Comparative Study of Seerah Writing with the Biographies of the Founders of World Religions
By: Prof. Dr. Muhammad Idris Lodhi
Assistant Professor Department of Islamic Studies Bahauddin Zakaria University, Multan
This research article is about biographies writing in world religions. Biography means the authentic historical record the life of heroes of various religions. After mentioning the principles of biographies writing, the scholars have given a detailed account of how this art developed in successive periods. No doubt every religion tried to have a record (Seerah) of the Prophets, Founders or religious leader, but it is also beyond doubts that no religion could maintain the standard of Seerah writing. Either the Seerah was written after a long time of the religious leader or the followers added and distorted desirable information.
Islam is the only religion to claim an authentic Seerah record of Holy Prophet (S.A.W.). Moreover, Islam preserved it as well. On the grounds of certain feature Islam has the upper hand over all other religions regarding the art of Seerah writing.
Biography means an authentic record of lives (incidents and events, attitudes and manners) of persons (including religious leaders) offering wonderful services in any walk of life. It is based on facts and free from exaggeration. The research standard of copying incidents is in accordance with logical principles. Historical consistency is present. The character, wisdom and fame of narrator should be acceptable. The narrated events should be in harmony with research and logic. The narrator should be unbiased. These are agreed principles of Seerah writing.
It is necessary to keep these principles in mind to describe any important personality. But previous (earlier) nations, after receiving what was a pure (true) Din (religion), gradually got deprived of the truth after the departure of these blessed beings. The basic reason for this is the inability to differentiate what is Seerah and what is not. In this way the Seerah writing got defective by absorbing what was an impurity and deducting what was precious and vital. They collected unimportant matter in the name of Seerah (Biography) of their prophets. It turned their backs towards Seerah writing. They began to consider true what was fake.
But Allah Subhan-ho-tallah saved the Muslims from this blunder, because the Seerah (Biography) of Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) is authentic as well as secure according to modern research Methodology.
Principles of Biographies writing in World Religions
The Seerah writing in all world religions was without any research and principles. For guidance and lead of mankind towards what is right there have been such souls who led mankind towards truth through their sayings as well as action. But in return of this favour they often met cruelty. Not only their opponents were responsible for this cruelty, but their followers equally shared this cruel action. They mutilated the teachings of these leaders after their demise, and changed the message. It kept going for centuries after their deaths. Till today, whoever came as a preacher of truth had to consume his life in the rejection of these so called unreal gods whom humanity had accepted then as God.
Their followers, out of blind devotion, made them gods. It took place almost in all religions. Though there are several religions in this world, but they all have undergone distortion and tampering. Now they do not possess those faiths which were taught by their prophets (spiritual guides). They not only altered their own religion, but distorted their books as well. They did what was more sorrowful act than this that they imputed their prophets.
Now we explain the principles and standards of biography writing in world religions.
Tradition of Biography Writing in Hinduism
Hinduism is one of the most ancient religions of the world. It starts with the arrival of Aryans in India in 1500 B.C. The most comprehensive definition of Hinduism is impossible. Hinduism is not any religion in the sense of the word we are familiar with. The core faith is essential for a religion. But in case of Hinduism one finds no core faith in it. Several sects and groups who have different faiths, worships, books, signs all are called Hindus.
The second major problem is that it does not belong to any personality. It has no specific founder and no certain beginning. No definite book is available. There exists no book regarding Aryan history or Hindu Jurisprudence. The faiths and philosophies are vague and not clear. It is divided in unlimited sects and any common trait (value) among these sects is hard. It is sufficient to select some of the faiths from a set of faiths to be a Hindu.
