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First published in 1955

Reissued in Pakistan 1967

Fifteenth Impression 2001

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It is a pleasure to acknowledge the debt that I owe to the friends whom I have consulted in the many and various difficulties which beset a translator of such a long text as the Sira on which there is no commentary worthy of the name. My thanks are especially due to my old friend Professor A. A. Affifi of Alexandria, Professor A. Kh. Kinani of Damascus, Dr. Abdullah al-Tayib of Khartoum, Dr. M. A. Azzam of Cairo, and Professor A. K. S. Lambton of London. Particularly I would thank Dr. W. Arafat for his self-sacrificing labour in reading the whole of my translation in manuscript, and for bringing its shortcomings to my notice. If, with reference to this book of mine, I am ever able to solace myself with the words kqfa'l-mar'a fadlan an tu'adda ma'dyibuh, it will be in great measure due to his ready help and eagle eye.
Last, but not least, I gratefully acknowledge the generosity of the School of Oriental and African Studies in meeting the cost of production. Without this help it would have been impossible to publish the book. I hope that in the years to come it will stand as a modest tribute to the School's great interest in Oriental studies and also help to further cooperation and friendliness between my country and the Islamic world.






Subject Index supplement


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS                                                               v

INTRODUCTION                                                                         xiii

The Author                                                                                 xiii

The Sira                                                                                     xiv

The Editor Ibn Hisham                                                                    xli

Characteristics                                                                                                        xix

The Poetry                                                                                 xxiv

The Partal Restoration of the lost Original                                          xxx           

Ibn Ishaqs Reputation                                                                                       xxxiv

The Translation                                                                                                       xl

The Text                                                                                                                   xli

A Fragment of the Lost Book of Musa b. 'Uqba                                   xliii




Part  I







Genealogy                                                                                              3

The soothsayers Shiqq and Satih                                                                4

Abu Karib's expedition to Yathrib                                                                6

His sons Hassan and 'Amr                                                                        12

Lakhni'a Dhu Shanatir                                                                              13

Dhu Nuwas                                                                                            14

Christianity in Najran                                                                               14

'Abdullah b. al-Thamir and the Christian martyrs                                            16

Abyssinian domination of the Yaman                                                          18

Abraha's abortive attack on Mecca                                                             21

Persian domination of the Yaman                                                                30

The descendants of Nizar b. Ma'add                                                           34

Origin of idolatry among the Arabs                                                             35

Arab taboos                                                                                          40

The descendants of Mudar                                                                       40

The digging of Zamzam                                                                                            45,    62

Kinana and Khuza'a expel Jurhum and occupy the Ka'ba                                 46

The hajj in the Jahiliya                                                                             49

Quraysh predominate in Mecca                                                                 52

Internal dissensions                                                                                56

The wells of Mecca                                                                                 65

'Abdu'l-Muttalib vows to sacrifice his son                                                    66

'Abdullah father of the prophet                                                                    68

Amina mother of the prophet                                                                     69

His birth and fostermother                                                                        69

His mother's death                                                                                  73

Death of 'Abdu'l-Muttalib and elegies thereon                                              73

Abu Talib becomes Muhammad's guardian                                                  79

The monk Bahira                                                                                     79

The sacrilegious war                                                                                82

Muhammad marries Khadija                                                                      82

Rebuilding of the Ka'ba                                                                            84

The Plums                                                                                             87

Jews, Christians, and Arabs predict Muhammad's mission                               90

Salman the Persian                                                                                  95

Early monotheists                                                                                   98

The Gospel prophecy of the sending of 'the Comforter'                                 103



Part II





His call and the beginning of the Quran                                                      111

Khadija accepts Islam                                                                             111

Prayer prescribed                                                                                   112

'All the first male Muslim, then Abu Bakr and his converts                             114

Muhammad preaches and Quraysh reject him                                              117

Abu Talib protects him from Quraysh                                                        118

Persecution of Muhammad                                                                      130

Hamza accepts Islam                                                                              131

'Utba attempts a compromise                                                                   132

Conference with Quraysh leaders. The chapter of The Cave                           133

'Abdullah b. Mas'ud recites the Quran publicly                                            141

Meccans persecute Muhammad's followers                                                143

The first emigrants to Abyssinia                                                               146

Quraysh try to get them sent back                                                             150

How the Negus gained his throne                                                             153

'Umar accepts Islam                                                                                155

The document proclaiming a boycott                                                         159

Active opposition to Muhammad                                                              161

His temporary concession to polytheism                                                    165

The return of the first emigrants                                                                167

'Uthman b. Maz'un and Abu Bakr renounce their protectors                              169

Annulling of the boycott                                                                        172

Tufayl b. 'Amr accepts Islam                                                                    175

Abu JahPs dishonesty                                                                           177

Rukana wrestles with Muhammad                                                             178

Some Christians accept Islam                                                                   179

Suras 108 and 6                                                                                     180

The night journey and the ascent to heaven                                                181

Allah punishes the mockers                                                                     187

The story of Abu Uzayhir                                                                        187

Death of Abu Talib and Khadija                                                                191

Muhammad preaches in al-Ta'if                                                                 192

Muhammad preaches to the Beduin                                                           194

Iyas accepts Islam                                                                                  197

Beginning of Islam among the Helpers                                                       197

The first pledge at al-'Aqaba                                                                    198

Institution of Friday prayers in Medina                                                      199

The second pledge at al-'Aqaba                                                                201

Names of the twelve leaders                                                                     204

'Amr's idol                                                                                            207

Conditions of the pledge and names of those present                                   208

Allah orders Muhammad to fight                                                              212

The Emigrants to Medina                                                                        213

Those with whom they lodged                                                                 218



Part III



TRIUMPH, AND DEATH                                                             219



Muhammad's hijra                                                                                                             219

He builds a mosque and houses in Medina                                                                  221

Covenant with the Jews and men of Medina                                                                231

Brotherhood between the Emigrants and the Helpers                                                234

The Call to Prayer                                                                                                             235

Abu Qays                                                                                                                           236

Jewish opponents                                                                                                             239

'Abdullah b. Salam accepts Islam                                                                                   240

Jews joined by hypocrites among the Helpers                                                            242

Disaffected rabbis                                                                                                             246

The chapter of The Cow and Jewish opposition                                                         247

Deputation from the Christians of Najran                                                                     270

The disaffected                                                                                                                  277

Fever in Medina                                                                                                                279

Date of the hijra                                                                                                                 281

The first raid: on Waddan                                                                                                281

Hamza's raid to the coast                                                                                                 283

Raid on Buwat                                                                                                                   285

Raid on al-'Ushayra                                                                                                          285

Raid on al-Kharrar                                                                                                             286

Raid on Safawan                                                                                                               286

Fighting in the sacred month                                                                                          286

The change of the Qibla                                                                                                  289

Battle of Badr                                                                                                                     289

Zaynab sets out for Medina                                                                                           314

Abii'l-'As accepts Islam                                                                                                   316

'Umayr b. Wahb accepts Islam                                                                                       318                                         

The chapter of The Spoils                                                                                               321

Names of the Emigrants who fought at Badr                                                327

Names of the Helpers who fought at Badr                                                   330

Names of the Quraysh prisoners                                                               338

Verses on the battle                                                                               340

Raid on B. Sulaym                                                                                 360

Raid called al-SawIq                                                                               361

Raid on Dhii Amarr                                                                                362

Raid on al-Furu'                                                                                     362

Attack on B. Qaynuqa'                                                                            363

Raid on al-Qarada                                                                                  364

Killing of Ka'b b. al-Ashraf.                                                                      364

Muhayyisa and Huwayyisa                                                                     369

Battle of Uhud                                                                                      370

The Quran on Uhud                                                                               391

Names of the Muslims slain at Uhud                                                          401

Names of the polytheists slain at Uhud                                                      403

Verses on Uhud                                                                                    404

The day of al-Rajir                                                                                 426

Poems thereon                                                                                      429

Treachery at Bi'r Ma'una                                                                         433

B. al-Nadir exiled                                                                                      437

Poetry thereon                                                                                      439

Raid of Dhatu'1-Riqa'                                                                              445

Last expedition to Badr                                                                            447

Raid on Dumatu'l-Jandal                                                                          449

Battle of the Ditch                                                                                  456

Attack on B. Qurayza                                                                             461

Poetry thereon                                                                                        470

Killing of Sallam                                                                                      482

'Amr b. al-'As and Khalid b. al-Walld accept Islam                                           484

Attack on B. Lihyan                                                                               485

Attack on Dhu Qarad                                                                             486

Attack on B. al-Mustaliq                                                                         490

Scandal about 'A'isha                                                                             493

The affair of al-Hudaybiya                                                                         499

The willing homage                                                                                  503

The armistice                                                                                        504

Those left helpless                                                                                 507

Women who migrated after the armistice                                                     509

Expedition to Khaybar                                                                              510

al-Aswad the shepherd                                                                           519

Division of the spoils of Khaybar                                                              521

Affair of Fadak                                                                                        523

Names of the Dariyun                                                                             523

Return of the second batch of emigrants                                                    526

The fulfilled pilgrimage                                                                           530

Raid on Mu'ta                                                                                       531

The occupation of Mecca                                                                       540

Khalid followed by 'Ali go forth as missionaries                                              561

Khalid destroys al-'Uzza.                                                                         565

Battle of Hunayn                                                                                   566

Verses thereon                                                                                      572

Capture of al-Ta if                                                                                  587

Division of the spoils of Hawazin                                                              593

Ka'b b. Zuhayr                                                                                      597

His ode                                                                                                598

Raid on Tabuk                                                                                      602

The opposition mosque                                                                          609

Those who hung back from the raid on Tabuk                                               610

Destruction of al-Lat                                                                               615

Abu Bakr leads the pilgrimage                                                                  617

Hassan's odes on the campaigns                                                              624

The Year of the Deputations                                                                    627

The B. Tamlm                                                                                       628

'Amir b. al-Tufayl and Arbad b. Qays                                                         631

Deputation from B. Sa'd                                                                          634

Deputation from 'Abdu'1-Qays                                                                 635

Deputation from B. ijanlfa                                                                        636

Deputation from Tayyi'                                                                           637

'Adiy b. Hatim                                                                                       637

Deputation of Farwa                                                                               639

Deputation from B. Zubayd                                                                     640

Deputation from Kinda                                                                           641

Deputation from al-Azd                                                                          642

Deputation from Himyar                                                                          642

Farwa b. 'Amr accepts Islam                                                                     644

B. Harith accept Islam                                                                             645

The false prophets Musaylima and al-Aswad                                              648

The farewell pilgrimage                                                                           649

Usama's expedition to Palestine                                                                652

Muhammad's missions to foreign rulers                                                     652

A summary of Muhammad's raids and expeditions                                       659

Ghalib's raid on B. al-Mulawwah                                                               660

Zayd's raid on Judham                                                                            662

Zayd's raid on B. Fazara                                                                          664

'Abdullah b. Rawaha's raid to kill al-Yusayr                                                    665

'Abdullah b. Unays's raid to kill Khalid b. Sufyan                                         666

'Uyayna's raid on B. al-'Anbar                                                                   667

Ghalib's raid on B. Murra                                                                           667

'Amr b. al-'As's raid on Dhatu'l-Salasil                                                           668

Ibn Abu Hadrad's raid on Idam                                                                                      669

His raid on al-Ghaba                                                                                                         671

'Abdu'l-Rahman's raid on Dumatu'l-Jandal                                                                   672

Abu 'Ubayda's raid to the coast                                                                                     673

Salim b. 'Umayr's raid to kill Abu 'Afak                                                                          675

'Umayr b. 'Adly's raid to kill 'Asma'                                                                                675

Capture of Thumama b. Athal                                                                                         676

'Alqama's raid                                                                                                                    677

Kurz's raid on the Bajilis                                                                                                  677

'Ali's raid on the Yaman                                                                                                   678

Beginning of Muhammad's illness                                                                                 678

His death                                                                                                                            682

The meeting in the hall of B. Sa'ida                                                                                683

Preparations for burial                                                                                                     687

Hassan's panegyric                                                                                                          689


IBN HISHAM'S NOTES                                                                          691


ADDENDA                                                                                          799




Proper Names                                                                                       801

Isnad                                                                                                  810

Books cited                                                                                          814

Subjects                                                                                              815


Subject Index supplement





Page xiii
Muhammad, son of Ishaq, son of Yasar, was born in Medina about A.H. 85 and died in Baghdad in 151.1 His grandfather Yasar fell into the hands of Khalid b. al-Walid when he captured 'Aynu'1-Tamr in A.H. 12, having been held there as a prisoner by the Persian king. Khalid sent him with a number of prisoners to Abu Bakr at Medina. There he was handed over to Qays b. Makhrama b. al-Muttalib b. 'Abdu Manaf as a slave, and was manumitted when he accepted Islam. His family adopted the family name of their patrons. His son Ishaq was born about the year 50, his mother being the daughter of another freedman. He and his brother Musa were well-known traditionists, so that our author's path in life was prepared before he reached manhood.2
He associated with the second generation of traditionists, notably al-Zuhri, 'Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatada, and 'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr. He must have devoted himself to the study of apostolic tradition from his youth, for at the age of thirty he went to Egypt to attend the lectures of Yazld b. Abu Hablb.3 There he was regarded as an authority, for this same Yazid afterwards related traditions on Ibn Ishaq's authority.4 On his return to Medina he went on with the collection and arrangement of the material he had collected. Al-Zuhri, who was in Medina in 123, is reported to have said that Medina would never lack 'ilrn as long as Ibn Ishaq was there, and he eagerly gathered from him the details of the prophet's wars. Unfortunately Ibn Ishaq excited the enmity of Malik b. Anas, for whose work he showed his contempt, and it was not long before his own writings and his orthodoxy were called in question. Probably it was our author's lost book of Sunan5 which excited Malik's ire, for it would have been in the field of law based on the practice of the prophet that differences would be most keenly felt. He was accused of being a Qadari and a Shi'i. Another man attacked his veracity: he often quoted Fatima, the wife of Hisham b. 'Urwa, as the authority for some of his traditions. The husband was annoyed and denied that he had ever met his wife; but as she was nearly forty years Ibn Ishaq's senior it is easily credible that they often met without occasioning gossip. It is not known whether Ibn Ishaq was compelled to leave Medina or whether he went away voluntarily. Obviously he could not have the same standing in a place that housed his chief

1 I.S. vii. u. p. 67.
2 On Musa and Ishaq see J. Fuck, Muhammad ibn Ishaq, Frankfurt a. M. 1925, p. 28.
3 See Biographien von Gewahrsma'nnern des Ibn Ishaq . . ., ed. Fischer, Leiden, 1890. With all those whose death-rates ranged from a.h. 27 to 152 he was in contact personally or at second hand.
4 Wustenfeld, II. vii, from I. al-Najjar and Fuck, 30.                     5 Hajjl Khalifa, ii. 1008.

Page xiv
informants as he would hold elsewhere, and so he left for the east, stopping in Kufa, al-jazlra on the Tigris, and Ray, finally settling in Baghdad. While Mansur was at Hashimlyahe attached himself to his following and presented him with a copy of his work doubtless in the hope of a grant from the caliph. Thence he moved to Ray and then to the new capital of the empire. He died in 150 (or perhaps 151) and was buried in the cemetery of Hayzuran.



Its precursors
It is certain that Ibn Ishaq's biography of the prophet had no serious rival; but it was preceded by several maghazi books. We do not know when they were first written, though we have the names of several first-century worthies who had written notes and passed on their knowledge to the rising generation. The first of these was Aban the son of the caliph 'Uthman.1 He was born in c. 20 and took part in the campaign of Talha and Zubayr against his father's slayers. He died about 100. The language used by al-Waqidi in reference to Ibn al-Mughira, 'he had nothing written down about hadith except the prophet's maghazis which he had acquired from Aban', certainly implies, though it does not demand, that Ibn al-Mughira wrote down what Aban told him. It is strange that neither Ibn Ishaq nor al-Waqidl should have cited this man who must have had inside knowledge of many matters that were not known to the public; possibly as a follower of Ali he preferred to ignore the son of the man the Alids regarded as a usurper. However, his name often appears in the isnads of the canonical collections of hadith. (The man named in Tab. 2340 and I.S. iv. 29 is Aban b. 'Uthman al-Bajali who seems to have written a book on maghazi.2)
A man of much greater importance was 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr b. al-'Awwam (23-94), a cousin of the prophet. 'Urwa's mother was Abu Bakr's daughter Asma'. He and his brother 'Abdullah were in close contact with the prophet's widow 'A'isha. He was a recognized authority on the early history of Islam, and the Umayyad caliph 'Abdu'l-Malik applied to him when he needed information on that subject. Again, it is uncertain whether he wrote a book, but the many traditions that are handed down in his name by I.I. and other writers justify the assertion that he was the founder of Islamic history.3 Though he is the earliest writer whose notes have come down to us, I have not translated the passages from Tab. which reproduce them because they do not seem to add anything of importance to the Sira. They form part of a letter which 'Urwa wrote to 'Abdu 1-Malik who wanted to have accurate knowledge about the prophet's career.4 Much of his material rests on the statements of his aunt 'A'isha.

1 E. Sachau, I.S. in. xxiii. f.
2 Fuck, 8, n. 27; and see J. Horovitz in Islamic Culture, 1927, 538.
3 I.S., Tab., and Bu. are heavily indebted to him.
4 See T. i. 1180, 1224, 1234, 1284, 1634, 1654. 1670, 1770; iii. 2458. Cf. I.H. 754.

Page xv
Like I.I. he was given to inserting poetry in his traditions and justified the habit by the example of 'A'isha who uttered verses on every subject that presented itself.1 He was a friend of the erotic poet 'Umar b. Rabi'a, but thought very little of the prophet's poet Hassan b. Thabit.2
Of Shurahbil b. Sa'd, a freedman, presumably of South Arabian origin, little is known beyond the fact that he wrote a maghazi book. I.I. would have none of him, and he is seldom quoted by other writers. He died in 123, and as he is said to have known Ali he must have died a centenarian. He reported traditions from some of the prophet's companions, and Musa b. 'Uqba3 records that he wrote lists of the names of the emigrants and the combatants at Badr and Uhud. In his old age he was discredited because he blackmailed his visitors: if they did not give him anything he would say that their fathers were not present at Badr! Poverty and extreme age made him cantankerous. The victims of his spleen doubted his veracity, though those best qualified to judge regarded him as an authority.
Another important Tabi' was Wahb b. Munabbih (34-110), a Yamanite of Persian origin. His father probably was a Jew. He is notorious for his interest in, and knowledge of, Jewish and Christian scriptures and traditions ; and though much that was invented later was fathered on him, his K. al-Mubtada' lies behind the Muslim version of the lives of the prophets and other biblical stories. With his books on the legendary history of the Yaman, on aphorisms, on free will, and other matters preserved in part in I.H.'s K. al-Tijdn we are not concerned; but the statement of Hajji Khalifa that he collected the maghazi now confirmed by the discovery of a fragment of the lost work on papyri written in 228. Unfortunately this fragment tells us little that is new; nevertheless, its importance is great because it proves that at the end of the first century, or some years before A.H. 100, the main facts about the prophet's life were written down much as we have them in the later works. Further it shows that, like the other early traditionists, he had little or no use for isnads. Miss Gertrud Melamede4 has compared the account of the meeting at 'Aqaba (cf. i. H. 288, 293, 299) with the literature on the subject and her criticism, literary-and historical, leads her to some important conclusions which do not concern us here. An interesting detail is that Muhammad speaking to 'Abbas calls Aus and Khazraj 'my and your maternal uncles'. 'Abbas throughout runs with the hare and hunts with the hounds.
A little later comes 'Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatada al-Ansari (d. c. 120). He lectured in Damascus on the campaigns of the prophet and the exploits of his companions and seems to have committed his lectures to writing. He too is quite inconsistent in naming his authorities: sometimes he gives an isnad, more often he does not. He returned to Medina to continue his work, and I.I. attended his lectures there. Occasionally he inserted verses in his narrative, and sometimes gave his own opinion.

1 Fischer, Asdnid, 46.                                 2 Horovitz, op. cit. 251.
I. Hajar, Tahdhib, x. 361.                         4 Le Monde Orientate, xxviii. 1934, 17-58.

    Page xvi
Muhammad b. Muslim__b. Shihab al-Zuhri (51-124) was a member of a distinguished Meccan family. He attached himself to 'Abdu'l-Malik, Hisham, and Yazid, and wrote down some traditions for his princely pupils. He was the forerunner of the later traditionists in that he took extraordinary pains to interrogate people, young and old of both sexes, who might possess knowledge of the past. He left a history of his own family and a book of maghazi. Most of his traditional lore survived in the notes of his lectures that his pupils wrote down quoting his authority for the traditions they record. He spent some years in Medina as a young man. I.I. met him when he came south on pilgrimage and he is often named as an authority in the Sira. He was the most important traditionist of his generation, and his influence is to be seen in all collections of canonical hadith. (See further J. Horovitz, Islamic Culture, ii. 33 ff.)
'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr b. Muhammad b. 'Amr b. Hazm (d. 130 or 135) was one of I.I.'s most important informants. His father had been ordered by 'Umar b. 'Abdu'l-'Aziz to write a collection of prophetic hadith, especially what 'Amra d. 'Abdu'l-Rahman said. This latter was a friend of' A'isha and she was the aunt of this Abu Bakr. Already in the time of his son 'Abdullah these writings had been lost. Though we have no record of a book by 'Abdullah, its substance probably once existed in the maghazi of his nephew 'Abdu'l-Malik. As one would expect, the isnad is a matter of indifference to 'Abdullah: he stood too near the events among many who knew of them to need to cite his authorities. Tab. (i. 1837) contains an interesting note on how I.I. got his information. 'Abdullah told his wife Fatima to tell him what he knew on 'Amra's authority.
    Abu'l-Aswad Muhammad b. 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. Naufal (d. 131 or I37) left a maghazi book which sticks closely to 'Urwa's tradition.1
Contemporary with our author in the third generation was Musa b. 'Uqba (c. 55-141), a freedman of the family of al-Zubayr. A fragment of his work has survived and was published by Sachau in 1904.2 As it once rivalled I.I.'s work and is one of our earliest witnesses to the Sira I have given a translation of the extant traditions.3 Although Malik b. Anas, al-Shafi'i, and Ahmad b. Hanbal—an impressive trio—asserted that his book was the most important and trustworthy of all, posterity evidently did not share their opinion or more of his work would have survived.4 I.I. never mentions him. One cannot escape the conviction that petty professional jealousy was as rife in those days as how, and that scholars deliberately refrained from giving their predecessors credit for their achievements. Musa leaned heavily on al-Zuhri. He seems to have carried farther the process of idealizing the prophet.5 He is freely quoted by al-Waqidi, I. Sa'd, al-Baladhuri, Tabari, and I. Sayyidu'1-Nas. He gave

1 See Fuck, 11.                                                                                                                         2 S.B.B.A. xi.
3 v.i. where some doubts about the authenticity of some of them are raised.
4 Goldziher, M.S. ii. 207, shows that it was in circulation as late as the end of the 9th century A.H.         5 Fuck, 12.

Page xvii
lists of those who went to Abyssinia and fought at Badr. The latter Malik regarded as authoritative. He generally gives an isnad, though it is not always clear whether he is relying on a written or an oral source. Once at least he refers to a mass of records left by Ibn 'Abbas (I.S. v. 216). Occasionally he quotes poems.
Apart from the fragment of Wahb b. Munabbih's maghazi the Berlin MS., if it is authentic, is the oldest piece of historical literature in Arabic in existence, and if only for that reason deserves more than a passing notice here. It is of importance also because it carries back some of the traditions in Bukhari (d. 256) more than a century.
Other maghazi works were produced in Iraq, Syria, and the Yaman during the second century, but none of them is likely to have influenced I.I. and they can safely be disregarded.1 What is of significance is the great interest in the life of the prophet that was shown everywhere during this century. But no book known to the Arabs or to us can compare in comprehensiveness, arrangement, or systematic treatment, with I.I.'s work which will now be discussed.

The Sira

The titles The Book of Campaigns or The Book of Campaigns and (the prophet's) Biography or The Book of the Biography and the Beginning and the Campaigns2 are all to be met with in the citations of Arabic authors. Al-Bakka'i, a pupil of I.I., made two copies of the whole book, one of which must have reached I.H. (d. 218) whose text, abbreviated, annotated, and sometimes altered, is the main source of our knowledge of the original work. A good deal more of it can be recovered from other sources.3 The principles underlying I.H.'s revision are set out in his Introduction. Sachau4 suggests that the copy used by T. was made when I.I. was in Ray by Salama b. Fadl al-Abrash al-Ansari, because T. quotes I.I. according to I. Fzdl's riwaya. A third copy was made by Yunus b. Bukayr in Ray. This was used by I. al-Athir in his Usdu'l-Ghdba. A copy of part of this recension exists in the Qarawiyin mosque at Fez. The text, which contains some important additions to the received text, I hope to publish shortly. A fourth copy was that of the Syrian Hamn b. Abu'Isa. These last two copies were used by I. Sa'd.5 Lastly the Fihrist mentions the edition of al-Nufayli (d: 234).
It must not be supposed that the book ever existed in three separate parts: ancient legends, Muhammad's early life and mission, and his wars. These are simply sections of the book which contained I.I.'s lectures.
For the Mubtada' (Mabda') we must go to T's Tafsir and History. The first quotation from it in the latter6 runs thus: 'I. Hamid said, Salama b. al-Fadl told us that I.I. said: "The first thing that God created was light

    1 Fuck, 12.                                           2 See Noldeke, Gesch. Qor. 129, 221.
3 v.i. .                                                 4 I.S. in. xxv.
5 iii. ii. 51, lines 17-19.                         6 p.
B 4080                                                                                         b

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and darkness. Then He separated them and made the darkness night, black exceeding dark; and He made the light day, bright and luminous." ' From this it is clear that 'Genesis' is the meaning of the title of the first section of the book. I.H. skipped all the intervening pages and began with Abraham, the presumed ancestor of Muhammad. Al-Azraqi quotes some passages from the missing section in his Akhbdr Mecca and a few extracts are given by al-Mutahhar b. Tahir.1
The Mubtada' in so far as it lies outside I.H.'s recension is not our concern, though it is to be hoped that one day a scholar will collect and publish a text of it from the sources that survive so that I.I.'s work can be read in its entirety as its importance warrants. In this section I.I. relied on Jewish and Christian informants and on the book of Abu 'Abdullah Wahb b. Munabbih (34-110 or 114) known as K. al-Mubtada' and also al-Isra'-iliyat of which the original title was Qisasu'l-Anbiya'. To him he owed the history of the past from Adam to Jesus2 and also the South Arabian legends, some of which I.H. has retained. This man also wrote a maghazi book, and a fragment of it has survived.3 I.I. cites him by name only once.4 It is natural that a book about Muhammad, 'the seal of the prophets', should give an account of the history of the early prophets, but the history, or legends, of South Arabia demand another explanation. As "Goldziher showed long ago,5 it was in the second half of the first century that the antagonism of north and south, i.e. Quraysh and the Ansar of Medina, first showed itself in literature. The Ansar, proud of their southern origin and of their support of the prophet when the Quraysh rejected him, smarted under the injustice of their rulers and the northerner's claim to superiority. One of the ways in which their resentment manifested itself was in the glorification of Himyar's great past. I.I. as a loyal son of Medina shared the feelings of his patrons and recounted the achievements of their forefathers, and I.H., himself of southern descent, retained in the Sira as much of the original work as he thought desirable. To this accident that LH. was a Himyari we owe the extracts from stories of the old South Arabian kings. I.H. devoted a separate book to the subject, the K. al-Tijan li-ma'rifati muluki l-zaman (fi akhbdri Qahtan).6
The second section of the book which is often called al-Mab'ath begins with the birth of the prophet and ends when the first fighting from his base in Medina takes place. The impression one gets from this section is of hazy memories; the stories have lost their freshness and have nothing of that vivid and sometimes dramatic detail which make the maghazi stories— especially in al-Waqidi—so full of interest and excitement. Thus while the Medinan period is well documented, and events there are chronologically arranged, no such accuracy, indeed no such attempt at it, can be

1 ed. and tr. Cl. Huart, Publ. de Vicole des long. or. viv., s. iv, vol. xvi, i-vi, Paris, 1899-1919.
2 A summary of the contents is given in T. i.
3 See E.I.                                                                                                         4 p. 20.
5 M.S. i. 89-98.                                                                                               6 Haydarabad, 1342.

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claimed for the Meccan period. We do not know Muhammad's age when he first came forth publicly as a religious reformer: some say he was forty, others say forty-five; we do not know his precise relation to the Banu Najjar; the poverty of his childhood ill fits the assertion that he belonged to the principal family in Mecca. The story of those years is filled out with legends and stories of miraculous events which inevitably undermine the modern reader's confidence in the history of this period as a whole. In this section particularly, though not exclusively, I.I. writes historical introductions to his paragraphs. A good example is his foreword to the account of the persecution the prophet endured at the hands of the Meccans: 'When the Quraysh became distressed by the trouble caused by the enmity between them and the apostle and those of their people who accepted his teaching, they stirred up against him foolish fellows who called him a liar, insulted him, and accused him of being a poet, a sorcerer, a diviner, and of being possessed. However the apostle continued to proclaim what God had ordered him to proclaim, concealing nothing, and exciting their dislike by contemning their religion, forsaking their idols, and leaving them to their unbelief'.1 This is not a statement resting on tradition, but a concise summary of the circumstances that are plainly indicated by certain passages of the Quran which deal with this period.
Of the Maghazi history little need be said. For the most part the stories rest on the account of eyewitnesses and have every right to be regarded as trustworthy.

The opinions of Muslim critics on I.I.'s trustworthiness deserve a special paragraph; but here something may be said of the author's caution and his fairness. A word that very frequently precedes a statement is za'ama or za'amu, 'he (they) alleged'. It carries with it more than a hint that the statement may not be true, though on the other hand it may be sound. Thus there are fourteen or more occurrences of the caveat from p. 87 to 148 alone, besides a frequent note that only God knows whether a particular statement is true or riot. Another indication of reserve if not scepticism underlies the expression fi ma dhukira It, as in the story of the jinn who listened to Muhammad as he prayed; Muhammad's order to 'Umar to kill Suwayd; one of Gabriel's visits to Muhammad; the reward of two martyrs to the man killed by a woman.2 An expression of similar import is fi ma balaghani.3
Very seldom does I.I. make any comment of his own on the traditions he records apart from the mental reservation implied in these terms. Therefore when he does express an opinion it is the more significant. In his account of the night journey to Jerusalem and the ascent into heaven

1 p. 183; see also 187, 230 et passim.                                                          2 pp. 281, 356, 357, 308.
3 pp. 232, 235 et passim. Extreme caution introduces the legends of the light at the prophet's birth, 102.

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he allows us to see the working of his mind. The story is everywhere hedged with reservations and terms suggesting caution to the reader. He begins with a tale which he says has reached him (balaghani) from several narrators and he has pieced them together from the stories these people heard (dhukira). The whole subject is a searching test of men's faith in which those endowed with intelligence are specially concerned. It was certainly an act of God, but exactly what happened we do not know. This opinion of his is most delicately and skilfully expressed in the words kayfa shd'a, 'how God wished to show him'. I. Mas'ud's words are prefaced by fi ma balaghani 'anhu. There is nothing in the story to indicate that it is a vision. Al-Hasan's version is much more definite, for he asserts that when Muhammad returned to Mecca he told the Quraysh that he had been to Jerusalem and back during the night and that this so strained the credulity of some of the Muslims that they gave up their faith in his revelations although he was able to give an accurate description of Jerusalem. It is therefore most surprising that al-Hasan should end his story by quoting Sura 13. 62 'We made the vision which we showed thee only for a test to men' in this context. The whole point of al-Hasan's story is thereby undermined, for if the experience was visionary, then there was nothing at all incredible about it. Then follows 'A'isha's statement, reported by one of her father's family, that it was only the apostle's spirit that was transported; his body remained where it was in Mecca. Another tradition by Mu'awiya b. Abu Sufyan bears the same meaning. The fact that he had been asked whether it was a physical or a dream journey shows that the subject was debated before I.I.'s day. Here I.I. makes a profound observation which in effect means that it was immaterial whether the experience was real or visionary because it came from God; and just as Abraham made every preparation to slay his son Isaac in consequence of what he had seen in a dream1 because he recognized no difference between a divine command given at night during sleep and an order given by day when he was awake, so the apostle's vision was just as real as if it had been an actual physical experience. Only God knows what happened, but the apostle did see what he said he saw and whether he was awake or asleep the result is the same.
The description of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus which purports to quote Muhammad's words is prefaced by za'ama'l-Zuhri, not, as often, by the ordinary term haddathani. Now as al-Zuhrl and I.I. knew each other well and must have met quite often, we must undoubtedly infer from the fact that I.I. deliberately substituted the verb of suspicion for the ordinary term used in traditional matters that he means us to take this tradition with a grain of salt.
It is a pity that the excellent impression that one gets of the author's intelligence and religious perception should be marred by the concluding paragraph2 on this subject of the ascent into heaven which incidentally has had far-reaching results on European literature .through the Divine


1 manam                                                                                2 p. 276

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Comedy.1 It rules out absolutely any but a physical experience and ought to have been recorded with its cautionary note before I.I. made his own observations. Possibly the reason for its being out of place is that it is an excerpt from his lecture notes; but whatever the explanation, it mars the effect of his statement of the evidence.2
The phrase ' God knows best' speaks for itself and needs no comment. It is sometimes used when the author records two conflicting traditions and is unable to say which is correct. Another indication of the author's scrupulousness is the phrase 'God preserve me from attributing to the apostle words which he did not use'. His report of Muhammad's first public address at Medina and his order to each of his companions to adopt another as a brother are prefixed by these words and hedged by ft ma balaghani.3
The author does not often give us rival versions of traditions from Medina and Mecca; thus the account of 'Umar's conversion is interesting.4 It illustrates the thoroughness of our author in his search for information about the early days of the prophet's ministry. The first account he says is based on what the traditionists of Medina said: 'Umar was brutal to his sister and brother-in-law who had accepted Islam, but feeling some remorse when he saw blood on her face from the violent blow he had dealt her, and impressed by her constancy, he demanded the leaf of the Quran that she was reading. Having read it he at once accepted it as inspired and went to the prophet to proclaim his allegiance.
The Meccan, 'Abdullah b. Abu Najih, on the authority of two named companions or an anonymous narrator, gives another version in 'Umar's own words to the effect that his conversion was due to his hearing the prophet recite the Quran while praying at the Ka'ba one night. In both narratives it was the Quran which caused his conversion. In the first version 'Umar was affected by the bearing of his sister and secured a part of the Quran to read himself; in the second he was affected by the private devotions of the prophet. The first story is prefixed by fi ma balaghani, but this is cancelled as it were by the express statement that it was the current belief of the people of Medina. I.I. concludes by saying that only God knows what really happened.
A rather difficult problem in literary and historical criticism is posed by the rival traditions5 collected by the indefatigable T. from two of I.I.'s pupils, Yunus b. Bukayr and Salama b. al-Fadl, the latter supported by another pupil of I.I.'s named Ali b. Mujahid. The first had attended his lectures in Kiifa; the other two his lectures at Ray. All three claim that they transmit what I.I. told them on the authority of a certain 'Aflf. I do not know of a parallel in I.I.'s work to a contradiction resting on the authority of the same original narrator. Different traditions from different rawis from different sources are to be expected in any history; but here the same

1 See M. Asin, La escatalogia musulmana.
2 Can it be that I.H. has tampered with the text here?
3 pp. 340 and 344.                     4 pp. 224-9.                 5 T.i. 1162. 8-1163. 2.

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man is introduced as the authority for conflicting traditions such as are to be found in the later collections of hadith.
The first tradition is suspect because it requires us to believe that from the earliest days of his ministry before he had any following apart from a wife and a young nephew Muhammad prophesied the Arab conquest of the Byzantine and Persian empires in the Near East. Nothing in his life gives the slightest support to this claim, though it was to be made good soon after his death.
The second contains no reference to later conquests and may be trustworthy. It definitely fixes the scene at Mina, which is about three miles distant from Mecca. The first account suggests, though it does not assert, that the prophet was in Mecca, as he turned to face the Ka'ba when he prayed. Would he have done this had he been in Mina? Would he not rather have turned in the direction of Jerusalem, his first qibla? I.I. expressly affirms elsewhere1 that while he was in Mecca Muhammad when praying turned his face towards Syria. The second account says nothing about the direction of his prayer. On the whole, then, the second tradition as transmitted by Salama must be given the preference.
It is quite easy to see why I.H. a century later omitted both traditions; they were offensive to the ruling house of 'Abbas as they drew attention to an unhappy past which the rulers, now champions of orthodoxy, would fain have forgotten. But why did I.I. report them both, if in fact he did? On the whole it seems most reasonable to suppose that he first dictated the tradition which Yunus heard in Kufa, notorious for its attachment to the Alid party, and that he afterwards dropped it and substituted the second version which Salama heard in Ray some years later before he went on to Baghdad. T. with his usual thoroughness reported both traditions. The only alternative is to suppose that the reference to the conquests is an interpolation.
There is a subtle difference between these two variants which ought not to be overlooked. At first sight it would seem to be a mere detail that in the first tradition 'Afif wished that he had been the third to pray the Muslim prayer. Now there were already three—Muhammad, Khadija, and Ali. In the second tradition he wished that he had been the fourth. If this latter is the original form of the tradition it means simply that he wished that he had been the first man outside the prophet's family circle to accept Islam. But the first tradition means more than this: by eliminating, as it were, Muhammad himself from the trio it means that Ali was the second human being and the first male to accept Islam and to stand with Khadija at the head of all Muslims in the order of priority. This has always been the claims of the Shi'a and to this day the priority of Ali in this respect is hotly disputed.2

1 p. 190.
2 T. devotes a long section to the traditional claims of Ali, Abu Bakr, and Zayd b. Uaritha, 1159-68. Cf. I.H. 159.


Page xxiii Intrinsically as we have argued, the second tradition has the better claim to authenticity. If that is admitted it follows that either I.I. or his rawi adapted it in the interest of the Alid cause. In view of the accusation of partiality towards the Shl'a which was levelled against I.I.1 it seems probable that he himself gave a subtle twist to the tradition that had come down to him from 'Aflf, and afterwards played for safety.
As one would expect of a book which was written in the eighth century about a great religious reformer, miracles are accepted as a matter of course. It does not matter if a person's alleged power to work miracles makes his early sufferings and failures unintelligible, nor does it matter if the person concerned expressly disclaimed all such powers apart from the recitation of the Quran itself.2 The Near East has produced an enormous number of books on the miracles of saints and holy men and it would be strange indeed if Islam had not followed in the footsteps of its predecessors in glorifying the achievements of its great leader at the expense of his human greatness. Here we are concerned simply with the literary form of such stories, the authorities that are quoted for them, and the way in which our author deals with them. To mention a few:3 the prophet summoned a tree to him and it stood before him. He told it to go back again and back it went. It is interesting to notice that the person for whose benefit this miracle was wrought regarded it as sorcery. The author's father, Ishaq b. Yasar, is responsible for the tale. Another tradition from 'Amr b. 'Ubayd, who claimed to have had it from Jabir b. 'Abdullah via al-Hasan, is merely a midrash composed to explain Sura 5. 14 where it is said that God kept the hands of Muhammad's enemies from doing him violence. The story of the throne of God shaking when the doors of heaven were opened to receive Sa'd shows how these stories grew in the telling. Mu'adh b. Rifa'a al-Zuraqi reported on the authority of 'anyone you like among my clan' that when Sa'd died Gabriel visited the prophet and asked him who it was that had caused such commotion in heaven, whereupon Muhammad, knowing that it must be Sa'd, hurried off at once to find that he had died. However, more was said on the subject: 'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr from 'Amra d. 'Abdu'l-Rahman reported that 'A'isha met Sa'd's cousin outside Mecca and asked him why he did not show more grief for one whose arrival had shaken the very throne of God. An anonymous informant claimed to have heard from al-Hasan al-Basri that the pallbearers found the corpse of this fat, heavy man unexpectedly light, and the prophet told them that there were other unseen bearers taking the weight with them; and again it is repeated that the throne shook. Suhayli has a fairly long passage on the tradition which goes to show that serious minded men did not like this story at all. Some scholars tried to whittle away the meaning by suggesting that the shaking of the throne was a metaphor for the joy

1 v.i.         2 Sura 17. 93 'Am I anything but a human messenger' and cf. 29. 49.
3 pp. 258, 663, 698. J. Horovitz, Der Islam, v. 1914, pp. 41-53, has collected and discussed their origin and antecedents in the hagiology of the East.

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in heaven at Sa'd's arrival; others claimed that the angelic bearers of the throne were meant. But Suhayll will have none of this. The throne is a created object and so it can move. Therefore none has the right to depart from the plain meaning of the words. Moreover, the tradition is authentic while traditions like that of al-Barra' to the effect that it was Sa'd's bed that shook are rightly ignored by the learned. He goes on to point out that al-Bukhari accepted the tradition not only on the authority of Jabir but also on the report of a number of other companions of the prophet—a further indication of the snowball growth of the legend. S. finds it most surprising that Malik rejected the hadith and he adds naively from the point of view of later generations that Malik would not have it mentioned despite the soundness of its transmission and the multitude of narrators, and he adds that it may be that Malik did not regard the tradition as sound! The passage is instructive in that it shows how far I.I. could go in the face of one of the most learned of his contemporaries in Medina. Posterity has sided with I.I. on this matter, but Malik clearly had many on his side at the time, men who would not take at its face value a story which they could not reject out of hand, as he did, with the weight of contemporary opinion behind it.
Another feature that stands out clearly from time to time is the insertion of popular stories on the Goldilocks model. For the sake of the reader I have rendered these stories in accord with modern usage, as the repetition of the same words and the same answer again and again is intolerable to the modern adult. Such stories are the stock-in-trade of the Arabian qass and the storyteller all the world over and invariably lead up to the climax which it is the speaker's intention to withhold until he has his audience on tiptoe. A good example of such stories is the narrative of Muhammad's arrival in Medina and the invitation of one clan after another, always declined with the same words.1
After giving due weight to the pressure of hagiology on the writer and his leaning towards the Shi'a one must, I think, affirm that the life of Muhammad is recorded with honesty and truthfulness and, too, an impartiality which is rare in such writings. Who can read the story of al-Zablr,2 who was given his life, family, and belongings but did not want to live when the best men of his people had been slain, without admitting that here we have a true account of what actually happened ? Similarly who but an impartial historian would have included verses in which the noble generous character of the Jews of the Hijaz was lauded and lamented? The scepticism of earlier writers seems to me excessive and unjustified. We have only to compare later Lives of Muhammad to see the difference between the historical and the ideal Muhammad.3

1 335 f-                                                                         2 P- 691.
3 Noldeke, Islam, v, 1914, has drawn attention to many incidents and characteristics of the Sira which could not have been invented and which show intimate knowledge of the facts.

