Foreword to the first Swedish translation © GF Haddad 2005
Twenty-three years after its first publication in 1983, Muḥammad: his life based on the earliest sources by the late Abū Bakr Sirāj al-Dīn (Martin Lings, d. 2004) continues its lead as the best-written work of Prophetic biography in English and has now been translated into a dozen languages. The readers’ blurbs from distinguished writers on the back cover call it “superb… scrupulous… exhaustive… mesmerising… easy and absorbing… enthralling… engrossing… majestic… gripping… fascinat[ing].” Indeed, Lings’ lofty English, his knowledge of genealogy, his reflexive and worshipful narrative style, and his excellent adab with the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) all deserve such glowing praise.
Sirat ibn Hisham – Abridged English Translation
Abridgment done by Abdus-Salam M. Harun. He writes in the Introduction:
In this ‘abridgment’, l tried to extract elements from the original work to present it in a new form that is allowed for uninterrupted reading, while being careful about the original text so the reader could cite it. I did not replace a letter of the original text so as to be honest in performance. I referred to Ibn Hisham’s wordings in the beginning of the subject or in footnotes, but the whole text is of Ibn Ishaq as narrated by Ibn Hisham.
I mentioned the chain of authorities only when it was indispensable for the subject by quoting what had been reported by Ibn Ishaq or Ibn Hisham. To make the text coherent I interpreted what was needed of explanation, relying on accredited Sirah commentaries and linguistic references.
Abridgement is a kind of facilitation for those who are unable to read the original and it serves to link today’s youth to their heritage. Allah willing, you would be able to read this book in a few days and acquire an immediate benefit, while reading the original, if possible, would take a few months.