuracy of the earliest biographies, though their accuracy is unascertainable. Recent studies have led scholars to distinguish between the traditions touching legal matters and the purely historical ones. In the former sphere, traditions could have been subject to invention while in the latter sphere, aside from exceptional cases, the material may have been only subject to "tendential shaping".
Famous quotes containing the words early and/or biographies:
“In early times every sort of advantage tends to become a military advantage; such is the best way, then, to keep it alive. But the Jewish advantage never did so; beginning in religion, contrary to a thousand analogies, it remained religious. For that we care for them; from that have issued endless consequences.”
—Walter Bagehot (18261877)
“Why I love the ancients so much? Aside from everything else, when I read them, the entire past between them and me unfolds at the same time. The hearts of how many heroes and poets may have been set on fire by Plutarchs biographies which now inspire me with their own and with borrowed flames!”
—Franz Grillparzer (17911872)