We cannot find any such personality in Hinduism which, like Moses, Jesus and Zoroaster, can be regarded as founder of religion or which can be regarded as a leader for Hindus or who is the core of this religious system of Hindus. Similarly the sacred books of Hindus cannot be attributed to any of their personalities. In the later phase (period) there came some prominent personalities on the scene, but the earlier phase of Hinduism is devoid of such personalities. The religious system of Hindus is a collective effort of numerous persons. So, it has no definite faith, religious law or rituals common in all. It presents a picture of dense forest for the abundance of gods, the difference of worship and the variety of faiths in it. It has several ways to pass through this thick forest but none of the ways is straight and clear.(1)
The Sacred Religious Literature of Hinduism
The sacred religious literature of Hinduism is unauthentic and incredible like the history of Hinduism. Even the writers and compilers are under the thick covers (veils) of darkness. The compilation dates are unknown. Then there is a great difference among Hindu scholars about the sanctity, status and position of these sacred books. With the cycle of time their status goes up and down which is a proof of this thing that the very book is presented as the central figure according to the needs of that time. These books have received additions and changes which even Hindu scholars have accepted.
'Veda' means 'sacred knowledge' It is from the root 'vidya' which means 'knowledge and discernment.' Vidvan means the one who knows. So among Hindus pandits, scholars, Prophets (priests) and Brahmans all are called ved.
The religious literature of Hindus is divided in two.
(i) Sruti. (ii) Smriti
Sruti means heard. Smriti means oral traditions, passing from generation to generation.
The four sacred Hindu Vedas are Sruti. They were automatically pronounced by Hindu Rishis according to Hindu belief. People heard them, compiled them and altered them according to their need. They are four are (i) Rig Veda (ii) Yajur Veda (iii) Sama Veda (iv) Atharva Veda.
The Status of Vedas
Vedas are not revelation. Moreover they are not pure. Their authenticity is doubtful as they have undergone distortions with the passage of time. The historical consistency is missing. They have been compiled again and again after the absence of earlier ones. There are found certain other books regarding them the Hindu belief is that they are revelation as being revealed from God/Parmeshwar. They include Vedas, Upanishads etc. It is difficult to say that these books were revealed at one and the same prophet. It might be revealed to a great number of prophets, if they were prophets at all. There are some indications found in Puranas.(2)
Puranas means old. The Holy Quran indicates about it in a very unusual way.
And lo! It is in the scriptures of the men of old.(3)
It is written in Mahabharata: After the loss of Vedas, 7 Rishis appeared from the Heaven and they issued them again. Once there took place a great famine due to 12 years of drought in the country. All rishis migrated to some other place in search of livelihood and thus Vedas got obliterated.
Existing Vedas are not revealed
It is an admitted fact that Vedas are not free of distortion. In various time, there came certain changes and additions in them. Words and statements kept changing. The number of Mantras and couplets varied, even their authenticity is doubtful now. Hindu scholars admit it.
Pandit Setaworut writes, "It is not sure that our ancestor Rishis produced Vedas."(4)
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India says, Many Hindus consider Vedas revelation (Heavenly) books but according to me it is a big misfortune. Because after thinking them as revelation texts, their importance comes to an end as they are the earliest marks of human mind and thinking. That thinking was really very strange. Veda (from root 'Vid' meaning by 'to know') is the name of a collection of knowledge of certain period indeed. It includes, sacrifice rituals, magical spells and charms and beautiful natural poetry. It has neither worship nor any account of temples of gods/goddesses. These texts are full of excitement and enthusiasm of life. In Vedic Aryan people this enthusiasm was at such peak that they did give very little importance to spiritual problems. They had only a vague idea about it that what kind of life would be after death.(5)
During different periods of history, different leaders added and distorted these texts. In this way this religion became such a mixture (combination) of superstitions and opposite customs that it is a very complex problem for religious leaders. This is the common characteristic of polytheistic religions that they are devoid of any definite and clear teachings.
The words of the Holy Quran are an example of this situation.
Say: shall we cry, instead of unto Allah, unto that which neither profited us nor hurt us, and shall we turn back after Allah hath guided us, like one bewildered whom the devils have infatuated in the earth, who hath companions who invite him to the guidance (saying): Come unto us? Say Lo! The guidance of Allah is guidance, and we are ordered to surrender to the Lord of the worlds. (6)
On another occasion, the Holy Quran exemplifies polytheists in words.
For who so ascribe partners unto Allah, it is as if he had fallen from the sky and the birds had snatched him or the wind had blown him to a far off place.(7)
Tradition of Biography writing in Buddhism
Buddhism is an important religion in world religions. In the words of a famous western scholar consider Buddhism only a philosophy rather than a religion because no religion gains the status of religion unless it has the concept of God.