The Poetry
    Page xxv
Doubts and misgivings about the authenticity of the poems in the Sira are expressed so often by I.H. that no reference to them need be given here. Nevertheless, one should be on one's guard against the tendency to condemn all the poetry out of hand. What I.H. says about the poetry of those who took part in the battle of Badr, whether or not it includes the verses of Hassan b. Thabit, namely 'These verses (of Abu Usama) are the most authentic of those (attributed to) the men of Badr' (p. 534), casts grave doubt on the authenticity of a large section of the poetry of the Sira. Nevertheless I.I. is not to be blamed for the inclusion of much that is undoubtedly spurious without a thorough investigation which has not yet been undertaken. The poems he cites on pp. 284 and 728 he got from 'Asim b. Qatada, while those on pp. 590,789, and 793 come from 'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr.1 We know, too, that Musa b. 'Uqba cited verses.2
An early critic of poetry, al-Jumahi3 (d. 231), though perhaps rather one-sided and ill balanced in his judgement on 1.1., makes some observations which cannot fail to carry conviction. He says: 'Muhammad b. Ishaq was one of those who did harm to poetry and corrupted it and passed on all sorts of rubbish. He was one of those learned in the biography of the prophet and people quoted poems on his authority. He used to excuse himself by saying that he knew nothing about poetry and that he merely passed on what was communicated to him. But that was no excuse, for he wrote down in the Sira poems ascribed to men who had never uttered a line of verse and of women too. He even went to the length of including poems of 'Ad and Thamud! Could he not have asked himself who had handed on these verses for thousands of years when God said: "He destroyed the first 'Ad and Thamud and left none remaining"4 while of 'Ad he said "Can you see anything remaining of them?"5 and "Only God knows 'Ad and Thamud and those who came after them." '6 Some of these poems are quoted by T.7
I. al-Nadlm8 goes farther by suggesting that I.I. was party to the fraud: the verses were composed for him, and when he was asked to include them in his book he did so and brought himself into ill repute with the rhapsodists. Occasionally I.I. says who the authority for the poetry was.9
Obviously at this date criticism of the poetry of the Sira can be based only on historical and perhaps in a lesser degree on literary and stylistic grounds. Some of the poetry dealing with raids and skirmishes, tribal boasting, and elegies seems to come from contemporary sources, and no reasonable person would deny that poetic contests between Meccan and Medinan poets really took place: everything we know of ancient Arab

1 Also pp. 950-1. Cf. the corresponding passages in "J". 1732, 1735.
2 Cf. I.S. iii. 241.
3 Tahaqdt al-Shu'ara', ed. J. Hell, Leiden, 1916, p. 4.
4 Sura 53. 51.                                                             5 Sura 69. 8.                                                                         6 Sura 14. 9.
7 Horovitz, op. cit., cites i. 236, 237, 241, 242.
8 Al-Fihrist, Cairo, 136.                                                                                                                                         9 p. 108.

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society would require us to look for such effusions. As Horovitz pointed out, in pre-Islamic poetry these poetical contests are frequent, and it might be added that in early Hebrew history verses are frequently inserted in the narratives and often put into the mouths of the heroes of the hour. Thus, apart from those poems which undoubtedly were called forth by the events they commemorated, poetry was an integral part of a racial convention which no writer of history could afford to ignore. Probably if all the poetry which I.I. included in the Sira had reached that standard of excellence which his readers were accustomed to expect, none of these charges would have been levelled against him. But when he included verses which were palpably banal, and were at the same time untrue to circumstance, uninspired and trivial, as many undoubtedly are, the developed aesthetic sense of the Arabs which is most delicate where poetry is concerned rejected what he wrote. As al-jumahi said, he brought poetry itself into disrepute by the balderdash he admitted into his otherwise excellent work. And it did not improve matters that much that was good was mingled with more that was bad. It is more than likely that I.I. himself was conscious that all was not well with this poetry, for the general practice of writers is to put the verse into the narrative at the crucial moment (as I.I. at times does), whereas after the prose account of Badr and Uhud he lumps together a whole collection of verse by various 'poets'. It is as though he were silently saying 'This is what has been handed on to me. I know nothing about poetry and you must make your own anthology.'1 Even so, whatever his shortcomings were, it is only fair to bear in mind that I.H. often inserts a note to the effect that the text before him contains lines or words which have not I.I.'s authority.
The subject is one that calls for detailed and careful literary criticism. The history of the cliches, similes, and metaphors needs investigation by a scholar thoroughly grounded in the poetry of the pre-Islamic and Umay-yad eras. Until this preliminary work has been successfully accomplished it would be premature to pass judgement on the poetry of the Sira as a whole. Ancient poetry has suffered greatly at the hands of forgers, plagiarists, and philologists, and the diwans of later poets have not escaped the dishonest rawi. Hassan b. Thabit, the prophet's own poet, has many poems to his name which he would be astounded to hear, and there are comparatively few poets of whom it could be said that the diwans bearing their names contained nothing for which they were not responsible.2

1 And this was precisely his attitude if al-Jumahi is to be believed.
2 I should hardly care to go so far as to assert that the fifth-century poet 'Amr b, Qami'a has. exercised a direct influence on the poetry of the Sira; but the fact remains that there is a great similarity. It is inevitable that the themes of Arab verse should recur constantly. Beduin life varied little from generation to generation. Their horizon was bounded by deserts, and consequently camels and horses, war and its weapons, hospitality and tribal pride were constantly mentioned in song. To trace these themes back to their first singers would bi a task that would leave little leisure for more profitable studies; but nevertheless it is worth noting that the following themes recur in 'Amr and the Sira: the generous man who slaughters camels for the hungry guest in winter when famine deprives even the rich of wealth, when even kinsmen refuse their help; the man who entertains when the camels' udders are dry; the cauldron full of the hump and fat of the camel; those who devote the game of maysir to hospitality, distributing the charge among themselves as the arrows dictate ; the milk of war; war a milch camel; war drawing blood like buckets from a well; a morning draught of the same; the sword blade polished by the armourer; journeys in noonday heat when even the locust rests; the horse that can outrun the wild ass; the flash of the sun on the helmets of the warriors; the chain armour shining like a rippling pool. However interesting this comparison might prove to be, the presence of these cliches and themes in other poets makes it hazardous to assert that 'Amr had a predominating influence. Moreover, what we seek is a pseudo-poet of Umayyad times; and here a hint thrown out by a former colleague, Dr. Abdullah al-Tayyib, to the effect that the poetry of the Sira and that in Waq'at Siffin is very similar, if followed up would probably lead to some interesting discoveries. I.H.'s notes would be found interesting in this connexion. On p. 790 he points out that the words 'We have fought you about its interpretation as we fought you about its divine origin' were spoken by 'Arnmar b. Yasir in reference to another battle [Siffin] and could not have been uttered by 'Abdullah b. Rawaha at the conquest of Mecca, because the Meccans, being pagans, did not believe in the Quran, so that there was no question of a rival interpretation.


Page xxvii
Since these words were written two theses have been written in the University of London: the first by Dr. M. A. 'Azzam deals with the style, language, and authenticity of the poetry contained in the Sira; the second by Dr. W. 'Arafat with the Dizvdn of Hassan b. Thabit. A brief summary of their findings will not be out of place here.
Between the period covered by the Sira and the editing of the book itself loom the two tragedies of Karbala', when al-Husayn and his followers were slain in 61, and the sack of Medina in a.h. 63 when some ten thousand of the Ansar including no less than eighty of the prophet's companions are said to have been put to death. Much of the poetry of the Sira was meant to be read against the background of those tragedies. Its aim is to set forth the claims of the Ansar to prominence in Islam not only as men who supported the prophet when the Quraysh opposed him, but as men descended from kings. The prophet was the grandson of 'Abdu'1-Mut-talib, who was the son of Hashim and a woman of the B. al-Najjar, and so of Yamani stock. 'Your mother was of the pure stock of Khuza'a. . . . To the heroes of Saba' her line goes back', says the poet in his elegy on 'Abdu'l-Muttalib.1
Apart from their great service to the prophet in giving him a home when Quraysh cast him out, the Ansar long before had been partners with Quraysh, for was it not Rizah, the half-brother of Qusayy, who came to the aid of the ancestors of Quraysh from the Yaman ? Had it not been for the Ansar there would have been no Islam: had it not been for their ancestors, the poet implies, Quraysh would not have been established in Mecca.
On p. 18 there is thinly disguised Ansari-Shi'a propaganda: 'The one you killed was the best of us. The one who lived is lord over us and all of you are lords' would be recognized by many as a reference to the killing of al-Husayn and the 'lords' would be the Umayyads. The account of the Tubba's march against Mecca and his great respect for its sanctity stands in clear contrast with the treatment it received from the Umayyads when al-Hajjaj bombarded it.

1 p. 113.

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After a careful study of the language and style of this verse Dr. 'Azzam comes to the conclusion that comparatively little of it dates from the time of the prophet.
Dr. 'Arafat comes to much the same conclusion with regard to the Verse attributed to Hassan. A few of the outstanding arguments will be given here. He finds that the eulogy on the Ansar (p. 893) which is attributed to Ka'b b. Zuhayr is in the same rhyme and metre as the poem of al-Akhtal1 which was written at the instigation of Yazid. There we find the words 'Baseness is under the turbans of the Ansar'. A careful comparison of the relevant passages in the two poems shows that the one in the Sira is the answer to the one in the Aghani.
Abdullah b. Abu Bakr is reported to have said: 'The Ansar were respected and feared until the battle of Harra; afterwards people were emboldened to attack them and they occupied a lowly place.' It is in these circumstances, not those of the prophet's companions daily increasing in power and prestige, that we must look for the background of 'You will find that none ill uses or abuses us but a base fellow who has gone astray' (p. 626).
On p. 474 a poem which I.H. attributes to Hassan's son, 'Abdu'1-Rah-man, obviously dates from a later generation: 'My people are those who sheltered the prophet and believed in him when the people of the land were unbelievers except for choice souls who were forerunners of righteous men and who were helpers with the helpers.' What can this mean but that someone is speaking of the past services of his people to the prophet ? Further, it is strange language to impute to Hassan. It was he who called the newcomers vagrants jalabib and regarded them as an unmitigated nuisance. He did not house any of the muhajirin, nor was he a 'brother' to one of them. A still clearer reference to a former generation is to be found on p. 927 (again I.H. attributed it to Abdu'l-Rahman) which says: 'Those people were the prophet's helpers and they are my people; to them I come when I relate my descent.'
Dr. 'Arafat notes that in the Sira there are seventy-eight poems attributed to Hassan; the authenticity of fifteen of them is questioned or denied outright. The text of the poem on p. 738 in its rival forms illustrates the way in which verses attributed to Hassan were interpolated and additional verses fabricated. Here T. gives only the first five verses; the Biwan interpolates two verses after the first line and adds two at the end. On the other hand, the last three verses in the Sira are not to be found in either of the other authorities. In the Aghdni2 the poem is still longer and according to the riwaya of Mus'ab but without al-Zuhri's authority. The facts which emerge from a study of the circumstances which surround this poem are:

1. Hassan resented the growing numbers and influence of the Muslim refugees.

1 Agh. xiii. 148, xiv. 122.
2 Cairo, 1931, iv. 159. Cf. 157, where the shorter version of T. is given.

Page xxix

2. After the attack on B. al-Mustaliq a quarrel arose between the Meccans and Medinans about the use of a well. 'Abdullah b. Ubayy said: 'They rival our numbers kathara;' he called them jalabib and threatened that when they got back to Medina the stronger a'azz would drive out the weaker. The words italicized are the very words used by Hassan in this poem. From this it is clear that Hassan is expressing not only his own opinion about the Muslims but that of 'Abdullah b. Ubayy and his party.
3. It was during this journey that the scandal about 'A'isha arose.
4. Safwan struck Hassan with his sword. According to the introduction to the poem in the Diwdn Safwan attacked Hassan because he had accused him of spending the night with 'A'isha. But in the Aghdni Safwan wounded Hassan at the instigation of the prophet because his house was the centre of disaffection against the Muslims. The other explanation of the attack on Hassan is added in al-Aghani as an afterthought. However, there is no reason why both versions should not be correct. Hassan's most dangerous offence was his complaint against the Muslim intruders; but when he slandered 'A'isha he provided the prophet with an admirable reason for punishing him severely for an offence which would not engage the sympathies of the Ansaris. Whether loyal or disaffected, they could hardly support their comrade in such a matter.

With the further ramifications of the story we are not concerned; sufficient has been said to show that the poem so far as verse 5 is genuine and is directed solely against the Muslim refugees whose presence had become a nuisance to Hassan. In this poem he says nothing at all about Safwan. The last three lines have doubtless been added to whitewash Hassan. As poetry they will not bear comparison with the genuine verses and T. was thoroughly justified in discarding them.
Another specimen of the spurious poetry fathered on Hassan is to be, found on p. 936 which belongs to a later generation. Here it is not the prophet who is praised but his 'house': 'How noble are the people (qaum) whose party (shi'a) is the prophet! . . . They are the best of all living creatures.' When we remember the resentment with which the Ansar in general and Hassan in particular felt when they got no share in the booty of Hunayn, the line 'Take from them what comes when they are angry and set not your hearts on what they withhold' is singularly inept.
Another point which militates against the authenticity of poems attributed to Hassan is the prominence which is often given to the Aus. It cannot be supposed that a Khazrajite would ignore the achievements of his own tribe or put them in the second place as on p. 455 when we remember that the hostility between the two tribes persisted long after Islam was established. A plain example of a later Ansari's work is given on .p. 711, where the poem begins: 'O my people is there any defence against fate and

Page xxx
can the good old days return ?' an impossible attitude for a Muslim to take during the prophet's lifetime.
Again, when Hassan is reported to have said 'The best of the believers have followed one another to death' (p. 799), it is sufficient to remember that practically all the prophet's principal companions survived Uhud. But when this careless forger wrote all the best Muslims had long been dead. However, we have not got to his main point which is to glorify the house of Hashim: 'They are God's near ones. He sent down His wisdom upon them and among them is the purified bringer of the book.' Here the Alids are the 'friends' or 'saints' of God and Muhammad is little more than a member of their family. Divine wisdom is given to them.
These two studies lay bare the wretched language in which many of these poems are written and incidentally bring out the difficulties which a translator has to cope with when the rules of Arabic syntax and the morphology of the language are treated with scant respect. In fine it may be said that their well-documented conclusions made it abundantly clear that the judgement of the ancient critics—particularly al-Jumahi—is justified up to the hilt.1

The partial restoration of the lost original

    Once the original text of I.I. existed in at least fifteen riwayas:2

1. Ibrahim b. Sa'd, 110-84                                                     Medina
2. Ziyad b. 'Abdullah al-Bakka'I, d. 183                                Kufa
3. 'Abdullah b. Idrls al-Audi, 115-92                                         ,,
4. Yunus'b. Bukayr, d. 199                                                         „
5. 'Abda b. Sulayman, d. 187'8                                                  „
6. 'Abdullah b. Numayr, 115-99
7. Yahya b. Sa'id al-Umawi, 114-94                                     Baghdad
8. Jarir b. Hazim, 85-170                                                         Basra
9. Harun b. Abu'Isa                                                                Basra?
10. Salama b. al-Fadl al-Abrash, d. 191                                Ray
11. AH b. Mujahid, d. c. 180                                                     „
12. Ibrahim b. al-Mukhtar                                                         ,,
13. Sa'id b. Bazi'
14. 'Uthman b. Saj
15. Muhammad b. Salama al-Harrani, d. 191

It has been my aim to restore so far as is now possible the text of I.I. as it left his pen or as he dictated it to his hearers, from excerpts in later texts, disregarding the Mabda' section as I.H. did and for at least one of

1 See further A. Guillaume, 'The Biography of the Prophet in Recent Research', Islamic Quarterly Review, 1954.
2 I have adopted the list given by Fuck in his admirable monograph, p. 44, where full biographical details are to be found. The towns are those at which the individuals named heard I.I.'s lectures.

Page xxxi
his reasons. At first I was tempted to think that a great deal of the original had been lost—and it may well be that it has been lost—for it is clear that the scurrilous attacks on the prophet which I.H. mentions in his Introduction are not to be found anywhere. But on the whole I think it is likely that we have the greater part of what I.I. wrote. Doubtless more was said for Ali and against 'Abbas, but it is unlikely that such material would add much to our knowledge of the history of the period. Possibly to us the most interesting excisions would be paragraphs containing information which I.I. gathered from Jews and Christians; but in all probability the Mabda' contained most of such passages. Still, it is unlikely that those passages which have been allowed to remain would have excited the annoyance that some of his early critics express on this score. Ibnu'l-Kalbi's K. al-Asnam gives a warning against exaggerated hopes. Yaqut had made copious extracts from it in his Geographical Dictionary, so interesting and so important for our knowledge of the old Arabian heathenism that the great Noldeke expressed the hope that he would live to see the text of the lost original discovered. He did; but a collation of the original work with the excerpts made by Yaqut shows that practically everything of value had been used and nothing of real significance was to be learned from the discovery of the mother text. However, in a text of the nature of the Sira it is just possible that a twist may be given to the narrative by an editor such as I.H.
The writers from whom some of the original can be recovered are:

1. Muhammad b. 'Umar al-Waqidi, d. 207
2. Abu'l-Walld Muhammad b. Abdullah al-Azraqi from his grand-
father (d. c. 220)
3. Muhammad b. Sa'd, d. 230
4. Abu 'Abdullah Muhammad b. Muslim b. Qutayba, d. 270 or 276
5. Ahmad b. Yahya al-Baladhuri, d. 279
6. Abu Ja'far Muhammad b. Jarir al-Tabari, d. 310
7. Abu Sa'id al-Hasan b. 'Abdullah al-Sirafi, d. 368.
8. Abii'l-Hasan 'All b. Muhammad b. Habib al-Mawardi, d. 450
9. Abu'l-Hasan 'All b. al-Athir, d. 630
10. Yiisuf b. Yahya al-Tadali known as I. al-Zayyat, d. 627
11. Isma'il b. 'Umar b. Kathir, d. 774
12. Abu'1-Fadl Ahmad b. 'Ali . . . b. Hajar al-'Asqalani, d. 852'1449.

For our purpose none of these has the importance of T. whose text rests on the riwaya of Salama and Yunus b. Bukayr. Besides the important textual variants which will be found in the translation from time to time, he it is who reports from I.I. the prophet's temporary concession to polytheism at Mecca (1190 f.) and the capture of 'Abbas at Badr (1441).
. al-Waqidi. Only the Maghazi has survived from the very large number of his writings. A third of it was published by von Kremer in 1856 from a poor manuscript, and until the work has been edited its value

Page xxxii
cannot be accurately assessed.1 The abridged translation by Wellhausen2 gives the reader all the salient facts, but his method of epitomizing enabled him to avoid difficulties in the text which call for explanation. Waqidi makes no mention of I.I. among his authorities. The reason for this doubtless is that he did not want to refer to a man who already enjoyed a great reputation as an authority on maghazi and so let it seem that his own book was a mere amplification of his predecessor's. It is by no means certain that he made use of I.I.'s book, or traditional lore, for he quoted his authorities, e.g. al-Zuhri, Ma'mar, and others, directly. On the other hand, he did not belittle I.I. of whom he spoke warmly as a chronicler, genealogist, and traditionist, who transmitted poetry and was an indefatigable searcher of tradition, a man to be trusted.3
It follows that strictly Waqidi is not a writer from whom in the present state of our knowledge we can reconstruct the original of the Sira; but as his narrative often runs parallel with I.I.'s work, sometimes abridging, sometimes expanding, his stories it is a valuable if uncontrolled supporter thereof. Not until his Maghazi has been published and studied as it deserves to be can a satisfactory comparison of the two books be made. One thing is abundantly clear, namely that Waqidi often includes stories which obviously come from eyewitnesses and often throw valuable light on events which are obscure in I.I. Indeed it ought to be said that the Sira is incomplete without Waqidi.4
2. Al-Azraqi's Akhbdr Makka is of great value in matters archaeological. His authority is 'Uthman b. Saj.
3. I. Sa'd's Akhbdru'l-Nabi is more or less as he communicated it to his pupils. This was afterwards combined with his Tabaqat in 300 by I. Ma'ruf. Volumes la, b and IIa, b in the Berlin edition deal with the former prophets, Muhammad's childhood, his mission, the hijra, and his campaigns, ending with his death, burial, and elegies thereon. I.S. has much more to say on some matters than 1.1., e.g. letters and embassies, and the prophet's last illness, while he shows no interest in pre-Islamic Arabia. For the Maghazi WaqidI is his main authority. The Tabaqat deals with the prophet's companions and the transmitters of tradition, including the tabi'un5
4. I. Qutayba's K. al-Ma'drif contain a few short and inexact citations.
5. Al-Baladhuri's Futuhu'l-Buldan adds very little to our knowledge. De Goeje's index gives twelve references. The first two6 which De Goeje, followed by Noldeke,7 notes as not being in the Sira would never

1 An edition from two MSS. in the B.M. is being prepared by my colleague Mr. J. M. B. Jones.
2 Muhammad in Medina, Berlin, 1882.                                                                     3 T. iii. 2512.
4 Reluctantly in these difficult days I have given up my original intention to publish a translation of the two works side by side. I have every hope that it will be carried to a successful conclusion by the scholar mentioned above.
5 See further Horovitz, op. cit., and Otto Loth, Das Classenbuch des Ibn Sa'd, Leipzig, 1869. For^ list of quotations from I.I. see Noldeke, G.Q. ii. 135.
6 P- 10.                                                                                                             7G.Q. ii. 139.

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have found a place there as they obviously belong to I.I.'s lost book on fiqh. They deal with the question of how much water a man may retain on his land before he lets it flow down to his neighbour's ground. The last five citations belong to the age of the caliphs and need not concern us. The remainder have a slight value for textual criticism. Sometimes they lend support to T.'s version, and once at least a citation proves that the tradition was not preserved orally because the variant readings could only have come about through a transfer of a dot from the first to the second letter with the consequent misreading of the third. The citations are brief and concise: they tell all the truth that the writer needed for his purpose but not the whole truth, which would have been irrelevant.
6. Tabari. A list of the additions to I.H.'s recension has been given by Noldeke1 and enough has been said about his value as a witness to the original text of the Sira. No attempt has been made to recover the lost part of the Mabda' from his Tafsir. Where his variants are merely stylistic and do not affect the sense of the passage I have ignored them. Practically all of them will be found in the footnotes to the Leyden edition. He was familiar with four of the recensions, numbers 4, 7, 9, and 10 on the list given above, much the most frequently cited being Yunus b. Bukayr. On one occasion (1074. 12) he remarks that I.I.'s account is 'more satisfactory than that of Hisham b. Muhammad' [al-Kalbl d. 204 or 206]. I.H. he ignores altogether and he omits a good deal of the poetry now in the Sira. Whether his selection was governed by taste, whether he thought some of it irrelevant, or whether he regarded it as spurious I can find no indication. He often gives the isnad which is lacking in I.I. (cf. 1794. 12). On one occasion at least (cf. W. 422 with T. 1271) it looks as if the narrative has been deliberately recast. T. frequently omits the tasliya and tardiya as ancient writers did.2 I.H. omits Ka'b's poem and the mention of its provoking a killing, cf. 651 with T. 1445.
7. Al-Sirafi contributes an interesting addition to W. 882.
8. Al-MawardI has nothing of importance to add.
9. I. al-Athir in his Kdmil is prone to throw his authorities together and produce a smooth running account from the sum of what they all said, dropping all subordinate details. However, he quotes I.I. ten times.3
10. I. al-Zayyat, see on p. 640 (W.).
11. I. Kathir sometimes agrees with I.H. verbatim. Sometimes he quotes Ibn Bukayr where he offers what is in effect the same stories in different words. I propose to devote a special study to this riwaya.
12. Ibn Hajar. Again little of importance.4

1 G.Q. ii. 139 f.
2 Cf. the autograph MS. of al-Shafi'i's secretary. The occurrence of the tasliya written out in full ten times or more on a single page of a modern edition smacks of servility rather than reverence, and is an innovation; a useful criterion for dating a MS., but a sore trial to the reader of a modern printed text.                          3 G.Q. ii. 143.
4 Professor Krenkow said in a letter that the Mustadrak of al-rjakim al-Naysaburi contains extracts from I.I. via Yunus b. Bukayr, but as this enormous work is not indexed I

have not been able to collate the passages with the text of the Sira. See also what has been said about excerpts in Suhayli's al-Raudu'l-Unuf under I.H.

B 4080                                                                                                                                     C

Ibn Ishaq's reputation.
    Page xxxiv
Unfortunately for our purpose which is to record the opinion of our author's co-religionists on his trustworthiness as a historian, their judgement is affected by his other writings, one of which called Sunan is mentioned by Hajji Khalifa.1 This was freely quoted by Abu Yusuf (d. 182),2 but failed to hold its own and went out of circulation comparatively early. If we knew more about the contents of this book, which by reason of its early date presumably would have had a considerable influence on the daily life of Muslims had it been allowed to continue to challenge other reporters of the apostle's deeds and words, we should be the better able to assess the value and relevance of early Muslim criticism on I.I. when it was most definitely hostile. It is not always his book the Sira which is attacked but the man himself, and if his sunna work ran counter to the schools of law that were in process of development the author could not hope to escape strong condemnation. It is most important that this fact should not be overlooked. In the passage Wustenfeld quoted3 from Abu'1-Fath M. b. M. b. Sayyidu'1-Nas al-Ya'mari al-Andalusi (d. 734' 1334) the distinction between traditions of a general nature and traditions about the prophet's sunna is clear and unmistakable. Ahmad b. Hanbal's son stated that his father included I.I.'s hadith in his Musnad, but refused to regard him as an authority on sunan. While it is true that there are a few stories in the Sira which report the prophet's practice in certain matters and so provide an authoritative guide for the future behaviour of the faithful in similar circumstances, and while it is also true that in one or two instances the principle underlying these actions is in conflict with the findings of later lawyers, they form an insignificant part of the Sira, and it may safely be concluded that I. Hanbal's objection to I.I.'s authority applies almost exclusively to his lost work, the Sunan.
Apostolic tradition in Islam, as Goldziher showed long ago, is the battlefield of warring sects striving for the mastery of men's minds and the control of their behaviour with all the weight that Muhammad's presumed or fabricated example could bring to bear. The earlier the tradition, or collection of traditions, the less this tendency is in evidence; but we have already seen that I.I. occasionally succumbed to the temptation to glorify Ali at the expense of 'Abbas. This would seem to be supremely unnecessary when one can read exactly what 'Abbas's position was: at first hostile; secondly neutral; and lastly, when the issue was no longer in doubt, a professed Muslim. Obviously since no attempt is made to conceal or diminish the affectionate loyalty of Abu Bakr or the staunch championship of 'Umar, our author was no unbalanced fanatical supporter of the claims of Ali. Ali appears as the great warrior when rival champions fought

1 Istanbul, 1945, ii. 1008.
2 See Fuck, 18.                                                                             3 II. xviii.

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between the opposing ranks, but the inestimable services of his two senior contemporaries are never thrust into the background.
In the history of tradition in the technical sense, that is to say in the corpus of hadith venerated by Sunnis everywhere, I.I. takes a minor position in spite of his great and obvious merits as an honest, straightforward collector of all the information that was known about Muhammad. There are several reasons for this: the principal reason is that he had no information to give on all the everyday matters which fill the canonical books of tradition, or when he had he put them in his Sunan. If he reported Muhammad's words it was in reference to a particular event in the narrative he recorded; they were evoked naturally by the circumstances. Thus al-Bukhari, though he often mentions I.I. in the headings of his chapters, hardly if ever cites him for the matter of a tradition, unless that tradition is supported by another isnad. Muslim, who classifies traditions as genuine, good, and weak, puts I.I. in the second category. To anyone with an historical sense this was a monstrous injustice, but it must be remembered that by the middle of the third century the form of a hadith mattered more than its substance, and provided that the chain of guarantors was unexceptionable anything could be included.
The best and most comprehensive summary of Muslim opinion of I.I, is, that of I. Sayyidu'1-Nas in his ' Uyun al-Aihar fi fununi'l-maghazi wa'l-shama' ili wa'l-siyar. He collected all the references to our author that lie could find, both favourable and unfavourable, and then answered the attacks that had been made on him. The relevant passage will be found in W.1 with a translation in German. The following is a short summary of this account:

(a) Those favourable to I.I. were: 'The best informed man about the maghazi is I.I. al-Zuhri: Knowledge will remain in Medina as along as I.I. lives.'

    Shu'ba, 85-160: Truthful in tradition, the amir of traditionists because
of his memory.

    Sufyan b. 'Uyayna, 107-98: I sat with him some seventy years2 and
none of the Medinans suspected him or spoke disparagingly of him.

    Abu Zur'a, d. 281: Older scholars drew from him and professional
traditionists tested him and found him truthful. When he reminded
Duhaym of Malik's distrust of I.I. he denied that it referred to his
veracity as a traditionist, but to his qadarite heresy.

    Abu Hatim: His traditions are copied down (by others).

    I. al-Madini: Apostolic tradition originally lay with 6 men; then it
became the property of 12, of whom I.I. is one.
al-Shafi'i: He who wants to study the maghazi deeply must consult I.I.

'Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatada: Knowledge will remain among men as long as
    I.I. lives.

1 11. x-zxiii.                                             2 As I.I. died in 150 this was impossible.

Page xxxvi

 ;Abu Mu'awiya: A great memory: others confided their traditions to
his memory for safe keeping.
al- Bukhari: Al-Zuhri used to get his knowledge of the maghazi from I.I.

'Abdullah b. Idris al-Audi: was amazed at his learning and often cited

Mus'ab: He was attacked for reasons which had nothing to do with
Yazld b. Harun: Were there a supreme relator of tradition it would be I.I.
Ali b. al-Madini: His ahadith are sound. He had a great reputation in
    Medina. Hisham b. 'Urwa's objection to him is no argument against
him. He may indeed have talked to the latter's wife when he was a .

    young man. His veracity in hadith is self-evident. I know only of

    two that are rejected as unsupported1 which no other writer reported.

al-'Ijli: Trustworthy.

Yahya b. Ma'In: Firm in tradition.

Ahmad b. Hanbal: Excellent in tradition.

(b) The writer then goes on to state all that has been said against I.I. Omitting details of little significance we are left with the following charges which I. Sayyidu'1-Nas goes on to discuss and refute. Muhammad b. 'Abdullah b. Numayr said that when I.I. reported what he had heard from well-known persons his traditions were good and true, but he sometimes reported worthless sayings from unknown people. Yahya b. al-Qattan would never quote him. Ahmad b. Hanbal quoted him with approval, and when it was remarked how excellent the stories (qisas) were he smiled in surprise. His son admitted that Ahmad incorporated many of I.I.'s traditions in his Musnad, but he never paid heed to them. When he was asked if his father regarded him as an authority on what a Muslim must or must not do he replied that he did not. He himself would not accept a tradition which only I.I. reported. He used to relate a tradition which he gathered from a number of people without indicating who had contributed its separate parts. I. al-Madini said* that at times he was 'fairly good'. Al-Maymuni reported that I. Ma'in 156-233 said he was 'weak', but others denied that he said so. Al-Duri said he was trustworthy but not to be used as an authority in fiqh, like Malik and others. Al-Nasa'i said that he was not strong. Al-Daraqutni said that a tradition from I.I. on the authority of his father was no legal proof: it could be used only to confirm what was already held to be binding. Yahya b. Sa'id said that though he knew I.I. in Kufa he abandoned him intentionally and never wrote down traditions on his authority. Abu Da'ud al-Tayalisi (131-203) reported that Hammad b. Salima.said that unless necessity demanded it he would not hand on a tradition from I.I. When Malik b. Anas mentioned him he said, 'he is one of the' antichrists'. When Hisham b. 'Urwa was told that I.I. reported something from Fatima he said, 'the rascal lies; when did he see my wife?'

1 These probably belong to the Sunan.

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When Abdullah b. Ahmad told his father of this he said that this was not to be held against I.I.; he thought that he might well have received permission to interview her, but he did not know. He added that Malik was a liar. I. Idris said that he talked to Malik about the Maghazi and how I.I. had said that he was their surgeon and he said, 'We drove him from Medina'. Makkl b. Ibrahim said that he attended lectures of his; he used to dye his hair. When he mentioned traditions about the divine attributes he left him and never went back. On another occasion he said that when he left him he had attended twelve lectures of his in Ray.
Al-Mufaddal b. Ghassan said that he was present when Yazld b. Harun was relating traditions in al-Baqi' when a number of Medinans were listening. When he mentioned I.I. they withdrew saying: 'Don't tell us anything that he said. We know better than he.' Yazid went among them, but they would not listen and so he withdrew.
Abu Da'ud said that he heard Ahmad b. Hanbal say that I.I. was a man with a love of tradition, so that he took other men's writings and incorporated them in his own. Abu 'Abdullah said that he preferred I.I. to Musa b. 'Ubayda al-Rabadhi. Ahmad said that he used to relate traditions as though from a companion without intermediaries, while in Ibrahim b. Sa'd's book when there is a tradition he said 'A told me' and when that was not so he said 'A said'.
Abu 'Abdullah said that I.I. came to Baghdad and paid no attention to those who related hadith from al-Kalbi and others saying that he was no authority. Al-Fallas (d. 249) said that after being with Wahb b. Jarir reading before him the maghazl book which his father1 had got from I.I. we met Yahya b. Qattan who said that we had brought a pack of lies from him. ;
Ahmad b. Hanbal said that in maghazi and such matters what I.I. said could be written down; but in legal matters further confirmation was necessary. In spite of the large number of traditions without a proper isnad he thought highly of him as long as he said 'A told us', 'B informed me', and 'I heard'. I. Ma'in did not like to use him as an authority in legal matters. Abu Hatim said that he was weak in tradition yet preferable to Aflah b. Sa'Id and his traditions could be written down. Sulayman al-Tayml called him a liar and Yahya al-Qattan said that he could only abandon his hadith to God; he was a liar. When Yahya asked Wuh"ayb b. Khalid what made him think that I.I. was a liar he said that Malik swore that he was and he gave as his reason Hisham b. 'Urwa's oath to that effect. The latter's reason was that he reported traditions from his wife Fatima.
Abu Bakr al-Khatlb said that some authorities accepted his traditions as providing proof for legal precedent while others did not. Among the reasons for rejecting his authority was that he was a Shi'i, that he was said to hold the view that man had free will, and that his isnads were defective. As for his truthfulness, it could not be denied.

1 See No. 8. .

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Al-Bukhari quoted him as an authority and Muslim cited him often. Abu'l-Hasan b. al-Qattan relegated him to the class 'good' (hasan) because people disputed about him. As to the tradition from Fatima, al-Khatib gave us an isnad running back through I.I. and Fatima to Asma' d. Abu Bakr: 'I heard a woman questioning the prophet and saying, "I have a rival wife and I pretend to be satisfied with what my husband has not in fact given me in order to anger her". He answered, "He who affects to be satisfied with what he has not been given is like one who dons two false garments".'1 Abu'l-Hasan said that this was the tradition from Fatima which injured I.I.'s reputation, so that her husband Hisham called him a liar. Malik followed him and others imitated them. However, there are other traditions on her authority.
One cannot but admire the way in which I. Sayyidu'1-Nas discusses these attacks on the credibility of our author. He goes at once to the root of the matter and shows what little substance there is in them. Though, like the speakers he criticizes, he tacitly assumes that early writers ought to have furnished their traditions with isnads which would have met the rigorous demands of later generations who were familiar with a whole sea of spurious traditions fathered on the prophet and his companions, his common sense and fairness would not let him acquiesce in the charge of tadlis which, by omitting a link in the chain or by citing the original narrator without further ado, automatically invalidated a hadith in later days. Thus he said in effect that though I.I.'s traditions at times lack Complete documentation there is no question of his truthfulness in the subject-matter he reports; and as to the charge of shi'ism and qadarite leanings, they are valid in another field altogether and have nothing to do with the Sira. Again, what if Makkl b. Ibrahim did abandon his lectures when he heard him relate traditions about the divine attributes ? Many of the ancients failed to go the whole way when such problems were discussed, so what he says is of little significance.
Yazid's story that the Madinans would not listen to traditions on I.I.'s authority does not amount to much because he does not tell us why, and so we can resort only to conjecture; and we have no right to impugn a true tradition because of what we think is a defect. We have already explained Why Yahya al-Qattan would have none of him and called him liar on the authority of Wuhayb from Malik, and it is not improbable that he was the cause of the Medinans' attitude in the foregoing account.. Ahmad b. Hanbal and I. al-Madini have adequately replied to Hisham's accusation.

    As to Numayr's accusation that he related false hadith on the authority of unknown persons, even if his trustworthiness and honesty were not a matter of tradition, suspicion would be divided between him and his informants; but as we know that he is trustworthy the charge lies against the persons unknown, not against him. Similar attacks have been made upon Sufyan al-Thauri and others whose hadith differ greatly in this way

1 This again has nothing to do with the Sira.


Page xxxix and what they base on unknown informants is to be rejected while that coming from known people is accepted. Sufyan b. 'Uyayna gave up Jarir al-Ju'f i after he had heard more than a thousand traditions from him, and yet he narrated traditions on his authority. Shu'ba related many traditions from him and others who were stigmatized as 'weak'
As to Ahmad's complaint that he recorded composite traditions without assigning the matter of them to the several contributors, their words agreed however many they were; and even if they did not yet the meaning was identical. There is a tradition that Wathila b. al-Asqa' said: 'If I give you the meaning of a tradition (not in the precise words that were used) that is sufficient for you.' Moreover, Muhammad b. Sirin said that he used to hear traditions from ten different people in ten different words with the same meaning. Ahmad's complaint that I.I. took other men's writings and incorporated them in his own account cannot be regarded as serious until it can be proved that he had no licence to repeat them. One must look at the method of transmission: if the words do not plainly necessitate an oral communication, then the accusation of tadlis1 lies. But we ought not to accept such a charge unless the words plainly imply that. If he expressly says that he heard people say something when in fact he did not, that is a downright lie and pure invention. It is quite wrong to say such a thing of I.I. unless the words leave no other choice.2 When Ahmad's son quoted his father as saying that I.I. was not to be regarded as an authority in legal matters though he saw how tolerant he was to non-legal matters which make up the greater part of the Maghazi and the prophetic biography, he applied this adverse judgement on sunan to other matters. Such an extension is excluded by his truthful reputation.
As to Yahya's saying that he was trustworthy but not authoritative in legal matters, it is sufficient for us that he is pronounced trustworthy. If only men like al-'Umari and Malik were acceptable there would be precious few acceptable authorities! Yahya b. Sa'id probably blindly followed Malik because he heard from him what Hisham had said about I.I. His refusal to accept him as an authority in legal matters has already been dealt with under Ahmad. Yahya made no distinction between them and other traditions in the way of complete acceptance or downright rejection.
Other attacks on his reputation rest on points that are not explained and for the most part the agents are unfair. Even in legal matters Abu 'Isa al-Tirmidhi and Abu Hatim b. Hibban (d. 3 54) accepted him as an authority.
The refutation of his opponents would not have been undertaken were it not for the favourable verdict and praise that the learned gave him. But for that a few of the charges would have sufficed to undermine his

The meaning of this technical term is clear from the context. W.'s falsche Namen unterschieben is not strictly correct.
The discussion of I.I.'s dislike of al-Kalbi's traditions is unimportant and is therefore omitted here.

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stories, since but a few attacks on a man's good faith, explicit or not, are enough to destroy the reputation of one whose former circumstances are not known when an impartial critic has not done him justice.
In his book about trustworthy narrators Abu Hatim said that the two men who attacked I.I. were Hisham and Malik. The former denied that he had heard traditions from Fatima. But what he said does not impugn men's veracity in hadith, for 'followers' like al-Aswad and 'Alqama heard 'A'isha's voice without seeing her. Similarly I.I. used to hear Fatima when the curtain was let down between them. As for Malik, what he said was momentary and afterwards he did him justice. Nobody in the Hijaz knew more about genealogies and wars than 1.1., and he used to say that Malik was a freed slave of Dhu Asbah while Malik alleged that he was a full member of the tribe so that there was bad feeling between them; and when Malik compiled the Muwatta' I.I. said, 'Bring it to me for I am its veterinary surgeon.' Hearing of this Malik said: 'He is an antichrist; he reports traditions on the authority of the Jews.' The quarrel lasted until I.I. decided to go to Iraq. Then they were reconciled and Malik gave him 50 dinars and half his date crop as a parting gift. Malik did not intend to bring him into ill favour as a traditionist: all that he disliked was his following the Jews who had become Muslims and learning the story of Khaybar and Qurayza and al-Nadir and similar (otherwise) unattested happenings from their fathers. In his Maghizi I.I. used to learn from them but without necessarily asserting that their report was the truth. Malik himself only relied on trustworthy truthful men.
The author ends by remarking that I.I. was not the originator of the challenge to Malik's Arab ancestry because al-Zuhri and others had said the same thing.1

The Translation
I have endeavoured to follow the text as closely as possible without sacrificing English idiom. In rendering poetry I have tried to give the sense without making any attempt at versifying, the only exceptions being doggerel and saj'. In these cases it seemed that it was fair to reproduce doggerel by doggerel and to try to put poor rhymes into rhymes that could not be worse. Inevitably some exactness is lost, but the general sense and tone are more faithfully reproduced in that way.
The book is very long and I have made a few cuts where no loss can result; e.g. I.H.'s recurring formula 'This verse occurs in an ode of his' I have excluded because it is obvious that the line, which is generally one of his shawahid, cannot have stood by itself. Again I have shortened dialogues in oratio recta into indirect speech in accordance with English practice unless the ipsissima verba of the speaker seemed called for naturally,

For further discussion and exhaustive references to these and later writers see Fuck, ch. 2.

