How were the incidents that took place in the history of Islam determined correctly and how did they reach us?

The Details of the Question
There are many incidents in the history of Islam; for instance, the wars of the Prophet (pbuh), his conversations with the Companions, etc. How did those historical incidents, conversations between people and the lives of the Companions reach today? How were those historical incidents determined correctly and how did they reach us?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,


Muslims started to write books about the life and wars of the Prophet (pbuh), which were terminologically called "Siyar and Maghazi", beginning from the first century of the Migration, that is, the era of the Companions.

1. While mentioning Maghazi books, Katib Chalabi notes that there are some scholars who state that the first person to write a book on Maghazi was Urwa b. Zubayr (22-94) – apart from Ibn Ishaq. (1)

That Abdulmalik (D. 86), the Caliph, applied toUrwa b. Zubayr about some incidents in the history of Islam indicates that he was an authority in Siyar and Maghazi; the letters he wrote (2) supports the view that he was the firstSiyar and Maghazi writer.

Many narrations by Ibn Ishaq (85-151) related to very important incidents are based on Urwa.

2. After Urwa comes Aban b. Uthman b. Affan (death: 105) according to the date of death. Aban, who was one of the fiqh scholars of Madinah and who worked as the governor of Madinah for seven years, compiled the hadiths about the life of the Prophet (pbuh) in the form of pages.

Imam Zuhri (50-124), who is Ibn Ishaq’s teacher, learned hadiths from Aban. Ibn Sa'd states that Mughira b. Abdurrahman learned and narrated Maghazi from Aban.

3. Shabi (death: 109), who is one of the notables of Tabiun scholars, is one of the contemporaries of Urwa. He is known as a master in Hadith and Maghazi.

Once, he was narrating hadiths related to Maghazi; Abdullah b. Umar, one of the Companions, was among the listeners; he appreciated the knowledge and authority of Shabi in Maghazi speaking as follows:

"I was together with the people he mentions in those wars. However, this person (Shabi) memorized them in detail and knows them better than me."

Zuhri and the reliable scholars that came after him narrated many things based on Shabi.

4. Wahb b. Munabbihul-Yamani (death: 114) compiled the hadiths on Maghazi. One copy of his compilation is in Heidelberg, Germany today.

5. Asim b. Umar b. Qatada (death: 121),who wass one of the notables of Tabiun scholars, was a master in Siyar and Maghazi. It is recorded in Tahdhib at-Tahdhib that Halife Umar b. Abdul'aziz, the Caliph, appointed him to teach people Maghazi in Damascus Mosque.Asim b. Umar b. Qatada’s narrations are based on his father, grandmother and Anas b. Malik. It is seen that Ibn Ishaq bases many of his narrations on him.

6. Musa b. Uqba (death: 141), one of the famous maghazi scholars, states that Shurahbil b. Sa'd (death: 123) recorded the names of the Muslims who migrated to Madinah and who took part in the battles of Badr and Uhud.

Ibn Sa'd (168-230) records the narrations about the journey of the Prophet from Quba to Madinah based on Shurahbil. (Tabaqat, l / 237) Sufyan b. Uyayna (107-198) states that nobody knows Maghazi and the incident of Badr more than Shurahbil does.

It is stated that Shurahbil met and talked to the Companions Zayd b. Thabit, Abu Hurayra and Abu Said al-Khudri.

7. Suhayli states in his book that Muhammad b. Muslim b. Shihabuz-Zuhri (50-124) wrote a separate book on Siyar and that the first book written on Siyar in Islam was the book written by Zuhri. (3)

Halabi also states that the person to write the first book in Siyar was Zuhri; he adds that Zuhri states that the best ilm in the world and the hereafter was Siyar and Maghazi. (4) Masters of Siyar and Maghazi like Musa b. Uqba and Ibn Ishaq were students of Zuhri.

Yaqub b. Utba (death: 128), who is among the fiqh scholars of Madinah, is a master in Siyar and Maghazi and a reliable person in terms of knowledge. Governors benefitted from his views and knowledge.


(1) Katib Chalabi-Kashfuz-Zunun, II/1746-1747.
(2) Tabari-Tarikh, II/267-269
(3) Suhayli, Rawdul-Unuf, l/122.
(4) Halabi, Insanul-Uyun, l/2,3,

(For detailed information, see M. Asım Köksal, İslam Tarihi)

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