Buddhism also influenced the Hindu life in many ways. It is not astonishing because it prevailed in India for more than 1000 years along with all its strength and liveliness. During this long period when it was declining in India, many of its essentials had got absorbed in Hinduism, Indian life and set of mind. Though people had excluded Buddhism as a religion from their lives but it casted deep effects on the evolution of national life.(8)
Religious Literature of Buddhism
In the period of Gautama Buddha books were not written down. Important religious teachings were made to learn in poetic form. They were called "Sutra". For three centuries they realized no need to compile the teachings of Buddha.
There held a conference in the reign of Raja Ashoka regarding Buddhism. It decided for the first time that Buddha's teachings should be given a textual form. These books later got fame with the title "Teri Pataka". They were written down in Pali so they are also called Pali writings. Later they were translated in local language. After 7 centuries a monk (Budh Ghosh) translated them again in Pali till 5th century A.D. because original texts had become extinct. So they are considered the oldest and most authentic compiled edition of "Teri Pataka."
The religious books of Buddhism are not safe and are unauthentic because Gautams Buddha did not write any book in his life time. The history proves that none of his followers tried to compile his teachings after him or in the near following period. Some unknown traditions inform that the existing books of Buddhism started to be written down after hundred years of Buddha's death. These books are not reliable according to researchers. Even the sects of Buddhism do not seem agree. On contrary to this, the Holy Quran is the representative book of Islam. It is safest of all. Similar to it is the Seerah record and Ahadith that explains Quranic teachings.
According to Sir William Muir there is a satisfactory inner and outer witness (evidence) that the Quran at this time is as safe as it was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad(S.A.W.).(9)
But Buddhism is not a safe religion in terms of its teachings. After one century of Mahatma Buddha, his follower Pali tried to compile and arrange the principles, faiths and commands of Buddhism.
According to Maulana Maudoodi, Buddhist priests altered the genuine principles of Buddhism in it. But even only hundred years had not yet passed after his death, when his followers altered his teachings in Vesali council. They produced new Sutras. They changed principles and minor points desirably. On one hand they fixed such faiths for their religion in the name of Buddha which had no concept of God. On the other hand they considered Buddha the supreme wisdom, the core (heart) of universe and such a personality that comes in every age for the reformation of the world. (10)
Tradition of Biography writing in Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is among famous world religions. But it is surprising that being one of the religions that are still alive for centuries and exist today; its followers are very small in number i.e only 125000.
Sacred religious literature:- The sacred book of Zoroastrianism is called Avesta which means 'original text.' Zhand, Pazhand which mean 'explanation' were added later on. It is similar to the way as Jews call the explanation of Taurah as Talmud.
Zhand Avesta is a collection of books including 21 books. Now only Gatha remains. The language of Avesta is old Persian and the language of Zhand is Pahlavi. It means that the explanation of Zand is in Pahlavi. Avesta comprises of 5 sections.
(i) Seesta (Zhand) Praise and Appreciation. It consists of 72 chapters. It has the prayers of sacrifice. This is the oldest part of Avesta which is considered sacred most and revelation. Gatha is included in it.
(ii) Vaspird: (Lords)
It means all the Lords. It consists of 24 chapters. It has the description of good and evil.
"Now I describe both twin forces. In eternity, He who is the spirit of good addressed the spirit of evil in the way our thoughts, our teachings, our desires, sayings, actions, heart and mind can never be in accordance with each other."(11)
(iii) Vendidad: (Ghosts.)
This book comprises of 24 chapters. This is the code of life for Indian Persians. Its contents are the techniques to deal with evil spirits.
(iv) Yashta: Gifts and Oblations: It consists of 21 chapters. It has prayers and hymns.
(v) Khurd Avesta:- It has prayers for individual worship. Priests and general people recite them equally.
Alternations and Distortion
In 331 B.C after 250 years of Zoroaster's death, Alexander the Great attacked Iran. He set fire to the sacred books of Zoroastrianism. The scholars and priests hid themselves in caves and mountains. Priests compiled these books again at the time when Zoroastrianism got revival. So these books got written down in Pahlavi and Zhand.