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or are in themselves important. Lastly I have omitted genealogical formulae after the first mention of the people concerned.
My predecessors in translating the Sira have made many mistakes and I cannot hope to have escaped all the pitfalls. Of Weil's translation, now nearly a century old be it remembered, Noldeke wrote1: 'Die Obersetzung von G. Weil, Stuttgart, 1864 ist steif und unbeholfen, and auch philologisch nich mehr geniigend. Die grosse Wichtigkeit des Werkes wiirde eine neue Ubertragung rechtfertigen'; while Wellhausen's translation of al-Waqidi evades the difficulties of the text by silence. The poetry of the Sira, as Noldeke said long ago of the poetry on Badr, 'is not easy to translate because of its many synonyms; the superficial commentary of Abu Dharr is no help at all'.2

The Text
I have followed the pagination of the excellent textus receptus of Wusten-feld's edition 1858-60; but the text I have actually used is the Cairo edition of I355'I937 produced in four parts by Mustafa al-Saqqa, Ibrahim al-Abyari, and 'Abdu'l-Hafiz Shalabi which prints at the, bottom of the page most of the notes from Abu Dharf- and Suhayli that W. relegated to the second volume of his altogether admirable edition. For this reason it is much easier to use and its fine bold type is kind to one's eyes. When I have had occasion to refer to differences between the texts they are marked C. and W.


'Abdu'l-Malik b. Hisham was born in Basra and died at Fustat in Egypt in 218 or 213. Krenkow, however, thinks that he must have died some years later.3 Besides editing the present work he made use of I.I.'s learning in his K. al-Tijan which derives from Wahb b. Munabbih. The principles which guided him in his impertinent meddling with his predecessor's work he has outlined in his Introduction, and they need not be repeated here. He was a philologist of some repute, and he was able to air his knowledge in the shawahid he produces to illustrate the meaning of unusual words. These lines, divorced as they are from their context, form some of the most difficult of all the difficulties of the Sira and are of course for the most part unnecessary now that the Arabs have produced lexicons of their language. Occasionally he is helpful with his genealogical notes; more rarely he has something useful to say about the interpretation of a line in I.I.'s work.
    Suhayli gives some traditions which I.H. omitted or knew nothing of, e.g. W. 183 = Suhayli 183; W. 327 = S. ii. 2 f. He also (ii. 278 = W. 824) draws attention to a mistake in one of I.H.'s notes saying that the fault is either his or al-Bakka'i's because Yunus has the right reading.

1 G.Q. 130.                     2 Z.A. xxvii. 161.                     3 Is, Cult. ii. 231.

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Probably the fault lay with I.H., for he was in touch with Yunus as he says fi ma akhbarani Yunus on p. 387.
Another error of his is the statement that I.I. said nothing about the mission of 'Amr b. Umayya whom the prophet sent to kill Abu Sufyan b. Harb and how he took down the corpse of Khubayb from the cross to which he was tied (p. 993). T. records I.I.'s version of this story which is far superior to the garbled version of I.H., who is obviously composing a story from more than one source, passing clumsily from the first to the third person. According to him 'Amr threw the cross (presumably with the body on it) into a ravine. The cross {khashaba, a sturdy trunk of a tree capable of bearing a man's body) could hardly have been moved by one man more than a few yards with guards standing by, and I.I.'s own account is much more convincing. 'Amr released the body from the tree, carried it some forty paces—a graphic detail—heard the guards coming after him, dropped the body with a thud, and made off as fast as he could.
There is an interesting note in S. ii. 363 which shows that I.H.'s error was perceived in early days. He adds that there is a pleasing addition to the story in the Musnad of I. Abu Shayba to the effect that when they untied him from the cross the earth swallowed him up. One might well suppose that I.H.'s story lies midway between the actual facts and this incredible fiction. The unfortunate man's body which 'Amr had made a gallant but unavailing attempt to retrieve was dumped unceremoniously on the ground; the next step was to give it the semblance of burial in-a natural hole in the wall of the wadi; the last step was to provide for proper burial by a miracle.1
What remains to be explained is why I.H. should assert that I.I. had said nothing about the abortive attempt to assassinate Abu Sufyan and the equally unsuccessful effort to recover Khubayb's body. If I.I. said nothing at all about either matter, how came it that I.H. dealt with them? Since we know that I.I. reported what had happened from traditions that were transmitted by 'Amr's own family and that they existed in oral and written form for centuries afterwards, we cannot but suspect that I.H. has tampered with the evidence.
Perhaps his greatest service is his critical observations on the authenticity of the poetry of the Sira, not only when he records that all, or some, authorities reject certain poems altogether but also when he corrects I.I., and assigns verses to their true author.2 Suyuti thought highly of him. He reported that Abii Dharr had said that I.H. produced one of the four compendia which were better than their sources.3
Suhayli4 states that I.H. wrote a book explaining the difficult words in

1 However, it is possible that the words ghayyabu'lldhu 'anhum imply, though they do not demand, a supernatural act.
2 e.g. 613, where he is right in saying that Hubayra was not the author of one verse but Janub; cf. D. d. Hudhailiten, 243.

3 al-Muzhir, Cairo (n.d. recent), p. 87.
4 i. 5. He is followed by Hajji Khalifa 1012 and I. Khallikan. There is nothing said in G.A.L. about this work.

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the poetry of the Sim. Suhayli's words indicate that he had not himself seen the book. Were it ever found it might well tell us what I.H.'s generation really thought about these poems.



This fragment consists of twenty extracts complete with their isnads, some being the sayings of the prophet on a given occasion, others being stories from his life. The collector expressly asserts that the original work existed in ten parts, so that the inference that the book once contained a complete account of the Sira seems fairly safe. The last item is spurious.1 There is an ijaza reaching from Musa (141) to the epitomizer Abu Hurayra b. Muhammad b. al-Naqqash (782).

1. I. Shihab from Salim b. 'Abdullah from 'Abdullah b. 'Umar: I heard the apostle say, 'While I was asleep I dreamt that I was going round the Ka'ba when lo a man with lank hair between the two men, his head dripping with water. When I asked who it was they said 'Isa b. Maryam. Then I turned away when lo a red man, heavy, with curly hair, one eyed; it seemed as though his eye was a grape swimming (in water). When I asked who it was they said The Antichrist. The man most like him is Ibn Qatan al-Khuza'i'
This tradition is similarly reported in Bukhari ii. 368. 19-369. 4. It should be compared with I.I. 269, also from al-Zuhri, where the prophet is said to have seen 'Isa during his mi'raj, with moles or freckles on his face appearing like drops of water. The reference here to the 'two men' presumably refers to the two thieves on the cross.

2. Ibn Shihab: The first to hold Friday prayers for the Muslims in Medina before the apostle was Mus'ab b. 'Umayr. I. Shihab told us another tradition from Suraqa contradicting this.
The first statement agrees with I.S. in. i. 83. 25; the second apparently with I.I. 290. 5 and I.S. m. i. 84.

3. 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. Malik b. Ju'shum al-Mudliji from his father Malik from his brother Suraqa b. Ju'shum: When the apostle went out from Mecca migrating to Medina Quraysh offered a reward of 100 camels to anyone who would bring him back, &c, down to 'my alms to the apostle'.
This passage is in all essential respects the same as I.I. 331-2, though there are many verbal differences. Obviously the version in I.I. has been touched up and Musa gives the tradition in its simplest form. Cf. Bukhari iii. 39, 41 and WaqidI (Wellh. 374).

1 See Sachau, 461 f.

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4. I. Shihab alleged that 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr said that al-Zubayr met the apostle with a caravan of Muslims who were returning to Mecca from a trading journey to Syria. They bartered some goods with the apostle and al-Zubayr gave him and Abu Bakr some white garments.
So Bukh. iii. 40. Different names in I.S. in. i. 153. 19.

5. Nafi' from 'Abdullah b. 'Umar: Some of the apostle's companions said to him, 'Are you speaking to dead men?' He answered, 'You cannot hear what I say better than they.'
So Bukh. iii. 70. 17, 18, and cf. 1.1., pp. 453 f., where the words of 'A'isha are quoted to refute the statement that the dead hear: they know but they do not hear.

6. I. Shihab from Anas b. Malik: Some Ansar asked the apostle's permission to remit to their sister's son 'Abbas his ransom, and he replied, 'No, by Allah, you shall not let him off a single farthing!'
So Bukh. iii. 69. 1, 2 and cf. T. 1341, I. Qut. Ma'drif, 77. Sachau in finding strange the claim to relationship between 'Abbas and the Ansar seems to have forgotten that the grandmother of 'Abbas was Salma d. 'Amr al-Khazraji. Cf. Bukh. ii. 388. 18 f. for the same claim.

7. I. Shihab from 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. Ka'b b. Malik aKSulami and other traditionists: 'Amir b. Malik b. Ja'far, who was called 'the player with the spears', came to the apostle when he was a polytheist and the apostle explained Islam to him and he refused to accept it. He gave the apostle a present, but he refused it saying that he would not accept a present from a polytheist. 'Amir said: 'O apostle, send with me those of your messengers you wish and I will be surety for them.' So the apostle sent a number among whom were al-Mundhir b. 'Amr al-Sa'Idi, of whom it was said 'he hastened to his death',1 as a spy among the Najd folk. When 'Amir b. Tufayl heard about them he tried to call out B. 'Amir against them, but they refused to obey him in violating the promise of security given by 'Amir b. Malik. Then he appealed to B. Sulaym and they joined him and killed them in Bi'r Ma'iina except 'Amr b. Umayya al-Damri whom 'Amir b. al-Tufayl captured and afterwards released. When he came to the apostle the latter said to him, 'Are you the sole survivor?'
This is a much briefer- account than that given in I.H. 648 f. Cf. T. 1443 f.;Waq. (Well) 337 f.

8. Isma'Il b. Ibrahim b. 'Uqba from Salim b. 'Abdullah from 'Abdullah b. 'Umar: Some men contested the leadership of Usama, and the apostle rose and said: 'If you contest the leadership of Usama you used to contest the leadership of his father before him. By Allah he was worthy to be leader. He was one of the dearest of all men to me, and this man (his son)

1 As I.I. has al-Mu'niq liyamut I think that Sachau's a'niq litamut, following the MS., must be read a'naqa liyamut. Cf. I. al-Athir's Nihdya (quoted by Sachau).

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is one of the dearest of men to me after him; so treat him well when I am no more, for he is one of the best of you.'
Cf. Bukh. ii. 440, iii. 133, 192, and I.H. 999. 14; 1006. 20 f.

9. Salim b. 'Abdullah from 'Abdullah b. 'Umar: The apostle used not to make an exception for Fatima.
    Sachau explains this from Bukh. ii. 441 and iii. 145 where

Muhammad says that if Fatima were to steal he would cut her hand off.
10. 'Abdullah b. Fadl from Anas b. Malik: I grieved over my people who were killed in the harra. Then Zayd b. Arqam (d. 68) wrote to me when he heard of my great grief to say that he had heard the apostle say 'O God forgive the Ansar and their sons and we implore Thy grace on their grandsons'.
Similarly I.H. 886. 12 and Waq. (W.) 380.

11. 'Abdullah b. al-Fadl: Some men who were with him (Anas) asked him about Zayd b. Arqam and he said, 'It is he of whom the apostle said, "This is he on whom Allah has bestowed much through his ear".'
He had been an informer, cf. I.H. 726. In place of aufallahu lahu bi-udhnihi I.H. 727. 17 has aufd nlilldhi bi-udhnihi. It seems much more likely that the variant is due to misreading than to oral tradition. Waq. (B.M. MS. 1617, f. 95a) has wafat udhnuka ... wa-saddaqa' lldhu hadithak.

12. I. Shihab from Sa'id b. al-Musayyib from 'Abdullah b. Ka'b b. Malik: The apostle said that day to Bilal, 'Get up and announce that only a believer will enter paradise, and that God will not support His religion by an evil man.' This happened when the man whom the apostle said was one of the inhabitants of hell was mentioned.

13. From Nan' b. 'Abdullah b. 'Umar: After the conquest of Khaybar the Jews asked the apostle to let them stay there on condition that they worked the land for half the date crop. He said: 'We will allow you to do so on that condition so long as we wish, and they remained there thus until 'Umar expelled them. [Here six or seven words are missing] saying 'The apostle laid down three things in his last disposition, viz. that the Rahawi-yun, Darlyun, Saba'Iyun, and Ash'ariyiin should have land which produced a hundred loads; that the mission of Usama b. Zayd should be carried through; and that two different religions should not be allowed to remain in the peninsula of the Arabs.'
Practically the same words are used in I.H. 776 except that the Saba'Iyun are not mentioned.

14. Isnad as above: 'Umar used not to let Jews, Christians, and Magians remain more than three days in Medina to do their business, and he used to say 'Two religions cannot subsist together' and he exiled Jews and Christians from the peninsula of the Arabs.

15. I. Shihab from 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr from Marwan b. al-Hakam and

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al-Miswar b. Makhrama: When the apostle gave men permission to free the Hawazin captives he said, 'I do not know who has or has not given you permission, so go back until your leaders bring us a report of your affairs.' So the men returned and their leaders instructed them and they returned to the apostle and told him that the men (Muhammad's companions) had treated them kindly and given them permission (to recover their captive people).
For the context see I.H. 877.

16. I. Shihab from Sa'Id b. al-Musayyib and 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr: The captives of Hawazin whom the apostle returned were 6,000 men, women, and children. He gave some women who had fallen to some men of Quraysh—among whom were 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. 'Auf and Safwan b. Umayya who had appropriated two women as concubines—the choice (of returning or remaining) and they elected to go back to their own people.
Cf. Waq. (W.) 375.

17. Isma'il b. Ibrahim b. 'Uqba from his uncle Musa b. 'Uqba from I. Shihab: The apostle made the pilgrimage of completion in A.H. 10. He showed the men the rites and addressed them in 'Arafa sitting on his camel al-Jad'a'.
Cf. I.H. 968 and Waq. 430.

18. I. Shihab from 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr from al-Miswar b. Makhrama from 'Amr b. 'Auf, an ally of B. 'Amir b. Lu'ayy who had been at Badr with the apostle: The apostle sent Abii'Ubayda b. al-Jarrah to bring the poll tax. He had made peace with the people of al-Bahrayn and set over them al-'Ala' b. al-Hadrami. When Abii'Ubayda came from al-Bahrayn with the money the Ansar heard of his coming which coincided with the apostle's morning prayer. When they saw him they stood in his way. Seeing them he smiled and said: 'I think you have heard of the coming of Abu 'Ubayda and that he has brought something.' When they agreed he added: 'Rejoice and hope for what will gladden you. By Allah it is not poverty that I fear on your account. I fear that you will become too comfortable and will be led astray like those before you.'
' So Bukh. iii. 68. 18 f.

19. Sa'd b. Ibrahim from Ibrahim b. 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. 'Auf: 'Abdu' 1-Rahman b. 'Auf was with 'Umar one day and he (the former) broke al-Zubayr's sword. But God knows best who broke it. Then Abu Bakr got up and addressed the people excusing himself and saying, 'Never for a moment was I eager for authority (imara) nor did I want it or pray to God for it secretly or publicly. But I was afraid of disorder. I take no pleasure in authority. I have been invested with a grave matter for which I have not the strength and can only cope with it if God gives me the strength. I would that he who has the most strength for it were in my place.' The emigrants accepted his excuse and Ali and al-Zubayr b.

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al-'Awwam said: 'We were angry only because we were not admitted to the council and we think that Abu Bakr is the most worthy of supreme authority now that the apostle is dead. He was the one with the apostle in the cave and we recognize his dignity and seniority; and the apostle put  him in charge of the prayers while he was still with us.'

A few comments on this brief anthology will not be out of place here. No. 12 clearly deals with the vexed question of the future state of the wicked Muslim, while No. 18 is a. post eventum prophecy. Inevitably they arouse doubt in the mind of the reader.

    From this selection as a whole we can see where the sympathies of the collector lay. Thus, al-Zubayr's generosity to Muhammad and Abu Bakr are recorded in No. 4. The claims of the Alides to special consideration are brushed aside in No. 9; while No. 19 states that 'All explicitly accepted Abu Bakr as Muhammad's successor. No. 6 shows that al-'Abbas had to pay his ransom in full even when the Ansar pleaded for his exemption. No. 10 mourns the victims of the Umayyads at al-Harra and records that the prophet implored God's blessing on them and their grandchildren.
Clearly Musa's sympathies lay with the family of al-Zubayr and the Ansar. They alone emerge with credit. The Alids, on the other hand, are no better than anyone else; the Umayyads are implicitly condemned for the slaughter at al-Harra; and al-'Abbas is shown to have been a rebel against the prophet who was forced to pay for his opposition to him to the uttermost farthing.
    Musa b. 'Uqba has said pretty much the same on the subject of the Ansar and al-'Abbas as I.I. said before his editor I.H. pruned his work, though he took a different view of the Alides.1

1 V.S.




Part 1












Page 3 Abu Muhammad 'Abdu'l-Malik ibn Hisham the Grammarian said:


    This is the book, of the biography of the apostle of God.

    Muhammad was the son of 'Abdullah, b. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib (whose name was Shayba), b. Hashim (whose name was 'Amr), b. 'Abdu Manaf (whose name was al-Mughlra), b. Qusayy (whose name was Zayd), b. Kilab, b. Murra, b. Ka'b, b. Lu'ayy, b. Ghalib, b. Fihr, b. Malik, b. al-Nadr, b. Kinana, b. Khuzayma, b. Mudrika (whose name was 'Amir), b. Ilyas, b. Mudar, b. Nizar, b. Ma'add, b. 'Adnan, b. Udd (or Udad), b. Muqaw-wam, b. Nahur, b. Tayrah, b. Ya'rub, b. Yashjub, b. Nabit, b. Isma'il, b. Ibrahim, the friend of the Compassionate, b. Tarih (who is Azar), b. Nahur, b. Sarugh, b. Ra'u, b. Falikh, b. 'Aybar, b. Shalikh, b. Arfakh-shadh, b. Sam, b. Niih, b. Lamk, b. Mattiishalakh, b. Akhniikh, who is the prophet Idris according to what they allege,2 but God knows best (he was the first of the sons of Adam to whom prophecy and writing with a pen were given), b. Yard, b. Mahlll, b. Qaynan, b. Yanish, b. Shith, b. Adam (io).*




Isma'il b. Ibrahim begat twelve sons: Nabit the eldest, Qaydhar, Adhbul, Mabsha, Misma', Mashl, Dimma, Adhr, Tayma, Yatur, Nabish, Qayd-huma. Their mother was Ra'la d. Mudad b. 'Amr al-Jurhuml (n). Jurhum was the son of Yaqtan b. 'Aybar b. Shalikh, and [Yaqtan was]3 Qahtan b. 'Aybar b. Shalikh. According to report Isma'il lived 130 years,


1  The formula of blessing which follows every mention of the prophet is omitted here­after.  Capital B. stands for 'Sons of; b. for 'son of; d. for 'daughter of.

2  The phrase employed indicates that the writer doubts the statement. There is a saying in Arabic: 'There is a euphemism for everything and the polite way of saying "It's a lie" is "they allege" (za 'ami)'.

3  These words are added by C. as the context demands.

* I.H.'s additions to the text are numbered 10 and onwards.


Page 4 and when he died he was buried in the sacred precincts1 of the Ka'ba beside his mother Hagar (12).

   Muhammad b. Muslim b. 'Ubaydullah b. Shihab al-Zuhri told me that 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. 'Abdullah b. Ka'b b. Malik al-Ansari, also called al-Sulaml, told him that the apostle of God said: 'When you conquer Egypt treat its people well, for they can claim our protection and kinship.' I asked al-Zuhri what the apostle meant by making them our kin and he replied that Hagar, the mother of Isma'Il, was of their stock (13).

   'Ad b. 'Aus b. Iram b. Sam b. Nuh and Thamud and Jadis the two sons of 'Abirb. Iram b. Sam b. Nuh, andTasm and 'Imlaq and Umaym the sons of Lawidh b. Sam b. Nuh are all Arabs. Nabit b. Isma'Il begat Yashjub and the line runs: Ya'rub-Tayrah-Nahur-Muqawwam-Udad-'Adnan (14).

    From 'Adnan the tribes descended from Isma'Il split off. 'Adnan had two sons, Ma'add and 'Akk (14). Ma'add had four sons: Nizar, Quda'a (he being his first born he was called Abu Quda'a), Qunus, and Iyad. Quda'a went to the Yaman to Himyar b. Saba' whose name was Abdu Shams; the reason why he was called Saba' was that he was the first among the Arabs to take captives. He was the son of Yashjub b. Ya'rub b. Qahtan (15). Of Qunus b. Ma'add according to the genealogists of Ma'add, none has survived. Al-Nu'man b. al-Mundhir king of al-Hira belonged to their tribe. Al-Zuhri told me that this Nu'man belonged to the Qunus b. Ma'add (16).

   Ya'qub b. 'Utba b. al-Mughlra b. al-Akhnas told me that a shaykh of the Ansar of B. Zurayq told him that 'Umar b. al-Khattab, when he was given the sword of al-Nu'man b. al-Mundhir, sent for Jubayr b. Ma^'im b. 'Adly b. Naufal b. 'Abdu Manaf b. Qusayy (he being the best genealogist of the Qunaysh and indeed of all the Arabs and claimed to have been taught by Abu Bakr who was the greatest genealogist of the Arabs) and girded it on him. When he asked who al-Nu'man was, Jubayr replied that he was a survivor of the tribe of Qunus b. Ma'add. However, the rest of the Arabs assert that he belonged to the Lakhm of the Rabi'a b. Nasr. Only God knows the truth (17).






Rabi'a b. Nasr, king of the Yaman, was of the true stock of the Tubba' kings. He had a vision which terrified him and continued to cause him much anxiety. So he summoned every soothsayer, sorcerer, omenmonger, and astrologer in his kingdom and said: 'I have had a vision which terrifies me and is a source of anxiety. Tell me what it was and what it means.' They replied: 'Tell us the vision and we will tell you its meaning.' 'If I tell you it,' said he, 'I can have no confidence in your interpretation; for


1 The hijr is the semicircular space between the hatim (wall) and the Ka'ba.



Page 5 the only man who knows its meaning is he who knows about the vision without my telling him.' Thereupon one of them recommended him to send for Shiqq and Satih, for they knew more than others and would be able to answer his questions. Satih's name was Rabl' b. Rabi'a b. Mas'ud b. Mazin, b. Dhi'b b. "Adiy b. Mazin Ghassan. Shiqq was the son of Sa'b, b. Yashkur b. Ruhm b. Afrak, b. Qasr b. 'Abqar b. Anmar b. Nizar, and Anmar was the father of Bajila and Khath 'am (18).

    So he sent for them and Satih arrived first. The king then repeated his words, ending, 'If you know the vision you will know what it means.' Satih replied [in saj']:


A fire you did see

Come forth from the sea.

It fell on the low country

And devoured all that be.


    The king agreed that this was exactly what he had seen, and what was

 the meaning of it all ? He answered:


By the serpent of the lava plains I swear

The Ethiopians on your land shall bear

Ruling from Abyan to Jurash everywhere.


    The king exclaimed that this was distressing news, but when would these things come to pass—in his time or after him? He replied: [again in rhyme] that more than sixty or seventy years must first pass. Would the new-comers' kingdom last? No, an end would be put to it after seventy years or more; then they would be slain or driven out as fugitives. Who would do this? Iram b. Dhu Yazan, who would come against them from Aden and not leave one of them in the Yemen. Further questions drew the information that their kingdom would not last, but a pure prophet to whom revelation came from on high would bring it to an end; he would be a man of the sons of Ghalib b. Fihr b. Malik, b. al-Nadr. His dominion would last to the end of time. Has time an end? asked the king. Yes, replied Satih, the day on which the first and the last shall be assembled, the righteous for happiness, the evildoers for misery. Are you telling me the truth? the king asked.


Yes, by the dark and the twilight

And the dawn that follows the night

Verily what I have told you is right.


    Later Shiqq arrived and the king acquainted him with the facts but did not tell him what Satih had said, so that he might see whether they agreed or differed. His words were:


A fire you did see

Come forth from the sea.

It fell between rock and tree

Devouring all that did breathe.


Page 6   Perceiving that they agreed one with the other and that the difference was a mere choice of words, the king asked Shiqq for his interpretation:


By the men of the plains I swear

The blacks on your land shall bear

Pluck your little ones from your care

Ruling from Abyan to Najran everywhere.


The king put the same questions to him and learned that after his time:

    There shall deliver you from them one mighty, great of name

    And put them to the utmost shame.

He would be:

A young man neither remiss nor base

Coming forth from Dhu Yazan's house, his place,

 Not one of them shall leave on Yaman's face.


    He continued in answer to the questions already put to his predecessor: His kingdom shall be ended by an apostle who will bring truth and justice among men of religion and virtue.  Dominion will rest among his people until the Day of Separation, the day on which those near God will be  rewarded, on which demands from heaven will be made which the quick  and dead will hear, men will be gathered at the appointed place, the God  fearing to receive salvation and blessing. By the Lord of heaven and earth,  and what lies between them high or low I have told you but the truth in which no doubt (amd) lies (19).

  What these two men said made a deep impression on Rabi'a b. Nasr and he dispatched his sons and family to Iraq with all that they might need, giving them a letter to the Persian king Sabur b. Khurrazadh who let them settle in al-Hira.

   Al-Nu'man b. al-Mundhir was a descendant of this king; in the genealo­gies and traditions of the Yaman in his line is: al-Nu'man b. al-Mundhir b. al-Nu'man b. Mundhir b. 'Amr b. 'Adiy b. Rabi'a b. Nasr (20).





 When Rabi'a b. Nasr died the whole kingdom of the Yaman fell into the hands of Hassan b. Tiban As'ad Abu Karib. (Tiban As'ad was the last Tubba', the son of Kuli Karib b. Zayd, Zayd being the first Tubba' son of 'Amr Dhu-1-Adh 'ar b. Abraha Dhu-1-Manar b. al-Rlsh (21) b. 'Adiy b. Sayfib. Saba' al-Asghar b. Ka'b—Kahf al-Zulm—b. Zayd b. Sahl b. 'Amr b. Qays b. Mu'awiya b. Jusham b. 'Abdu Shams b. Wa'il b. al-Ghauth b. Qatan b. 'Arib b. Zuhayr b. Ayman b. al-Hamaisa' b. al-'Aranjaj, the latter is Himyar b. Saba'al-Akbar b. Ya'rub b. Yashjub b. Qahtan (22).)



Page 7 It was Tiban As'ad Abu Karib who went to Medina and took away to the Yaman two Jewish rabbis from thence. He adorrned1 the sacred temple and covered it with cloth. His reign was before that of Rabi'a b. Nasr (23).  

   When he came from the east he had passed by Medina without harming its people; but he left behind there one of his sons who was treacherously slain. Thereupon he returned with the intention of destroying the town and exterminating its people and cutting down its palms. So this tribe of the Ansar gathered together under the leadership of 'Amr b. Talla the brother of B. al-Najjar and one of B. 'Amr b. Mabdhul. Mab-dhul's name was 'Amir b. Malik b. al-Najjar; and al-Najjar's name was Taym Allah b. Tha'laba b. 'Amr b. al-Khazraj b. Haritha b. Tha'laba b. 'Amr b. 'Amir (24).

   Now a man of B. 'Adiy b. al-Najjar called Ahmar had fallen upon one of the followers of Tubba' when he brought them to Medina and killed him,2 because he caught him among his palms cutting the date clusters; he struck him with his sickle and killed him, saying 'The fruit belongs to the man who cultivates it.' This enraged the Tubba' against them and fighting broke out. Indeed the Ansar assert that they used to fight them by day and treat them as guests by night. Tubba' was amazed at this and used to say: 'By God our people are generous!'

   While Tubba' was occupied in this fighting there came two Jewish rabbis from B. Qurayza—Qurayza, and al-Nadlr and al-Najjam and 'Amr nicknamed Hanging-lip were sons of al-Khazraj b. al-Sarih b. al-Tau'aman b. al-Sibt b. al-Yasa' b. Sa'd b. Law! b. Khayr b. al-Najjam b. Tanhum b. 'Azar b. 'Izra b. Harun b. 'Imran b. Yashar b. Qahat3 b. Law! b. Ya'qiib otherwise called Isra'il b. Ishaq b. Ibrahim the friend of al-Rahman— learned men well grounded in tradition. They had heard about the king's intention to destroy the town and its people and they said to him: 'O King, do not do it, for if you persist in your intention something will happen to prevent your carrying it out and we fear that you will incur speedy retribution.' When the king asked the reason for this they told him that Yathrib was the place to which a prophet of the Quraysh would migrate in time to come, and it would be his home and resting-place. Seeing that these men had hidden knowledge the king took their words in good part and gave up his design, departed from Medina and embraced the rabbis' religion.4

   Khalid b. 'Abd al-'Uzza b. Ghaziya b. 'Amr b. 'Auf b. Ghunm b. Malik b. al-Najjar boasting of 'Amr b. Talla said:


Has he given up youthful folly or ceased to remember it ?

Or has he had his fill of pleasure?


1   'ammara perhaps means 'restored',  Tab. omits this sentence.

2  'Tab. adds: 'and threw him into a well called Dhat Tuman'.

3  Variant Qahath.

4 Tab. traces back this story through Ibn Ishaq-Yazid b. 'Amr-Ab5n b. Abu 'Ayyash-Anas b. Malik to certain shaykhs of Medina who lived in pre-Islamic times.



Page 8 Or have you remembered youth?

And what a memory of youth and its times you have!

It was a young man's war

Such as gives him experience.

So ask 'ImrSn or Asad,

When headlong1 with the morning star came

Abu Karib with his great squadrons

Clad in long mail, of pungent smell.

They said, Whom shall we make for,

The Banii Auf or the Najjar ?

Surely the Banu-1-Najjar,

For we seek revenge for our dead.

Then our swordsmen2 went to meet them,

Their number as the drops of widely falling rain,

Among them 'Amr b. Talla

(God prolong his life for the welfare of his people).

A chief who is on a level with kings but whoso

Would vie with him does not know his eminence.


    This tribe of the Ansar claim that the Tubba' was enraged only against this tribe of the Jews who were living among them and that it was only his intention to destroy them, but they protected them until he went his way. Therefore in his verse he said:


In rage against two Jewish tribes who live in Yathrib

Who richly deserve the punishment of a fateful day (25).3


    Now the Tubba' and his people were idolaters. He set out for Mecca which was on his way to the Yaman, and when he was between 'Usfan and is Amaj4 some men of the Hudhayl b. Mudrika b. Ilyas b. Mudar b. Nizar b. Ma'add came to him saying, 'O King, may we not lead you to an ancient treasury which former kings have overlooked? It contains pearls, topaz, rubies, gold, and silver.' Certainly, said he, and they added that it was a temple in Mecca which its people worshipped and where they prayed. But the real intention of the Hudhaylfe was to encompass his destruction, for they knew that any king that treated it with disrespect was sure to die. Having agreed to their proposal he sent to the two rabbis and asked their opinion. They told him that the sole object of the tribe was to destroy him and his army. 'We know of no other temple in the land which God has chosen for Himself, said they, and if you do what they suggest you and all your men will perish.' The king asked them what he should do when he got there, and they told him to do what the people of Mecca did: to


1 Variant ghadwan 'at early dawn’.                                     2 Reading musdyifatun.

3 W.'s text is preceded by another verse. Tab. has preserved the full text which I have inserted at the end of this section in the context assigned to it by T ab.

4 Authorities differ as to the site of the 'Usfan. Amaj is the name of a town within reach of-Medina and also of a wadi running from the Harra of the Banu Sulaym to the sea.


Page 9 circumambulate the temple, to venerate and honour it, to shave his head, and to behave with all humility until he had left its precincts.  

    The king asked why they too should not do likewise. They replied that it was indeed the temple of their father Abraham, but the idols which the inhabitants had set up round it, and the blood which they shed there, presented an insuperable obstacle. They are unclean polytheists, said they —or words to that effect.

   Recognizing the soundness and truth of their words the king summoned the men from the Hudhayl and cut off their hands and feet, and continued his journey to Mecca. He went round the Ka'ba, sacrificed, and shaved his head, staying there six days (so they say) sacrificing animals which he distributed to the people and giving them honey to drink.

   It was revealed to him in a dream that he should cover the temple, so he covered it with woven palm branches; a later vision showed him that he must do better so he covered it with Ymani cloth; a third vision induced him to clothe it with fine striped Yaman cloth. People say that the Tubba' was the first man to cover the temple in this way. He ordered its Jurhumi guardians to keep it clean and not to allow blood, dead bodies, or menstruous cloths to come near it, and he made a door and a key for it.

   Subay'a d. al-Ahabb b. Zablna b. Jadhima b. 'Auf b. Nasr b. Mu'awiya  b. Bakr b. Hawazin b. Mansur b. 'Ikrima b. Khasafa b. Qays b. 'Aylan was the wife of 'Abdu Manaf b. Ka'b b. Sa'd b. Taym b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'ay b. Ghalib b. Fihr b. Malik b. Nadr b. Kinana. She had by him a son called Khalid; and in impressing on him the sanctity of Mecca and forbidding him to commit grievous sin there, she reminded him of Tubba' and his humility towards it and his work there, in the following lines:


0 my son, oppress neither the mean nor the great in Mecca.

Preserve its sanctity and be not led away.1

He who does evil in Mecca will meet the worst misfortune.

His face will be smitten and his cheeks will burn with fire.

I know from certain knowledge that the evildoer there will perish.

God has made it inviolate though no castles are built in its court.

God has made its birds inviolate and the wild goats on Thablr2 are safe.

Tubba' came against it, but covered its building with embroidered


God humbled his sovereignty there so he fulfilled his vows,

Walking barefoot to it with two thousand camels in its courtyard.

Its people he fed with the flesh of Mahri camels.

Gave them to drink strained honey and pure barley-water.

(God) destroyed the army of the elephant,

They were pelted with great stones,3


1 A reminiscence of Sun 31.33 and 35.5-

2 A mountain above Mecca. ’Usm could mean 'wild birds'.

3 Either the poem has sufiend interpolation or it is the product of a later age because the story of the Elephant belongs to the expedition of Abraham the Abyssinian mentioned on pp. 29 f. W.'s reading 'They shot great stones into it’ probably refers to the siege when al-Hijajjaj bombarded Mecca. The contrast between his violence and the humility of Tubba’ is hinted at in the last line.


             Page 10 And (God destroyed) their kingdom in the farthest lands

 Both in Persia and Khazar.

 Hearken therefore when you are told the story    

             And understand the end of such things (26).


     Afterwards he set forth for the Yaman with his army and the two rabbis, and when he reached his own country he invited his people to adopt his new religion, but they refused until the matter could be tested by the ordeal of fire which was there.

    Abu Malik b. Tha'laba b. Abu Malik al-Qurazi told me that he heard Ibrahim b. Muhammad b. Talha b. 'Ubaydallah narrate that when Tubba' drew near to the Yaman the Himyarites blocked his path, refusing to let him pass because he had abandoned their religion. When he invited them to accept his religion on the ground that it was better than theirs, they proposed that the matter should be subject to the ordeal by fire. The Yamanites say that a fire used to settle matters in dispute among them by consuming the guilty and letting the innocent go scatheless.1 So his people went forth with their idols and sacred objects, and the two rabbis went forth with their sacred books2 hanging like necklaces from their necks until they halted at the place whence the fire used to blaze out. On this occasion when it came out the Yamanites withdrew in terror, but their followers encouraged them and urged them to stand fast, so they held their ground until the fire covered them and consumed their idols and sacred objects and the men who bore them. But the two rabbis came out with their sacred books, sweating profusely but otherwise unharmed. There­upon the Himyarites accepted the king's religion. Such was the origin of Judaism in the Yaman.

   Another informant told me that the two parties only went up to the fire to drive it back, for it was held that the one who succeeded in driving it back was most worthy of credence. When the Himyarites with their idols came near to drive the fire back, the fire came out against them and they withdrew unable to withstand it. Afterwards, when the two rabbis came reciting the Torah, the fire receded so that they drove it back to the place from which it had emerged. Thereupon the Hmyarites accepted their religion. But God knows which report is correct.

   Now Ri'am was one of the temples which they venerated and where they offered sacrifices and received oracles when they were polytheists. The two rabbis told Tubba' that it was merely a shaytan which deceived them in this way and they asked to be allowed to deal with it. When the king agreed they commanded a black dog to come out of it and killed it—


1  For an account of a modern ordeal of a similar though simpler character among the Arabs of Sinai see Austin Kennett, Bedouin Justice, Cambridge, 1925, pp. 107-14.

2  Perhaps 'phylacteries' are meant.


Page 11 at least this is what the Yamanites say. Then they destroyed the temple and I am told that its ruins to this day show traces of the blood that was poured over it.

      (T. Tubba' composed the following lines about his expedition, what he had intended to do with Medina and the Ka'ba, what he actually did to the men of Hudhayl, and how he adorrned and purified the temple and what the two rabbis told him about the apostle of God :


Why, O soul, is thy sleep disturbed like one whose eyes pain him?

Why dost thou suffer from perpetual insomnia,

Enraged against two Jewish tribes who live in Yathrib,

Who richly deserve the punishment of a fateful day?

When I sojourned in Medina

Calm and refreshing was my sleep.

I made my dwelling on a hill

Between al-'Aqiq and BaqI' ul-Gharqad.

We left its rocks and plateau

And its bare salty plain

And came down to Yathrib, and my breast

Seethed with anger at the killing of my son.

I had sworn a steadfast vow,

An oath full strong and binding,

'If I reach Yathrib I will leave it

Stripped of palms both striplings and fruitful'

When lo from Qurayza came

A rabbi wise, among the Jews respected.

'Stand back from a city preserved;' said he,

'For Mecca's prophet of Quraysh true-guided.'

So I forgave them without reproach

I left them to the judgement of the last day

To God whose pardon I hope for

On the day of reckoning that I escape the flames of hell.

Some of our people I left there for him,

Men of reputation and valour,

Men who carry plans to victory's end.

I hope thereby for a reward from Muhammad's Lord.

I knew not that there was a pure temple

Devoted to God in Mecca's vale,

Till slaves from Hudhayl came to me

In al-Duff of Jumdan above al-Masnad.

'A house of ancient wealth in Mecca

Treasures of pearls and jewels!' they said.

I wanted to seize them but my Lord said nay.

For God prevents destruction of his sanctuary.

I gave up my purpose there


Page 12And left those men an example to the discerning.

Dhu'l-Qarnayn before me was a Muslim

Conquered kings thronged his court,

East and west he ruled, yet he sought

Knowledge true from a learned sage.

He saw where the sun sinks from view

In a pool of mud and fetid slime.

Before him Bilqls my father's sister

Ruled them until the hoopoe came to her.)1





When his son Hassan b. Tiban As'ad Abu Karib came to the throne he set out with the Yamanites to subdue the land of the Arabs and Persians. However, when they reached a place in Iraq (27) the Himyarite and Yamanite tribes were unwilling to go farther and wanted to return to their families, so they approached one of his brothers called 'Amr who was with him in the army and said that if he would kill his brother they would make him king so that he might lead them home again. He said that he would do so, and they all agreed to join in the plot except Dhu Ru'ayn the Himyarite. He forbade him to do this, but he would not heed, so Dhu Ru'ayn wrote the following verses:


Oh who would buy sleeplessness for sleep ?

Happy is he who passes the night in peace;

Though Himyar have been treacherous,

God will hold Dhu Ru'ayn blameless.


   He sealed the document and brought it to 'Amr, saying: 'Keep this with you for me,' and he did so. Then 'Amr killed his brother Hassan and returned to the Yaman with his men.2 One of the Himyarites was moved to say:


In former generations

What eyes have seen

The like of Hassan who has been slain!

The princes slew him lest they should be kept at war.

On the morrow they said 'It is naught!'

Your dead was the best of us and your living one

Is lord over us while all of you are lords.


1  The poem is spurious; it is not difficult to see how I. Ishaq persuaded himself to incorporate such an obvious forgery in a serious historical work. At this point Tab. intrcduces a long passage from 1.1. A much longer story via 'Uthman b. Saj is given by Azr. i. 79

2  T. 915.  Hassan vainly appeals to his brother thus:

Do not hasten my death, O 'Amr.

Take the kingdom without using force.



Page 13 The words 'lababi lababi' mean 'no matter' in the Himyari language (28).

    When Amr b. Tiban returned to the Yaman he could not sleep and  insomnia took a firm hold of him. Being much concerned at this, he asked the physicians and those of the soothsayers and diviners who were seers about his trouble. One of them said: 'No man has ever killed his brother or kinsman treacherously as you killed your brother without losing his sleep and becoming a prey to insomnia.' At this he began to kill all the nobles who had urged him to murder his brother Hassan, till finally he came to Dhu Ru'ayn who claimed that 'Amr held the proof of his innocence, namely the paper which he had given him. He had it brought to him and when he had read the two verses he let him go, recognizing that he had given him good counsel.1 When 'Amr died the Himyarite kingdom fell into disorder and the people split up into parties.





A Himyari who had no connexion with the royal house called Lakhnl'a Yanuf Dhu Shanatir2 arose and killed off their leading men and put the royal family to open shame. Of this man a certain Himyari recited:


Himyar was slaying its sons and exiling its princes,

Working its shame with its own hands,

Destroying its worldly prosperity with frivolous thoughts.

Even greater was the loss of their religion.

So did earlier generations bring their doom

By acts of injustice and profligacy.


