Amidst numerous exemplary scholarly works depicting the life of our noble Prophet (peace be upon him), Martin Ling’s “Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources” provides a total new account of the life of the Prophet, perhaps new details that haven’t been elaborated in other accounts.

Amidst numerous exemplary scholarly works depicting the life of our noble Prophet (peace be upon him), Martin Ling’s Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources stands out as an exemplary source, providing a whole new account of the life of the Prophet, perhaps new details that haven’t been elaborated in other accounts.

However, his definitive vivid account of the life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), based primarily on old Arab sources that go back to the 8th century, is not in any way contradictory to those other works that presented the life of the concluding prophets but rather it offers new insights and new details. The book, furthermore, includes experts of original English translations of insightful speeches by men and women who heard the Prophet speak and are considered eye-witnesses of his life. They’re people who lived close to him and witnessed his acts and the way he interacted with situations and events he encountered throughout various stages of his life.

Among references used in this exquisite book, first published in 1983 and still in print; Ibn Ishaq (references here are to Wustenfeld’s edition of Sirat Rasul Allah, a life of the Prophet by Muhammad ibn Ishaq in the annotated recension of Abdul Malek ibn Hesham). Also Ibn Sa’ad (the references are to the Leyden edition of Kitab al-Tabaqat al Kabir by Muhammad ibn Sa’d). Also there is Waqidi (and the references are to Marsden Jones’s edition of Kitab al Maghazi, A Chronicle of the Prophet’s Campaigns, by Muhammad ibn Umar al- Waqidi).

Also known as Abu Bakr Siraj al-Din, Martin Lings was an English Muslim writer and scholar who started developing interest in Sufi Islam in 1939, when he traveled to Egypt to visit a friend who was a professor at Cairo University and assistant to the French-Born Sufi Muslim Rene Guneon who used to believe that all great religions originate from the same eternal wisdom. Lings was also influenced by Frithjof Schuon, who adopted views similar to Guneon, and took him as his Sufi master.

A distinctive element of Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources that shouldn’t be sidestepped is the vivid narrative style of the author who skillfully managed to make the reader feel as though he were part of a stream of events that took place some 1500 years ago.

Translated into several languages, the book has earned numerous awards, including the acknowledgement of as best biography of the Prophet in English at the National Seerat Conference in Islamabad.

Best known as the author of a very popular and positively reviewed biography, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, Martin Lings died in 2005, but before his death, a newly revised edition of the book was published including final updates incorporated into its contents, containing extra details pertaining to Prophet Muhammad’s endeavors as well as accounts covering the spread of his message reaching Syria and neighboring states surrounding the Arabian Peninsula. His in depth and rich knowledge about Islam paved the way for active participation in many conferences and events throughout the world, where he gave many speeches and shared much of his comprehensive and all-encompassing insights into Islam, which earned him a reputable and renown status among the Western Muslim communities.

Lings’ unrivaled Islamic knowledge is primarily best manifested in his masterpiece Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources.

Wassalaam,

Maha Youssuf

maha@muslimtribune.org

Posted on: July 8, 2011