There are such kinds of severe differences about the number of these books, their contents, language, and compilation of history that no researcher can claim these books as free from distortion.
Dr. Hameedullah says: "Similarly there are such kinds of persons who cannot be admitted as prophets with clarity, but the chance of their prophethood cannot be rejected. One of such persons is Zoroaster. Persians call him as their prophet. The chance of his prophethood is on the basis that Quran mentions a nation with the title, 'Fire-worshippers' the religion of them is based on Avesta, the book of Zoroaster. We have some information about Avesta. When we compare it with the Holy Quran, we come to know what supremacy one has over the other. The book of Zoroaster was in Zhand or Payand language of that time. After some time Persia got dominated by other nations and new invaders introduced their language there. The old language kept becoming old-dated. The result was that there was no one knowing Zhand except very few scholars and researchers. The scholars of Zoroastrianism wrote the summary and explanation of this book in new language which was as named as 'Zhand'. Today we have only 10th part of that text. The rest is vanished. In this 10th part there are something regarding worships.(12)
Zoroaster, the founder of oldest Iranian religion, fire-worship was the centre of devotion for millions of people. But his historical personality is lost under the veils of antiquity. Even some skeptical American and European Orientalist are in doubt about his historical existence. Of the Orientalist, those who admit the historical existence of Zoroaster, determine his life circumstances with the help of conjectures and assumptions. However, the biography is also such doubtful according to the mutually opposite opinions of the researchers that no human being can form the very basis of his practical life on that.
The birth place, year of birth, nationality, family, religion, the original language of his book, the death year and place of death of Zoroaster all are a whole of differences. The true (reliable) traditions are lacking that except some conjectures no light is there to eradicate the darkness of questions. But, here we are only to tell that they became extinct whatever was the reason. This is the greatest argument that they did not have life of eternity. Darmetar and Kern (researchers) had to deny the personality of Zoroaster in historical way.(13)
Dr. Hameedullah says in his address about this: "We know the most antique religious book with the name 'Avesta'. But it could not reach us with its full teachings. But there is a strange indication in Avesta. That is a statement of Zoroaster: "I have not completed Din (religion). There will come another prophet who will complete it. His name will be the mercy to all worlds."(14)
Tradition of Biography writing In Judaism (Jewish):- Judaism is one of the ancient religions of the world. According to the opinions of Jews, it starts from Hazrat Abraham (A.S.) who has a very great status among prophets. The spiritual leader of all 3 greatest Semitic religions is Abraham (A.S.).
It is difficult to give a renowned definition of Judaism. Because in this regard the question comes that what promise is the final and what is the least requirement for being a Jew. However, Judaism is based on two principles.
(i) The oneness of God (Allah).
(ii) Israelites as the most favorite (selected) tribe of God.
Judaism abandons idol worshipping and Polytheism (The worship of many gods) (16)
Allah blessed Israelites in an unlimited way through Moses. But they were a head strong (rebellious) nation. They always teased their prophets. Jews follow Torah which was revealed to Moses.
"And we brought the children of Israel across the sea, and they came upon a people devoted to some of their idols. They said, Musa! Make for us an ilah (who has all rights to be worshipped) as they have alihah.(17)
The religious literature of Judaism
The books that the Holy Quran mentions are Torah, Psalms and Bible. Torah is the religious text of Jews. It was revealed to Moses.
Bible mentions 40 days stay of Moses at a mountain. Here he received Torah.
"And when we did appoint for Moses thirty nights (of solitude) and added to them ten, and he completed the whole time appointed by his Lord of forty nights.(18)
Distortion in Torah
We come to know about Moses through Torah. But the Torah revealed to Moses does not exist today. According to researchers the analyst of Encyclopedia Britannica admits that existing Torah came into written form centuries after Moses.
According to a German research scholar "Existing Torah has a series of stories and traditions of various types which are opposite too. This is the reason that the biography writer of Moses has to face opposite statements at every step while writing about Moses in the light of Torah. The details of this theory are found in the article 'Bible' in the last edition of Encyclopedia Britannica. In such a situation what are the historical positions of events of Moses or Adam till Moses.(19)
The religious literature of Jews was written down without research principles for a long time. Majority of Jews followed only that subscription which was written down in second century A.D 1700 years after Moses.