   Lakhni'a was a most evil man—a sodomite. He used to summon a young man of the royal family and assault him in a room which he had constructed for this very purpose, so that he could not reign after him. Then he used to go from this upper chamber of his to his guards and soldiers, (who were below) having put a toothpick in his mouth to let them know that he had accomplished his purpose. (T. Then he would release him and he would appear before the guards and the people utterly dis­graced.) One day he sent for Zur'a Dhu Nuwas son of Tiban As'ad brother of Hassan. He was a little boy when Hassan was murdered and had become a fine handsome young man of character and intelligence. When the messenger came he perceived what was intended and took a fine sharp knife and hid it under the sole of his foot and went to Lakhni'a. As soon as they were alone he attacked him and Dhu Nuwas rushed upon him and stabbed him to death. He then cut off his head and put it in the window


1  Tab. 916 f. contains a long poem ascribed to 'Amr.

2  Nold., Gesch. d. Parser u. Araber, 173, notes that the name Lakhi'atha occurs in inscrip­tions and that shanatir means 'fingers'.


Page 14 which overlooked the men below. He stuck the toothpick in his mouth and went out to the guards, who in coarse language inquired what had happened.1 'Ask that head,' he replied. They looked at the window and there was Lakhnl'a's head cut off. So they went in pursuit of Dhu Nuwas and said: 'You must be our king and no one else, seeing that you have rid us of this disgusting fellow.' (29).



  They made him king and all the tribes of Himyar joined him. He was the last of the YamanI kings and the man who had the ditch made.2 He was called Joseph and reigned for some considerable time.

   In Najran there were some people3 who held the religion of Tsa b. Maryam, a virtuous and upright people who followed the Gospel. Their head was named 'Abdullah b. al-Thamir. The place where that religion took root was in Najran, at that time the centre of the Arabs' country; its people, and indeed the rest of the Arabs, were idolaters. A Christian by the name of Faymiyun had settled there and converted the people to his religion.




Al-Mughlra b. Abu Labid, a freedman of al-Akhnas, on the authority of  Wahb b. Munabbih the YamanI told me that the origin of Christianity in Najran was due to a man named Faymiyun who was a righteous, earnest, ]       ascetic man whose prayers were answered.  He used to wander between    towns: as soon as he became known in one town he moved to another, eating only what he earned, for he was a builder by trade using mud bricks. He used to keep Sunday as a day of rest and would do no work then. He used to go into a desert place and pray there until the evening. While h< was following his trade in a Syrian village withdrawing himself from men one of the people there called Salih perceived what manner of man h< was and felt a violent affection for him, so that unperceived by Faymiyui he used to follow him from place to place, until one Sunday he went a his wont was out into the desert followed by Salih. Salih chose a hiding place and sat down where he could see him, not wanting him to know wher he was. As Faymiyun stood to pray a tinnln, a seven-horned snake, came


1  The Arabic text is in some disorder here, but trie citation from al-Aghani given in th Cairo edition makes it possible to restore the true reading.  A literal translation has bee avoided for obvious reasons.

2  See below, p. 17.  In place of the mention of the ditch T- has: 'he adopted Judaisi and Himyar followed him'. T-'s version of this story is slightly more detailed and one ma suspect that I.H. has omitted phrases here and there.  Prof. G. Ryckmans in 1952 dii covered an inscription at Qara. His name is written Ysf Yar. The Sabaean date = a.d. 51I

3  Lit. 'remnants of the people of 'Isa's religion.'  Nold. takes this to mean upholders of an uncorrupted Christianity; but this is not necessarily the meaning.


Page 15 towards him and when Faymiyun saw it he cursed it and it died. Seeing the snake but not knowing what had happened to it and fearing for Faymiyun's safety, Salih could not contain himself and cried out: 'Faymi­yun, a tinnin is upon you!' He took no notice and went on with his prayers until he had ended them. Night had come and he departed. He knew that he had been recognized and Salih knew that he had seen him. So he said to him: 'Faymiyun, you know that I have never loved anything as I love you; I want to be always with you and go wherever you go.' He replied: 'As you will. You know how I live and if you feel that you can bear the life well and good.' So Salih remained with him, and the people of the village were on the point of discovering his secret. For when a man suffering from a disease came in his way by chance he prayed for him and he was cured; but if he was summoned to a sick man he would not go. Now one of the villagers had a son who was blind1 and he asked about Faymiyun and was told that he never came when he was sent for, but that he was a man who built houses for people for a wage. Thereupon the man took his son and put him in his room and threw a garment over him and went to Faymiyun saying that he wanted him to do some work for him in his house and would he come and look at it, and they would agree on a price. Arrived at the house Faymiyun asked what he wanted done, and after giving details the man suddenly whisked off the covering from the boy and said: 'O Faymiyun, one of God's creatures is in the state you see.  So pray for him.' Faymiyun did so2 and the boy got up entirely healed. Knowing that he had been recognized he left the village followed by Salih, and while they were walking through Syria they passed by a great tree and a man called frofn it saying, 'I've been expecting you and saying, "When is he coming?" until I heard your voice and knew itywas you. Don't go until you have prayed over my grave for I am about to die.' He did die and he prayed over him until they buried him. Then he left followed by Salih until they reached the land of the Arabs who attacked them, and a caravan carried them off and sold them in Najran. At this time the people of Najran followed the religion of the Arabs worshipping a great palm-tree there. Every year they had a festival when they hung on the tree any fine garment they could find and women's jewels. Then they sallied out and devoted the day to it.3 Faymiyun was sold to one noble and Salih to another. Now it happened that when Faymiyun was praying earnestly at night in a house which his master had assigned to him the whole house was filled with light so that it shone as it were without a lamp. His master was amazed at the sight, and asked him about his religion. Faymiyun told him and said that they were in error; as for the palm-tree it could neither help nor hurt; and if he were to curse the tree in the name


1  Or 'sick'.

2  T- gives the words of Faymiyun's prayer: 'O God, thy enemy has attacked the health of one of thy servants to ruin it. Restore him to health and protect him from him.'

3  Or, perhaps, 'processed round it'.



Page 16 of God, He would destroy it, for He was God Alone without companion. 'Then do so,' said his master, 'for if you do that we shall embrace your religion, and abandon our present faith.' After purifying himself and performing two rak'as, he invoked God against the tree and God sent a wind against it which tore it from its roots and cast it on the ground. Then the people of Najran adopted his religion and he instructed them in the law of 'Isa b. Maryam. Afterwards they suffered the misfortunes1 which befell their co-religionists in every land. This was the origin of Christianity in Najran in the land of the Arabs. Such is the report of Wahb b. Munab-bih on the authority of the people of Najran.





Yazid b. Ziyad told me on the authority of Muhammad b. Ka'b al-QurazI, and a man of Najran also told me, that according to his people they used to worship idols. Najran is the largest town in which the people of the neigh­bouring district congregated, and in a village hard by there was a sorcerer who used to instruct the young men of Najran in his art. When Faymiyiin came there—they did not call him by the name that Wahb b. Munabbih gives him but simply said a man came there—he put up a tent between Najran and the place where the sorcerer was. Now the people of Najran used to send their young men to that sorcerer to be taught sorcery and al-Thamir sent his son 'Abdullah along with them. When he passed by the man in the tent he was immensely struck by his prayers and devotion and began to sit with him and listen to him until he became a Muslim2 and acknowledged the unity of God and worshipped Him. He asked questions about the laws of Islam until when he became fully instructed therein he asked the man what was the Great Name of God. Although he knew it he kept it from him, saying: 'My dear young man,3 you will not be able to bear it; I fear that you are not strong enough.! Now al-Thamir had no idea that his son 'Abdullah was not visiting the sorcerer along with the other young men. 'Abdullah seeing that his master had kept the knowledge from him and was afraid of his weakness, collected a number of sticks and whenever he taught him a name of God he wrote that name on a stick. When he had got them all he lit a fire and began to throw them in one by one until when he reached the stick with the Great Name inscribed on it he threw it in, and it immediately sprang out untouched by the fire. There­upon he took it and went and told his master that he knew the Great Name which he had concealed from him. The latter questioned him and when he learned how he had found out the secret he said, 'O my young


1  Or 'innovations' (ahddth), so Nold., op. cit., 182, v.s.

2  The Quran_teacheg that pure Chnstiuutv was Jslam, cf. Sura 3. 45 et passim.

3  Lit. 'Son of my brother1.


Page 17 friend,1 you have got it, but keep it to yourself, though I do not think you will.'                                                                                                         

   Thereafter whenever 'Abdullah b. al-Thamir entered Najran and met any sick person he would say to him, 'O servant of God, will you acknow­ledge the unity of God and adopt my religion so that I may pray to God that he may heal you of your affliction ?' The man would agree, acknowledge the unity of God, and become a Muslim, and he would pray for him and he would be healed, until in the end there was not a single sick person in Najran but had adopted his religion and become whole from his sickness. When the news reached the king he sent for him and said: 'You have corrupted the people of my town so that they are against me and have opposed my religion and the religion of my fathers. I will make a terrible example of you!' He replied: 'You have not the power to do that.' The king had him taken to a high mountain and thrown down headlong, but he reached the ground unhurt. Then he had him thrown into deep water in Najran from which no one had ever emerged alive, but he came out safely.

   Having thus got the better of him 'Abdullah told him that he would not be able to kill him until he acknowledged the unity of God and believed in his religion; but that if he did that he would be given power'to kill him. The king then acknowledged the unity of God and pronounced the creed of 'Abdullah, and hitting him a moderate blow with a stick which he had in his hand he killed him and died himself on the spot. The people of Najran accepted the religion of 'Abdullah b. al-Thamir according to the Gospel and the law which 'Isa b. Maryam brought. Afterwards they were over­taken by the misfortunes2 which befell their co-religionists. Such is the origin of Christianity in Najran. But God knows best (what the facts are).

   Such is the report of Muhammad b. Ka' b. al-QurazI and one of the men of Najran about 'Abdullah b. al-Thamir, but God knows best what happened.

   Dhu Nuwas came against them with his armies and invited them to accept Judaism, giving them the choice between that or death: they chose death. So he dug trenches for them; burnt some in fire, slew some with the sword, and mutilated them until he had killed nearly twenty thousand of them.3 Concerning Dhu Nuwas and that army of his God revealed to his apostle


On the trenchmakers be eternal ire

For their fuel-fed fire

Watching as the flames grew higher

The sufferings of the faithful, dire!

They only tormented them because they believed in

God the Mighty, the Worthy to be Praised (30).4


1  Lit. 'Son of my brother'.

2  ahddth, v.s.

3  T. 'Then Dhu Nuwas returned to San'a with his troops.'

4         Sura 85. 4,

                                  B4080                                                C



Page 18 It is said that among those put to death by Dhu Nuwas was 'Abdullah b. al-Thamir, their leader and imam.1

    I was told by 'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr b. Muhammad b. 'Amr b. Hazm that he was told that in the days of 'Umar b. al-Khattab a man of Najran dug up one of the ruins of Najran intending to make use of the land, when they came upon 'Abdullah b. al-Thamir under a grave; he was in a sitting posture with his hand covering a wound in his head and holding firmly to it. When his hand was removed the blood began to flow; when they let go of his hand it returned to its place and the flow of blood ceased. On his finger was a ring inscribed 'Allah is my Lord'. A report was sent to 'Umar and he replied: 'Leave him alone and cover in the grave' and his orders were duly carried out.







A man of Saba' called Daus Dhu Tha'laban escaped on a horse, and taking to the desert eluded them.2 He pressed on until he reached the Byzantine court, when he asked the emperor to aid him against Dhu Nuwas and his  troops, telling him what had happened. The latter replied that his country was too distant for him to be able to help by sending troops, but that he would write to the Abyssinian king who was a Christian and whose territory was near the Yaman. Accordingly he did write ordering him to help Daus and seek revenge.

    Daus went to the Negus with the emperor's letter, and he sent with him seventy thousand Abyssinians, putting over them a man called Aryat. (T. He ordered him to kill a third of the men, lay waste a third of the country, and seize a third of the women and children if he conquered.) With the army there was a man called Abraha 'Split-face'. Aryat crossed the sea with Daus Dhu Tha'laban and landed in the Yaman. Dhu Nuwas with the Himyarites and such of the YamanI tribes as were under his com­mand came out against him, and after an engagement Dhu Nuwas and his force was put to flight.3 Seeing that his cause was lost Dhu Nuwas turned his horse seawards beating it until it entered the waves and carried him through the shallows out into the deep water. This was the last that was seen of him. Aryat entered the Yaman and took possession of it. (T. He


1  Another tradition in T- says that 'Abdullah was killed by an earlier king.  Azr. i. 81 gives a somewhat different version from the rividya of Ibn Saj.   For an account of these martyrs from Christian sources see The Book of the Himyarites, ed. Axel Moberg, Lund, 1924.

2  Tab. 925. 9 says that there was a YamanI report that a man of Najran called Jabbar b. Fayd also escaped.

3  Tab. 027. 1 5 contains an account of the disordered state of the Yamani army and their feeble opposition.



Page 19 carried out the Negus's orders, and sent a third of the women and children to him. He stayed on in the country and reduced it to subjection.)

One of the Yamanis remembering how Daus had brought the Abys-sinians upon them said:


Not like Daus and not like the things he carried in his saddle bag.


And this saying has become proverbial in the Yaman until this day.

Dhu Jadan the Himyari (T recording their humiliation after their former glory and Aryat's destruction of their castles Silhin, Baynun, and Ghumdan unique in their splendour) recited:


Gently! Tears cannot recall what is sped.

Fret not thyself for those who are dead.

After Baynun no stones nor trace remain,

And after Silhin shall men build such houses again ?


    Baynun, Silhin, and Ghumdan are Yamani castles which Aryat destroyed and none like them existed. He continued:


Peace, confound you! You can't turn me from my purpose

Thy scolding dries my spittle!

To the music of singers in times past 'twas fine

When we drank our fill of purest noblest wine.

Drinking freely of wine brings me no shame

If my behaviour no boon-companion would blame.

For death no man can hold back

Though he drink the perfumed potions of the quack.

Nor monk in his secluded cell on high

Where the vulture round his nest doth fly.

You have heard of Ghumdan's towers:

From the mountain top it lowers

Well carpentered, with stones for stay,

Plastered with clean, damp, slippery clay;

Oil lamps within it show

At even like the lightning's glow.

Beside its wall the palm-trees fine

With ripening fruit in clusters shine.

This once-new castle is ashes today,

The flames have eaten its beauty away.

Dhu Nuwas humbled gave up his castle great

And warned his people of their coming fate.


With reference to that, Ibn al-Dhi'ba al-Thaqafi said (31):


By thy life there 's no escape for a man when death and old age seize


 By thy life a man has nowhere to flee—no asylum                              


Page 20 Could there be after Himyar's tribes were destroyed one morn by

    calamity's stroke,

A thousand thousand with spearmen (glittering) like the sky before


Their cry deafened the chargers and they put to flight the warriors

    with their pungent smell.

Witches as the sand in number the very sap of trees dried at their



'Amr b. Ma'dl Karib al-Zubaydl said concerning a dispute which he had with Qays b. Makshuh al-Muradi when he heard that he had threatened him, and bringing to memory the lost glory of Himyar:


Do you threaten me as though you were Dhu Ru'ayn

Or Dhu Nuwas in the days of their prime ?

Many a man before you was prosperous

With a kingdom firmly rooted among men.

Ancient as the days of 'Ad

Exceeding fierce, overcoming tyrants,

Yet his people perished

And he became a wanderer among men (32).





Aryat held sway in the Yaman for some years and then Abraha the Abyssinian (T. who was in his army) disputed his authority, and the Abyssinians split into two parties each claiming supporters. When war was about to begin, Abraha sent to Aryat asking him to avert the danger of internecine war and inviting him to settle the dispute by personal combat, the winner to be the sole commander of the army. Aryat agreed and Abraha went forth to meet him. He was a short fat man holding the Christian faith; and Aryat advanced against him spear in hand; he was a big, tall, handsome man. Abraha had a young man called 'Atawda at his back to defend him against attack from the rear. Aryat raised his spear striking at Abraha's skull and hit him on the forehead splitting his eyebrow, nose,  eye, and mouth. It was for this reason that he was called al-Ashram (split-face). Thereupon 'Atawda coming out from behind Abraha attacked Aryat and killed him, and Aryat's army joined Abraha, and the Abyssinians in the Yaman accepted him as their chief. (T. Then 'Atawda cried:' 'Atawda you see, of an evil company; parentless in nobility', meaning that Abraha's slave had killed Aryat. Al-Ashram asked what he wanted, for though he had killed him blood-money must be paid. He asked and obtained from him


1 A slightly longer account is given in Azr. i. 86.



Page 21 the right oiprimae noctis in Yaman.) Abraha paid blood-money for killing Aryat. (T. All this happened without the knowledge of the Negus.)

   When the news of this affair reached the Negus he was filled with rage and said: 'Has he attacked my amir and killed him without any order from me ?' Then he swore an oath that he would not leave Abraha alone until he had trodden his land and cut off his forelock. So Abraha shaved his head and filled a leather bag with the earth, of the Yaman and sent it to the Negus with the following letter: 'O King, Aryat was only thy slave and I too am thy slave. We disputed about your orders; everyone must obey you; but I was stronger, firmer, and more skilful in managing the affairs of the Abyssinians. Now when I was told of the king's oath I shaved the whole of my head and I send it to you with a bag of the dust of my land that you may put it beneath your feet and thus keep your oath concerning me.' When this message reached the Negus he was reconciled to him and wrote to him that he was to stay in the Yaman until further orders; so Abraha remained in the Yaman. (T. When Abraha perceived that the Negus was reconciled and had made him viceregent of the Yaman, he sent to Abu Murra b. Dhu Yazan and took away from him his wife Rayhana d. 'Alqama b. Malik b. Zayd b. Kahlan. Abu Murra who is Dhu Jadan had a son by her—Ma'di Karib. Afterwards she bore to Abraha a son Masriiq and a daughter Basbasa. Abu Murra took to flight. His slave 'Atawda went on exercising his right in Yaman until a man of Himyar of Khath'am attacked and killed him; and when the news reached Abraha, who was a lenient noble character, a Christian of temperate habits, he told the people that it was high time that they had an official with due self-control and that had he known that 'Atawda would have chosen such a reward for his services he would not have allowed him to choose his reward. Further no bloodwit would be exacted and he would not take any action against them for killing 'Atawda.)





Then Abraha built the cathedral1 in San'a', such a church as could not be seen elsewhere in any part of the world at that time. He wrote to the Negus saying: 'I have built a church for you, O King, such as has not been built for any king before you. I shall not rest until I have diverted the Arabs' pilgrimage to it.' When the Arabs were talking about this letter of his, one of the calendar intercalators was enraged. He was of the B. Fuqaym b. 'Adiy b. 'Amir b. Tha'laba b. al-Harith b. Malik b. Kinana b. Khuzayma b. Mudrika b. Ilyas b. Mudar. The intercalators are those who used to adjust the months for the Arabs in the time of ignorance. They


1 al-Qullays.  The Arab commentators derive this word from an Arabic root, but it is simply the Greek ekklesia.



Page 22 would make one of the holy months profane, and make one of the profane 30 months holy to balance the calendar. It was about this that God sent down: 'Postponement (of a sacred month) is but added infidelity by which those who disbelieve are misled. They make it (the month) profane one year and make it sacred the next year, that they may make up the number of the months which God has made sacred (33).'1

   The first to impose this system of intercalation on the Arabs was al-Qalammas who was Hudhayfa b. 'Abd b. Fuqaym b. 'Adiy b. 'Amir b. Tha'laba b. al-Harith b. Malik b. Kinana b. Khuzayma; his son 'Abbad followed him; then his descendants Qala', Umayya, 'Auf, and Abu Thumama Junada b. 'Auf who was the last of them, for he was overtaken by Islam. When the Arabs had finished pilgrimage, it used to be their practice to gather round him and he would declare the four sacred months Rajab, Dhu'l-Qa'da, Dhu'l-Hijja, and al-Muharram. If he wanted to free a period he would free al-Muharram and they would declare it free and ban Safar in its place so as to make up the number of the four sacred months. When they wanted to return from Mecca,2 he got up and said: 'O God, I have made one of the Safars free for them, the first Safar-,-and I have postponed the other till next year.'

   About this 'Umayr b. Qays Jadhlu'l-Ti'an, one of the B. Firas b. Ghanm b. Tha'laba b. Malik b. Kinana, boasting of this determining of the months, improvised:


Ma'add knows that my people are the most honourable of men and

      have noble ancestors.

Who has escaped us when we seek vengeance and whom have we not

      made to champ the bit ?

Are we not Ma'add's calendar-makers, making profane months sacred ?



    The Kinanite went forth until he came to the cathedral and defiled it (35). Then he returned to his own country. Hearing of the matter Abraha made inquiries and learned that the outrage had been committed by an Arab who came from the temple in Mecca where the Arabs went on pilgrimage, and that he had done this in anger at his threat to divert the Arabs' pilgrimage to the cathedral, showing thereby that it was unworthy of reverence.

  Abraha was enraged and swore that he would go to this temple and destroy it. (T. With Abraha there were some Arabs who had come to seek his bounty, among them Muhammad b. Khuza'i b. Khuzaba al-Dhak-wSnl, al-Sulaml, with a number of his tribesmen including a brother of his called Qays. While they were with him a feast of Abraha occurred and he sent to invite them to the feast. Now he used to eat an animal's testicles,


1  Sura 9. 37.

2  If by this time a sacred month was due, raiding and blood-revenge would be taboo; hence the need to declare the month profane.



Page 23 so when the invitation was brought they said, 'By God, if we eat this the Arabs will hold it against us as long as we live.' Thereupon Muhammad got up and went to Abraha and said, 'O King, this is a festival of ours in which we eat only the loins and shoulders.' Abraha replied that he would send them what they liked, because his sole purpose in inviting them was to show that he honoured them. Then he crowned Muhammad and made him amir of Mudar and ordered him to go among the people to invite them to pilgrimage at his cathedral which he had built. When Muhammad got as far as the land of Kinana the people of the lowland knowing what he had come for sent a man of Hudhayl called 'Urwa b. Hayyad al-Milasi who shot him with an arrow, killing him. His brother Qays who was with him fled to Abraha and told him the news, which increased his rage and fury and he swore to raid the B. Kinana and destroy the temple.) So he commanded the Abyssinians to prepare and make ready, and sallied forth with the elephant. News of this plunged the Arabs into alarm and anxiety and they decided that it was incumbent on them to fight against him when they heard that he meant to destroy the Ka'ba, God's holy house.

    A member of one of the ruling families in the Yaman, Dhu Nafr by name, summoned his people and such of the Arabs as would follow him to fight Abraha and stop him from attacking and destroying God's holy house. A certain number supported him, but after a battle Dhu Nafr and his followers were put to flight and he himself was taken prisoner and brought to Abraha. When he was about to put him to death Dhu Nafr pleaded for his life on the ground that he would be more useful to him alive than dead. Abraha then gave him his life but kept him in fetters. He was a merciful man.

   Abraha continued on his road to Mecca until in the country of Khath'am he was opposed by Nufayl b. Habib al-Khath'ami with their two tribes Shahran and Nahis and such of the Arab tribes as followed him. After an engagement he was defeated and taken prisoner. When Abraha thought of killing him, Nufayl said: 'Don't kill me, O King, for I will be your guide in the Arab country. Here are my two hands as surety that the two tribes of Khath'am, Shahran and Nahis, will obey you.' So Abraha let him go.

   He continued with him as a guide until they reached Ta'if when Mas'ud b. Mu'attib b. Malik b. Ka'b b. 'Amr b. Sa'd b. 'Auf b. Thaqif came out to him with the men of Thaqif. Thaqif's name was Qasiy b. al-Nabit b. Munabbih b. Mansur b. Yaqdum b. Afsa b. Du'mi b. Iyad b. Nizar b. Ma'add b. 'Adnan. Umayya b. Abu Salt al-Thaqafl said:


My people are Iyad, would that they were near

Or would that they had stayed (here) though their camels might be



       1 The camels are thin because they are always overmilked to supply the wants of guests;

 Schulthess, Umayya, 15, reads jatujzara, 'might be slaughtered'.



Page 24  When on the march Iraq's wide plain

                 Is theirs—moreover they read and write (36).

He also said:

   If you ask me who I am, Lubayna, and of my line

   I will tell you the certain truth.

   We belong to al-Nablt the father of Qasiy

   To Mansur son of Yaqdum (our) forefathers (37).


  They said to him: O King, we are thy servants attentive and obedient to you. We have no quarrel with you and our temple—meaning that of al-Lat—is not the one you seek. You want only the temple in Mecca, and we will send with you a man to guide you there. He therefore passed on leaving them unmolested.

  As to al-Lat it was a temple of theirs in al-Ta'if which they used to venerate as the Ka'ba is venerated (38). So they sent with him Abu Righal to guide him on the way to Mecca, and when he had brought him as far as al-Mughammis1 Abu Righal died there and the Arabs stoned his grave. This is the grave which people in al-Mughammis still stone.2

   Arrived here, Abraha sent an Abyssinian called al-Aswad b. Mafsiid3 with some cavalry as far as Mecca and the latter sent off to him the plunder of the people of Tihama, the Quraysh and others, among it two hundred camels belonging to 'Abdu'l-Muttalib b. Hashim, who at that time was the leading shaykh of Quraysh. At first Quraysh, Kinana, and Hudhayl and others who were in the holy place meditated battle, but seeing that they had not the power to offer resistance they gave up the idea.

   Abraha sent Hunata the Himyarite to Mecca instructing him to inquire who was the chief notable of the country and to tell him that the king's message was that he had not come to fight them, but only to destroy the temple. If they offered no resistance there was no cause for bloodshed, and if he wished to avoid war he should return with him. On reaching Mecca Hunata was told that ' Abdu'l-Muttalib b. Hashim b. 'Abd Manaf b. Qusayy was the leading notable, so he went to him and delivered Abraha's message, 'Abdu'l-Muttalib replied: 'God knows that we do not wish to fight him for we have not the power to do so. This is Allah's sanctuary and the temple of His friend Abraham—or words to that effect—If He defends it against him it is His temple and His sanctuary; and if he lets him have it by God we cannot defend it!' Hunata replied that he must come with him to Abraha, for he was ordered to bring him back with him.

   So accompanied by one of his sons 'Abdu'l-Muttalib came to the camp


1  Also written al-Mughammas, a place 'two thirds of a parasang' (roughly two miles) from Mecca.

2  The practice survives to this day.

3  Other authorities write Maqsiid. Mafsud means 'slash-faced'.


Page 25 and inquired for Dhu Nafr, for he was a friend of his. He went in to see him as he was in confinement and asked him if he could do anything to help them in their trouble. Dhu Nafr replied: 'What use is a man held a prisoner in the hands of a king, expecting to be killed at any moment? I can do nothing to help you except that Unays the keeper of the elephant being a friend of mine, I will send to him and commend your case to him as strongly as possible asking him to try to get you permission to see the king. So speak as you think fit, and he will intercede for you with the king if he is able to do so.' So Dhu Nafr sent to Unays saying, 'The king has taken two hundred camels belonging to 'Abdu'l-Muttalib, lord of Quraysh and master of the Meccan1 well who feeds men in the plain and wild creatures on the top of the mountains, and is now here. So ask permission  for him to see the king and help him as far as you can.' He said he would do so and repeated these words to the king, adding that 'Abdu'l-Muttalib wished to see him and talk to him about a pressing matter. Abraha agreed to see him. Now 'Abdu'l-Muttalib was a most impressive, handsome, and dignified man, and when Abraha saw him he treated him with the greatest respect so that he would not let him sit beneath him. He could not let the Abyssinians see him sitting beside him on his royal throne, so he got off his throne and sat upon his carpet and made 'Abdu'l-Muttalib sit beside him there. Then he told his interpreter to inquire what he wanted, and the reply was that he wanted the king to return two hundred camels of his which he had taken. Abraha replied through the interpreter, 'You pleased me much when I saw you; then I was much displeased with you when I heard what you said. Do you wish to talk to me about two hundred camels of yours which I have taken, and say nothing about your religion and the religion of your forefathers which I have come to destroy?' 'Abdu'l-Mut­talib replied, 'I am the owner of the camels and the temple has an owner who will defend it.' When the king replied that he could not defend it against him he said, 'That remains to be seen.' ('Give me back my camels.')       

  Some learned people allege that when 'Abdu'l-Muttalib went to Abraha when he sent Hunata to him, there accompanied him Ya'mur b. Nufatha b. 'Adiy b. al-Du'il b. Bakr b. 'Abd Manat b. Kinana, at that time chief of B. Bakr, and Khuwaylid b. Wathila, then chief of Hudhayl. They offered to give Abraha a third of the cattle of the lowland on condition that he would withdraw from them and not destroy the temple, but he refused their request; but God knows whether this was so or not. At any rate Abraha restored to 'Abdu'l-Muttalib the camels which he had taken.

  When they left him, 'Abdu'l-Muttalib went back to Quraysh and having given them the news ordered them to withdraw from Mecca and take up defensive positions on the peaks and in the passes of the mountains for fear of the excesses of the soldiers. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib took hold of the metal knocker of the Ka'ba, and a number of Quraysh stood with him praying


1 C. has 'ir, 'caravan'.



Page 26 to God and imploring his help against Abraha and his army. As he was holding the knocker of the temple door, 'Abdu'l-Muttalib said:


 O God, a man protects his dwelling so protect Thy dwellings.1

Let not their cross and their craft tomorrow overcome Thy craft (39).2


'Ikrima b. 'Amir b. Hashim b. 'Abdu Manaf b. 'Abd al-Dar b. Qusayy said:


O God, humiliate al-Aswad b. Mafsud

Who took a hundred camels wearing their collars;

Between Hira' and Thabir and the deserts,

He shut them in when they should be pasturing freely,

And delivered them to the black barbarians,

Withdraw from him thine aid, O Lord, for Thou art worthy to be

  praised (40).


    'Abdu'l-Muttalib then let go the knocker of the door of the Ka'ba and went off with his Quraysh companions to the mountain tops where they took up defensive positions waiting to see what Abraha would do when he occupied Mecca. In the morning Abraha prepared to enter the town and made his elephant ready for battle and drew up his troops. His intention was to destroy the temple and then return to the Yaman. When they made the elephant (its name was Mahmud) face Mecca, Nufayl b. Hablb came up to its flank and taking hold of its ear said: 'Kneel, Mahmud, or go straight back whence you came, for you are in God's holy land!' He let go of its ear and the elephant knelt, and Nufayl made off at tag speed for the top of the mountain. The troops beat the elephant to make it get up but it would not; they beat its head with iron bars; they stuck hooks into its underbelly and scarified it; but it would not get up. Then they made it face the Yaman and immediately it got up and started off. When they set it towards the north and the east it did likewise, but as soon as they directed it towards Mecca it knelt down.

     Then God sent upon them birds from the sea like swallows and starlings; each bird carried three stones, like peas and lentils, one in its beak and two between its claws.  Everyone who was hit died but not all were hit.  They withdrew in flight by the way they came, crying out for Nufayl b. Hablb to guide them on the way to the Yaman. When he saw the punishment which God had brought down on them Nufayl said:


Where can one flee when God pursueth ?

Al-Ashram is the conquered not the conqueror (41).


1  Hilal, the plural of hilla, means a collection of houses and also the people who live therein.   For rahlahu al-Shahrastani, Milal, has hillahu 'his neighbour', and for ghadwan 'tomorrow' 'adwan, which could be rendered 'hostile' here. For qiblatana he has Ka'batana.

2  mihal here is said by C. and Abu Dharr to mean strength and power; but it really means 'guile', 'strategy accompanied by force'. 'Craft', cf. Kraft, appears to be the best rendering. The passage is a reminiscence of Sura 13. 14, and the idea may be found in the Quranic saying of God: Khayru l-mdkirin, 3.47. T. has preserved four lines of no poetic merit which I.H. preferred to excise.


Page 27 Nufayl also said:

Our greetings, Rudayna!

You rejoice our eyes this morning!

[Your fuel-seeker came to us last night,

But we had naught to give him.]

If you had seen, but you will not see, Rudayna,

What we saw on al-Muhassab's side1

You would have forgiven me and praised my action

And not have been vexed at what has passed and gone.2

I praised God when I saw the birds,

And I feared the stones that might fall upon us.

Everyone was asking for Nufayl

As though I owed the Abyssinians a debt.


    As they withdrew they were continually falling by the wayside dying miserably by every waterhole. Abraha was smitten in his body, and as they took him away his fingers fell off one by one. Where the finger had been, there arose an evil sore exuding pus and blood, so that when they brought him to San'a' he was like a young fledgeling. They allege that as he died his heart burst from his body. (A. Deserters from the army, labourers, and campfollowers remained in Mecca and became workers and shepherds for the population.)

   Ya'qub b. 'Utba told me that he was informed that that year was the first time that measles and smallpox had been seen in Arabia; and, too, that it was the first time that bitter herbs like rue, colocynth, and Asckpias gigantea were seen.

   When God sent Muhammad he specially recounted to the Quraysh his goodness and favour in turning back the Abyssinians in order to preserve their state and permanence. 'Did you not see how your Lord dealt with the owners of the elephant? Did He not reduce their guile to sheer terror? And sent upon them flocks of birds, throwing hard clay stones upon them, making them as blades of corn that have been devoured.'3

  And again: 'For the uniting of Quraysh, their uniting the caravans to ply summer and winter. Then let them worship the Lord of this temple, who has fed them so that they hunger not, and made them safe from fear',4


1  A place between Mecca and Mina in the valley of Mecca.  See Yaqut.

2  Possibly bayna is a poetical form of baynand, 'between us'. The line is based on Sura 57- S3-

3  Sura 105.

4  Sura 106. A good discussion of this difficult passage will be found in Lane's Lexicon, p. 796 and c.  There are three rival readings: ildf (adopted by our author), ildf, and ilf. According to all three the meaning is said to be 'for their keeping to the journey etc.' Other authorities say that the first reading means 'for the preparing and fitting out'. Others say that according to the third reading the meaning is 'the protecting'.  According to Ibn al-A'rabi the point of this is that the four sons of 'Abdu Manaf were given freedom to travel by the Byzantines, Persian, Abyssinians, and rjimyaris respectively and so were able to go and bring corn from neighbouring territories. There  may be a sound historical kernel to this tradition. The four brothers gave this protection (ildf) to those journeying to the several countries. Thus for ilaf the meanings of covenant, protection, and responsibility for safety are illustrated.



 Page 28 i.e. so that their status should remain unaltered because of God's good purpose towards them if they would receive it (42).

   'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr via 'Amra daughter of 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. Sa'd b. Zurara told me that 'A'isha said: 'I saw the leader of the elephant and its groom walking about Mecca blind and crippled begging for food.'1




 When God turned back the Abyssinians from Mecca and executed His vengeance upon them, the Arabs held the Quraysh in great honour, saying, 'They are the people of God: God fought for them and thwarted the attack of their enemies.' On this theme they composed many poems. Thus 'Abdullah b. al-Zibra'ra b. 'Adiy b. Qays b. 'Adiy b. Sa'd b. Sahm b. 'Amr b. Husays b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr said:


Withdraw from the vale of Mecca for

From of old its sanctuary has not been violated.

When it was sanctified, Sirius had not been created.

No mighty man has ever attacked it.                    

Ask the commander of the Abyssinians2 what he saw.


He who knows what happened will tell the ignorant.

Sixty thousand men returned not home,

Nor did their sick recover after their return.

'Ad and Jurhum were (in Mecca) before them.

God has set it above all creatures.


The words 'nor did their sick recover after their return' refer to Abraha

whom they carried with them when he was smitten, until he died in San'a'.

Abu Qays b. al-Aslat al-Ansari al-Khatmi, Sayfl by name (43) said:


His work it was on the day of the Abyssinian elephant.

Whenever they urged it forward it held its ground,

(They drove) their hooks beneath its flanks,

They split its nose and it was torn.

They used a knife as a whip.

When they applied it to its back it made a wound.

It turned and faced the way it had come.

Those there bore the burden of their injustice.


1  Azr. i. 92 reports from I.I. that envoys from the tribes went to congratulate Sayf b. Dhu Yazan on his restoration to kingship.  He singled out Quraysh for special treatment.

2  I prefer the reading hubshi (W.) to the jayshi of C.


Page 29 God sent a wind bringing pebbles from above them

And they huddled together like lambs.1

Their priests urged them to endure,

But they bleated like sheep (44).


Abu Qays b. al-Aslat also said:


Rise and pray to your Lord and stroke

The corners of this temple between the mountains.2

He gave you a convincing test

On the day of Abu Yaksum leader of the squadrons.

His cavalry was in the plain, his infantry

Upon the passes of the distant hills.

When the help of the Lord of the Throne reached you,

His armies repulsed them,3 pelting them and covering them with


Quickly they turned tail in flight, and none

But a few returned to his people from the army (45).4


Talib b. Abu Talib b. 'Abdu l-Mutfalib said:


Know you not what happened in the war of Dahis5

And Abu Yaksum's army when it filled the pass

 But for the help of God the Sole Existent One

You would have been unable to save your lives (46).6


Abu al-Salt b. Abu Rabl'a al-Thaqafi referring to the elephant and to the HanafI religion being that of Abraham said (47):


The signs of our Lord are illuminating.7

None but infidels doubt them.

Night and Day were created and all

Is abundantly plain, its reckoning is fixed.

Then the merciful Lord revealed the day

By the sun whose rays are seen everywhere.

He held the elephant fast in al-Mughammas until

It sank to the ground as though it were hamstrung.8


1 With some hesitation I read this line: falqffuhum . . . al-qaram. W. reads yaluffuhum; C. inserts no vowels to the form I have read as indicated. Both W. and C. read al-quzurn which means 'small bodies'. Abu Dharr (Bronnle, zi) read al-qaram, which he explained by sighdru'l-ghanam. The line that follows seems to require a reference to sheep here.

2 The term akhashib refers to the mountains of Mecca.

3 i.e. the angels.

4 Or, 'from the Abyssinians'.  See n. z, p. 28. These lines occur again in W., p. 180.

5  Dahis is the name of a horse.  Foul play during a race led to a long and bloody feud between the tribes of 'Abs and Dhubyan. See Nicholson, L.H.A. 61-62.

6  Or, 'property'.

7  Reading thdqibdtun with C.

8  laziman, Jahiz, Hayawan, Cairo, 1945.'1364, vii. 198, reads wddi'an, but the received text is better. I owe this explanation of halqa to my colleague Dr. el-Tayeb. Commentators and translators have missed the point.


Page 30 Its trunk curled ring-wise; it lay motionless as;

A boulder flung down from Kabkab's rocks.

Round it Kinda's kings, warriors,

Mighty hawks in war.

They abandoned it and departed headlong

All of them; the shank of each one of them was broken.

In God's sight at the Resurrection every religion

But that of the hanif is doomed to perdition (48).


    When Abraha died his son Yaksum became king of the Abyssinians. (T. Himyar and the tribes of Yaman were humiliated under the heel of the Abyssinians. They took their women and killed their men and seized their young men to act as interpreters.) When Yaksum b. Abraha died his brother Masruq b. Abraha reigned over the Abyssinians in the Yaman.





When the people of the Yaman had long endured oppression, Sayf b. Dhii Yazan the Himyarite, who was known as Abu Murra, went to the Byzantine emperor and complained to him of his troubles, asking him to drive out the Abyssinians and take over the country. He asked him to send what forces he pleased and promised him the kingdom of the Yaman.

   The emperor paid no attention to his request, so he went to al-Nu'man b. al-Mundhir, who was Chosroes' governor at al-Hira and the surrounding country of Iraq. When he complained of the Abyssinians, al-Nu'man b. al-Mundhir told him that he paid a formal visit every year to Chosroes and he asked him to stay with him until then. Accordingly he took him with him and introduced him to Chosroes. Now he used to sit in his audience chamber which contained his crown. According to reports, his crown was like a huge grain-measure with rubies, pearls, and topazes set in gold and silver, suspended by a golden chain from the top of the dome in his hall of audience. Such was the weight of the crown that his neck could not bear it. He was hidden behind a robe until he sat on his throne; then his head was inserted into the crown, and when he was settled com­fortably on his throne the robes were taken from him. Everyone who saw him for the first time fell to his knees in awe. When Sayf b. Dhii Yazan entered his presence he fell to his knees (49).

   He said: 'O King, ravens1 have taken possession of our country.' Chosroes asked, 'What ravens, Abyssinians or Sindians?' 'Abyssinians,' he replied, 'and I have come to you for help and that you may assume the


1 i.e. 'blacks'.


Page 31 kingship of my country.' He answered, 'Your country is far distant and has little to attract me; I cannot endanger a Persian army in Arabia and there is no reason why I should do so.' Then he made him a present of 10,000 drachmae sterling and invested him in a fine robe. Sayf went out with the silver and began to scatter it among the people; (T. Boys and slaves of both sexes scrambled for the coins). When the king was told of this he thought it very extraordinary and sent for him and said, 'You mean to throw away a royal gift!' He answered: 'What use is silver to me? The mountains of my country from which I come are nothing but gold and silver.' This he said to excite his cupidity. Chosroes thereupon gathered his advisers together and asked their opinion about the man and his project. One of them reminded the king that in his prisons there were men who were condemned to death. If he were to send them with him and they were killed, that would merely be the fate that he had determined for them; on the other hand, if they conquered the country he would have added to his empire. Thereupon Chosroes sent those who were confined in his prisons to the number of eight hundred men.

   He put in command of them a man called Wahriz who was of mature age and of excellent family and lineage. They set out in eight ships, two of which foundered, so that only six reached the shores of Aden. Sayf brought all the people that he could to. Wahriz saying, 'My foot is with your foot, we die or conquer together.' 'Right,' said Wahriz. Masriiq b. Abraha the king of Yaman came out against him with his army, and Wahriz sent one of his sons to fight them so as to get experience in their way of fighting. His son was killed and he was filled with rage against them. When the men were drawn up in their ranks Wahriz said, 'Show me their king.' They said, 'Do you see a man on an elephant with a crown on his head and a red ruby on his forehead ? That is their king.' 'Let him be,' he said, and they waited a long time and then he said, 'What is he riding now?' They said: 'He is now bestride a horse'; again they waited. He asked the same question and they said he was bestride a mule. Said Wahriz: 'An ass's filly! A weak creature, and so is his kingdom. I will shoot him. If you see that his followers have not moved, then stand fast until I give you permission to advance, for I shall have missed the fellow. But if you see the people flocking round him I shall have hit him, so fall upon them.' He then bent his bow (the story goes that it was so tough that no one but he could bend it) and ordered that his eyebrows be fastened back,1 then he shot Masriiq and split the ruby in his forehead and the arrow pierced his head and came out at the back of his neck. He fell off his mount and the Abyssinians gathered round him. When the Persians fell upon them, they fled and were killed as they bolted in all directions. Wahriz advanced to enter into San'a', and when he reached its gate he said that his standard should never be lowered and he ordered them to destroy the gate and went in with his flag flying.