This subscription had undergone many distortions. Even Jews passed their time with translations from 5th century till 15th century A.D.(20)
The person, who reads these distorted texts, faces two things. One is the instant feeling that there are many additional things in it. Secondly that many of the things attributed to Moses have been included after death of Moses.
The basic information about the life of Moses or even the full history is an assumption. Jew scholars do not agree whether Moses was Egyptian or not. Nothing can be said with certainty in the whole of history because the history of Jews is buried deep under the stones of history in the form of stories.(21)
Torah itself witnesses that it does not know about Moses. Moses died in Moaab at the age of 120. No one knows about his tomb.
Tradition of Biography Writing in Christianity
It is true that Allah does not change His Sunnah. But what is Allah's Sunnah and what is not? We cannot decide it. It is in Allah's hands to decide it. Jesus was given birth without father. The Holy Quran has similar it to the creation of Adam.
"Lo! The likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then. He said unto him. Be! And he is.(22)
Religious Literature of Christianity
The religious literature of Christianity is divided in two.
(i) Old Testament (Consisting Torah) the book of Prophet)
(ii) New Testament.(Consisting four Bibles and letters)
(ii) The reason for saying four Bibles (Mati, Murqas, Luqa, Youhana and the magazine 'Apostles' the writer of which is Luqa is that it has details and miracles. While in the magazine there are events about those who preach Christianity for example Saint Paul.
The Compilation Dates of This Literature
None of the contents of the Four Bibles is revealed to Jesus Christ. As in the Holy Quran all Surahs are revealed from God to Holy Prophet (S.A.W), there is found no such revelation in any of the Bibles similar to that of the Holy Quran. Moreover the addresses and preaching is not found in the words of Jesus himself, which he did frequently during his prophethood period. The texts that have reached us today are neither the words of Allah nor of Jesus Christ. In fact these are books written by the disciples of the companions of Jesus Christ. They have compiled his teachings in accordance with their own wisdom and knowledge.(23)
These books are not reliable as they are unknown of original. The first book is attributed to Mati, a companion of Jesus. Al-Qalam December 2010 Comparative Study of Seerah Writing (27)
It is proved in history that it is not written by Mati. The book originally written by Mati is "Logia" but it is missing. The book attributed to Mati is from an unknown author. The account of Mati himself in it is given in the way as that of an outsider. (24).This inner witness is enough to prove the act of distortion.
The second book is attributed to Murqas. It is generally admitted that Murqas himself is the author of this book. But it is proved that he never met Jesus and never has been his disciple. The third book is attributed to Luqa. It is admitted that Luqa never saw Jesus Christ. He also never has been his disciple. He was a devotee of St. Paul. He remained in his company. So he has represented his thoughts in his Bible. That's why Polis (St. Paul) calls his (Luqa's) Bible as his own.
The fourth book in known as the Bible of Youhana. According to modern researches it is not written by Youhana (Companion of Jesus) but by some other unknown person. His name was also Youhana. This book was written years after Jesus in 90. A.D. or even later period. Harnic extends this period even to 110 A.D. (25)
So it is difficult to say that to what extent the present Bible is in accordance with the Bibles in first three centuries. Sixthly, it has never been attempted to learn (memorize) Bibles like the Holy Quran. Their publication depended upon the tradition with meaning in the beginning. So in it the effect of differences of memory and the personal thought of authors is natural. Later on, when publication work started it was easy for every man to deduct/eliminate what was against his beliefs, and to add what he found missing. (26)
Art of Seerah Writing in Islam
Above given discussion describes the historical reality of the biographies of founders of world religions. The discussion below presents the basic principles of Seerah (biography) writing in Islam in a comparative and researching manner.
Superiority of Muslims in Seerah Writing
Following are some facts on the basis of which the Muslims are superior in Seerah writing among the nations of the world.
The Seerah and teachings of the founders of world religions are derived from books (scriptures) attributed towards them. It is very difficult to do so in these days because the whole collection of their religious literature consists of superstitions and imaginations. The original material has vanished to a great extent. The historical background of these books, original language, the author's life history, the details and particulars of their compilation as well as content, nothing is definite and certain rather it is presumed and estimated. Even none of the followers of these religions can claim that the books and the sayings attributed to these leaders are exactly reported from them.
A peculiar aspect of Seerah writing
Seerah (biography) writers have comprehensively discussed each and every aspect of the life of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.). So, they made the peculiarity aspect conspicuous in Seerah writing. The life of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) before Annunciation, the life and message after Annunciation, the life and message before Hijrah, the life and message after Hijrah, the nature and virtues of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.), sayings and commands, qualities and excellences, the account of his social, economical, political, religious and military dealings, all are given with such detail, research, order and literary elegance that the real features and concepts of his holy life come to the scene. Such sort of examples of Seerah writing in other religions are missing.
Censure (Condemnation) of Tradition without Knowledge
In the Holy Quran and Hadith there is censure of tradition narrating without knowledge.
Allah says in Ch 17 verse 36 "And follow not that of which you have no knowledge."(27)
Another saying comes in Ch 53 verse 28.
"And verily, guess is no substitute for the truth."(28)
It is the saying of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.)
"Avoid superstition and conjecture, for it is fabricated and untrue."(29)
On the grounds of these clear commands of the Holy Quran and Hadith, the Muslims maintained a high status of research and scrutiny as well as tradition narrating with knowledge instead of tradition narrating without knowledge.
Censure of mixing right (truth) and wrong (Untrue)
It is also a feature of the Muslims in Seerah writing that they have discriminated between the basic and the derived or affiliated material, so that traditions may not become a collection (mixture) of true and false, and right and wrong. This principle has been described in the Holy Quran in the following words in Ch.2 verse. (42)
"And mix not truth with falsehood, nor conceal the truth while you know."(30)
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) has said a very severe threat regarding the copying of false and below standard tradition. The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "The one, who attributed a false talk knowingly, he must seek his residence (destination) in Hell."(31)
So, Muslims regarded the most dignified and golden principle of research and knowledge in Seerah writing. They also kept Seerah texts free of the mixture of right (truth) and wrong (untrue).
A High Standard of Principle of Knowledge and Tradition
Muslim Seerah writers maintained a high standard of knowledge and tradition. In the principle of tradition a complete process of research is made about the persons narrating the incidents of Seerah that whether they are Muslims, sensible, adult, just and perfectly disciplined or not.
It is also checked that they are free of paganism, insanity, sinfulness, impiety and oblivion.
Sufyan Sauri Says: "Al Asnad (Certificate) (knowledge of tradition principle) is the weapon of a believer. How will he fight if he is without weapon."(32)
In the principle of knowledge there is an internal criticism on details and incidents. Muslims maintained a high standard of knowledge along with the research of tradition.
Prof. Philip K. Hitti writes "This form of history composition is unique in the case of the Muslims, and meets the most essential requirements of the modern historiography, namely, "Back to the source" and trace the line of Authorities."(33)
The principle of knowledge has been summarized by Ibn-e-Jawzi in the following words.
"That every tradition which is against reason or against basic principles is a fabricated one."(34)
Arrangement of authentic and contiguous traditions
Muslims made a complete arrangement of authentic and contiguous traditions concerned with the Seerah of our Holy Prophet (S.A.W.).
Dr. Hameedullah says about this important research standard.
"The quality that is found among the Muslims is practically absent among other nations, namely, the reference should not be incomplete. So, in the books of Ahadith wherever there is a hadith of even one line or half a line, it follows a long list of names of persons narrating that hadith. (31)
A regular arrangement of copying of knowledge
It has also been a basic feature (quality) of Muslims regarding Seerah writing that they started writing the sayings and routines of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) during his life time. Because the very first command of Holy Quran suggests a clear concepts of copying of knowledge. Following are some famous written books during the life of Holy Prophet (S.A.W.)
(i) Saheefa-e-Sadqa from Abdullah bin Umroo bin Al-As (65A.H)
It is available in Musnad Ahmed Bin Hanbal today.
(ii) Saheefa-e-Anas b. Maalik (92 A.H)
His disciple Saeed b. Hilal says "Hazrat Anas used to open his diary for us and said that he heard this knowledge from Holy Prophet (S.A.W.), he wrote in his presence and presented it in his presence."(36)
(iii) Saheefa-e-Abdullah b. Abbas.