1 His eyes were half closed from age.


Page 32 Sayf b. Dhii Yazan al-Himyari said:


   Men thought the two kings had made peace

  And those who heard of their reconciliation found the matter was

      very grave.

  We slew the prince Masruq and reddened the sands with blood.

  The new prince, the people's prince,

  Wahriz swore an oath that

   He would drink no wine until he had captured prisoners and spoil (50).


Abu al-Salt b. Abu Rabl'a al-Thaqafi (51) said:


  Let those seek vengeance who are like Ibn Dhu Yazan

  Who spent long years at sea because of his enemies,

  When the time for his journey came he went to Caesar

  But did not attain what he sought.

  Then he turned to Chosroes after ten years,

  Counting his life and money cheap,

  Until he came bringing the Persians with him.

  By my life you were swift in action,

  What a noble band came out:

  Never were their like seen among men!

  Nobles, princes, mighty men, archers,

  Lions who train their cubs in the jungle!

  From curved bows they shot arrows

  Stout as the poles of the howdah

  Bringing the victim a speedy death.

  You sent lions against black dogs,

  Their fugitives are scattered all over the earth.

  So drink your fill, wearing your crown,

  On Ghumdan's top reclining in a house you have chosen.

  Drink your fill, for they are dead,

  And walk proudly today in your flowing robes.

  Such are noble deeds! not two pails of milk mingled with water

  Which afterwards become urine (53).


 'Adiy b. Zayd al-Hlri, one of B. Tamlm, said:


What is there after San'a' in which once lived

Rulers of a kingdom whose gifts were lavish?

Its builder raised it to the flying clouds,

Its lofty chambers gave forth musk.

Protected by mountains against the attacks of enemies,1

Its lofty heights unscalable.


1 Kd'id here I take to mean a resourceful foe. The Cairo editors prefer to find a reference to God.



Page 33 Pleasant was the voice of the night owl there,

Answered at even by a flute player.

Fate brought to it the Persian army

With their knights in their train;

They travelled on mules laden with death,

While the asses' foals ran beside them

Until the princes saw from the top of the fortress

Their squadrons shining with steel,

The day that they called to the barbarians and al-Yaksum

'Cursed be he who runs away!'

'Twas a day of which the story remains,

But a people of long established1 dignity came to an end.

Persians2 replaced the native born,

The days were dark3 and mysterious.

After noble sons of Tubba',

Persian generals were firmly settled there (54).


(T. When Wahriz had conquered the Yaman and driven out the Abyssinians he wrote to Chosroes telling him of what had been done and sending him captured treasure. In his reply the king told him to appoint Sayf king of the Yaman. He also gave Sayf instructions to collect taxes every year and to remit them to him. He summoned Wahriz to his presence and Sayf became king, he being the son of Dhu Yazan of the Kings of the Yaman. This is what Ibn Humayd told me from Salama on the authority of Ibn Ishaq.)4

   (When Wahriz had gone to Chosroes and made Sayf king of the Yaman, the latter began to attack the Abyssinians, killing them and slaying the women with child until he exterminated all but an insignificant number of miserable creatures whom he employed as slaves and runners to go before him with their lances. Before very long he was out with these armed slaves when suddenly they surrounded him and stabbed him to death. One of them established himself as leader.and they went through the Yaman slay­ing and laying waste the country. When the Persian king heard of this he sent Wahriz with 4,000 Persians and ordered him to kill every Abyssinian or child of an Abyssinian and an Arab woman, great or small, and not leave alive a single man with crisp curly hair. Wahriz arrived and in due course carried out these instructions and wrote to tell the king that he had done so. The king then gave him viceregal authority and he ruled under Chos­roes until his death.)


1 Reading umma for C.'s imma.

2 Fayj, the reading of C. (against W.'sfayh) is a Persian word for a crowd of men.  I.K. has hayj.

3  A variant is khun, 'treacherous'.

4In this chapter T.'s version is much more vivid and detailed and reads much more like the lively style of Ibn Ishaq.  No doubt Ibn Hisham cut down this to him unimportant chapter as much as he could.

B 4080                                                                                             D



Page 34                                           THE END OF THE PERSIAN AUTHORITY  IN THE


Wahriz and the Persians dwelt in the Yaman, and the Abna' who are in the Yaman today are descended from the survivors of that Persian army. The period of Abyssinian domination from the entry of Aryat to the death of Masruq ibn Abraha at the hands of the Persians and the expulsion of the Abyssinians was seventy-two years. The successive princes were four, Aryat, Abraha, Yaksum, and Masruq (55).

  It is said that on a rock in the Yaman there was an inscription dating from olden times:


To whom belongs the kingdom of Dhimar ?

To Himyar the righteous.

To whom belongs the kingdom of Dhimar ?

To the evil Abyssinians.

To whom belongs the kingdom of Dhimar ?

To the free Persians.

To whom belongs the kingdom of Dhimar ?

To Quraysh the merchants (56).


Dhimar means the Yaman or San'a'.

  Al- A'sha of B. Qays b. Tha'laba said when the words of Satlh and his companion were fulfilled:


    'No woman has ever seen, as she saw, the truth like the truth of al-Dhi'bl when he prophesied.'1 The Arabs called him al-Dhi'bl because he was the son of Rabl'a b. Mas'iid b. Mazin b. Dhi'b (57).




Nizar b. Ma'add begat three sons: Mudar, Rabl'a, and Anmar (58).

    Anmar was the father of Khath'am and Bajila. Jarir b. 'Abdullah al-Bajali who was chief of the Bajila (of whom someone said: 'But for Jarir, Bajila would have perished. A fine man and a poor tribe') said when he was appealing against al-Furafisa al-Kalbl to al-Aqra' b. Habis al-Tamim b. 'Iqal b. Mujashi' b. Darim b. Malik b. Hanzala b. Malik b. Zayd Manat


              O Aqra' b. Habis, O Aqra',

If thy brother is overthrown thou wilt be overthrown.


and said:

Ye two sons of Nizar help your brother.

My father I wot is your father.

A brother who is your ally will not be worsted this day.


1 Legend says that the woman in question was able to see people a three days' journe distant.



Page 35 They went to the Yaman and remained there (59).

    Mudar b. Nizar begat two sons: Ilyas and 'Aylan (60). Ilyas begat three sons: Mudrika, Tabikha, and Qam'a. Their mother was Khindif, a Yama-nite woman (61).1 The name of Mudrika was 'Amir and the name of Tabikha was 'Amr. There is a story that when they were pasturing their camels they hunted some game and sat down to cook it, when some raiders swooped upon their camels. 'Amir said to 'Amr: 'Will you go after the camels or will you cook this game?' 'Amr replied that he would go on cooking, so 'Amir went after the camels and brought them back. When they returned and told their father he said to 'Amir: 'You are Mudrika' (the one who overtakes), and to 'Amr he said 'You are Tabikha' (the cook). When their mother heard the news she came hurriedly from her tent and he said: 'You are trotting!' (khandafa)2 and so she was called Khindif.

    As to Qam'a the genealogists of Mudar assert that Khuza'a was one of

the sons of 'Amr b. Luhayy b. Qam'a b. Ilyas.




'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr b. Muhammad b. 'Amr b. Hazm on the authority of his father told me as follows: I was told that the apostle of God said: 'I saw 'Amr b. Luhayy dragging his intestines in hell, and when I asked him about those who had lived between his time and mine he said that they had perished.'

   Muhammad b. Ibrahim b. al-Harith al-Tamiml told me that Abu Salih al-Samman told him that he heard Abu Hurayra (62) say: I heard the apostle of God saying to Aktham b. al-Jaun al-Khuza'I, 'O Aktham I saw 'Amr b. Luhayy b. Qam'a b. Khindif dragging his intestines in hell, and never did I see two men so much alike as you and he!' 'Will this resem­blance injure me?' asked Aktham. 'No,' said the apostle, 'for you are a believer and he is an infidel. He was-the first to change the religion of Ishmael, to set up idols, and institute the custom of the bahlra, sa'iba, wasila, and hami (63).'

   They say that the beginning of stone worship among the sons of Ishmael was when Mecca became too small for them and they wanted more room in the country. Everyone who left the town took with him a stone from the sacred area to do honour to it. Wherever they settled they set it up and walked round it as they went round the Ka'ba. This led them to worship what stones they pleased and those which made an impression on them. Thus as generations passed they forgot their primitive faith and adopted


1  But see Tabari.

2  This word is explained in the Mufaddaliyat, 763, by harwala, a quick, ambling, half-running gait. The story there is told at greater length.

3  A story similar to these two will be found in Ibn al-Kalbi's K. al-Asnan, ed. Ahmad Zakiy Pasha, Cairo, 1924, p. 58. These terms are explained in the next chapter.


Page 36 another religion for that of Abraham and Ishmael. They worshipped idols and adopted the same errors as the peoples before them. Yet they retained and held fast practices going back to the time of Abraham, such as honouring the temple and going round it, the great and little pilgrimage,, and the standing on 'Arafa and Muzdalifa, sacrificing the victims, and the pilgrim cry at the great and little pilgrimage, while introducing elements which had no place in the religion of Abraham. Thus, Kinana and Quraysh used the pilgrim cry: 'At Thy service, O God, at Thy service! At Thy service, Thou without an associate but the associate Thou hast. Thou ownest him and what he owns.' They used to acknowledge his unity in their cry and then include their idols with God, putting the ownership of them in His hand.  God said to Muhammad:1 'Most of them do not believe in God without associating others with Him,' i.e. they do not acknowledge My oneness with knowledge of My reality, but they associate with Me one of My creatures.2

   The people of Noah had images to which they were devoted. God told His apostle about them when He said: 'And they said, "Forsake not your gods; forsake not Wudd and Suwa' and Yaghuth and Ya'uq and Nasr." And they had led many astray.'3

   Among those who had chosen those idols and used their names as com­pounds4 when they forsook the religion of Ishmael—both Ishmaelites and others—was Hudhayl b. Mudrika b. Ilyas b. Mudar. They adopted Suwa' and they had him in Ruhat ;5 and Kalb b. Wabra of Quda'a who adopted Wudd in Dumatu'l-Jandal.

Ka'b b. Malik al-Ansari said:


We forsook al-Lat and al-'Uzza and Wudd.

We stripped off their necklaces and earrings (64).


   An'um of Tayyi' and the people of Jurash of Madhhij adopted Yaghuth

in Jurash.6 (65).

   Khaywan,7 a clan of Hamdan, adopted Ya'uq in the land of Hamdan in

the Yaman (66).

   Dhu'1-Kala' of Himyar adopted Nasr in the Himyar country,

    Khaulan had an idol called 'Ammanas 8 in the Khaulan country. Accord-


1 Sura 12. 106.

2 While the whole of this section is worth comparing with I. al-Kalbi's K. al-Asnam this passage is important for the light it throws on I.I.'s sources. Where he writes yaz'umun I.K. says 'I was told by my father and others'. It seems clear that I.I. has borrowed from I.K.'s statements. Where I.K. writes 'their gods' I.I. says 'their idols', and his language tends to follow that of the Quran.

3 Sura 71. 23.            (                                      4 e.g. 'Abdu'l-Uzza.

5 A place near Yanbu'.                                      6 Jurash is a province in the Yaman.

7 Khaywan was a town two nights' journey from San'a" on the way to Mecca. I.K. goes out of his way to say that he has never heard of any Arab using the name of Ya'uq or anj poetry about him. He thinks the reason is the influence of Judaism on Hamdan. I.H.'s citation should not be taken at its face value.

8 C. 'Ammianas. 'Arnrn is a divine name met with all over Arabia. G. Ryckmans, Lei Religions arabes prHslamiques, Louvain, 1951, p. 43, writes: 'Le dieu lunaire qatabaniti etait 'Amm "beau-pere" appelle aussi 'Amman. Les gens de Qataban se qualifiaient volon-tiers "fils de 'Amm", "tribus de 'Amm". On connait l'epithete "Amm ra'yiin vpasahirum '"Amm le croissant et gyrant'Y I owe the following references to the personal name 'Amu Anas to Prof. S. Smith: 'In Ma'in: R.E.S., Nos. 2820, 2953, 2971; cf. No. 2901 Hadramaut. A doubtful occurrence inMusion, 'Inscriptions sud-arabes', No. 60 (Ryckmans). Saba: CIS. Nos. 13, 308, 414, 510, 511, 515. Cantineau in Rev. d'Assyr. xxiv, pp. 135-46. There is an obviously parallel name, No. 1581. Safa: Dussaud et Macler, Mission dans les rigions disertiques de la Syrie moyenne, 1903, No. 183.' If the reading of C. and I.K. is retained, Wellhausen's proposal (Reste, 23) to that effect is hardly sound, because it would then be a personal, not a divine, name of the form 'Amminadab, the name borne by Aaron's father-in-law. Further examples from old Hebrew can be found in any lexicon. See further Robertson Smith, R.S. 25 and D. S. Margoliouth, Relations between Arabs and Israelites, London, X924, pp. 16 f. The best known example of the name 'Amm is in the compound Ammurabi (disguised under the forms Hammurabi and Khammurabi in most European works). Anas (anis?) I take to be a synonym oirahim.                           


Page 37 ing to their own account they used to divide their crops and cattle between it and Allah. If any of Allan's portion which they had earmarked for him came into 'Ammanas's portion they left it to him; but if any of'Ammanas's portion was in Allah's portion they returned it to him. They are a clan of Khaulan called al-Adlm. Some say that it was concerning them that God revealed: 'They assign to Allah of the crpon and cattle he has created a portion; and they say this is Allah's—in their assertion—and this is for our partners. Thus what is for their partners does not reach Allah and what is for Allah goes to their partners—Evil is their judgment! (67)1

   The B. Milkanb. Kinana b. Khuzaymab. Mudrika b. Ilyas b. Mudar had an image called Sa'd, a lofty rock in a desert plain in their country.2 They have a story that one of their tribesmen took some of his stock camels to the rock to stand by it so as to acquire its virtue.3 When the camels, which were grazing-camels that were not ridden, saw the rock and smelt the blood which had been shed on it they shied from it and fled in all directions. This so angered the Milkanite that he seized a stone and threw it at the idol saying, 'God curse you. You have scared away my camels!' He went in search of them, and when he had collected them together once more he said:


We came to Sa'd to improve our fortunes

But Sa'd dissipated them.4 We have nothing to do with Sa'd.

Sa'd is nothing but a rock on a bare height.

It cannot put one right or send one wrong.


   Daus had an idol belonging to 'Amr b. Humama al-DausI (68).            

   Quraysh had an idol by a well in the middle of the Ka'ba called Hubal (69). And they adopted Isaf (or Asaf) and Na'ila by the place of Zamzam, sacrificing beside them. They were a man and a woman of Jurhum—Isaf b. Baghy and Na'ila d. Dik—who were guilty of sexual relations in the Ka'ba and so God transformed them into two stones. 'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr b. Muhammad b. 'Amr b. Hazm on the authority


1 Sura 6. 137.

2 This plain was by the shore of Jidda; cf. Yaq. iii. 92.           3 Lit. 'blessing' baraka.

4 There is a play on the words 'gathering' and 'dispersing' which is difficult to render in English.



Page 38 of 'Amra d. 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. Sa'd b. Zurara that she said, 'I heard 'A'isha say, "We always heard that Isaf and Na'ila were a man and a woman of Jurham who copulated in the Ka'ba so God transformed them into two stones." But God alone knows if this is the truth.' Abu Talib said:


Where the pilgrims make their camels kneel

Where the waters flow from Isa'f and Na'ila.1


    Every household had an idol in their house which they used to worship. When a man was about to set out on a journey he would rub himself against it as he was about to ride off: indeed that was the last thing he used to do before his journey; and when he returned from his journey the first thing he did was to rub himself against it before he went in to his family. When God sent Muhammad with the message of monotheism Quraysh said: 'Would he make the gods into one God? That is indeed a strange proceeding!'

    Now along with the Ka'ba the Arabs had adopted Tawaghit, which were temples which they venerated as they venerated the Ka'ba. They had their guardians and overseers and they used to make offerings to-them as they did to the Ka'ba and to circumambulate them and sacrifice at them. Yet they recognized the superiority of the Ka'ba because it was the temple and mosque of Abraham the friend (of God).

   Quraysh and the B. Kinana had al-'Uzza in Nakhla, its guardians and overseers were the B. Shayban of Sulaym, allies of the B. Hashim (70).

An Arab poet said:


Asma' was given as a dowry the head of a little red cow

Which a man of the Banu Ghanm had sacrificed.

He saw a blemish in her eye when he led her away

To al-'Uzza's slaughter-place2 and divided her into goodly portions.


    Their practice when they sacrificed was to divide the victim among the worshippers present. Ghabghab was the slaughter-place where the blood was poured out (71).

    [Azr. i. 74: 'Amr b. Lu'ayy put al-'Uzza in Nakhla, and when they had finished their hajj and the circumambulation of the Ka'ba they continued to be under taboo until they came to al-'Uzza and had gone round it; there they abandoned the pilgrim taboo and stayed a day beside it. It belonged to Khuza'a. All Quraysh and B. Kinana used to venerate al-'Uzza along with Khuza'a, and all Mudar. Her sddins who used to guard (hajab) her were B. Shayban of B. Sulaym, allies of B. Hashim.  Cf. I.H. 839.]

    Al-Lat belonged to Thaqif in Ta'if, her overseers and guardians being

B. Mu'attib3 of Thaqif.

    Manat was worshipped by al-Aus and al-Khazraj and such of the people


1 The poem in which this line occurs is to be found in W. 173 v.i.

2 Ghabghab.                                                      3 Al-Kalbi says the B. 'lab b. Milik.



Page 39 of Yathrib as followed their religion by the sea-shore in the direction of al-Mushallal in Qudayd (72).'

    [Azr. i. 73. 'Amr b. Lu'ayy set up Manat on the sea-shore near Qudayd. Azd and Ghassan went on pilgrimage to it and revered it. When they had made the compass of the Ka'ba and hastened from 'Arafat and completed the rites at Mina they did not shave their hair until they got to Manat, to whom they would cry Labbayki. Those who did so did not go round between al-Safa and al-Marwa to the place of the two idols Nahik Mujawid al-Rlh and Mut'im al-Tayr. This clan of the Ansar used to begin the ceremony by hailing Manat, and when they went on the great or little pilgrimage they would not go under the shelter of a roof until they had completed it. When a man was under taboo as a pilgrim (ahrama) he would not enter his house; if he needed something in it he would climb the wall behind his house so that the door should not cover his head. When God brought Islam and destroyed the doings of paganism He sent down con­cerning that: 'Piety does not consist in entering your houses from the rear but in fearing God' (2. 189). Manat belonged to al-Aus and al-Khazraj and Ghassan of al-Azd and such of the population of Yathrib and Syria who followed their religion. Manat was on the sea-shore in the neighbour­hood of al-Mushallal in Qudayd.]

    Dhu'l-Khalasa belonged to Daus, Khath'am, and Bajila and the Arabs in their area in Tabala (73).2 [Azr. i. 73: 'Amr b. Lu'ayy set up al-Khalasa in the lower part of Mecca. They used to put necklaces on it, and bring gifts of barley and wheat. They poured milk on it, sacrificed to it, and hung ostrich eggs on it. 'Amr set up an image on al-Safa called Nahik Mujawid al-Rih, and one on al-Marwa called Mut'im al-Tayr.]

    Fals belonged to Tayyi' and those hard by in the two mountains of Tayyi', Salma and Aja' (74).

Himyar and the Yamanites had a temple in San'a' called Ri'am (75).

Ruda' was a temple of B. Rabi'a b. Ka'b b. Sa'd b. Zayd Manat b. Tamim. Al-Mustaughir b. Rabi'a b. Ka'b b. Sa'd when he destroyed it in the time of Islam said:


I smashed Ruda' so completely that

I left it a black ruin in a hollow (76).


     Dhii'l-Ka'abat belonged to Bakr and Taghlib the two sons of Wa'il and 

 Iyad in Sindad.3 Of it A'sha of B. Qays b. Tha'laba said:


Between al-Khawarnaq4 and al-Sadir and Bariq

And the temple Dhu'l-Ka'abat5 of Sindad (77).


' Qudayd is on the Red Sea between Yanbu' and Rabigh on the pilgrim route from Medina to Mecca, and Mushallal is a mountain overlooking it.

2  About seven nights' journey from Mecca.

3  The lower district of the sawad of Kufa north of Najran.

4  A famous palace which al-Nu'man of Hira is said to have built for Sapur.

5  Or 'the four-square temple'.


Page 40                               THE BAHlRA,  SA'lBA,  WASILA,  AND  HAmI


The Bahira is the filly of the Sa'iba: the Sa'iba is the she camel which gives birth to ten fillies without an intervening colt. She is set free, is never ridden, her hair is not shorn, and only a guest is allowed to drink her milk. If she gives birth to a filly after that its ear is split and it is allowed to go its way with its mother, not ridden, hair unshorn, and only a guest may drink her milk as in the case of her mother. Such is the Bahira, the filly of the Sa'iba. The Waslla is an ewe which has ten twin ewes in successive births without a male lamb intervening. She is made a Waslla. They use the expression wasalat. Any ewes which she gives birth to after that belong to the males, except that if one of them dies all share in eating it, both males and females (78).

     The Hami is a stallion who is the sire of ten successive fillies without an intervening colt. His back is taboo and he is not ridden; his hair is not shorn and he is left to run among the camels to mount them. Beyond that no use is made of him (79).

     When God sent his apostle Muhammad he revealed to him: 'God has not made Bahira, or Sa'iba of Waslla or Harm, but those who disbelieve invent a lie against God, though most of them do not know it.'1 And again: 'They say, What is in the wombs of these sheep is reserved for our males and prohibited to our wives; but if it is (born) dead they share in it. He will repay them for such division, verily He is knowing and wise.'2 Again: 'Say, have you considered what provision God has sent down to you and you have made some of it taboo and some of it permitted? Say, has God given you permission or do you invent lies against God?'3 And again: 'Of the sheep two and of the goats two. Say, has He prohibited the two males or the two females, or what the wombs of the two females contain? Inform me with knowledge if you speak the truth. And of the camels two and of the cattle two. Say, has He prohibited to you the two males or the two females, or that which the wombs of the two females contain, or were you witnesses when God enjoined this upon you? Who is more sinful than those who invent a lie against God to make men err without knowledge? Verily God will not guide the wrong-doing people' (80).4




Khuza'a say: We are the sons of 'Amr b. 'Amir from the Yaman (81).

    Mudrika b. al-Ya's had two sons, Khuzayma and Hudhayl, their mother being a woman of Quda'a. Khuzayma had four sons: Kinana, Asad, Asada, and al-Hiin. Kinana's mother was 'Uwana d. Sa'd b. Qays b. 'Aylan b. Mudar (82).


1 Sura 5. 102. 4 Sura 6. 144. 5.

2 Sura 6. 140.                                3 Sura 10. 60.

5 Carrying on from p. 50 of W.'s text.


Page 41 Kinana had four sons: al-Nadr, Malik, 'Abdu Manat, and Milkan. Nadr's mother was Barra d. Murr b. Udd b. Tabikha b. al-Ya's b. Mudar; the other sons were by another woman (83).

     It is said that Quraysh got their name from their gathering together after they had been separated, for gathering together may be expressed by taqarrush.1

     Al-Nadr b. Kinana had two sons, Malik and Yakhlud. Malik's mother was 'Atika d. 'Adwan b. 'Amr b. Qays b. 'Aylan, but I do not know whether she was Yakhlud's mother or not (84).

     Malik b. al-Nadr begat Fihr b. Malik, his mother being Jandala d. al-Harith b. Mudad al-Jurhumi (85). (T. There was war between Fihr and Hassan b. 'Abdu Kalal b. Mathtib Dhu Hurath al-Himyari who had come from the Yaman with the tribesmen  meaning to take back to Yaman the stones of the Ka'ba so as to divert the pilgrimage to the Yaman. He got as far as Nakhla, raided cattle, and closed the roads, but he was afraid to enter Mecca. When Quraysh, Kinana, Khuzayma, Asad, and Judham and other unknown elements of Mudar perceived this they marched against them under the leadership of Fihr b. Malik. A sharp engagement followed in which Himyar were defeated and Hassan was taken prisoner by Fihr's son al-Harith. Among those killed in battle was his grandson Qays b. Ghalib b. Fihr. Hassan remained a prisoner for two years until he paid his ransom.  He was then released and died on the way to the Yaman.)

    Fihr begat four sons: Ghalib, Muharib, al-Harithr and Asad, their mother being Layla d. Sa'd b. Hudhayl b. Mudrika (86).

  Ghalib b. Fihr had two sons, Lu'ayy and Taym, their mother being 6a Salma d. 'Amr al-Khuza'i. Taym were called the Banu'l-Adram (87).

    Lu'ayy b. Ghalib had four sons: Ka'b, 'Amir, Sama, and 'Auf; the mother of the first three was Mawiya d. Ka'b b. al-Qayn b. Jasr of Quda'a (88).




 Sama b. Lu'ayy went forth to 'Uman and remained there. It is said that 'Amir b. Lu'ayy drove him out because there was a quarrel between them and Sama knocked out 'Amir's eye. In fear of 'Amir he went to 'Uman. The story goes that while Sama was riding on his she-camel she lowered


1 The text is at fault somewhere. I.I.'s comment follows naturally on what has gone before, but has nothing to do with what he is last reported as having written. The signifi­cant words are 'al-Nadr is Quraysh'; but these are attributed to I.H. and neither W. nor C. make any mention of a variant reading qdla bnu Ishdq. We can at least be certain that what I.I. had to tell us about the origin of 'Quraysh' is.not to be found in the Stra as it stands, though Tab. makes another attempt in his quotation from the lost passages of I.I. They were named after Quraysh b. Badr b. Yakhlud b. al-Harith b. Yakhlud b. al-Nadr b. Kinana who was called Quraysh because he put to shame the B. al-Nadr. Whenever they appeared the Arabs said, 'The shame of Quraysh has come.' T. Koes on ("°4) to give the right explanation that the name means 'shark'. Doubtless it is a totem name like so many of the old tribal names in Arabia


Page 42 her head to graze and a snake seized her by the lip and forced her down­wards until she fell on her side. Then the snake bit Sama so that he died. The story goes that when Sama felt death upon him he said:


Eye, weep for Sama b. Lu'ayy.

The clinging snake has clung to Sama's leg.1

Never have I seen such a victim of a camel

As Sama b. Lu'ayy when they came upon him.

Send word to 'Amir and Ka'b,

That my soul yearneth for them.


Though my home be in 'Uman

I am a Ghalibi, I came forth not driven by poverty.

Many a cup hast thou spilt, O b. Lu'ayy,

For fear of death, which otherwise would not have been spilt.

Thou didst wish to avoid death, O b. Lu'ayy,

But none has power to avoid death.

Many a camel silent on night journeys didst thou leave prostrate2

After its prodigious exertion (89).




It is alleged that 'Auf b. Lu'ayy went out with a caravan of Quraysh as far as the district of Ghatafan b. Sa'd b. Qays b. 'Aylan when he was left behind and his tribesmen went on without him. Tha'laba b. Sa'd (he 64 being his brother according to the kindred reckoning of B. Dhubyan, Tha'laba b. Sa'd b. Dhubyan b. Baghid b. Rayth b. Ghatafan and 'Auf b. Sa'd b. Dhubyan b. Baghid b. Rayth b. Ghatafan) came to him, bound him to himself, gave him a wife, and took him into his tribe as a blood-brother. His relationship became well known among B. Dhubyan. It was Tha'laba, they say, who said to 'Auf when he lagged behind and his tribe abandoned him:


Tether your camel by me, O Ibn Lu'ayy.

Your tribe has left you and you have no home.3


     Muhammad b. Ja'far b. al-Zubayr, or it may have been Muhammad b. 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Abdullah b. Husayn, told me that 'Umar b. al-Khattab said: 'If I were to claim to belong to any tribe of the Arabs or to want to attach them to us I would claim to belong to B. Murra b. 'Auf. We know that among them there are men like ourselves. We know, too, where that man went,' meaning 'Auf b. Lu'ayy.  In the genealogy of Ghatafan he is


1   So C. following al-Aghani.

2  The dour, plodding beast that treads on through the night without uttering a sound.

3 Reading manzil with Tab. and MS. D in W.'s numeration. This is the best MS. used by W., and it is strange that he should have abandoned it for the reading matrak 'ought not to be left' of the majority of inferior texts. However, the latter is supported by Mufadd, p. 101.



Page 43 Nurra b. 'Auf b. Sa'd b. Dhubyan b. Baghid b. Rayth b. Ghatafan. If this genealogy is mentioned to them they themselves say, 'We do not deny or contest it; it is our most prized genealogy.'

    Al-Harith b. Zalim b. Jadhlma b. Yarbu'—one of B. Murra b. 'Auf—

when he fled from al-Nu'man b. al-Mundhir and clave to Quraysh said:


My tribe is not Tha'laba b. Sa'd

Nor Fazara the long-haired.

My tribe if you must ask is the Banu Lu'ayy.

In Mecca they taught Mudar to fight.

We were foolish in following the Banu Baghid

And leaving our next-of-kin and family.

'Twas the folly of the water-seeker who, his fill drunk,

Throws away the water and goes after a mirage.

'Od's life if I had my way I should be with them

And not be found seeking pasture from place to place.

Rawaha the Qurayshite mounted me on his camel

And sought no reward for it (90).


    Al-Husayn b. al-Humam al-Murri, one of B. Sahm b. Murra, said, 6s refuting al-Harith b. Zalim and claiming to belong to Ghatafan:


Lo, you are not of us and we have nought to do with you.

We repudiate relationship with Lu'ayy b. Ghalib.

We dwell on the proud heights of al-Hijaz while you

 Are in the verdant1 plain between the two mountains,


meaning Quraysh. Afterwards al-Husayn repented of what he had said and recognized the truth of the words of al-Harith b. Zalim. He claimed to belong to Quraysh and, accusing himself of falsehood, he said:


I repent of what I said before:

I realize that it was the speech of a liar.

Would that my tongue were in two,

Half of it dumb and the other half singing your praise.*

Our father a Kinani, in Mecca is his grave,

In the verdant1 plain of al-Batha' between the mountains.

We own a fourth of the sanctuary as an inheritance

And a fourth of the plains by the house of Ibn Hatib,


meaning that the B. Lu'ayy were four: Ka'b, 'Amir, Sama, and 'Auf.

    A person whom I cannot suspect told me that 'Umar b. al-Khattab said

to men of B. Murra: 'If you wish to return to your kindred do so.'3

    The tribe were nobles among Ghatafan; they were their chiefs and


1 Or 'contested'.                                                     2 Lit. 'in the course of the stars'.

3 The importance of the genealogical tables is bound up with the control of pay and pensions. It was 'Umar who ordered that registers should be compiled. See Sprenger, Dot Uben d. Mohammad, III, cxx ff.



Page 44 leaders. Of them were Harim b. Sinan b. Abu Haritha b. Murra b. Nush-ba; Kharija b. Sinan b. Abu Haritha; al-Harith b. 'Auf; al-Husayn b. al-Humam; and Hashim b. Harmala of whom someone has said:


Hashim b. Harmala revived his father1

On the day of al-Haba'at and the day of al-Ya'mala2

You could see the kings slain beside him

As he slew the guilty and the innocent (91).3


    They were a people of a lively reputation among Ghatafan and Qays, and they retained their relationship with them. Among them the practice of Basl obtained.4

    According to reports Basl is the name given to eight months of the year which the Arabs unreservedly regard as sacred. During those months they may go wherever they like without fear of violence. Zuhayr b. Abu Sulma said with reference to B. Murra (92):


Think!  If they are not in al-Marurat in their dwellings

Then they will be in Nakhl,5

A place where I have enjoyed their fellowship.

If they are in neither then they will be at large during the Basl.


He means that they will be travelling during the holy period.

    al-A'sha of B. Qays b. Tha'laba said:6


Is your woman guest to be taboo to us

While our woman guest and her husband are open to you?


      Ka'b b. Lu'ayy had three sons: Murra, 'Adly, and Husays, their mother being Wahshiya d. Shayban b. Muharib b. Fihr b. Malik b. Nadr.

      Murra b. Ka'b had three sons: Kilab, Taym, and Yaqaza. Kilab's mother was Hind d. Surayr b. Tha'laba b. al-Harith b. Fihr b. Malik b. al-Nadr b. Kinana b. Khuzayma; Yaqaza's mother was al-Bariqlya, a woman of Bariq of the Asd of Yaman. Some say she was the mother of Taym; others say Taym's mother was Hind d. Surayr the mother of Kilab (93).

   Kilab b. Murra had two sons: Qusayy and Zuhra, their mother being Fatima d. Sa'd b. Sayal one of B. Jadara of Ju'thuma of al-Azd gf Yaman allies of B. Dil b. Bakr b. 'Abdu Manat b. Kinana (94).

    Of Sa'd b. Sayal the poet says:


Never among men whom we know have we seen

A man like Sa'd b. Sayal.


1  He brought him to life as it were by taking revenge on his slayers.

2  Two famous battles.                    3 i.e. he was not afraid of incurring a blood feud.

4  I have removed the chapter heading 'The Basl' because it is a mere paragraph interpo­lated in the genealogy which has no heading to indicate where it is resumed.

5  Either a place in Nejd, belonging to Ghatafan, or a place two nights' journey from Medina.   Sharh Diwan Zuhayr, Cairo, 1944, 100.

6 ed. Geyer, p. 123,1. 14.



Page 45 Weapon in either hand full of vigour he rode

Dismounting to fight the dismounted on foot;

Charging he carried the enemy's horsemen with him

As the swooping hawk carries the partridge in its claws 1(95).


    Qusayy b. Kilab had four sons and two daughters: 'Abdu Manaf, 'Abdu'1-Dar, 'Abdu'l-'Uzza, and 'Abdu Qusayy; and Takhmur and Barra. Their mother was Hubba d. Hulayl b. Habashiya b. Salul b. Ka'b b. 'Amr al-Khuza'I (96).

    'Abdu Manaf whose name was al-Mughlra b. Qusayy had four sons: Hashim, 'Abdu Shams, al-Muttalib, their mother being 'Atika d. Murra b. Hilal b. Falij b. Dhakwan b. fha'laba b. Buhtha b. Sulaym b. Mansur b. 'Ikrima; and Naufal, whose mother was Waqida d. 'Amr al-Mazinlya, i.e. Mazin b. Mansur b. 'Ikrima (97).




While 'Abdu'l-Muttalib was sleeping in the sacred enclosure he had a vision in which he was ordered to dig Zamzam which is a depression between the two idols of Quraysh, Isaf and Na'ila, at the slaughter-place of Quraysh. Jurhum had filled it in at the time they left Mecca. It is the well of Ishmael the son of Abraham where God gave him water when he was thirsty as a little child. His mother went to seek water for him and could not find it, so she went up to al-Safa praying to God and imploring aid for Ishmael; then she went to al-Marwa and did the same. God sent Gabriel, who hollowed out a place in the earth with his heel where water appeared. His mother heard the cries of wild beasts which terrified her on his account, and she came hurrying towards him and found him scrabbling with his hand at the water beneath his cheek the while he drank, and she made him a small hole.1




The story of Jurhum, of their filling in Zamzam, of their leaving Mecca, and of those who ruled Mecca after them until 'Abdu'l-Muttalib dug Zam­zam, according to what Ziyad b. 'Abdullah al-Bakka'i told me on the authority of Muhammed b. Ishaq al-Muttalibi, is that when Ishmael the son of Abraham died, his son Nabit was in charge of the temple as long as God willed, then it was in charge of Mudad b. 'Amr al-Jurhuml (98). The sons of Ishmael and the sons of Nabit were with their grandfather Mudad b. 'Amr and their maternal uncles of Jurhum—Jurhum and Qatura' who were cousins being at that time the people of Mecca. They had come forth from the Yaman and travelled together and Mudad was over Jurhum and


 1 The narrative is Continued on p. 91.


Page 46  Samayda', one of their men, over Qatura'. When they left the Yaman, they refused to go unless they had a king to order their affairs. When they came  to Mecca they saw a town blessed with water and trees and, delighted with it, they settled there. Mudad b. 'Amr with the men of Jurhum settled in the upper part of Mecca in Qu'ayqi'an  and went no farther. Samayda' with Qatura' settled in the lower part of Mecca in Ajyad the lower part of Mecca, and went no farther. Mudad used to take a tithe from those who entered Mecca from above, while Samayda' did the same to those who entered from below. Each-kept to his own people, neither entering the other's territory.

     Then Jurhum and Qatura' quarrelled and contended for the supremacy in Mecca; at that time Mudad had with him the sons of Ishmael and Nabit, and he had the oversight of the temple as against Samayda'. They went out to fight each other, Mudad from Qu'ayqi'an with his horsemen making for Samayda' equipped with spears, leather shields, swords and quivers, rattling as they charged. It is said that Qu'ayqi'an was so named for that reason. Samayda' went out from Ajyad with horse and foot, and it is said Ajyad got its name from the fine horses {jiyad) that formed Samayda's cavalry.1 The two parties met in Fadih, and after a severe battle Samayda' was killed and Qatura' humiliated. It is said that the name Fadih was given for this reason. Then the people clamoured for peace and went on until they reached al-Matabikh, a ravine above Mecca; there they made peace and surrendered authority to Mudad. When he was in power and held sovereignty he slaughtered beasts for the people and gave them as food. The people cooked and ate, and that is why the place is called Matabikh. Some learned people allege that the name was given because Tubba' had slaughtered there and given the food away and it was his base. The dispute between Mudad and Samayda' was the first open wrong committed in Mecca, at least so some allege.

   Then God multiplied the offspring of Ishmael in Mecca and their uncles from Jurhum were rulers of the temple and judges in Mecca. The sons of Ishmael did not dispute their authority because of their ties of kindred and their respect for the sanctuary lest there should be quarrelling or fighting therein. When Mecca became too confined for the sons of Ishmael they spread abroad in the land, and whenever they had to fight a people, God gave them the victory through their religion and they subdued them.





Afterwards Jurhum behaved high-handedly in Mecca and made lawful that which was taboo. Those who entered the town who were not of their tribe they treated badly and they appropriated gifts which had been made


1 The Cairo editors rightly reject this etymology: ajyad is the plural of jid, neck.



Page 47 to the Ka'ba so that their authority weakened. When B. Bakr b. 'Abdu Manat b. Kinana and Ghubshan of Khuza'a perceived that, they came together to do battle and drive them out of Mecca. War was declared and in the fighting B. Bakr and Ghubshan got the upper hand and expelled them from Mecca. Now in the time of paganism Mecca did not tolerate injustice and wrong within its borders and if anyone did wrong therein it expelled him; therefore it was called 'the Scorcher',1 and any king who came to profane its sanctity died on the spot. It is said that it was called Bakka because it used to break2 the necks of tyrants when they introduced innovations therein (99).

    'Amr b. al-Harith b. Mudad al-Jurhaml brought out the two gazelles of the Ka'ba and the corner-stone and buried them in the well Zamzam, going away with the men of Jurhum to the Yaman. They were bitterly grieved at losing the kingship of Mecca, and the above-named 'Amr said:


Many a woman crying bitterly,

Her'eyes swollen with weeping, said

'Tis as though between al-Hajun3 and al-Safa there was

No friend and none to beguile the night's long hours ,in Mecca.

I said to her, while my heart withm me palpitated

As though a bird fluttered between my ribs:

'Of a surety we were its people,

And grievous misfortunes have brought us to nought;

We were the lords of the temple after Nabit,

We used to go round the temple

Our prosperity plain to see.

We were in charge of the temple after Nabit in glory                        

And the man of plenty did not count with us.

We reigned in power, how great was our rule!

No other tribe there could boast.

Did you not marry a daughter to the best man I know ?4

His sons are ours, we being brothers by marriage.'

If the world turned against us

The world ever brings painful changes.

God5 drove us out by force; thus, O men,

Does destiny pursue its way.

I say when the carefree sleep, and I do not sleep,

'Lord of the throne, let not Suhayl and 'Amir perish!'

I was forced to look upon faces I do not like:

The tribes of Himyar and Yuhabir.

We became a legend after having been in prosperity.

That is what the passing years did to us.


1 al-Nissa.                                                                         2 From the verb bakka, he broke.

3 A mountain above Mecca.                     4 i.e. Ishmael                            5 al-malik presumably refers to the divine King.



Page 48 The tears flow, weeping for a town

Wherein is a sure sanctuary and the sacred places.

Weeping for a temple whose doves unharmed,

Dwell safely there, with flocks of sparrows.

Wild creatures there are tame, unharried,

But leaving its sanctuary are hunted freely (100).


'Amr b. al-Harith, remembering Bakr and Ghubshan and the townsmen of Mecca whom they had left behind there, said also:


Journey forth, O men; the time will come

When one day you will not be able to leave.

Hasten your beasts and loosen their reins,

Before death comes; and do what you must do.

We were men like you; fate changed us

And you will be as we once were (101).





Then Ghubshan of Khuza'a controlled the temple instead of B. Bakr b. 'Abd Manat, the man who was controlling it being 'Amr b. al-Harith al-Ghubshani. Quraysh at that time were in scattered settlements, and tents1 dispersed among their people, B. Kinana. So Khuza'a possessed the temple, passing it on from son to son until the last of them, Hulayl b. Habashlya b. Salul b. Ka'b b. 'Amr al-Khuza'I (102).