He was a very learned and intelligent companion of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.). He died in 68 A.H. He was 14 years old at the time of death of Holy Prophet(S.A.W.)
(iv) Saheefa-e-Ayesha: "Hazrat Ayesha passed 7 years and 5 months with Holy Prophet. She died in 58 A.H. after 48 years of Holy Prophet (S.A.W.). According to Khateeb Baghdadi she used to take dictation from his nephew Urwah bin Zubair regarding the sayings and incidents of Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) (37)
There are hundreds of books about Seerah and History that were compiled during the life time of Holy Prophet (S.A.W.). So, the mentioned features of Seerah writing with such continuity do not exist in any of the nations but Muslims.
While comparing the Holy Seerah of Muhammad (S.A.W.) with the biography of other founders of religions. R.V.C. Bodley writes: “While we have no contemporary records of Moses or Confucius or Buddha, while we know some fragments of Christ's life, but nothing of the thirty years which prepared the way for the culminating three, the story of Muhammad (S.A.W.) is extremely clear. Here, instead of shadow and the mysterious, we have history. We know as much of Muhammad(S.A.W.) as we do of men who lived much closer to our epoch. His external record, his youth, his relatives, his habits are neither legendary nor hear-say His internal record, after his mission had been proclaimed is no hazy tradition of some obscure or perplexed preacher”(38)
R. Bosworth Smith writes: "We know as about Muhammad (S.A.W.) as we know about Milton and Luther. We know about the whole life of Muhammad(S.A.W.), his early record, his youth, his habits, relations and his first revelation. When he had been proclaimed we have a contemporaneous book absolutely unique in its origin, on the authenticity of which no one has ever been able to cast a serious doubt."(39)
In Human history, Muslims are the first and the last Ummah which has compiled such an authentic, related and researched record of the incidents, sayings and actions of their Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) that is free of exaggeration and is based on facts. Seerah books have complete harmony of wisdom and copying. The intellect, character and fame of Seerah writers are analyzed on highest standards and this thing is matchless in the religions of the world. Hinduism is the oldest religion of the world, but it has no definite beliefs. Neither it has one specific person as its founder, nor a definite religious book.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India regards the religious books of Hindus such as Ramayana and Muhabharata a mixture of facts and fictions. The religious record of Hindus of earlier times was not so much but later it got added and changed in every era. The period of Buddhism is told 560 B.C. It is written in the same encyclopedia that the religious books of Buddhism are presumed and beyond reality that their scholars prefer or give more importance to their constructed monuments instead of their religious texts. Their books were written after 600 years of Lalit Daster Budh.
The age of Zoroaster is reckoned 200 to 350 B.C. Avesta was his religious book. Its language was Zand (Old Persian) But, Alexander the Great conquered Persia in 331 B.C. and he put a large section of Avesta into fire. So nothing can be said with certainty regarding the language of this religion, its religious literature, and the dates of compilation. There are found separate books for most of the sects.
Torah is the book of Jews. It was written 500 years after the death of Moses. This book was also put into fire many times by the enemies of Jews. It was written again on the basis of memorized knowledge after hundreds of years. There was made no research about the certificate, content and the characters of the narrators.
According to Michael Hart, despite the fame of Moses, the creditable information about his life is missing. (40)
Christians have deep love for Jesus but the life history; sayings of Jesus are found in unauthentic and discreditable manner. According to researchers the details of even 50 days of his 33 years life span is not known.
According to Dr. Michael Hart the original information about Jesus Christ's life is uncertain. So, even Christianity is void of the authentic and creditable record of the sayings and happenings of Jesus Christ's life. In world religions there seems no such arrangement and standard for the narration of tradition and knowledge which the Muslim Ummah did to preserve the Ahadith, Sunnah and the Seerah of their Prophet (S.A.W.). This very thing is certified even by the non-Muslims.(41)
The decisive saying of Dr. Hameedullah is "The books similar to Holy Quran are also found in other nations for example, Jews have Torah but I found no book similar to Seerah in other nations." (42)
From all the discussion, it is proved that Allah saved Muslim Ummah from this apostasy because the Seerah of their holy Prophet (S.A.W.) is safe in their possession. This fact has been admitted by the European and American scholars. Their names along with their confessions have been provided within the contents of this book. It has also been mentioned that with such matchless conscious and careful effort Muslims have preserved even every minor incident of their prophet's life. On contrary to this any book of Hinduism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism Buddhism, and Christianity is helpless to give us complete and authentic idea of the life of their religious leaders. The books of these religious have undergone distortions as we have proved from inner and outer arguments.