Qusayy b. Kilab asked Hulayl b. Hubshiya for his daughter Hubba. Hulayl agreed and gave her to him and she bare him 'Abd al-Dar, 'Abd Manaf, Abdu'l-'Uzza, and 'Abd. By the time that the children of Qusayy had spread abroad and increased in wealth and reputation Hulayl died. Now Qusayy thought that he had a better claim than Khuza'a and B. Bakr to control the Ka'ba and Mecca, and that Quraysh were the noblest off­spring of Ishmael b. Abraham and the purest descendants of his sons. He spoke to Quraysh and B. Kinana asking them to drive out Khuza'a and B. Bakr from Mecca and they agreed to do so.

    Now Rabi'a b. Haram of 'Udhra b. Sa'd b. Zayd had come to Mecca after the death of Kilab and had married Fatima d. Sa'd b. Sayal. (Zuhra


1 Or 'houses'.


Page 49 at that time was a grown man and stayed behind, while Qusayy had just been weaned.) Rabl'a took Fatima away to his land and she carried Qusayy with her, and subsequently gave birth to Rizah. When Qusayy reached man's estate he came to Mecca and dwelt there.

    Thus it was that when his people asked him to join them in the war he wrote to his brother Rizah, who shared the same mother, asking him to come and support him. Thereupon Rizah set out accompanied by his half-brothers Hunn, Mahmud, and Julhuma, all sons of Rabl'a but not by Fatima, together with a number of Quda'a among the Arab pilgrims, having agreed to support Qusayy.

    Khuza'a allege that Hulayl b. Hubshiya had enjoined this on Qusayy when he saw how his daughter's children had multiplied, saying: 'You have a better right to the Ka'ba and to rule in Mecca than Khuza'a', so that this was the reason why Qusayy acted as he did. But this is a story which we have not heard from any other source, and only God knows the truth. (T. When the people had assembled in Mecca and gone to the mauqif, completed the hajj and come down to Mina, Qusayy assembled his posses­sions and his followers from his own tribe of Quraysh, the B. Kinana, and such of the Quda'a as were with him, there only remained the ceremony of dismissal.)1




Al-Ghauth b. Murr b. Udd b. al-Ya's b. Mudar used to give permission2 to men on pilgrimage to leave 'Arafa, and this function descended to his children after him. He and his sons used to be called Sufa.3 Al-Ghauth used to exercise this function because his mother was a woman of Jurhum who had been barren and vowed to Allah that if she bore a son she would give him to the Ka'ba as a slave to serve it and to look after it. In course of time she gave birth to al-Ghauth and he used to look after the Ka'ba in early times with his Jurhum uncles and presided over the order of departure from 'Arafa because of the office which he held in the Ka'ba. His sons carried on the practice until they were cut off.


1 T. 1095. 12—15. The narrative goes on with the words: '§ufa used to send the people away'—W. 76. 17.

2 'It seems possible that the Ijdza or "permission", i.e. the word of command that termi­nates the wocuf, was originally the permission to fall upon the slaughtered victims. In the Meccan pilgrimage the Ijdza which terminated the wocuf at 'Arafa was the signal for a hot race to the neighbouring sanctuary of Mozdalifa, where the sacred fire of the god Cozah burned; it was, in fact, not so much the permission tor leave 'Arafa as to draw near to Cozah. The race itself is called Ifdtfa, which may mean ' 'dispersion'' or' 'distribution''. It cannot well mean the former, for 'Arafa is not holy ground, but merely the point of assemblage just outside the rjaram at which the ceremonies began, and the station at 'Arafa is only the preparation for the vigil at Mozdalifa. On the other hand, if the meaning is "distribution" the I'dda answers to the rush of Nilus's Saracens to partake of the sacrifice.' W.R.S., R.S. 341 f.  Cf. Wellh. 82; Gaudefroy-Demombynes, 260.

3 The meaning of this name is obscure.

B4080                                    E




Page 50 Murr b. Udd, referring to the fulfilment of the mother's oath, said:


O Lord, I have made one of my sons

A devotee in Mecca the exalted.

So bless me for the vow fulfilled,

And make him the best of creatures to my credit.


Al-Ghauth, so they allege, used to say when he sent the people away:


O God I am following the example of others.

If that is wrong the fault is Quda'a's.


    Yahya b. 'Abbad b. 'Abdullah b. al-Zubayr from his father 'Abbad said: Sufa used to send the people away from 'Arafa and give them permission to depart when they left Mina. When the day of departure arrived they used to come to throw pebbles, and a man of Sufa used to throw for the men, none throwing until he had thrown. Those who had urgent business  used to come and say to him: 'Get up and throw so that we may throw with you,' and he would say, 'No, by God, not until the sun goes down'; and those who wanted to leave quickly used to throw stones at him to hurry him, saying, 'Confound you, get up and throw.' But he refused until the sun went down and then he would get up and throw while the men threw stones with him.

   When they had finished the stoning and wanted to leave Mina, Sufa held both sides of the hill and kept the men back. They said: 'Give the order to depart, Sufa.' No one left until they had gone first. When Sufa left and had passed on, men were left to go their own way and followed them. This was the practice until they were cut off. After them the next of kin in­herited. They were of B. Sa'd in the family of Safwan b. al-Iiarith b. Shijna (103). It was Safwan who gave permission to the pilgrims to depart from 'Arafa, and this right was maintained by them up to Islam, the last being Karib b. Safwan.

   Aus b. Tamim b. Maghra' al-Sa'di said:


The pilgrims do not quit their halting-place at 'Arafa

Until it is said, 'Give permission O family of Safwan.'





IjEurthan b. 'Amr the 'Adwanite who was called Dhu'1-Isba' because he had a finger missing said:


Bring an excuse for the tribe of 'Adwan.1

They were the serpents of the earth.2


1 i.e. 'for what they have done the one to the other'. They were rent by civil war.  See Cau&sin de Perceval, Earn sur Vhittoire des Arabes, ii. 262.

2 i.e. 'cunning and treacherous'.




Page 51 Some acted unlawfully against others

And some spared not others.

Some of them were princes

Who faithfully met their obligations.

Some used to give men the parting signal

By custom and divine command.

Of them was a judge who gave decisions

And his verdict was never annulled.


    Since the permission to depart from Muzdalifa was with 'Adwan, as  Ziyad b. 'Abdullah al-Bakka'i told me on the authority of Muhammad b. Ishaq, they used to pass it on from father to son until the last of them when Islam came, Abu Sayyara 'Umayla b. al-A'zal, about whom a certain poet said:


We have defended Abu Sayyara

And his clients the Banii Fazara

Until he made his ass pass through safely

As he faced Mecca praying to its Guardian.


Abu Sayyara used to send away the people while sitting upon a she ass of his; that is why he says 'making his ass pass safely'.1


'Amir b. zarib b. 'amr b.'iyadh b. yashkur b. 'adwan


His words 'a judge who gave decisions' refers to the above-named. The Arabs used to refer every serious and difficult case to him for decision and would accept his verdict. Once it happened that a case in dispute in reference to a hermaphrodite was brought to him. They said, 'Are we to treat it as a man or a woman?' They had never brought him such a difficult matter before, so he said, 'Wait awhile until I have looked into the matter, for by Allah you have never brought me a question like this before.' So they agreed to wait, and he passed a sleepless night turning the matter over and looking at it from all sides without any result. Now he had a slave-girl Sukhayla who used to pasture his flock. It was his habit to tease her when she went out in the morning by saying sarcastically, 'You're early this morning, Sukhayla'; and when she returned at night he would say, 'You're late to-night; Sukhayla,' because she had gone out late in the morning and come back late in the evening after the others. Now when this girl saw that he could not sleep and tossed about on his bed she asked what his trouble was. 'Get out and leave me alone, for it is none of your business,' he retorted. However, she was so persistent that he said to himself that it might be that she would provide him with some solution of his problem, so he said: 'Well then, I was asked to adjudicate on the inheritance of a


1 In this section the work of I.I. and I.H. are not clearly distinguished.  Probably the 1 from the former and the comments from the latter




Page 52  hermaphrodite. Am I to make him a man or a woman?1 By God I do not know what to do and I can see no way out.' She said, 'Good God, merely follow the course of the urinatory process.' 'Be as late as you please hence­forth, Sukhayla; you have solved my problem,' said he. Then in the morn­ing he went out to the people and gave his decision in the way she had indicated.


how qusayy b. kilab gained power in mecca;

how he united quraysh and the help which

quda'a gave him


In that year Sufa behaved as they were accustomed. The Arabs had borne them patiently since they felt it a duty in the time of Jurhum and Khuza'a when they were in authority. Qusayy came to them with his tribesmen from Quraysh and Banana and Quda'a at al-'Aqaba saying, 'We have a better right to this authority than you.' (T. They disputed one with another and they tried to kill him.) Severe fighting followed resulting in the defeat of Sufa, and Qusayy assumed their authority.

     Thereupon Khuza'a and B. Bakr withdrew from Qusayy knowing that he would impose the same restrictions on them as Siifa had done and that he would come between them and the Ka'ba and the rule of Mecca. When they had withdrawn, Qusayy showed his hostility and gathered his forces to fight them. (T. His brother Rizah b. Rabi'a with his men from Quda'a stood with him.) Khuza'a and B. Bakr came out against him and a severe battle took place in the valley of Mecca and both parties suffered heavily. Thereupon they agreed to make peace and that one of the Arabs should arbitrate between them. They appointed as umpire Ya'mar b. 'Auf b. Ka'b b. 'Amir b. Layth b. Bakr b. 'Abdu Manat b. Kinana. His verdict was that Qusayy had a better claim to the Ka'ba and to rule Mecca than Khuza'a and that all blood shed by Qusayy was to be cancelled and compensation disregarded, but Khuza'a and B. Bakr must pay bloodwit for the men of Quraysh, Kinana, and Quda'a whom they had killed and that Qusayy should be given a free hand with the Ka'ba and Mecca. Ya'mar b. 'Auf was immediately called al-Shaddakh because he had cancelled the claim to bloodwit and remitted it (104).

     Thus Qusayy gained authority over the temple and Mecca and brought in his people from their dwellings to Mecca. He behaved as a king over his tribe and the people of Mecca, and so they made him king; but he had guaranteed to the Arabs their customary rights because he felt that it was a duty upon himself which he had not the right to alter. Thus he confirmed the family of Safwan and 'Adwan and the intercalators and Murra b. 'Auf in their customary rights which obtained until the coming of Islam when God put an end thereby to them all. Qusayy was the first of

 1 The point was important because a male received double as much as a female.


 Page 53 B. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy to assume kingship and to be obeyed by his people as king. He held the keys of the temple, the right to water the pilgrims from the well of Zamzam, to feed the pilgrims, to preside at assemblies, and to hand out the war banners. In his hands lay all the dignities of Mecca; he divided the town into quarters among his people and he settled all the Quraysh into their houses in Mecca which they held.

     People assert that the Quraysh were afraid to cut down the trees of the sanctuary in their quarters, but Qusayy cut them down with his own hand or through his assistants. Quraysh called him the 'uniter' because he had brought them together and they drew a happy omen from his rule. So far as Quraysh were concerned no woman was given in marriage, no man married, no discussion about public affairs was held, and no banner of war was entrusted to anyone except in his house, where one of his sons would hand it over. When a girl reached marriageable age she had to come to his house to put on her shift. The shift was split over her head in his house, then she put it on and was taken away to her people.1 His authority among the Quraysh during his life and after his death was like a religious law which could not be infringed. He chose for himself the house of meet­ing and made a door which led to the mosque of the Ka'ba; in it the Quraysh used to settle their affairs (105).

   'Abdu'l-Malik b. Rashid told me that his father said that he heard al-Sa'ib b. Khabbab, author of al-Maqsura, reporting that he heard a man telling 'Umar b. al-Khattab when he was caliph the story of Qusayy, how he united Quraysh and expelled Khuza'a and B. Bakr from Mecca, and how he gained control of the temple and the affairs of Mecca. Umar made no attempt to gainsay him. (T. Qusayy's authority in Mecca, where he enjoyed great esteem, remained uncontested. He left the pilgrimage un­changed because he deemed it a religious taboo. The Siifa continued, until they were cut off, in the family of Safwan b. al-Harith b. Shijna by right of inheritance. 'Adwan, the Nas'a of B. Malik b. Kinana, and Murra b. cAuf continued as before until Islam came and God destroyed all these offices.)

   When Qusayy's war was over his brother Rizah b. Rabi'a went away to his own land with his countrymen. Concerning his response to Qusayy he composed the following poem:


When a messenger came from Qusayy

And said 'Respond to your friend's request,'

We sprang to his aid leading our horses,

Casting from us the half-hearted and slow-moving.

We rode all night until the dawn

Hiding ourselves by day lest we should be attacked.

Our steeds were swift as grouse hurrying to water

Bringing our answer to the call of Qusayy.


1 The dir' was a large piece of cloth. Normally a woman cuts an opening through which

she can put her head.  She then adds sleeves and sews up the two sides.




Page 54 We collected tribesmen from Sirr and the two Ashmadhs1

From every tribe a clan.

What a fine force of cavalry that night,

More than a thousand, swift, smooth-paced!

When they passed by al-'Asjad

And took the easy road from Mustanakh

And passed by the edge of Wariqan

And passed by al-'Arj, a tribe encamped there,

They passed by the thornbushes without cropping them,2

Running hard the livelong night from Marr.

We brought the colts near their mothers

That their neighing might b'e gentle,

And when we came to Mecca we

Subdued the men tribe by tribe.

We smote them there with the edge of the sword

And with every stroke we deprived them of their wits.

We trod them down with our horses' hooves

As the strong tread down the weak and helpless.

We killed Khuza'a in their homeland

And Bakr we killed group by group.

We drove them from God's land,

We would not let them possess a fertile country.

We kept them bound in iron fetters.3

On every tribe we quenched our vengeance.


Tha'laba b. 'Abdullah b. Dhubyan b. al-Harith b. Sa'd Hudhaym al-Quda'i said concerning Qusayy's invitation and their response:


We urged on our slender high-stepping horses

From the sandhills, the sandhills of al-Jinab

To the lowlands of Tihama, and we met our foe

In a barren depression of a desert.

As for Sflfa the effeminate,

They forsook their dwellings in fear of the sword.

But the sons of 'All when they saw us

Leaped to their swords like camels that yearn for home.


Qusayy b. Kilab said:


I am the son of the protectors, the B. Lu'ayy,

In Mecca is my home where I grew up.


1   It is disputed whether these are two tribes or two mountains between Medina and Khaybar.

2  The reading is uncertain; 'they passed by water without tasting it', as some MSS. pro­pose, is improbable.

3  It seems improbable that such a rare and valuable metal would be used for such a pur­pose at this date.



Page 55 Mine is1 the valley as Ma'add knows,

Its Marwa I delight in.

I should not have conquered had not

The sons of Qaydhar and Nablt settled there.

Rizah was my helper and through him I am great,

I fear no injustice as long as I live.


    When Rizah was established in his country God increased him and Hunn in numbers. (They are the two tribes of 'Udhra today.) Now when he came to his country there had been a matter in dispute between Rizah on the one hand and Nahd b. Zayd and Hautaka b. Aslum on the other, they being two clans of Quda'a. He put them in fear so that they clave to the Yaman and left the Quda'a country and remain in the Yaman to this day. Now Qusayy was well disposed to Quda'a and wanted them to in­crease and be united in their land because of his kinship with Rizah and because of their goodwill to him when they responded to his appeal for help. He disliked what Rizah had done to them and said:


Who will tell Rizah from me

That I blame him on two accounts,

I blame you for the Banu Nahd b. Zayd

Because you drove a wedge between them and me,

And for Hautaka b. Aslum; of a truth

He who treats them badly has badly treated me (106).


     When Qusayy grew old and feeble, he spoke to 'Abdu'1-Dar. He was his first born but (T. they say he was weak) 'Abdu Manaf had become famous during his father's lifetime and done all that had to be done along with 'Abdu'l-'Uzza and 'Abd. He said: 'By God, my son I will put you on a par with the others; though they have a greater reputation than yours; none of them shall enter the Ka'ba until you open it for them; none shall give the Quraysh the war banner but you with your own hand; none shall drink in Mecca except you allow it; and no. pilgrim shall eat food unless you provide it; and Quraysh shall not decide any matter except in your house.' He gave him his house, it being the only place where Quraysh could settle their affairs, and he gave him the formal rights mentioned above.

    The Rifdda was a tax which Quraysh used to pay from their property to Qusayy at every festival. With it he used to provide food for the pilgrims who were unable to afford their own provisions. Qusayy had laid this as a duty upon Quraysh, saying: 'You are God's neighbours, the people of his temple and sanctuary. The pilgrims are God's guests and the visitors to His temple and have the highest claim on your generosity; so provide food and drink for them during the pilgrimage until they depart out of your territory.' Accordingly they used to pay him every year a tax on their flocks and he used to provide food for the people therefrom, while they


1 Reading wa-li with Azr. i. 60 for ila in I.I.


Page 56 were at Mina, and his people carried out this order of his during the time of ignorance until Islam came. To this very day it is the food which the sultan provides every year in Mina until the pilgrimage is over.

     My father Ishaq b. Yasar from al-Hasan b. Muhammad b. 'All b. Abu Talib told me about this affair of Qusayy's and what he said to 'Abdu'1-Dar concerning the transfer of his power to him in these words, 'I heard him saying this to a man of B. 'Abdu'1-Dar called Nubaih b. Wahb b. 'Amir b.  'Ikrima b. 'Amir b. Hashim b. 'Abdu Manaf b. 'Abdu'1-Dar b. Qusayy.' al-Hasan said: 'Qusayy gave him all the authority that he had over his people. Qusayy was never contradicted nor was any measure of his over­thrown.'





After the death of Qusayy his sons assumed his authority over the people and marked out Mecca in quarters, after he had allotted space there for his own tribe. They allotted quarters among their people and among other allies, and sold them. Quraysh took part in this with them without any discord or dispute. Then the sons of 'Abdu Manaf—'Abdu Shams and Hashim and al-Muttalib and Naufal—agreed to seize the rights that the sons of 'Abdu'1-Dar possessed which Qusayy had given to 'Abdu'1-Dar himself, namely those mentioned above. They considered that they had a better right to them because of their superiority and their position among their people. This caused dissension among Quraysh, one section siding with B. 'Abdu Manaf, and the other with B. 'Abdu'1-Dar. The former held that the new claimants had a better right; the latter that rights which Qusayy had given to one branch should not be taken away from them.

    The leader of B. 'Abdu Manaf was 'Abdu Shams, because he was the eldest son of his father; and the leader of B. 'Abdu'1-Dar was 'Amir b. Hashim b. 'Abdu Manaf b. 'Abdu'1-Dar. The B. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. Qusayy and B. Zuhra b. Kilab and B. Taym b. Murra b. Ka'b and B. al-Harith b. Fihr b. Malik b. al-Nadr were with B. 'Abdu Manaf, while with B. 'Abdu'1-Dar were B. Makhzum b. Yaqaza b. Murra, and B. Sahm b. 'Amr b. Husays b. Ka'b and B. Jumah b. 'Amr b. Husays b. Ka'b and B. 'Adiyy b. Ka'b. The men who remained neutral were 'Amir b. Lu'ayy and Muharib. b. Fihr.

    They all made a firm agreement that they would not abandon one another and would not betray one another as long as the sea wetted sea­weed. The B. 'Abdu Manaf brought out a bowl full of scent (they assert that some of the women of the tribe brought it out to them) and they put it for their allies in the mosque1 beside the Ka'ba; then they dipped their hands into it and they and their allies took a solemn oath.  Then they


1 This is not an anachronism. See E.I., art. 'Masdjid'.


Page 57 rubbed their hands on the Ka'ba strengthening the solemnity of the oath. For this reason they were called the Scented Ones.

   The other side took a similar oath at the Ka'ba and they were called the Confederates. Then the tribes formed groups and linked up one with another. The B. 'Abdu Manaf were ranged against B. Sahm; B. Asad against B. 'Abdu'1-Dar; Zuhra against B. Jumah; B. Taym against B. Makhzum; and B. al-Harith against 'Adiyy b. Ka'b. They ordered that each tribe should exterminate the opposing units.

When the people had thus decided on war, suddenly they demanded peace on the condition that B. 'Abdu Manaf should be given the rights of watering the pilgrims and collecting the tax; and that access to the Ka'ba, the standard of war, and the assembly house, should belong to the ' Abdu'l-Dar as before. The arrangement commended itself to both sides and was carried out, and so war was prevented. This was the state of affairs until God brought Islam, when the apostle of God said, 'Whatever alliance there was in the days of ignorance Islam strengthens it.'




Ziyad b. 'Abdullah al-Bakka'I related to me the following as from Ibn Ishaq: The tribes of Quraysh decided to make a covenant and assembled for that purpose in the house of 'Abdullah b. Jud'an b. 'Amr b. Ka'b b. Sa'd b. Taym b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy because of his seniority and the high reputation he enjoyed. Those party to the agreement with him were B. Hashim, B. '1-Muttalib, Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza, Zuhra b. Kilab, and Taym b. Murra. They bound themselves by a solemn agreement that if they found that anyone, either a native of Mecca or an outsider, had been wronged they would take his part against the aggressor and see that the stolen property was restored to him. Quraysh called that confederacy 'The Confederacy of the Fudul'.

    Muhammad b. Zayd b. al-Muhajir b. Qunfudh al-Tayml told me that he heard Talha b. 'Abdullah b. 'Auf al-Zuhri say: The apostle of God said, 'I witnessed in the house of 'Abdullah b. Jud'an a covenant which I would not exchange for any number of fine camels: if I were invited to take part in it during Islam I should do so.'

Yazld b. 'Abdullah b. Usama b. al-Hadi al-Laythl told me that Muham­mad b. Ibrahim b. al-Harith al-

   Tayml told him that there was a dispute between al-Husayn b. 'All b. Abu Talib and al-Walid b. 'Utba b. Abu Sufyan about some property they held in Dhu'l-Marwa. At that time al-Walid was governor of Medina, his uncle, Mu'awiya b. Abii Sufyan having given him the appointment.   Al-Walid had defrauded al-Husayn of his


1 Fucjul is explained as meaning that the confederates did not allow wrongdoers to retain any stolen property. Fudul sometimes means 'remains of spoil'. Another and somewhat far-fetched explanation is that this covenant was modelled on an older covenant of the same character in which three men each with the name of Fadl took part.


Page 58 rights, for as governor he had the power to do so. Husayn said to him: 'By God you shall do me justice or I will take my sword and stand in the apostle's mosque and invoke the confederacy of the Fudul!' 'Abdullah b. al-Zubayr who was with al-Walld at the time said: 'And I swear by God that if he invokes it I will take my sword and stand with him until he gets justice, or we will die together.' When the news reached al-Miswar b. Makhrama b. Naufal al-Zuhrl and 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. 'Uthman b. 'Ubay-dullah al-Taymi they said the same. As soon as he realized what was hap­pening al-Walld gave al-Husayn satisfaction.

    This same Yazld, on the same authority, told me that Muhammad b. Jubayr b. Mut'im b. 'Adlyy b. Naufal b. 'Abdu Manaf, who was the most learned of the Quraysh, met 'Abdu'l-Malik b. Marwan b. al-Hakam when he had killed Ibn al-Zubayr and the people had gathered against 'Abdu'l Malik. When he went in to see him he said: 'O Abu Sa'id, were not we and you—meaning B. 'Abdu Shams b. Abdu Manaf and B. Naufal b. 'Abdu Manaf—partners in the confederacy of the Fudul ?' 'You should know best,' he replied. 'Abdu'l-Malik said, 'No, you tell me, Abu Sa'id, the truth of the matter.' He answered: 'No, by God, you and we kept out of that!' 'You're right,' said 'Abdu'l-Malik.

    Hashim b. 'Abdu Manaf superintended the feeding1 and watering of the pilgrims because 'Abdu Shams was a great traveller who was seldom to be found in Mecca; moreover he was a poor man with a large family, while Hashim was a well-to-do man. It is alleged that when the pilgrims were there he got up and addressed Quraysh thus: 'You are God's neighbours and the people of His temple. At this feast there come to you God's visitors and pilgrims to His temple. They are God's guests, and His guests have the best claim on your generosity; so get together what food they will need for the time they have to stay here. If my own means were sufficient I would not lay this burden upon you.' Thereupon they taxed themselves each man according to his capacity and used to provide food for the pil­grims until they left Mecca.

It is alleged that Hashim was the first to institute the two caravan jour­neys of Quraysh, summer and winter, and the first to provide tharid (broth in which bread is broken up) in Mecca. Actually his name was 'Amr, but he was called Hashim because he broke up bread in this way for his people in Mecca. A Quraysh poet, or one of the Arabs, composed this poem:


'Amr who made, bread-and-broth for his people,

A people in Mecca who suffered lean years.

He it was who started the two journeys,

The winter's caravan and the summer's train (107).


Hashim b. 'Abdu Manaf died in Ghazza in the land of Syria while


1 The rifada, feeding by means of a levy on Quraysh, has been explained above (p. 55) and there the author of the system is said to be Qusayy. Probably for this reason Ibn Ishaq discredits their tradition here by the words 'it is alleged'.



Page 59 travelling with his merchandise, and al-Muttalib b. 'Abdu Manaf assumed the right of feeding and watering the pilgrims. He was younger than 'Abdu Shams and Hashim. He was held in high esteem among his people, who called him al-Fayd on account of his liberality and high character.

   Hashim had gone to Medina and married Salma d. 'Amr, one of B. 'Adiyy b. al-Najjar. Before that she had been married to Uhayha b. al-Julah b. al-Harish b. Jahjaba b. Kulfa b. 'Auf b. 'Amr b. 'Auf b. Malik b. al-Aus and bore him a son called 'Amr. On account of the high position she held among her people she would only marry on condition that she should retain control of her own affairs. If she disliked a man she left him.

    To Hashim she bore 'Abdu'l-Muttalib and called his name Shayba. Hashim left him with her while he was a little boy. Then his uncle al-Muttalib came to take him away and bring him up among his people in his town. But Salma declined to let him go with him. His uncle argued that his nephew was now old enough to travel and was as an exile away from his own tribe who were the people of the temple, of great local reputation, holding much of the government in their hands. Therefore it was better for the boy that he should be among his own family, and therefore he refused to go without him. It is popularly asserted that Shayba refused to leave his mother without her consent; and this she ultimately gave. So his uncle took him away to Mecca, riding behind him on his camel, and the people cried: 'It's al-Muttalib's slave whom he has bought' and that is how he got the name of 'Abdu'l-Muttalib. His uncle called out: 'Rubbish! This is my nephew whom I have brought from Medina.'

   Subsequently al-Muttalib died in Radman in the Yaman, and an Arab mourned him in the following lines:


Thirsty are the pilgrims now al-Muttalib is gone.

No more bowls with overflowing brims.

Now that he is gone would that Quraysh were in torment!


   Matriid b. Ka'b al-Khuza'i wrote this elegy over al-Muttalib and all the sons of 'Abdu Manaf when the news came that Naufal the last of them was dead:


O night! most miserable night,

Disturbing all other nights,

With thoughts of what I suffer

From sorrow and the blows of fate.

When I remember my brother Naufal,                              

He reminds me of days gone by,

He reminds me of the red waist-sashes,

The fine new yellow robes.

There were four of them, everyone a prince,

Sons and grandsons of princes.

One dead in Radman, one in Salman,

A third lies near Ghazza,





Page 60 A fourth lies in a grave by the Ka'ba

To the east of the sacred buildings.

 'Abdu Manaf brought them up virtuously

 Safe from the reproof of all men.

Yea there are none like Mughlra's children

Among the living or the dead.


'Abdu Manaf's name was al-Mughlra. Hashim was the first of his sons to die at Ghazza in Syria, followed by 'Abdu Shams in Mecca, then al-Mutta-lib in Radman in the Yaman, and lastly Naufal in Salman in Iraq.

   It was said to Matrfld—at least they assert so—'Your lines are very good, but if you had done more justice to the theme they would have been still better.' 'Give me a night or two,' he replied, and after a few days he produced the following:


O eye, weep copiously, pour down thy tears,

Weep over Mughlra's sons, that noble breed of Ka'b,

O eye, cease not to weep thy gathering tears,

Bewail my heartfelt sorrow in life's misfortunes.

Weep over all those generous trustworthy men,

Lavish in gifts, munificent, bounteous,

Pure in soul, of high intent,

Firm in disposition, resolute in grave affairs,

Strong in emergency, no churls, not relying on others,

 Quick to decide, lavish in generosity.

 If Ka'b's line is reckoned, a hawk,

The very heart and summit of their glory,

Weep for generosity and Muttalib the generous,

Release the fountain of thy tears,

Gone from us in Radman today as a foreigner,

My heart grieves for him among the dead.

Woe to you, weep if you can weep,

For 'Abdu Shams on the east of the Ka'ba,

For Hashim in the grave in the midst of the desert

Where the wind of Ghazza blows o'er his bones.

Above all for my friend Naufal

Who found in Salman a desert grave.

Never have I known their like, Arab or foreigner,

When their white camels bore them along.

Now their camps know them no more

 Who used to be the glory of our troops.

Has time annihilated them or were their swords blunt,

 Or is every living thing food for the Fates ?

Since their death I have come to be

satisfied With mere smiles and friendly greetings. W

eep for the father of the women with dishevelled hair




Page 61 Who weep for him with faces unveiled as camels doomed to die.'

They mourn the noblest man who ever walked,

Bewailing him with floods of tears.

They mourn a man generous and liberal,

Rejecting injustice, who settled the greatest matters.

They weep for 'Amr al-'Ula2 when his time came,

Benign was his nature as he smiled at the night's guests.

They weep prostrated by sorrow,

How long was the lamentation and woe!

They mourned him when time exiled them from him,

Their faces pale like camels denied water.

With their loins girded because of fate's hard blows.

I passed the night in pain watching the stars

I wept and my little daughters wept to share my grief.

No prince is their equal or peer,

Among those left behind none are like their offspring.

Their sons are the best of sons,

And they are the best of men in the face of disaster.

How many a smooth running fast horse have they given,

How many a captive mare have they bestowed,

How many a fine mettled Indian sword,

How many a lance as long as a well rope,

How many slaves did they give for the asking,

Lavishing their gifts far and wide.

Were I to count and others count with me

I could not exhaust their generous acts;

They are the foremost in pure descent

Wherever men boast of their forbears,                                               

The ornament of the houses which they left

So that they have become solitary and forsaken,

I say while my eye ceases not to weep,

May God spare the unfortunate (family)! (108)


By the 'father of the women with dishevelled hair' the poet means Hashim b. 'Abdu Manaf.

     Following his uncle al-Muttalib, 'Abdu'l-Muttalib b. Hashim took over the duties of watering and feeding the pilgrims and carried on the practices of his forefathers with his people. He attained such eminence as none of his forefathers enjoyed; his people loved him and his reputation was great among them.


1  The words 'camels doomed to die' refer to the she-camel which used to be tethered by the grave of her dead master until she died of hunger and thirst. The heathen Arabs believed he would ride her in the next world.

2  'The lofty one.'




Page 62                                               THE DIGGING OF ZAMZAM


While Abdu'l-Muttalib was sleeping in the hijr,1 he was ordered in a vision to dig Zamzam. Yazid b. Abu Hablb al-Misrl from Marthad b. 'Abdullah al-Yazanl from 'Abdullah b. Zurayr al-Ghafiqt told me that he heard 'Ali b. Abu Talib telling the story of Zamzam. He said that 'Abdu'l-Muttalib said: 'I was sleeping in the hijr when a supernatural visitant came and said, "Dig Tiba". I said "And what is Tiba?"; then he left me. I went to bed again the next day and slept, and he came to me and said "Dig Barra"; when I asked what Barra was he left me. The next day he came and said "Dig al-Madnuna"; when I asked what that was he went away again. The next day he came while I was sleeping and said "Dig Zamzam". I said, "What is Zamzam?"; he said:


 “Twill never fail or ever run dry,

“Twill water the pilgrim company..

It lies 'twixt the dung and the flesh bloody,2

 By the nest where the white-winged ravens fly,

 By the nest where the ants to and fro do ply.'


 When the exact spot had been indicated to him and he knew that it corre­sponded with the facts, he took a pick-axe and went with his son al-Harith for he had no other son at that time and began to dig. When the top of the well appeared he cried 'Allah akbar!' Thus Quraysh knew that he had obtained his object and they came to him and said, 'This is the well of our father Ishmael, and we have a right to it, so give us a share in it.' 'I will not,' he answered, 'I was specially told of it and not you, and I was the one to be given it.' They said: 'Do us justice, for we shall not leave you until we have got a judicial decision in the matter.' He said: 'Appoint anyone you like as umpire between us.' He agreed to accept a woman diviner of B. Sa'd Hudhaym, who dwelt in the uplands of Syria.   So


1  The hijr is the semicircular spot between the wall called Hatim and the Ka'ba, which is said to contain the graves of Hagar and Ishmael.  Cf. Azr^qi, 282 f.

2  The language is characteristic of Arabian oracles composed in doggerel known as Saj'. The words 'between the dung and the blood' occur in the Quran, Sura 16, verse 68.   'We give you to drink of what is in their bellies between the faeces and the blood, pure milk easily swallowed by the drinkers.'  But this throws no light on the meaning of the passage here, which plainly has a local significance.   Abu Dharr passed it by without comment.   Al-Suhayli, p. 98, sees that the term must go with the two following terms, and serve to show exactly where Zamzam was to be found.  He therefore repeats a story to the effect that 'Abdu'l-Muttalib saw the ants' nest and the ravens' nest when he went to dig the well, but saw neither dung nor blood.  At that moment a cow escaped her would-be butcher and entered the haram.   There she was slaughtered, and where the dung and blood flowed, 'Abdu'l-Muttalib proceeded to dig.   This gallant attempt to explain the ancient oracle cannot be accepted for the reason that it gives no point to the precise reference that the well was to be found between the dung and the blood, which in this story obviously must have occupied pretty much the same space, and indeed would render the following indica­tions superfluous by giving the exact site. Most probably, therefore, we should assume that the sacrificial victims were tethered at a certain spot and there they would void ordure before they were led to the foot of the image at which they were slaughtered.  A point between these two spots is more closely defined by the ants' and the ravens' nest.



Page 63 'Abdu'l-Muttalib, accompanied by some of his relations and a representa­tive from all the tribes of Quraysh, rode away. They went on through desolate country between the Hijaz and Syria until 'Abdu'l-Muttalib's company ran out of water and they feared that they would die of thirst. They asked the Quraysh tribes to give them water, but they refused, on the ground that if they gave them their water they too would die of thirst. In his desperation 'Abdu'l-Muttalib consulted his companions as to what should be done, but all they could do was to say that they would follow his instructions: so he said, 'I think that every man should dig a hcle for him­self with the strength that he has left so that whenever a man dies his com­panions can thrust him into the hole and bury him until the last man, for it is better that one man should lie unburied than a whole company.' They accepted his advice and every man began to dig a hole for himself. Then they sat down until they should die of thirst. After a time 'Abdu'l-Muttalib said to his companions, 'By God, to abandon ourselves to death in this way and not to scour the country in search of water is sheer incompetence; perhaps God will give us water somewhere. To your saddles!' So they got their beasts ready while the Quraysh watched them at work. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib went to his beast and mounted her and when she got up from her knees a flow of fresh water broke out from beneath her feet. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib and his companions, crying 'Allah akbar!', dismounted and drank and filled their water-skins. Then they invited the Quraysh to come to the water which God had given them and to drink freely. After they had done so and filled their water-skins they said: 'By God, the judgement has been given in your favour 'Abdu'l-Muttalib. We will never dispute your claim to Zamzam. He who has given you water in this wilderness is He who has given you Zamzam. Return to your office of watering the pilgrims in peace.' So they all went back without going to the diviner.

   This is the story which I heard as from 'All b. Abu Talib about Zamzam and I have heard one report on 'Abdu'l-Muttalib's authority that when he was ordered to dig Zamzam it was said to him:


Then pray for much water as crystal clear

To water God's pilgrims at the sites they revere

As long as it lasts you've nothing to fear.


On hearing these words he went to the Quraysh and said, 'You know that I have been ordered to dig Zamzam for you,' and they asked, 'But have you been told where it is?' When he replied that he had not, they told him to go back to his bed where he had the vision and if it really came from God it would be made plain to him; but if it had come from a demon, he would not return to him. So 'Abdu'l-Muttalib went back to his bed and slept and received the following message:


Dig Zimzam, 'twill not to your hopes give lie,

Tis yours from your father eternally.


Page 64 'Twill never fail or ever run dry,

'Twill water the pilgrim company

Like an ostrich flock a fraternity,

Their voice God hears most graciously.

A pact most sure from days gone by

Nought like it canst thou descry,

It lies 'twixt the dung and the flesh bloody (109).1


It is alleged that when this was said to him and he inquired where Zamzam was, he was told that it was by the ants' nest where the raven will peck tomorrow, but God knows how true this is. The next day 'Abdu'l Mutta­lib with his son al-Harith, who at that time was his only son, went and found the ants' nest and the raven pecking beside it between the two idols Isaf and Na'ila at which Quraysh used to slaughter their sacrifices. He brought a pick-axe and began to dig where he had been commanded. Quraysh seeing him at work came up and refused to allow him to dig between their two idols where they sacrificed. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib then told his son to stand by and protect him while he dug, for he was determined to carry out what he had been commanded to do. When they saw that he was not going to stop work they left him severely alone. He had not dug deeply before the stone top of the well appeared and he gave thanks to God knowing that he had been rightly informed. As digging went further, he found the two gazelles of gold which Jurhum had buried there when they left Mecca. He also found some swords and coats of mail from Qal'a.2 Quraysh claimed that they had a right to share in this find. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib denied this, but was willing to submit the matter to the sacred lot. He said that he would make two arrows for the Ka'ba, two for them, and two for himself. The two arrows which came out from the quiver would determine to whom the property belonged. This was agreed, and accordingly he made two yellow arrows for the Ka'ba, two black ones for himself, and two white ones for Quraysh. They were then given to the priest in charge of the divinatory arrows, which were thrown beside Hubal. (Hubal was an image in the middle of the Ka'ba, indeed the greatest of their images. It is that referred to by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb at the battle of Uhud when he cried 'Arise Hubal', i.e. Make your religion victorious!) 'Abdu'l-Muttalib began to pray to God, and when the priest threw the arrows the two yellow ones for the gazelles came out in favour of the Ka'ba. The two black ones allotted the swords and coats of mail to 'Abdu'l-Muttalib, and the two arrows of Quraysh remained behind. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib made the swords into a door for the Ka'ba and overlaid the door with the gold of the gazelles. This was the first golden ornament of the Ka'ba, at any rate so they allege. Then 'Abdu'l-Muttalib took charge of the supply of Zamzam water to the pilgrims.


1  As these lines are in part identical with those mentioned above, clearly this is a rival account of the vision.

2  A mountain in Syria, though other sites have been suggested.  See Yaqut.





Before the digging of Zamzam Quraysh had already dug wells in Mecca, according to what Ziyad b. 'Abdullah al-Bakka'I told me from Muhammad b. Ishaq. He said that 'Abdu Shams b. 'Abdu Manaf dug al-Tawfy which is a well in the upper part of Mecca near al-Bayda', the house of Muham­mad b. Yusuf al-Thaqaf I.

   Hashim b. 'Abdu Manaf dug Badhdhar which is near al-Mustandhar, a spur of Mount al-Khandama at the mouth of the pass of Abu Talib. They allege that when he had dug it he said: 'I will make it a means of subsis­tence for the people' (no).

    He1 dug Sajla which is a well belonging to al-Mut'im b. 'Adiy b. Naufal b. 'Abdu Manaf which is still used today. The B. Naufal allege that al-Mut'im bought it from Asad b. Hashim, while B. Hashim allege that he gave it to him when Zamzam was uncovered and people had no further use for the other wells.

    Umayya b. 'Abdu Shams dug al-Hafr for himself. The B. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza dug Suqayya2 which belongs to them. The B. 'Abdu'1-Dar dug Umm Ahrad. The B. Jumah dug al-Sunbula which belongs to Khalaf b. Wahb. The B. Sahm dug al-Ghamr which belongs to them.

    There were some old wells outside Mecca dating from the time of Murra b. Ka'b and Kilab b. Murra from which the first princes of Quraysh used to draw water, namely Rumm and Khumm. Rumm was dug by Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy, and Khumm by B. Kilab b. Murra, and so was al-Hafr.3 There is an old poem of Hudhayfa b. Ghanim, brother of B. 'Adiy b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy (in), which runs:


In the good old days we were long satisfied

To get our water from Khumm or al-Hafr.


    Zamzam utterly eclipsed the other wells from which the pilgrims used  to get their water, and people went to it because it was in the sacred enclo­sure and because its water was superior to any other; and, too, because it was the well of Isma'il b. Ibrahim. Because of it B. 'Abdu Manaf behaved boastfully towards Quraysh and all other Arabs.

    Here are some lines of Musafir b. Abu 'Amr b. Umayya b. 'Abdu Shams b. 'Abdu Manaf boasting over Quraysh that they held the right of watering and feeding the pilgrims, and that they discovered Zamzam, and that B.


1  The editor has been untidy here.   Commentators point out that Hashim did not dig this well, and al-Suhayli quotes a poem beginning 'I am Qusayy and I dug Sajla'.

2  Neither Yaqut (iii. 105 and 305) nor the ancients knew whether the well was called Suqayya or Shufayya.  Azr. ii. 177 names only Shufayya.

3 It has just been said that Umayya b. 'Abdu Shams dug al-Hafr. Yaqut says 'Hafr ... belongs to B. Taym b. Murra ... al-Hazimi spelt it Jafr.' This may account for the incon­sistency, as it seems that there were two wells, Hafr and Jafr, in Mecca.

B4080                                                                              F


Page 66 'Abdu Manaf were one family in which the honour and merit of one belonged to all:


Glory came to us from our fathers.

We have carried it to greater heights.

Do not we give the pilgrims water

And sacrifice the fat milch camels ?

When death is at hand we are found

Brave and generous.

Though we perish (for none can live for ever)

A stranger shall not rule our kin.

Zamzam belongs to our tribe.

We will pluck out the eyes of those who look enviously at us.


Hudhayfa b. Ghanim [mentioned above] said:


(Weep for him) who watered the pilgrims, son of him who broke


And 'Abdu Manaf that Fihri lord.

He laid bare Zamzam by the Maqam,

His control of the.wa"ter was a prouder boast than any man's (i 12).


'abdu'l-muttalib's vow to sacrifice his son


It is alleged, and God only knows the truth, that when 'Abdu'l-Muttalib encountered the opposition of Quraysh when he was digging Zamzam, he vowed that if he should have ten sons to grow up and protect him, he would sacrifice one of them to God at the Ka'ba. Afterwards when he had ten sons who could protect him he gathered them together and told them about his vow and called on them to keep faith with God. They agreed to obey him and asked what they were to do. He said that each one of them must get an arrow, write his name on it, and bring it to him: this they did and he took them before Hubal in the middle of the Ka'ba. (The statue of) Hubal2 stood by a well there. It was that well in which gifts made to the Ka'ba were stored.

     Now beside Hubal there were seven arrows, each of them containing some words. One was marked 'bloodwit'. When they disputed about who should pay the bloodwit they cast lots with the seven arrows and he on whom the lot fell had to pay the money. Another was marked 'yes', and another 'no', and they acted accordingly on the matter on which the oracle had been invoked. Another was marked 'of you'; another mulsaq,3 another 'not of you'; and the last was marked 'water'. If they wanted to dig for water, they cast lots containing this arrow and wherever it came forth they


1  I read khubz with most MSS.

2  Cf. p. 103. f adds 'Hubal being the greatest (or, most revered) of the idols of Quraysh in Mecca'.                               3 Not a member of the tribe.



Page 67 set to work. If they wanted to circumcise a boy, or make a marriage, or bury a body, or doubted someone's genealogy, they took him to Hubal with a hundred dirhams and a slaughter camel and gave them to the man who cast the lots; then they brought near the man with whom they were concerned saying, 'O our god this is A the son of B with whom we intend to and so; so show the right course concerning him.' Then they would say to the man who cast the arrows 'Cast!' and if there came out 'of you' then he was a true member of their tribe; and if there came out 'not of you' he was an ally; and if there came out mulsaq he had no blood relation to them and was not an ally. Where 'yes' came out in other matters, they acted accord­ingly; and if the answer was 'no' they deferred the matter for a year until they could bring it up again. They used to conduct their affairs according to the decision of the arrows.

   'Abdu'l-Muttalib said to the man with the arrows, 'Cast the lots for my sons with these arrows', and he told him of the vow which he had made. Each man gave him the arrow on which his name was written. Now 'Ab­dullah was his father's youngest son, he and al-Zubayr and Abu Talib were born to Fatima d. 'Amr b. 'A'idh b. 'Abd b. 'Imran b. Makhzum b. Yaqaza b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr (113). It is alleged that 'Abdullah was 'Abdu'l-Muttalib's favourite son, and his father thought that if the arrow missed him he would be spared. (He was the father of the apostle of God.) When the man took the arrows to cast lots with them, 'Abdu'l-Muttalib stood by Hubal praying to Allah. Then the man cast lots and 'Abdullah's arrow came out. His father led him by the hand and took a large knife; then he brought him up to Isaf and Na'ila (T. two idols of Quraysh at which they slaughtered their sacrifices) to sacrifice him; but Quraysh came out of their assemblies and asked what he was intending to do. When he said that he was going to sacrifice him; they and his sons said 'By God! you shall never sacrifice him until you offer the greatest expiatory sacrifice for him. If you do a thing like this there will be no stopping men from coming to sacrifice their sons, and what will become of the people then?' Then said al-Mughira b. 'Abdullah b. 'Amr b. Makhzum b. Yaqaza, 'Abdullah's mother being from his tribe, 'By God, you shall never sacrifice him until you offer the greatest expiatory sacrifice for him. Though his ransoin be all our property we will redeem him.' Quraysh and,his sons said that he must not do it, but take him to the Hijaz1 for there there was a sorceress who had a familiar spirit, and he must con­sult her. Then he would have liberty of action. If she told him to sacrifice him, he would be no worse off; and if she gave him a favourable response, he could accept it. So they went off as far as Medina and found that she was in Khaybar, so they allege. So they rode on until they got to her, and when 'Abdu'l-Muttalib acquainted her with the facts she told them to go away until her familiar spirit visited her and she could ask him. When they had left .her 'Abdu'l-Muttalib prayed to Allah, and when they visited her


1 The region of which Medina was the centre. See Lammens, V Arabie Occidentale, 300 f


Page 68 the next day she said, 'Word has come to me. How much is the blood money among you?' They told her that it was ten camels, as indeed it was. She told them to go back to their country and take the young man and ten camels. Then cast lots for them and for him; if the lot falls against your man, add more camels, until your lord is satisfied. If the lot falls against the camels then sacrifice them in his stead, for your lord will be satisfied and your client escape death. So they returned to Mecca, and when they had agreed to carry out their instructions, 'Abdu'l-Muttalib was praying to Allah. Then they brought near 'Abdullah and ten camels while Abdu'l-Muttalib stood by Hubal praying to Allah. Then they cast lots and the arrow fell against Abdullah. They added ten more camels and the lot fell against Abdullah, and so they went on adding ten at a time, until there were one hundred camels, when finally the lot fell against them. Quraysh and those who were present said, 'At last your lord is satisfied 'Abdu'l-Muttalib.' 'No, by God,' he answered (so they say), 'not until I cast lots three times.' This they did and each time the arrow fell against the camels. They were duly slaughtered and left there and no man was kept back or hindered (from eating them) (i 14).





Taking 'Abdullah by the hand Abdu'l-Muttalib went away and they passed -so it is alleged- a woman of B. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. Qusayy b. Kilab b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr who was the sister of Waraqa b. Naufal b. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza, who was at the Ka'ba. When she looked at him she asked, 'Where are you going Abdullah?' He replied, 'With my father.' She said, 'If you will take me you can have as many camels as were sacrificed in your stead.' 'I am with my father and I cannot act against his wishes and leave him', he replied.

   'Abdu'l-Muttalib brought him to Wahb b. 'Abdu Manaf b. Zuhra b. Kilab b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr who was the leading man of B. Zuhra in birth and honour, and he married him to his daughter Amina, she being the most excellent woman among the Quraysh in birth and position at that time. Her mother was Barra d. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. 'Uthman b. 'Abdu'1-Dar b. Qusayy b. Kilab b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr. Barra's mother was Umm Habib d. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. Qusayy by Kilab b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr. Umm Hablb's mother was Barra d. 'Auf b. 'Ubayd b. 'Uwayj b. 'Adly b. Ka'b b." Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr.

    It is illeged that Abjujlah consunimated his marriage immediately and his wife conceived the apostle of' God.1 Then he left her presence and met the woman who had proposed to him.  He asked her why she did not


1 T- 'Muhammad.'


Page 69 make the proposal that she made to him the day before; to which she replied that the light that was with him the day before had left him, and she no longer had need of him. She had heard from her brother Waraqa b. Naufal, who had been a Christian and studied the scriptures, which a prophet would arise among this people.

     My father Ishaq b. Yasar told me that he was told that 'Abdullah went in to a woman that he had beside Amina d. Wahb when he had been work­ing in clay and the marks of the clay were on him. She put him off when he made a suggestion to her because of the dirt that was on him. He then left her and washed and bathed himself, and as he made his way to Amina he passed her and she invited him to come to her. He refused and went to Amina who conceived Muhammad. When he passed the woman again ne asked her if she wanted anything and she said 'No! When you passed me there was a white blaze between your eyes and when I invited you you refused me and went in to Amina, and she has taken it away.'

     It is alleged that that woman of his used to say that when he passed by her between his eyes there was a blaze like the blaze of a horse. She said: 'I invited him hoping that that would be in me, but he refused me and went to Amina and she conceived the apostle of God.' So the apostle of God was the noblest of his people in birth and the greatest in honour both on his father's and his mother's side. God bless and preserve him!





It is alleged in popular stories (and only God knows the truth) that Amina d. Wahb, the mother of God's apostle, used to say when she was pregnant with God's apostle that a voice said to her, 'You are pregnant with the lord of this people and when he is born say, "I put him in the care of the One from the evil of every envier; then call him Muhammad."' As she was pregnant with him she saw a light come forth from her by which she could see the castles of Busra in Syria. Shortly afterwards 'Abdullah the apostle's father died while his mother was still pregnant.




The apostle was born on Monday, 12th Rabi'u'l-awwal, in the year of the elephant. Al-Muftalib b. 'Abdullah who had it from his grandfather Qays b. Makhrama said, 'I and the apostle were born at the same time in the year of the elephant.' (T. It is said that he was born in the house known as  I. Yusuf's; and it is said that the apostle gave it to 'Aqtl b. Abu Talib who kept it until he died. His son sold it to Muhammad b. Yusuf, the brother


Page 70 of al-Hajjaj, and he incorporated it in the house he built. Later Khayzuran separated it therefrom and made it into a mosque.)1

     Salih b. Ibrahim b. 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. 'Auf b. Yahya b. 'Abdullah b. 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. Sa'd b. Zurara al-Ansari said that his tribesmen said that Hassan b. Thabit said: 'I was a well-grown boy of seven or eight, understanding all that I heard, when I heard a Jew calling out at the top of his voice from the top of a fort in Yathrib "O company of Jews" until they all came together and called out "Confound you, what is the matter ?" He answered: "Tonight has risen a star under which Ahmad is to be born."'

      I asked Sa'id b. 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. Hassan b. Thabit how old Hassan was when the apostle came to Medina and he said he was 60 when the apostle came, he being 53. So Hassan heard this when he was seven years old.

     After his birth his mother sent to tell his grandfather 'Abdu'l-Muttalib

 that she had given birth to a boy and asked him to come and look at him.

When he came she told him what she had seen when she conceived him and what was said to her and what she was ordered to call him. It is alleged that 'Abdu'l-Muttalib took him (T. before Hubal) in the (T. middle of the) Ka'ba, where he stood and prayed to Allah thanking him for this gift.

Then he brought him out and delivered him to his mother, and he tried to

 find foster-mothers for him (115).

      Halima d. Abu Dhu'ayb of B. Sa'd b. Bakr was asked to suckle him. Abu Dhu'ayb was 'Abdullah b. al-Harith b. Shijna b. Jabir b. Rizam b. Nasira b. Qusayya b. Nasr b. Sa'd b. Bakr b. Hawazin b. Mansur b. 'Ikrima b. Khasafa b. Qays b. 'Aylan.

     The prophet's foster-father was al-Harith b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. Rifa'a b. Mallan b. Nasira b. Qusayya b. Nasr b. Sa'd b. Bakr b. Hawazin (116).

     His foster-brother was 'Abdullah b. al-Harith; Unaysa and Hudhafa2 were his foster-sisters. The latter was called al-Shayma', her people not using her proper name. These were the children of Halima d. 'Abdullah b. al-Harith. It is reported that al-Shayma' used to carry him in her arms to help her mother.

     Jahm b. Abu Jahm the client of al-Harith b. Hatib al-Jumahl on the authority of 'Abdullah b. Ja'far b. Abu Talib or from one who told him it as from him, informed me that Halima the apostle’s fosternmother used to say that she went forth from her country with her husband and little son whom she was nursing, among the women of her tribe, in search of other babies to nurse. This was a year of famine when they were destitute. She was riding a dusky she-donkey of hers with an old she-camel which did not yield a drop of milk. They could not sleep the whole night because of the weeping of her hungry child. She had no milk to give him, nor could their


1 Khayzuran was the wife of the caliph al-Mahdi (158-69), and as he did not give her her freedom until after his accession and I.I. died a few years before in the reign of Mansur, it would seem unlikely that I.I. should have recorded this tradition.

2 Tn W. Judhama. I have followed C. which has the authority of I. Hajar. The name is uncertain.


Page 71 she-camel provide a morning draught, but we were hoping for rain and relief. 'I rode upon my donkey which had kept back the other riders through its weakness and emaciation so that it was a nuisance to them. When we reached Mecca, we looked out for foster children, and the apostle of God was offered to everyone of us, and each woman refused him when she was told he was an orphan, because we hoped to get payment from the child's father. We said, "An orphan! and what will his mother and grand­father do?", and so we spurned him because of that. Every woman who came with me got a suckling except me, and when we decided to depart I said to my husband: "By God, I do not like the idea of returning with my friends without a suckling; I will go and take that orphan." He replied, "Do as you please; perhaps God will bless us on his account." So I went and took him for the sole reason that I could not find anyone else. I took him back to my baggage, and as soon as I put him in my bosom, my breasts overflowed with milk which he drank until he was satisfied, as also did his foster-brother. Then both of them slept, whereas before this we could not sleep with him. My husband got up and went to the old she-camel and lo, her udders were full; he milked it and he and I drank of her milk until we were completely satisfied, and we passed a happy night. In the morning my husband said: "Do you know, Halima, you have taken a blessed crea­ture?" I said, "By God, I hope so." Then we set out and I was riding my she-ass and carrying him with me, and she went at such a pace that the other donkeys could not keep up so that my companions said to me, "Con­found you! stop and wait for us. Isn't this the donkey on which you started?" "Certainly it is," I said. They replied, "By God, something extraordinary has happened." Then we came to our dwellings in the Banti Sa'd country and I do not know a country more barren than that.

   When we had him with us my flock used to yield milk in abundance. We milked them and drank while other people had not a drop, nor could they find anything in their animals' udders, so that our people were saying to their shepherds, "Woe to you! send your flock to graze where the daughter of Abu Dhuayb's shepherd goes." Even so, their flocks came back hungry not yielding a drop of milk, while mine had milk in abundance. We ceased not to recognize this bounty as coming from God for a period of two years, when I weaned him. He was growing up as none of the other children grew and by the time he was two he was a well-made child. We brought him to his mother, though we were most anxious to keep him with us because of the blessing which he brought us. I said to her:1 "I should like you to leave my little boy with me until he becomes a big boy, for I am afraid on his account of the pest in Mecca." We persisted until she sent him back with us.

    Some months after our return he and his brother were with our lambs behind the tents when his brother came running and said to us, "Two men


1 T here inserts Yd Zi'ru 'O nurse!' implying that Amina was not his mother. A strange reading.


Page 72  clothed in white have seized that Qurayshi brother of mine and thrown ! him down and opened up his belly, and are stirring it up." We ran towards him and found him standing up with a livid face. We took hold of him and I asked him what was the matter. He said, "Two men in white raiment came I and threw me down and opened up my belly and searched therein for I know not what."1 So we took him back to our tent.

     His father said to me, "I am afraid that this child has had a stroke, so take him back to his family before the result appears." So we picked him up and took him to his mother who asked why we had brought him when I had been anxious for his welfare and desirous of keeping him with me. I said to her, "God has let my son live so far and I have done my duty. I am afraid that ill will befall him, so I have brought him back to you as you wished." She asked me what happened and gave me no peace until I told her. When she asked if I feared a demon possessed him, I replied that I did. She answered that no demon had any power over her son who had a great future before him, and then she told how when she was pregnant with him a light went out from her which illumined the castles of Busra in Syria, and that she had borne him with the least difficulty imaginable. When she bore him he put his hands on the ground lifting his head towards the heavens. "Leave him then and go in peace," she said.'

    Thaur b. Yazld from a learned person who I think was Khalid b. Ma'dan al Kala'i told me that some of the apostle's companions asked him to tell them about himself. He said: 'I am what Abraham my father prayed for and the good news of (T. my brother) Jesus. When my mother was carrying me she saw a light proceeding from her which showed her the castles of Syria. I was suckled among the B. Sa'd b. Bakr, and while I was with a brother of mine behind our tents shepherding the lambs, two men in white raiment came to me with a gold basin full of snow. Then they seized me and opened up my belly, extracted my heart and split it; then they extracted a black drop from it and threw it away; then they washed my heart and my belly with that snow until they had thoroughly cleaned them. Then one said to the other, weigh him against ten of his people; they did so and I outweighed them. Then they weighed me against a hundred and then a thousand, and I outweighed them. He said, "Leave him alone, for by God, if you weighed him against all his people he would outweigh them.'"

   The apostle of God used to say, There is no prophet but has shepherded a flock. When they said, 'You, too, apostle of God?', he said 'Yes.'

   The apostle of God used to say to his companions, 'I am the most Arab of you all. I am of Quraysh, and I was suckled among the B. Sa'd b. Bakr. It is alleged by some, but God knows the truth, that when his foster-mother brought him to Mecca he escaped her among the crowd while she was taking him to his people. She sought him and could not find him, so she went to 'Abdu'l-Muftalib and said: 'I brought Muhammad tonight and


1 Cf. SOra 94. 1.


Page 73 when I was in the upper part of Mecca he escaped me and I don't know where he is.' So 'Abdu'l-Muttalib went to the Ka'ba praying to God to restore him. They assert that Waraqa b. Naufal b. Asad and another man of Quraysh found him and brought him to 'Abdu'l-Muttalib saying, 'We have found this son of yours in the upper part of Mecca.' 'Abdu'l-Muttalib took him and put him on his shoulder as he went round the Ka'ba confiding him to God's protection and praying for him; then he sent him to his mother Amina.

    A learned person told me that what urged his foster-mother to return him to his mother, apart from what she told his mother, was that a number of Abyssinian Christians saw him with her when she brought him back after he had been weaned. They looked at him, asked questions about him, and studied him carefully, then they said to her, 'Let us take this boy, and bring him to our king and our country; for he will have a great future. We know all about him.' The person who told me this alleged that she could hardly get him away from them.


Amina dies and the apostle lives with his



The apostle lived with his mother Amina d. Wahb and his grandfather 'Abdu'l-Muttalib in God's care and keeping like a fine plant, God wishing to honour him. When he was six years old his mother Amina died.

   'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr b. Muhammad b. ‘Amr b. Hazm told me that the apostle's mother died in Abwa' between Mecca and Medina on her return from a visit with him to his maternal uncles of B. 'Adly b. al-Najj5r when he was six years old (117). Thus the apostle was left to his grandfather for whom they made a bed in the shade of the Ka'ba. His sons used to sit round the bed until he came out to it, but none of them sat upon it out of respect for him. The apostle, still a little boy, used to come and sit on it and his uncles would drive him away. When 'Abdu'l-Muttalib saw this he said: 'Let my son alone, for by Allah he has a great future.' Then he would make him sit beside him on his bed and would stroke his back with his hand. It used to please him to see what he did.





When the apostle was eight years of age, eight years after the 'year of the elephant', his grandfather died. This date was given me by al-'Abbas b. 'Abdullah b. Ma’bad b. al-'Abbas from one of his family.

Muhammad b. Sa'id b. al-Musayyib told me that when 'Abdu'l-Mutta­lib knew that death was at hand he summoned his six daughters Saf lya, Barra, 'Atika, Umm Hakim al-Bayda', Umayma, and Arwa, and said to


Page 74 them, 'Compose elegies over me so that I may hear what you are going to say before I die.' (118)

Saf iya d. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib said in mourning her father:


I could not sleep for the voices of the keening women,

Bewailing a man on the crown of life's road,

It caused the tears to flow

Down my cheeks like falling pearls

For a noble man, no wretched weakling,

Whose virtue was plain to all.

The generous Shayba, full of merits,

Thy good father inheritor of all virtue,

Truthful at home, no weakling,

Standing firm and self-reliant.

Powerful, fear-inspiring, massive,

Praised and obeyed by his people,

Of lofty lineage, smiling, virtuous,

A very rain when camels had no milk.

Noble was his grandfather without spot of shame,

Surpassing all men, bond or free,

Exceeding mild, of noble stock,

Who were generous, strong as lions,

Could men be immortal through ancient glory,

(Alas immortality is unobtainable!)

He would make his last night endure for ever

Through his surpassing glory and long descent.


His daughter Barra said:


Be generous, O eyes, with your pearly tears,

For the generous nature who never repelled a beggar.

Of glorious race, successful in undertaking,

Of handsome face, of great nobility.

Shayba, the laudable, the noble,

The glorious, the mighty, the renowned,

The clement, decisive in misfortunes,

Full of generosity, lavish in gifts,

Excelling his people in glory,

A light shining like the moon in its splendour.

Death came to him and spared him not,

Change and fortune and fate overtook him.


His daughter 'Atika said:


Be generous, O eyes, and not niggardly

With your tears when others sleep,

Weep copiously, O eyes, with your tears,

While you beat your faces in weeping.


Page 75 Weep, O eyes, long and freely

For one, no dotard weakling,

The strong, generous in time of need,

Noble in purpose, faithful to his word.

Shayba the laudable, successful in undertaking,

The reliable and the steady,

A sharp sword in war

Destroying his enemies in battle,

Easy natured, open handed,

Loyal, stout, pure, good.

His house proudly rooted in high honour

Mounted to glory unobtainable by others.


His daughter Umm Hakim al-Bayda' said:


Weep, O eye, generously, hide not thy tears,

Weep for the liberal and generous one,

Fie upon thee O eye, help me

With fast falling tears!

Weep for the best man who ever rode a beast,

Thy good father, a fountain of sweet water.

Shayba the generous, the virtuous,

Liberal in nature, praised for his gifts,

Lavish to his family, handsome,

Welcome as rain in years of drought.

A lion when the spears engage,

His womenfolk look on him proudly.

Chief of Kinana on whom their hopes rest,

When evil days brought calamity,

Their refuge when war broke out,

In trouble and dire distress.

Weep for him, refrain not from grief,

Make women weep for him as long as you live.


His daughter Umayma said:


Alas, has the shepherd of his people, the generous one, perished,

Who gave the pilgrims their water, the defender of our fame,

Who used to gather the wandering guest into his tents,

When the heavens begrudged their rain.

You have the noblest sons a man could have

And have never ceased to grow in fame, O Shayba!

Abii'l Harith, the bountiful, has left his place,

Go not far for every living thing must go far.

I shall weep for him and suffer as long as I live.

His memory deserves that I suffer.

May the Lord of men water thy grave with rain!


Page 76 I shall weep for him though he lies in the grave.

He was the pride of all his people,

And was praised wherever praise was due.


His daughter Arwa said :


My eye wept and well it did

For the generous modest father,

The pleasant natured man of Mecca's vale,

Noble in mind, lofty in aim,

The bountiful Shayba full of virtues,

Thy good father who has no peer,

Long armed, elegant, tall,

'Twas as though his forehead shone with light,

Lean waisted, handsome, full of virtues,

Glory, rank, and dignity were his,

Resenting wrong, smiling, able,

His ancestral fame could not be hid,

The refuge of Malik, the spring of Fihr,

When judgement was sought he spoke the last word.

He was a hero, generous, liberal,

And bold when blood was to be shed,

When armed men were afraid of death

So that the hearts of most of them were as air,1

Forward he went with gleaming sword,

The cynosure of all eyes.


   Muhammad b. Sa'id b. al-Musayyib told me2 that 'Abdu'l-Muftalib made a sign to the effect that he was satisfied with the elegies, for he could not speak (119).

   Hudhayfa b. Ghanim, brother of B. 'Adly b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy, mentioned his superiority and that of Qusayy and his sons over the Quraysh, because he had been seized for a debt of 4,000 dirhams in Mecca and Abu Lahab Abdu'l-'Uzz5 b. Abdu'l-Muftalib passed by and "redeemed him:


O eyes, let the generous tears flow down the breast,

Weary not, may you be washed with falling rain,

Be generous with your tears, every morn

Weeping for a man whom fate did not spare.

Weep floods of tears while life does last,

Over Quraysh's modest hero who concealed his good deeds,

A powerful zealous defender of his dignity,

Handsome of face, no weakling, and no braggart,

The famous prince, generous and liberal,

Spring rain of Lu'ayy in drought and dearth,

Best of all the sons of Ma'add,


 1 Cf Sura 14. 44 'and their hearts were air'.                                            2 Za'ama II.


Page 77 Noble in action, in nature and in race,

Their best in root and branch and ancestry.

Most famous in nobility and reputation,

First in glory, kindness and sagacity,

And in virtue when the lean years exact their toll.

Weep over Shayba the praiseworthy, whose face

Illumined the darkest night, like the moon at the full,

Who watered the pilgrims, son of him who broke bread,1

And 'Abdu Manaf that Fihri lord,

Who uncovered Zamzam by the Sanctuary,

Whose control of the water was a prouder boast than any man's.

Let every captive in his misery weep for him

And the family of Qusayy, poor and rich alike.

Noble are his sons, both young and old,

They have sprung from the eggs of a hawk,

Qusayy who opposed Kinana all of them,

And guarded the temple in weal and woe.

Though fate and its changes bore him away,

He lived happy in successful achievement,

He left behind well armed men

Bold in attack, like very spears.

Abu 'Utba who gave me his gift,

White blood camels of the purest white.

Hamza like the moon at the full rejoicing to give,

Chaste and free from treachery,

And 'Abdu Manaf the glorious, defender of his honour,

Kind to his kindred, gentle to his relatives.

Their men are the best of men,

Their young men like the offspring of kings who neither perish nor


Whenever you meet one of their scions

You will find him going in the path of his forefathers.

They filled the vale with fame and glory

When rivalry and good works had long been practised,2

Among them are great builders and buildings,

'Abdu Manaf their grandfather being the repairer of their fortunes,

When he married 'Auf to his daughter to give us protection

From our enemies when the Banu Fihr betrayed us,

 We went through the land high and low under his protection,

Until our camels could plunge into the sea.

They lived as townsmen while some were nomads


1  Cf. p. 66. Or, 'then for the good Hashim (Likhayr for lilkhubz).

2  Cf. Sura 2. 143 'Vie with one another in good works', and cf. 5. 53 for this use of the verb ittabaqa.114




Page 78 None but the sheikhs of Banu 'Amr1 were there,

They built many houses and dug wells

Whose waters flowed as though from the great sea

That pilgrims and others might drink of them,

When they hastened to them on the morrow of the sacrifice,

Three days their camels lay

Quietly between the mountains and the hijr.

Of old we had lived in plenty,

Drawing our water from Khumm or al-Hafr.

They forgot wrongs normally avenged,

And overlooked foolish slander,

They collected all the allied tribesmen,

And turned from us the evil of the Banu Bakr.

O Kharija,2 when I die cease not to thank them

Until you are laid in the grave,

And forget not Ibn Lubna's kindness,

A kindness that merits thy gratitude.

And thou Ibn Lubna art from Qusayy when genealogies are sought

Where man's highest hope is attained,

Thyself has gained the height of glory

And joined it to its root in valour.

Surpassing and exceeding thy people in generosity

As a boy thou wast superior to every liberal chief.

Thy mother will be a pure pearl of Khuza'a,

When experienced genealogists one day compile a roll.

To the heroes of Sheba she can be traced and belongs.

How noble her ancestry in the summit of splendour!

Abu Shamir is of them and 'Amr b. Malik

And Dhu Jadan and Abu'1-Jabr are of her people, and

As'ad who led the people for twenty years

Assuring victory in those lands (120).


Matrud b. Ka'b the Khuza'ite bewailing 'Abdu'l-Muttalib and the sons of 'Abdu Manaf said:


O wanderer ever changing thy direction,

Why hast thou not asked of the family of 'Abdu Manaf?

Good God, if you had lived in their homeland

They would have saved you from injury and unworthy marriages;

Their rich mingle with their poor

So that their poor are as their wealthy.

Munificent when times were bad,

Who travel with the caravans of Quraysh

Who feed men when the winds are stormy

Until the sun sinks into the sea.


1  The sons of Hashim are meant: his name was 'Amr.  So Cairo editors.

2  i.e. Kharija b. tfudhafa.




Page 79 Since you have perished, O man of great deeds,

Never has the necklace of a woman drooped over your like1

Save your father alone, that generous man, and

The bountiful Muttalib, father of his guests.


   When 'Abdu'l-Muttalib died his son al-'Abbas took charge of Zamzam and the watering of the pilgrims, although he was the youngest of his father's sons. When Islam came it was still in his hands and the apostle' confirmed his right to it and so it remains with the family of al-Abbas to this day.




 After the death of Abdul-Muttalib the apostle lived with his uncle Abu Talib, for (so they allege) the former had confided him to his care because he and 'Abdullah, the apostle's father, were brothers by the same mother, Fajima d. 'Amr b. 'A'idh b. 'Abd b. Tmran b. Makhzum (121). It was Abu Talib who used to look after the apostle after the death of his grand- father and he became one of his family.

   Yahya b.'Abbad b. 'Abdullah b. al-Zubayr told me that his father told him that there was a man of Lihb (122) who was a seer. Whenever he came to Mecca the Quraysh used to bring their boys to him so that he could look at them and tell their fortunes. So Abu Talib brought him along with the others while he was still a boy. The seer looked at him and then something claimed his attention. That disposed of he cried, 'Bring me that boy.' When Abu Talib saw his eagerness he hid him and the seer began to say, 'Woe to you, bring me that boy I saw just now, for by Allah he has a great future.' But Abu Talib went away.




Abu Talib had planned to go in a merchant caravan to Syria, and when all preparations had been made for the journey, the apostle of God, so they allege, attached himself closely to him so that he took pity on him and said that he would take him with him, and that the two of them should never part; or words to that effect. When the caravan reached Busra in Syria, there was a monk there in his cell by the name of Bahlra, who was well versed in the knowledge of Christians. A monk had always occupied that cell. There he gained his knowledge from a book that was in the cell, so they allege, handed on from generation to generation.  They had often


1 i.e. 'never has your equal been born'. The figure is that of a woman nursing a baby while her necklace falls over the child at her breast. The correct reading would seem to be 'iqd not 'aqd; dhat mtaf means 'possessor of pendant earrings', i.e. a woman. Dr. Arafat suggests that 'ad 'girdle' should be read and the line would then run: 'Never has the knot of a woman's girdle run over your like’. The general sense would be the same, but the particular reference would be to a pregnant woman.


Page 80 passed by him in the past and he never spoke to them or took any notice of them until this year, and when they stopped near his cell he made a great feast for them. It is alleged that that was because of something he saw while in his cell. They allege that while he was in his cell he saw the apostle of God in the caravan when they approached, with a cloud over­shadowing him among the people. Then they came and stopped in the shadow of a tree near the monk. He looked at the cloud when it over­shadowed the tree, and its branches were bending and drooping over the apostle of God until he was in the shadow beneath it. When Bahira saw that, he came out of his cell and sent word to them,* 'I have prepared food for you, O men of Quraysh, and I should like you all to come both great and small, bond and free.' One of them said to him, 'By God, Bahira! something extraordinary has happened today, you used not to treat us so, and we have often passed by you. What has befallen you today?' He answered, 'You are right in what you say, but you are guests and I wish to honour you and give you food so that you may eat.' So they gathered together with him, leaving the apostle of God behind with the baggage under the tree, on account of his extreme youth. When Bahira looked at the people he did not see the mark which he knew and found in his books, 1 so he said, 'Do not let one of you remain behind and not come to my feast.' They told him that no one who ought to come had remained behind except a boy who was the youngest of them and had stayed with their baggage. Thereupon he told them to invite him to come to the meal with them. One of the men of Quraysh said, 'By al-Lat and al-'Uzza, we are to blame for leaving behind the son of 'Abdullah b. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib.' Then he got up and embraced him and made him sit with the people.* When Bahira saw him he stared at him closely, looking at his body and finding traces of his description (in the Christian books). When the people had finished eating and gone away, Bahira got up and said to him, ‘Boy I ask you by al-Lat and al-Uzza to answer my question.’ Now Bahira said this only because he had heard his people swearing by these gods. They allege that the apostle of God said to him, ‘Do not ask me by al-Lat and al-Uzza, for by Allah nothing is more hateful to me than these two.’ Bahira answered, ‘Then by Allah, tell me what I ask’; he replied, ‘Ask me what you like’: so he began to ask him about what happened in his (T. waking and in his) sleep, and his habits, 2 and his affairs generally, and what the apostle of God told him coincided with what Bahira knew of his description. Then he looked at his back and saw the seal of prophethook between his shoulders in the very place described in his book (123). When he had finished he went to his uncle Abu Talib and asked him what relation this boy was to him, and when he told him he was his son, he said that he was not, for it could not be that the father of this boy was alive. He is my nephew,’ he


1. Lit. ‘with him’.                                                                  2. hay’a, perhaps ‘his body’.

* T. ‘sent word to invite them all’ and omits passage ending people’ .*


Page 81 said, and when he asked what had become of his father he told hem that he had died before the child was born. ‘You have told the truth,’ said Bahira. ‘Take your nephew back to his country and guard him carefully against the Jews, for by Allah! If they see him and know about him what I know, they will do him evil; a geat future lies before this nephew of yours, so take him home quickly.’

     So his uncle took him off quickly and brought him back to Mecca when he had finished his trading in Syria. People allege that Zurayr and Tam-mam and Daris, who were people of the scriptures, had noticed in the apostle of God what Bahira had seen during that journey which he took with his uncle, and they tried to get at him, but Bahira kept them away and reminded them of God and the mention of the description of him which they would find in the sacred books, and that if they tried to get at him they would not succeed. He gave them no peace until they recognized the truth of what he said and left him and went away. The apostle of God grew up, God protecting him and keeping him with apostleship, until he grew up to be the finest of his people in manliness, the best in character, most noble in lineage, the best neighbour, the most kind, truthful, reliable, the furthest removed from filthiness and corrupt morals, through loftiness and nobility, so that he was known among his people as ‘The trustworthy’ because of the good qualities which God had implanted in him. The apostle, so I was told, used to tell how God protected him in his childhood during the period of heathenism, saying, 'I found myself among the boys of Quraysh carrying stones such as boys play with; we had all uncovered ourselves, each taking his shirt1 and putting it round his neck as he carried the stones. I was going to and fro in the same way, when an unseen figure slapped me most painfully saying, "Put your shirt on"; so I took it and fastened it on me and then began to carry the stones upon my neck wearing my shirt alone among my fellows.'2


1 Properly a wrapper which covered the lower part of the body.

2 Suhayli, 120, after pointing out that a somewhat similar story is told of the prophet's modesty and its preservation by supernatural means, at the time that the rebuilding of the Ka'ba was undertaken when Muhammad was a grown man, says significantly that if the account here is correct divine intervention must have occurred twice. It may well be that he was led to make this comment by the fact that T- omits the story altogether and in its place (T. 1126. 10) writes: 'I. Hamid said that Salama told him that I.I. related from Muhammad b. 'Abdullah b. Qays b. Makhrama from al-Hasan b. Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Abu Talib from his father Muhammad b. 'Ali from his grandfather 'Ali b. Abu Talib: I heard the apostle say, "I never gave a thought to what the people of the pagan era used to-do but twice, because God came between me and my desires. Afterwards I never thought of evil when God honoured me with apostleship. Once I said to a young QurayshI who was shepherding with me on the high ground of Mecca, 'I should like you to look after my beasts for me while I go and spend the night in Mecca as young men do.' He agreed and I went off with that intent, and when I came to the first house in Mecca I heard the sound of tambourines and flutes and was told that a marriage had just taken place. I sat down to look at them when God smote my ear and I fell asleep until I was woken by the sun. I came to my friend and in reply to his questions told him what had happened. Exactly the same thing occurred on another occasion. Afterwards I never thought of evil until God honoured me with his apostleship.'"

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 Page 82                                 THE  SACRILEGIOUS  WAR (124)


This war broke out when the apostle was twenty years of age. It was so called because these two tribes, Kinana and Qays 'Aylan, fought in the sacred month. The chief of Quraysh and Kinana was Harb b. Umayya b. 'Abdu Shams. At the beginning of the day Qays got the upper hand but by midday victory went to Kinana (125).




Khadija was a merchant woman of dignity and wealth. She used to hire men to carry merchandise outside the country on a profit-sharing basis, for Quraysh were a people given to commerce. Now when she heard about the prophet's truthfulness, trustworthiness, and honourable character, she sent for him and proposed that he should take her goods to Syria and trade with them, while she would pay him more than she paid others. He was to take a lad of hers called Maysara. The apostle of God accepted the propo­sal, and the two set forth until they came to Syria.The apostle stopped in the shade of a tree near a monk's cell, when the monk came up to Maysara and asked who the man was who was resting beneath the tree. He told him that he was of Quraysh, the people who held the sanctuary; and the monk exclaimed: 'None but a prophet ever sat beneath this tree.'

    Then the prophet sold the goods he had brought and bought what he wanted to buy and began the return journey to Mecca. The story goes that at the height of noon when the heat was intense as he rode his beast Maysara saw two angels shading the apostle from the sun's rays. When he brought Khadija her property she sold it and it amounted to double or thereabouts. Maysara for his part told her about the two angels who shaded him and of the monk's words. Now Khadija was a determined, noble, and intelligent woman possessing the properties with which God willed to honour her. So when Maysara told her these things she sent to the apostle of God and—so the story goes—said: 'O son of my uncle I like you because of our relationship and your high reputation among your people, your trustworthiness and good character and truthfulness.' Then she proposed marriage. Now Khadija at that time was the best born woman in Quraysh, of the reatest dignity and , too, the richest. All her people were eager to get possession of her wealth if it were possible.

    Khadlja was the daughter of Khuwaylidf b. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. Qusayy b. Kilab b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr. Her mother was Fatima d. Za'ida b. al-Asamm b. Rawaha b. Hajar b. 'Abd b. Ma'Is b. 'Amir b. Lu'ayy b. .Ghalib b. Fihr. Her mother was Hala d. 'Abdu Manaf b. al-Harith b. 'Amr b. Munqidh b. 'Amr b. Ma'Is b. 'Amir b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr. Hala's mother was Qilaba d. Su'ayd b. Sa'd b. Sahm b. 'Amr b. Husays b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr.



Page 83 The apostle of God told his uncles of Khadija's proposal, and his uncle Hamza b. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib went with him to Khuwaylid b. Asad and asked for her hand and he married her (127).

    She was the mother of all the apostle's children except Ibrahim, namely lai al-Qasim (whereby he was known as Abu'l-Qasim); al-Tahir, al-Tayyib,1 Zaynab, Ruqayya, Umm Kulthum, and Fatima (128).

Al-Qasim, al-Tayyib, and al-Tahir died in paganism. All his daughters lived into Islam, embraced it, and migrated with him to Medina (129).

    Khadija had told Waraqa b. Naufal b. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza, who was her cousin and a Christian who had studied the scriptures and was a scholar, what her slave Maysara had told her that the monk had said and how he had seen the two angels shading him. He said, 'If this is true, Khadija, verily Muhammad is the prophet of this people. I knew that a prophet of this people was to be expected. His time has come,' or words to that effect. Waraqa was finding the time of waiting wearisome and used to say 'How long ?' Some lines of his on the theme are:


I persevered and was persistent in remembering

An anxiety which often evoked tears. And

Confirmatory evidence kept coming from Khadija.

Long have I had to wait, O Khadija,

In the vale of Mecca in spite of my hope

That I might see the outcome of thy words.

I could not bear that the words of the monk

You told me of should prove false:

That Muhammad should rule over us

Overcoming those who would oppose him.

And that a glorious light should appear in the land

To preserve men from disorders.

His enemies shall meet disaster

And his friends shall be victorious.

Would that I might be there then to see,                                   

For I should be the first of his supporters,

Joining in that which Quraysh hate

However loud they shout in that Mecca of theirs.

I hope to ascend through him whom they all dislike

To the Lord of the Throne though they are cast down.

Is it folly not to disbelieve in Him

Who chose him Who raised the starry heights ?

If they and I live, things will be done

Which will throw the unbelievers into confusion.

And if I die, 'tis but the fate of mortals

To suffer death and dissolution.


1 Commentators point out that these are not names but epithets (The Pure, The Good)

applied to the one son 'Abdullah.





Quraysh decided to rebuild the Ka'ba when the apostle was thirty-five years of age (T. fifteen years after the sacrilegious war). They were plan­ning to roof it and feared to demolish it, for it was made of loose stones above a man's height, and they wanted to raise it and roof it because men had stolen part of the treasure of the Ka'ba which used to be in a well in the middle of it. The treasure was found with Duwayk a freedman of B. Mulayh b. 'Amr of Khuza'a (130). Quraysh cut his hand off; they say that the people who stole the treasure deposited it with Duwayk. (T. Among those suspected were al-Harith b. 'Amir b. Naufal, and Abu Ihab b. 'Aziz b. Qays b. Suwayd al-Tamlml who shared the same mother, and Abu Lahab b. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib. Quraysh alleged that it was they who took the Ka'ba's treasure and deposited it with Duwayk, a freedman of B. Mulayh, and when Quraysh suspected them they informed against Duwayk and so his hand was cut off. It was said that they had left it with him, and people say that when Quraysh felt certain that the treasure had been with al-Harith they took him to an Arab sorceress and in her rhymed utterances she decreed that he should not enter Mecca for ten years be­cause he had profaned the sanctity of the Ka'ba. They allege that he was driven out and lived in the surrounding country for ten years.)

     Now a ship belonging to a Greek merchant had been cast ashore at Judda and became a total wreck. They took its timbers and got them ready to roof the Ka'ba. It happened that in Mecca there was a Copt who was a carpenter, so everything they needed was" ready "to hand. Now a snake used to come out of the well in which the sacred offerings were thrown and sun itself every day on the wall of the Ka'ba. It was an object of terror because whenever anyone came near it it raised its head and made a rustling noise and opened its mouth, so that they were terrified of it. While it was thus sunning itself one day, God sent a bird which seized it and flew off with it. Thereupon Quraysh said, 'Now we may hope that God is pleased with what we propose to do. We have a friendly craftsman, we have got the wood and God has rid us of the snake.' When they had decided to pull it down and rebuild it Abu Wahb b. 'Amr b. 'A'idh b. 'Abd b. 'Imran b. Makhzum (131) got up and took a stone from the Ka'ba and it leapt out of his hand so that it returned to its place. He said, 'O Quraysh, do not bring into this building ill-gotten gains, the hire of a harlot, nor money taken in usury,, nor anything resulting from wrong and violence.' People ' ascribe this saying to al-Walid b. al-Mughira b. 'Abdullah b. 'Umar b. Makhzum.

   'Abdullah b. Abu Najih al-Makki told me that he was told on the authority of 'Abdullah b. Safwan b. Umayya b. Khalaf b. Wahb b. Hudhafa b. Jumah b. 'Amr b. Husays b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy that he saw a son of Ja'da b. Hubayra b. Abu Wahb b. 'Amr circumambulating the temple, and when


Page 85 he inquired about him he was told who he was. 'Abdullah b. Safwan said, 'It was the grandfather of this man (meaning Abu Wahb), who took the stone from the Ka'ba when Quraysh decided to demolish it and it sprang from his hand and returned to its place, and it was he who said the words which have just been quoted.'