1. Siddiqi, Mazhar-ud-din, Islam and World Religion, Idara Skafat-e-Islami Club Road, Lahore, P-19, 1986.
2. Hameed ullah, Dr, Khutbat-e-Bahawalpur, The Islamia University Bahawalpur, P-4
3. Al-Quran 26:196
4. Bahari Lal Shastri, The Vedas and Their Angas Upangas, P-174
5. Nehru, J.L, Discovery of India, Idara-e-Takhleeqat, Lahore, P-125
6. Al-Quran 6:71
7. Al-Quran 22:31
8. Nehru J.L Discovery of India, P-218
9. Muir-Sir William, Life of Muhammad, John Grand, London, P-25, 1923.
10. Modoodi, Seerah Sarwar-e-Alam, Idara-e-Tarjuman-ul-Quran, Lahore, P-27.
11. Basna, Ch,45, P-22
12. Hameed ullah, Dr, Khutbat-e-Bahawalpur, P-23
13. Nadvi, Suleman, Khutbat-e-Madras, P-38
14. Hameed Ullah, Dr, Khutbat-e-Bahawalpur, P-03
Al-Qalam December 2010 Comparative Study of Seerah Writing (35)
15. Abraham, A. Newman, The Great Modern World Religions, Johar Press, Karachi-20, P-444, 1966.
16. Encyclopaedia of Religion & Ethics, T&T Clark, New York, V6, P-581
17. Al-Quran 7:138
18. Al-Quran 7-142
19. Nadvi, Suleman, Khutbat-e-Madras, P-40
20. Encyclopadia Britannica, V5, P-13-38
21. Old Testament, Istasna, Bible Society, Anar Kali, Lahore, Chpter-34, V-15, 1984
22. Al-Quran, 3:59
23. Mati, Bible Society, Anar Kali, Lahore,1995, Chapter-9, V-9
24. Modoodi, Christianity in the Light of the Holy Quran, Islami Publication, Lahore, P-91-92, 1982
25. Ibid, P-90
26. Dumellow, Commentary of Holly Bible, Bible Society, Anar Kali, Lahore, P-86, 1985.
27. Al-Qruan 17:36
28. Al-Qruan 53:28
29. Imam Muslim, Sahih Muslim (Book of Inheritance) Maktaba-e-Rehmania, Lahore, V-2, P-525, 1986
30. Al-Qruan 02:42
31. Bukhari, Muhammad Bin Ismail, Sahih Bukhari (Kitab-ul-Ilm) Huzafa Academy, Lahore, V-1, P-35, 2002
32. Ibn-e-Abdul Bar, At-Tamheed, Darul Qalam, Egypt,V1, P-57
33. Hitti, Phlip K. Muqadamma Fatooh-al-Baldan,Dar-ul-Ilm, Beirut, P-2, 1985
34. Imam, Al-Sakhavi, Fath-ul-Mughees, P-15
35. Hameed Ullah Dr, Khutbat-e-Bahawalpur, P-51-52
36. Imam, Haakim, Mustadrak-e-Haakim, (About Ans-bin-Maalik.) Maktab-ul-Ilm, Egypt
37. Khateeb Baghdadi, Al-Kifaya fi Ilm-ur-Rivayah,Dar. Ehya-Altras, Beirut, P-205,1992
38. Bodley, R.V.C The Messenger, Lahore, P-1, 1946
39. Smith, R, Bosworth, Muhammad and Muhammadanism, P12
40. Hart, Michael H, The Hundred, A & W Visual Library, New York, P11,1978
41. Ibid, Page-11.
42. Hameedullah Dr., Khutbat-e-Bahawalpur, P-36