   Abu Wahb was the maternal uncle of the apostle's father. He was a noble of whom an Arab poet said:


If I made my camel kneel at Abu Wahb's door,

It would start the morrow's journey with well filled saddle-bags;

He was the noblest of the two branches of Lu'ayy b. Ghalib,

When noble lineage is reckoned.

Refusing to accept injustice, delighting in giving,

His ancestors were of the noblest stock.

A great pile of ashes lie beneath his cooking-pot,

He fills his dishes with bread topped by luscious meat.1


Then Quraysh divided the work among them; the section near the door was assigned to B. 'Abdu Manaf and Zuhra. The space between the black stone and the southern corner, to B. Makhzum and the Qurayshite tribes which were attached to them. The back of the Ka'ba to B. Jumah and Sahm, the two sons of 'Amr b. Husays b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy. The side of the hijr to B. 'Abdu'1-Dar b. Qusayy and to B. Asad b. al-'Uzza b. Qusayy, and to B. 'Adiy b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy which is the Hatim.

     The people were afraid to demolish the temple, and withdrew in awe from it. Al-Walld b. al-Mughira said,'I will begin the demolition.' So he took a pick-axe, went up to it saying the while, ‘O God, do not be afraid2 (132), O God, we intend only what is best.' Then he demolished the part at the two corners.3 That night the people watched, saying, 'We will look out; if he is smitten we won't destroy any more of it and will restore it as it was; but if nothing happens to him then God is pleased with what we are doing and we will demolish it.' In the .morning al-Walid returned to the work of demolition and the people worked with him, until they got down to the foundation *of Abraham.* They came on green stones like camel's humps joined one to another.

     A certain traditionist told me that a man of Quraysh inserted a crowbar between two stones in order to get one of them out, and when he moved the stone the whole of Mecca shuddered so they left the foundation alone. (T. so they had reached the foundation.)

   I was told that Quraysh found in the corner writing in Syriac. They could not understand it until a Jew read it for them. It was as follows: 'I am Allah the Lord of Bakka, I created it on the day that I created heaven


1  Professor Affifi reminds me that the second half of this verse is reminiscent of Imru'u'l-Qays (i. 12) where the fine fat flesh of the camel is compared with white silk finely woven.

2 .The feminine form indicates that the Ka'ba itself is addressed.

3  Or 'two sacred"stones


Page 86 and earth and formed the sun and moon, and I surrounded it with seven pious angels. It will stand while its two mountains stand, a blessing to its people with milk and water,' and I was told that they found in the maqam a writing, 'Mecca is God's holy house, its sustenance comes to it from three directions; let its people not be the first to profane it.'

   Layth b. Abu Sulaym alleged that they found a stone in the Ka’ba forty years before the prophet’s mission, if what that say is true, containing the inscrition’He that soweth good shall reap joy; he that soweth evitl shall reap sorrow; can you do evil and be rewarded with good? Nay, as grapes cannot be gathered from thorns.'1

   The tribes of Quraysh gathered stones for the building, each tribe collecting them and building by itself until the building was finished up to the black stone, where controversy arose, each tribe wanting to lift it to its place, until they went their several ways, formed alliances, and got ready for battle. The B. 'Abdu'1-Dar brought a bowl full of blood; then they and the B. 'Adiy b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy pledged themselves unto death and thrust their hands into the blood. For this reason they were called the blood-lickers. Such was the state of affairs for four or five nights, and then Quraysh gathered in the mosque and took counsel and were equally divided on the question.

   A traditionist alleged that Abu Umayya b. al-Mughira b. 'Abdullah b. 'Umar b. Makhzum who was at that time the oldest man of Quraysh, urged them to make the first man to enter the gate of the mosque umpire in the matter in dispute. They did so and the first to come in was the apostle of God. When they saw him they said, 'This is the trustworthy one. We are satisfied. This is Muhammad.' When he came to them and they informed him of the matter he said, 'Give me a cloak,' and when it was brought to him he took the black stone and put it inside it and said that each tribe should take hold of an end of the cloak and they should lift it together. They did this so that when they got it into position he placed it with his own hand, and then building went on above it.

   Quraysh used to call the apostle of God before revelation came to him, 'the trustworthy one'; and when they had finished the building, according to their desire, al-Zubayr the son of 'Abdu'l-Muttalib said about the snake which made the Quraysh dread rebuilding the Ka'ba:


I was amazed that the eagle went straight

To the snake when it was excited.

It used to rustle ominously

And sometimes it would dart forth.

When we planned to rebuild the Ka'ba

It terrified us for it was fearsome.

When we feared its attack, downm came the eagle,

Deadly straight in its swoop,


1 A strange place in which to find a quotation from the Gospel; cf. Mt. 7. 16


Page 87 It bore it away, thus leaving us free

To work without further hindrance.

We attacked the building together,

We had its foundations' and the earth.

On the morrow we raised the foundation,

None of our workers wore clothes.

Through it did God honour the sons of Lu'ayy,

Its foundation was ever associated with them,

Banu 'Adiy and Murra had gathered there,

Kilab having preceded them.

For this the King settled us there in power,

For reward is to be sought from God (133).




I do not know whether it was before or after the year of the elephant that Quraysh invented the idea of Hums and put it into practice. They said, 'We are the sons of Abraham, the people of the holy territory, the guardians of the temple and the citizens of Mecca. No other Arabs have rights like ours or a position like ours. The Arabs recognize none as they recognize us, so do not attach the same importance to the outside country as you do to the sanctuary, for if you do the Arabs will despise your taboo and will say, "They have given the same importance to the outside land as to the sacred territory."' So they gave up the halt at 'Arafa and the departure from it, while they recognized that these were institutions of the pilgrimage and the religion of Abraham. They considered that other Arabs should halt there and depart from the place; but they said, 'We are the people of  the sanctuary, so it is not fitting that we should go out from the sacred territory and honour other places as we, the Hums, honour that; for the Hums are the people of the sanctuary.' They then proceeded to deal in the same way with Arabs who were born within and without the sacred terri­tory. Kinana and Khuza'a joined with them in this (134).

   The Hums went on to introduce innovations for which they had no warrant. They thought it wrong that they should eat cheese made of sour milk or clarify butter while they were in a state of taboo. They would not enter tents of camel-hair or seek shelter from the sun except in leather tents while they were in this state. They went further and refused to allow those outside the haram to bring food in with them when they came on the great or little pilgrimage. Nor could they circumambulate the house except in the garments of the Hums. If they had no such garments they had to go round naked. If any man or woman felt scruples when they had no hums garments, then they could go round in their ordinary clothes; but they had


1 Qawa'id perhaps = 'uprights'


Page 88 to throw them away afterwards so that neither they nor anyone else coul make use of them.1

    The Arabs called these clothes 'the cast-off'.  They imposed all thes restrictions on the Arabs, who accepted them and halted at 'Arafat, hastene from it, and circumambulated the house naked.  The men at least were naked while the women laid aside all their clothes except a shift wide open back or front. An Arab woman who was going round the house thus said:


Today some or all of it can be seen,

But what can be seen I do not make common property!


Those who went round in the clothes in which they came from outsid threw them away so that neither they nor anyone else could make use them.   An Arab mentioning some, clothes which he had discarded and could not get again and yet wanted, said:


It's grief enough that I should return to her

As though she were a tabooed cast-off in front of the pilgrims.


i.e. she could not be touched.

     This state of affairs lasted until God sent Muhammad and revealed to him when He gave him the laws of His religion and the customs of the pilgrimage: 'Then hasten onward from the place whence men haste onwards, and ask pardon of God, for God is forgiving, merciful.'2 The words are addressed to Quraysh and 'men' refer to the Arabs. So in the rule of the hajj he hastened them up to 'Arafat and ordered them to halt there and to hasten thence.

     In reference to their prohibition of food and clothes at the temple such as had been brought from outside the sacred territory God revealed to him: 'O Sons of Adam, wear your clothes at every mosque and eat and drink and be not prodigal, for He loves not the prodigal. Say, Who has forbidden the clothes which God has brought forth for His servants and the good thing which He has provided? Say, They on the day of resurrection will be only for those who in this life believed. Thus do we explain the signs for people who have knowledge.'3 Thus God set aside the restrictions of the Hums and the innovations of Quraysh against men's interests when He sent His apostle with Islam.

      'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr b. Muhammad b. 'Amr b. Hazm from 'Uthms b. Abu Sulayman b. Jubayr b. Mut'im from his uncle Nan' b. Jubayr froi his father Jubayr b. Mut'im said: 'I saw God's apostle before revelation came to him and lo he was halting on his beast in 'Arafat with men in the midst of his tribe until he quitted it with them—a special grace from God to him.'


1  The survival of the idea of contagious 'holiness' which on the one hand prohibited t introduction of profane food into the sanctuary, and when it could not prevent the introdution of profane clothes, forbade their use for common purposes after they had come contact with taboo, would seem to indicate an antiquity far greater than that ascribed these practices here.

2  Sura 2. 195.                                                          3 Sura 7, 29-


Page 89  [*Uthman b. Saj from Muhammad b. Ishaq from al-Kalbl from Abu Azr. i. Salih, freedman of Umm Hani from Ibn 'Abbas: The Hums were Quraysh,  Kinana, Khuza'a, al-Aus and al-Khazraj, Jutham, B. Rabi'a b. 'Amir b. Sa'sa'a. Azd Shanu'a, Judham, Zubayd, B. Dhakwan of B. Salim, 'Amr al-Lat, Thaqif, Ghatafan, Ghauth, 'Adwan, 'Allaf, and Quda'a. When Quraysh let an Arab marry one of their women they stipulated that the offspring should be an Ahmasi following their religion. Al-Adram Taym b. Ghalib b. Fihr b. Malik b. al-Nadr b. Kinana married his son Majd to the daughter of Taym Rabl'a b. 'Amir b. Sa'sa'a stipulat­ing that his children from her should follow the surma of Quraysh. It is in reference to her that Labid b. Rabl'a b. Ja'far al-Kilabi said:


My people watered the sons of Majd and I

Water Numayr and the tribes of Hilal.


MansQr b. 'Ikrima b. Khasafa b. Qays b. 'Aylan married Salma d. Dubay'a b. 'All b. Ya'sur b. Sa'd b. Qays b. 'Aylan and she bore to him Hawazin. When he fell seriously ill she vowed that if he recovered she would make him a Hums, and when he recovered she fulfilled her vow.. .. The Hums strictly observed the sacred months and never wronged their proteges therein nor wronged anyone therein. They went round the Ka'ba wearing their clothes. If one of them before and at the beginning of Islam was in a state of taboo if he happened to be one of the house-dwellers, i.e. living in houses or villages, he would dig a hole at the back of his house and go in and out by it and not enter by the door. The Hums used to say, 'Do not respect anything profane and do not go outside the sacred area during the hajj' so they cut short the rites of the pilgrimage and the halt at 'Arafa, it being in the profane area, and would not halt at it or go forth from it. They made their stopping-place at the extreme end of the sacred territory at Namira at the open space of al-Ma'ziman, stopping there the night of 'Arafa and sheltering by day in the trees of Namira and starting from it to al-Muzdalifa. When the sun turbaned the tops of the mountains they set forth. They were called Hums because of their strictness in their religion. . . . ….The year of Hudaybiya the prophet entered his house. One of the Ansar was with him and he stopped at the door, explaining that he was an Ahmasi. The apostle said, 'I am an Ahmasi too. My religion and yours are the same', so the Ansari went into the house by the door as he saw the apostle do.

    Outsiders used to circumambulate the temple naked, both men and women. The B. 'Amir b. Sa'sa'a and 'Akk were among those who did thus. When a woman went round naked she would put one hand behind her and the other in front.]1


1 A great deal more follows in the name of I. 'Abbas. It is doubtful whether it comes from 1.1., because though there is new matter in it, some statements which occur in the foregoing are repeated, so that it is probable that they reached Azraqi from another source. In the foregoing I have translated only passages which provide additional information.



Page 90                                                        REPORTS OF ARAB SOOTHSAYERS, JEWISH RABBIS, AND


Jewish rabbis, Christian monks, and Arab soothsayers had spoken about the apostle of God before his mission when his time drew near. As to the rabbis and monks, it was about his description and the description of his time which they found in their scriptures and what their prophets had enjoined upon them. As to the Arab soothsayers they had been visited by satans from the jinn with reports which they had secretly overheard before they were prevented from hearing by being pelted with stars.  Male and female soothsayers continued to let fall mention of some of these matters to which the Arabs paid no attention until God sent him and these things which had been mentioned happened and they recognized them.  When the prophet's mission came the satans were prevented from listening and they could not occupy the seats in which they used to sit and steal the heavenly tidings for they were pelted with stars, and the jinn knew that was due to an order which God had commanded concerning mankind. God said to His prophet Muhammad when He sent him as he was telling him about the jinn when they were prevented from listening and knew what they knew and did not deny what they saw; 'Say, It has been revealed to me that a number of the jinn listened and said "We have heard a wonder­ful Quran which guides to the right path, and we believe in it and we will not associate anyone with our Lord and that He (exalted be the glory of our Lord) hath not chosen a wife or a son. A foolish one among us used to speak lies against God, and we had thought men and jinn would not speak a lie against God and that when men took refuge with the jinn, they increased them in revolt," ending with the words: "We used to sit on places therein to listen; he who listens now finds a flame waiting for him. We do not know whether evil is intended against those that are on earth or whether their lord wishes to guide them in the right path".1 When the jinn heard the Quran they knew that they had been prevented from listening before that so that revelation should not be mingled with news from heaven so that men would be confused with the tidings which came from God about it when the proof came and doubt was removed; so they believed and acknowledged the truth.   Then 'They returned to their people warning them, saying, O our people we have heard a book which was revealed after Moses confirming what went before it, guiding to the truth and to the upright path.'2

    In reference to the saying of the jinn, 'that men took refuge with them and they increased them in revolt', Arabs of the Quraysh and others when they were journeying and stopped at the bottom of a vale to pass a night therein used to say, 'I take refuge in the lord of this valley of the jinn to­night from the evil that is therein' (135).


1 Sura 72. 1 ff.                   2 Sura 46. 30.


Page 91 Ya'qub b. 'Utba b. al-Mughlra b. al-Akhnas told me that he was in­formed that the first Arabs to be afraid of falling stars when they were pelted with them were this clan of Thaqlf, and that they came to one of their tribesmen called 'Amr b. Umayya, one of B. 'Ilaj who was a most astute and shrewd man, and asked him if he had noticed this pelting with stars. He said: 'Yes, but wait, for if they are the well-known stars which guide travellers by land and sea, by which the seasons of summer and winter are known to help men in their daily life, which are being thrown, then by God! it means the end of the world and the destruc­tion of all that is in it. But if they remain constant and other stars are being thrown, then it is for some purpose which God intends towards mankind.'

     Muhammad b. Muslim b. Shihab al-Zuhri on the authority of 'All b. al-Husayn b. 'All b. Abu Talib from 'Abdullah b. al-'Abbas from a number of the Ansar mentioned that the apostle of God said to them, 'What were you saying about this shooting star?' They replied, 'We were saying, a king is dead, a king has been appointed, a child is born, a child has died.' He replied, 'It is not so, but when God has decreed something concerning  His creation the bearers of the throne hear it and praise Him, and those below them praise Him, and those lower still praise Him because they have praised, and this goes on until the praise descends to the lowest heaven where they praise. Then they ask each other why, and are told that it is because those above them have done so and they say, "Why don't you ask those above you the reason?", and so it goes on until they reach the bearers of the throne who say that God has decreed so-and-so concerning His creation and the news descends from heaven to heaven to the lowest heaven where they discuss it, and the satans steal it by listening, mingling it with conjecture and false intelligence. Then they convey it to the soothsayers and tell them of it, sometimes being wrong and sometimes right, and so the soothsayers are sometimes right and sometimes wrong. Then God shut off the satans by these stars with which they were pelted, so soothsaying has been cut off today and no longer exists.'

     'Amr b. Abu Ja'far from Muhammad b. 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. Abu Lablba from 'All b. al-Husayn b. 'All told me the same tradition as that of Ibn Shihab.

     A learned person told me that a woman of B. Sahm called al-Ghaytala who was a soothsayer in the time of ignorance was visited by her familiar spirit one night. He chirped beneath her,1 then he said,


I know what I know,

The day of wounding and slaughter.


1 The reading here varies; the word anqada means the shriek of birds or the creaking noise of a door, and can be applied to a man's voice. If we read inqadda, it means the fall or the swoop of a bird. In view of the chirping and muttering of soothsayers all the world over, the first reading seems preferable.



Page 92 When the Quraysh heard of this they asked what he meant.  The spirit came to her another night and chirped beneath her saying,


Death, what is death ?

In it bones are thrown here and there.1


When Quraysh heard of this they could not understand it and decided wait until the future should reveal its meaning. When the battle of Badr and Uhud took place in a glen, they knew that this was the meaning of the spirit's message (136).

    'All b. Nafi' al-Jurashi told me that Janb, a tribe from the Yaman, had soothsayer in the time of ignorance, and when the news of the apostle God was blazed abroad among the Arabs, they said to him, 'Look into the matter of this man for us', and they gathered at the bottom of the mountain where he lived. He came down to them when the sun rose and stood leaning on his bow. He raised his head toward heaven for a long time and began to leap about and say:


O men, God has honoured and chosen Muhammad,

Purified his heart and bowels.

His stay among you, O men, will be short.


Then he turned and climbed up the mountain whence he had come.

     A person beyond suspicion told me on the authority of 'Abdullah Ka'b a freedman of 'Uthman b. 'Affan that he was told that when 'Umar al-Khattab was sitting with the people in the apostle's mosque, an Arab came in to visit him. When 'Umar saw him he said, 'This fellow is stil polytheist, he has not given up his old religion yet, (or, he said), he was soothsayer in the time of ignorance.' The man greeted him and sat do' and 'Umar asked him if he was a Muslim; he said that he was. He said 'But were you a soothsayer in the time of ignorance?' The man replied ' Good God, commander of the faithful, you have thought ill of me and have greeted me in a way that I never heard you speak to anyone of your subjects since you came into power.' 'Umar said,'I ask God's pardon. In the


1 This ominous oracle can vie with any oracle from Delphi in obscurity. We can rent 'Glens what are glens?', and this, as the sequel shows, is the way Ibn Ishaq understood enigma when the battles of Badr and Uhud took place in glens. But such a translation nores the fact that the antecedent fihi (not fihd) must be a singular, and no form shu'i known in the singular. This translation carries with it the necessity of rendering the foiling line thus, 'Wherein Ka'b is lying prostrate', and commentators are unanimous 'Ka'b' refers to the tribe of Ka'b b. Lu'ayy, who provided most of the slain in the bai of Badr and Uhud and so were found 'Thrown on their sides'. (I can find no authority translating ka'b by 'heels'—Fersen—as do Weil and G. Holscher, Die Profeten, Leij 19I4» P- 88. 'Ankle' in the singular is the meaning, and this can hardly be right.) In view of the proof text cited by Lane, 26166, where sha'b (people) and Ka'b (the tribe) and h (bones used as dice like our knuckle bones) are all found in a single couplet, I am incline think that the oracle is still further complicated and that a possible translation is that g: above. This, at any rate, has the merit of correct syntax since it requires us to read she The selection of a word susceptible of so many meanings which contains the name well-known tribe provides an excellent example of oracular prophecy.


Page 93 time of ignorance we did worse than this; we worshipped idols and images until God honoured us *with his apostle and* with Islam.' The man replied, 'Yes, by God, I was a soothsayer.' 'Umar said, 'Then tell me what (T. was the most amazing thing) your familiar spirit communicated to you.' He said, 'He came to me a month or so before Islam and said:


Have you considered the jinn and their confusion,

Their religion a despair and a delusion,

Clinging to their camels' saddle cloths in profusion?' (137).


     'Abdullah b. Ka'b said, Thereupon 'Umar said, 'I was standing by an idol with a number of the Quraysh in the time of ignorance when an Arab sacrificed a calf. We were standing by expecting to get a part of it, when I heard a voice more penetrating than I have ever heard coming out of the belly of the calf (this was a month or so before Islam), saying:


O blood red one,

The deed is done,

A man will cry

Beside God none.' (138)


Such is what I have been told about soothsayers among the Arabs.1




'Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatada told me that some of his tribesmen said: 'What induced us to accept Islam, apart from God's mercy and guidance, was what we used to hear the Jews say. We were polytheists worshipping idols, while they were people of the scriptures with knowledge which we did not possess. There was continual enmity between us, and when we got the better of them and excited their hate, they said, "The time of a prophet who is to be sent has now come. We will kill you with his aid as 'Ad and Iram perished."2 We often used to hear them say this. When God sent His apostle we accepted him when he called us to God and we realized what their threat meant and joined him before them. We believed in him but they denied him. Concerning us and them, God revealed the verse in the chapter of the Cow: "And when a book from God came to them con­firming what they already had (and they were formerly asking for victory over the unbelievers), when what they knew came to them, they disbelieved it. The curse of God is on the unbelievers." ' (139)3

    Salih b. Ibrahim b. 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. 'Auf from Mahmud b. Labid, brother of B. 'Abdu'l-Ashhal, from Salama b. Salama b. Waqsh (Salama  135 was present at Badr) said: 'We had a Jewish neighbour among B. 'Abdu'l-Ashhal, who came out to us one day from his house. (At that time I was the


1  A much longer account is given by S. 135-40.

2  If this report is true it indicates that the Messianic hope was still alive among the Arabian Jews.                                                  3 Sura 2. 89.

* . . . * Not in T 1145.



Page 94 youngest person in my house, wearing a small robe and lying in the court­yard.) He spoke of the resurrection, the reckoning, the scales, paradise, and hell. When he spoke of these things to the polytheists who thought that there could be no rising after death, they said to him, "Good gracious man! Do you think that such things could be that men can be raised from the dead to a place where there is a garden and a fire in which they will be recompensed for their deeds?" "Yes," he said, "and by Him whom men swear by, he would wish that he might be in the largest oven in his house rather than in that fire: that they would heat it and thrust him into it and plaster it over if he could get out from that fire on the following day." When they asked for a sign that this would be, he said, pointing with his hand to Mecca and the Yaman, "A prophet will be sent from the direction of this land." When they asked when he would appear, he looked at me, the youngest person, and said: "This boy, if he lives his natural term, will see him," and by God, a night and a day did not pass before God sent Muhammad his apostle .and he was living among us. We believed in him, but he denied him in his wickedness and envy. When we asked, "Aren't you the man who said these things?" he said, "Certainly, but this is not the man."'

   'Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatada on the authority of a shaykh of the B. Qurayza said to me, 'Do you know how Tha'laba b. Sa'ya and Asld b. Sa'ya and Asad b. 'Ubayd of B. Hadl, brothers of B. Qurayza, became Muslims ? They were with them during the days of ignorance; then they became their masters in Islam.' When I said that I did not know, he told me that a Jew from Syria, Ibnu'l-Hayyaban, came to us some years before Islam and dwelt  among us. 'I have never seen a better man than he who was not a Muslim. When we were living in the time of drought we asked him to come with us and pray for rain. He declined to do so unless we paid him something, and when we asked how much he wanted, he said, "A bushel of dates or two bushels of barley." When we had duly paid up he went outside our harm and prayed for rain for us; and by God, hardly had he left his place when clouds passed over us and it rained. Not once nor twice did he do this. Later when he knew that he was about to die he said, "O Jews, what do you think made me leave a land of bread and wine to come to a land of hardship and hunger ?" When we said that we could not think why, he said that he had come to this country expecting to see the emergence of a prophet whose time was at hand. This was the town where he would migrate and he was hoping that he would be sent so that he could follow him. "His time has come," he said, "and don't let anyone get to him before you, O Jews; for he will be sent to shed blood and to take captive the women and children of those who oppose him. Let not that keep you back from him."'

   When the apostle of God was sent and besieged B. Qurayza, those young men who were growing youths said, 'This is the prophet of whom Ibnu'l-Hayyaban testified to you.'   They said that he was not; but the others


Page 95 asserted that he had been accurately described, so they went and became Muslims and saved their lives, their property, and their families. Such is what I have been told about the Jewish reports.1




'Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatada al-Ansari told me on the authority of Mahmud b. Labid from 'Abdullah b. 'Abbas as follows: Salman said while I listened to his words: 'I am a Persian from Ispahan from a village called Jayy. My father was the principal landowner in his village and I was dearer to him than the whole world. His love for me went to such lengths that he shut me in his house as though I were a slave girl. I was such a zealous Magian that I became keeper of the sacred fire, replenishing it and not letting it go out for a moment. Now my father owned a large farm, and one day when he could not attend to his farm he told me to go to it and learn about it, giving me certain instructions. "Do not let yourself be detained," he said, "because you are more important to me than my farm and worrying about you will prevent me going about my business." So I started out for the farm, and when I passed by a Christian church I heard the voices of the men praying. I knew nothing about them because my father kept me shut up in his house. When I heard their voices I went to see what they were doing; their prayers pleased me and I felt drawn to their worship and thought that it was better than our religion, and I decided that I would not leave them until sunset. So I did not go to the farm. When I asked them where their religion originated, they said "Syria". I returned to my father who had sent after me because anxiety on my account had interrupted all his work. He asked me where I had been and reproached me for not obey­ing his instructions. I told him that I had passed by some men who were praying in their church and was so pleased with what I saw of their religion that I stayed with them until sunset. He said, "My son, there is no good in that religion; the religion of your fathers is better than that." "No," I said, "It is better than our religion." My father was afraid of what I would do, so he bound me in fetters and imprisoned me in his house.

     'I sent to the Christians and asked them if they would tell me when a caravan of Christian merchants came from Syria. They told me, and I said to them: "When they have finished their business and want to go back to their own country, ask them if they will take me." They did so and I cast off the fetters from my feet and went with them to Syria. Arrived there I asked for the most learned person in their religion and they directed me to the bishop. I went to him and told him that I liked his religion and should like to be with him and serve him in his church, to learn from him and to pray with him. He invited me to come in and I did so. Now he was a bad man who used to command people to give alms and induced them to


1 So C, but the beginning of the story suggests that we should read ahbdr 'from the Jewish rabbis'.


Page 96 do so and when they brought him money he put it in his own coffers and did not give it to the poor, until he had collected seven jars of gold and silver. I conceived a violent hatred for the man when I saw what he was doing. Sometime later when he died and the Christians came together to bury him I told them that he was a bad man who exhorted them and per­suaded them to give alms, and when they brought money put it in his coffers and gave nothing to the poor. They asked how I could possibly know this, so I led them to his treasure and when I showed them the place they brought out seven jars full of gold and silver. As soon as they saw them they said, "By God, we will never bury the fellow," so they crucified him and stoned him and appointed another in his place.

     'I have never seen any non-Muslim whom I consider more virtuous, more ascetic, more devoted to the next life, and more consistent night and day than he. I loved him as I had never loved anyone before. I stayed with him a long time until when he was about to die I told him how I loved him and asked him to whom he would confide me and what orders he would give me now that he was about to die. He said, "My dear son, I do not know anyone who is as I am. Men have died and have either altered or abandoned most of their true religion, except a man in Mausil; he follows my faith, so join yourself to him. So when he died and was buried, I attached myself to the bishop of Mausil telling him that so-and-so had confided me to him when he died and told me that he followed the same path. I stayed with him and found him just as he had been described, but it was not long before he died and I asked him to do for me what his pre­decessor had done. He replied that he knew of only one man, in Naslbln, who followed the same path and he recommended me to go to him.1

     'I stayed with this good man in Nasibln for some time and when he died he recommended me to go to a colleague in 'Ammuriya. I stayed with him for some time and laboured until I possessed some cows and a small flock of sheep; then when he was about to die I asked him to recommend me to someone else. He told me that he knew of no one who followed his way of life, but that a prophet was about to arise who, would be sent with the religion of Abraham; he would come forth in Arabia and would migrate to a country between two lava belts, between which were palms. He has un­mistakable marks. He will eat what is given to him but not things given as alms. Between his shoulders is the seal of prophecy. "If you are able to go to that country, do so." Then he died and was buried and I stayed in

    'Ammuriya as long as God willed.   Then a party of Kalbite merchants passed by and I asked them to take me to Arabia and I would give them those cows and sheep of mine. They accepted the offer and took me with them until we reached Wadi'1-Qura, when they sold me to a Jew as a slave.


1 I have abbreviated the repetitive style of the narrative which is that of popular stories all  the world over. The same words, and the same details, occur in each paragraph with the change of names: Mausil, Nasibin, 'Ammuriya, leading up to the obvious climax, Muhammad.


Page 97 I saw the palm-trees and I hoped that this would be the town which my master had described to me, for I was not certain. Then a cousin of his from B. Qurayza of Medina came and bought me and carried me away to Medina, and, by God, as soon as I saw it I recognized it from my master's description. I dwelt there and the apostle of God was sent and lived in Mecca; but I did not hear him mentioned because I was fully occupied as a slave. Then he migrated to Medina and as I was in the top of a palm-tree belonging to my master, carrying out my work while my master sat below, suddenly a cousin of his came up to him and said: "God smite the B. Qayla! They are gathering at this moment in    Quba' round a man who has come to them from Mecca today asserting that he is a prophet." (140)


    'When I heard this I was seized with trembling (141), so that I thought I should fall on my master; so I came down from the palm and began to say to his cousin, "What did you say? What did you say?" My master was angered and gave me a smart blow, saying, "What do you mean by this? Get back to your work." I said, "Never mind, I only wanted to find out the truth of his report." Now I had a little food which I had gathered, and I took it that evening to the apostle of God who was in Quba' and said, "I have heard that you are an honest man and that your companions are strangers in want; here is something for alms, for I think that you have more right to it than others." So I gave it to him. The apostle said to his companions, "Eat!" but he did not hold out his own hand and did not eat. I said to myself, "That is one;" then I left him and collected some food and the apostle went to Medina. Then I brought it to him and said, "I see that you do not eat food given as alms, here is a present which I freely give you." The apostle ate it and gave his companions some. I said, "That's two;" then I came to the apostle when he was in Baql'u-'l-Gharqad1 where he had followed the bier of one of his companions. Now I had two cloaks, and as he was sitting with his companions, I saluted him and went round to look at his back so that I could see whether the seal which my master had described to me was there. When the apostle saw me looking at his back he knew that I was trying to find out the truth of what had been described to me, so he threw off his cloak laying bare his back and I looked at the seal and recognized it. Then I bent over him2 kissing him2 and weep­ing. The apostle said, "Come here;" so I came and sat before him and told him my story as I have told you, O b. 'Abbas. The apostle wanted his companions to hear my story.' Then servitude occupied Salman so that he could not be at Badr and Uhud with the apostle.

   Salman continued: 'Then the apostle said to me, "Write an agreement;" so I wrote to my master agreeing to plant three hundred palm-trees for him, digging out the base, and to pay forty okes of gold. The apostle called on his companions to help me, which they did; one with thirty little palms, another with twenty, another with fifteen, and another with ten, each help­ing as much as he could until the three hundred were complete.   The


1 The cemetery of Medina which lies outside the town.                          2 Or 'it'.

    B4080                                                                                                  H


Page 98 apostle told me to go and dig the holes for them, saying that when I had 14a done so he would put them in with his own hand. Helped by my com­panions I dug the holes and came and told him; so we all went out together, and as we brought him the palm shoots he planted them with his own hand; and by God, not one of them died. Thua I had delivered the palm-trees, but the money was still owing. Now the apostle had been given a piece of gold as large as a hen's egg from one of the mines1 and he summoned me and told me to take it and pay my debt with it. "How far will this relieve me of my debt, O Apostle of God?" I said. "Take it," he replied, "for God will pay your debt with it." So I took it and weighed it out to them, and by God, it weighed forty okes, and so I paid my debt with it and Sal­man was free. I took part with the Apostle in the battle of the Ditch as a free man and thereafter I was at every other battle.'

   Yazld b. Abu Hablb from a man of 'Abdu'1-Qays from Salman told me that the latter said: 'When I said, "How far will this relieve me of my debt ?" the apostle took it and turned it over upon his tongue, then he said, "Take it and pay them in full"; so I paid them in full, forty okes.'2

   'Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatada on the authority of a trustworthy informant from 'Umar b. 'Abdu'l-!AzIz b. Marwan said that he was told that Salman the Persian told the apostle that his master in 'Ammuriya told him to go to a certain place in Syria where there was a man who lived between two thickets. Every year as he used to go from one to the other, the sick used to stand in his way and everyone he prayed for was healed. He said, 'Ask him about this religion which you seek, for he can tell you of it.' So I went on until I came to the place I had been told of, and I found that people had gathered there with their sick until he came out to them that night passing from one thicket to the other. The people came to him with their sick and everyone he prayed for was healed. They prevented me from getting to him so that I could not approach him until he entered the  thicket he was making for, but I took hold of his shoulder. He asked me who I was as he turned to me and I said, 'God have mercy on you, tell me about the Hanif iya, the religion of Abraham.' He replied, 'You are asking about something men do not inquire of today; the time has come near when a prophet will be sent with this religion from the people of the karatn. Go to him, for he will bring you to it.' Then he went into the thicket. The apostle said to Salman, 'If you have told me'the truth, you met Jesus the son of Mary.'







One day when the Quraysh had assembled on a feast day to venerate and circumambulate the idol to which they offered sacrifices, this being a feast


1 For an interesting account of the reopening of an ancient mine in the Wajh-Yanbu' area of the Hijaz see K. S. Twitchell, Saudi Arabia, Princeton, 1947, pp. 159 f. Kufic inscriptions, said to date from a.d. 750, were found there, and this may well have been one of 'King Solomon's mines'.                    2 The oke being roughly an ounce, a miracle is implied.


Page 99 which they held annually, four men drew apart secretly and agreed to keep their counsel in the bonds of friendship. They were (i) Waraqa b. Naufal b. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. Qusayy b. Kilab b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy; (ii) 'Ubaydullah b. Jahsh b. Ri'ab b. Ya'mar b. Sabra b. Murra b. Kabir b. Ghanm b. Dudan b. Asad b. Khuzayma, whose mother was Umayma d. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib; (iii) 'Uthman b. al-Huwayrith b. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. Qusayy; and (iv) Zayd b. 'Amr b. Nufayl b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. 'Abdullah b. Quit b. Riyah1 b. Razah b. 'Adiyy b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy. They were of the opinion that their people had corrupted the religion of their father Abraham, and that the stone they went round was of no account; it could neither hear, nor see, nor hurt, nor help.  'Find for yourselves a religion,' they said; 'for by God you have none.' So they went their several ways in the lands, seeking the Hanlflya, the religion of Abraham.

   Waraqa attached himself to Christianity and studied its scriptures until he had thoroughly mastered them. 'Ubaydullah went on searching until Islam came; then he migrated with the Muslims to Abyssinia taking with him his wife who was a Muslim, Umm Hablba, d. Abu Sufyan. When he arrived there he adopted Christianity, parted from Islam, and died a Christian in Abyssinia.

   Muhammad b. Ja'far b. al-Zubayr told me that when he had become a Christian 'Ubaydullah as he passed the prophet's companions who were there used to say: ‘We see clearly, but your eyes are only half open,’ i.e. ‘We see, but you are only trying to see and cannot see yet.’' He used the word sa'sa' because when a puppy tries to open its eyes to see, it only half sees. The other word faqqaha means to open the eyes. After his death the apostle married his widow Umm Hablba. Muhammad b. 'All b. Husayn told me that the apostle sent'Amrb. Umayya al-Damrl to the Negus to ask forh er and he married him to her. He gave her as a dowry, on the apostle's behalf, four hundred dinars. Muhammad b. 'All said, 'We think that 'Abdu'l-Malik b. Marwan fixed the maximum dowry of women at four hundred dinars because of this precedent.' The man who handed her over to the prophet was Khalid b. Sa'id b. al-'As.

   'Uthman b. al-Huwayrith went to the Byzantine emperor and became a Christian.  He was given high office there (142).

   Zayd b. 'Amr stayed as he was: he accepted neither Judaism nor Chris­tianity. He abandoned the religion of his people and abstained from idols, animals that had died, blood, and things offered to idols.2 He forbade the killing of infant daughters, saying that he worshipped the God of Abraham, and he publicly rebuked his people for their practices.

   Hisham b. 'Urwa from his father on the authority of his mother Asma' d. Abu Bakr said that she saw Zayd as a very old man leaning his back on the Ka'ba and saying, 'O Quraysh, By Him in whose hand is the soul of


1 So C.

2 The influence of the Jewish formula, taken over by early Christianity (Acts 15. 29) is clear.


Page 100 Zayd, not one of you follows the religion of Abraham but I.' Then he said:  'O God, if I knew how you wished to be worshipped I would so worship you; but I do not know.' Then he prostrated himself on the palms of his hands.

    I was told that his son, Sa'Id b. Zayd, and 'Umar b. al-Khattab, who was his nephew, said to the apostle, 'Ought we to ask God's pardon for Zayd b. 'Amr ?' He replied, 'Yes, for he will be raised from the dead as the sole representative of a whole people.'

    Zayd b. 'Amr. b. Nufayl composed the following poem about leaving hii people and the treatment he received from them:


Am I to worship one lord or a thousand ?

If there are as many as you claim,

I renounce al-Lat and al-'Uzza both of them

As any strong-minded person would.

I will not worship al-'Uzza and her two daughters,

Nor will I visit the two images of the Banu 'Amr.

I will not worship Hubal1 though he was our lord

In the days when I had little sense.

I wondered (for in the night much is strange

Which in daylight is plain to the discerning),

That God had annihilated many men

Whose deeds were thoroughly evil

And spared others through the piety of a people

So that a little child could grow to manhood.

A man may languish for a time and then recover

As the branch of a tree revives after rain.

I serve my "Lord the compassionate

That the forgiving Lord may pardon my sin,

So keep to the fear of God your Lord;

While you hold to that you will not perish.

You will see the pious living in gardens,

While for the infidels hell fire is burning.

Shamed in life, when they die

Their breasts will contract in anguish.


Zayd also said: (143)


To God I give my praise and thanksgiving,

A sure word that will not fail as long as time lasts,

To the heavenly King—there is no God beyond Him

And no lord can draw near to Him.

Beware, O men, of what follows death!

You can hide nothing from God.


1 This is the reading of al-Kalbi, but all MSS. have Ghanm, a deity unknown. Cf. als Yaq. iii. 665. 8


Page 101 Beware of putting another beside God,

For the upright way has become clear.

Mercy I implore, others trust in the jinn,

But thou, my God, art our Lord and our hope.

I am satisfied with thee, O God, as a Lord,

And will not worship another God beside thee.

Thou of thy goodness and mercy

Didst send a messenger to Moses as a herald.

Thou saidst to him, Go thou and Aaron,

And summon Pharaoh the tyrant to turn to God

And say to him, 'Did you spread out this (earth) without a support,

Until it stood fast as it does?’

Say to him 'Did you raise this (heaven) without support?

What a fine builder then you were!'

Say to him, 'Did you set the moon in the middle thereof

As a light to guide when night covered it ?'

Say to him, 'Who sent forth the sun by day

So that the earth it touched reflected its splendour?'

Say to him, 'Who planted seeds in the dust

That herbage might grow and wax great ?

And brought forth its seeds in the head of the plant ?'

Therein are signs for the understanding.

Thou in thy kindness did deliver Jonah

Who spent nights in the belly of the fish.

Though I glorify thy name, I often repeat

'O Lord forgive my sins.'1

O Lord of creatures, bestow thy gifts and mercy upon me

And bless my sons and property.


Zayd b. 'Amr in reproaching his wife Safiya, d. al-Hadraml (144) said:2


Now Zayd had determined to leave Mecca to travel about in search of  the Haniflya, the religion of Abraham, and whenever Safiya saw that he had got ready to travel she told al-Khattab b. Nufayl, who was his uncle and his brother by the same mother.3 He used to reproach him for forsaking the religion of his people. He had instructed Safiya to tell him if she saw him getting ready to depart; and then Zayd said :


Don't keep me back in humiliation,

O Safiya.  It is not my way at all.


1  Or 'I should add to my sins unless thou forgavest me1.

2  What he said is reserved till the circumstances which gave rise to the poem have been described.

3  This was because his mother was first married to Nufayl and gave birth to al-Khattab; then she married her stepson 'Amr and gave birth to Zayd: thus the double relationship came into being.


Page 102 When I fear humiliation

I am a brave man whose steed is submissive.1

A man who persistently frequents the gates of kings

Whose camel crosses the desert;

One who severs ties with others

Whose difficulties can be overcome without (the aid of) friends.

A donkey only accepts humiliation

When its coat is worn out.

It says, 'I will never give in

Because the load chafes my sides.'2

My brother, (my mother's son and then my uncle),

Uses words which do not please me.

When he reproaches me I say,

'I have no answer for him.'

Yet if I wished I could say things

Of which I hold the keys and door.


I was told by one of the family of Zayd b. 'Amr b. Nufayl that when Zayd faced the Ka'ba inside the mosque he used to say, 'Labbayka in truth, in worship and in service3


I take refuge in what Abraham took refuge

When he stood and faced the qibla.'


Then he said:


A humble prisoner, Q God, my face in the dust,

Whatever thy commandment do I must.         

Pride I seek not, but piety's boon.

The traveller at midday is not as he who sleeps at noon (145).


And Zayd said:


I submit myself to him to whom

The earth which bears mighty rocks is subject.

He spread it out and when He saw it was settled

Upon the waters, He fixed the mountains on it.

I submit myself to Him to whom clouds which bear

Sweet water are subject.

When they are borne along to a land

They obediently pour copious rain upon it.


Now al-Khattab had so harassed Zayd that he forced him to withdraw to the upper part of Mecca, and he stopped in the mountain of Hira' facing the town. Al-Khattab gave instructions to the young irresponsible men of Quraysh that they should not let him enter Mecca and he was able to do so


1 So A.Dh. Perhaps mushayya means 'quick to take leave'.

2  So A.Dh., but one would expect sildbuh to mean 'his tough ones'.

3  i.e. 'Here I am as a sincere worshipper'.