Al-Waqidi

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Muslim historian
Abu `Abdillah Muhammad Ibn Omar Ibn Waqid al al-Aslami
Title Al-Waqidi
Born ca. 130AH / AD 748 in Madina
Died 207AH / AD 822
Era Islamic golden age
Main interest(s) History of Islam
Notable work(s) Kitab al-Tarikh wa al-Maghazi ("Book of History and Campaigns")

Abu `Abdullah Muhammad Ibn ‘Omar Ibn Waqid al-Aslami (Arabic ' أبو عبد الله محمد بن عمر بن واقد ‏) (c. 130 – 207 AH; c. 748 – 822 AD), commonly referred to as al-Waqidi (Arabic: الواقدي). His surname is derived from his grandfather's name Waqid and thus he became famous as al-Imam al-Waqidi.[1] Al-Waqidi was an early Muslim historian and biographer of the Islamic prophet Muhammad specializing in his campaigns. Al-Waqidi served as a judge (qadi) for Harun al-Rashid and Al-Ma'mun. His history books are the earliest and some of the most detailed history books on Islam.

Biography[edit]

Al-Waqidi was born in Medina in (c. 130 – 207 AH; c. 748 – 822 AD). Amongst his prominent teachers were Ibn Abi Thahab Ma'mar bin Rashid, Malik ibn Anas and Sufyan al-Thawri.[1] He lived in Madina at the time of Abu Hanifa and Ja'far al-Sadiq and studied in Al-Masjid an-Nabawi as a student of Ibn Anas. Al-Waqidi also had access to the grand children of Muhammad's companions. Many of Muhammad's companions settled in Medina therefore both the Umayyads and then the Abbasids in the early day used the Medina fiqh. Malik ibn Anas was later asked by Al-Mansur the Abbasid ruler to compile this fiqh into a book form which became known as Muwatta Imam Malik. The Abbasids later tried other things like the Mu'tazila. For his livelihood in Medina, al-Waqidi earned a living as a wheat trader, but when a calamity struck at the age of 50 he migrated to Iraq in 180 AH during the reign of Mamun ar-Rashid. There Yahya al-Barmaki welcomed him due to his great learning and he was appointed a judge and he held the post until his death on 11 Thul Hijjah 207 AH. He is buried in the graveyard of Khayzaran.

Al-Waqidi concentrated on history and is acknowledged as a master in history.[1] He wrote some of the earliest history books on the early conquests.[1] His books on the early expeditions and conquests are extremely detailed and predate much of the Sunni and Shia literature of the later Abbasid period. They illustrate the involvement of the early Muslim women and young boys in campaigns in distant lands against the huge Roman armies. He is relied upon regarding the battles of Muhammad and the Companions and history in general by Muslim scholars.[2] Western orientalists who enjoy his writings include Martin Lings.[3]

His main area of specialization was history. His hadith narrations need to be scrutinized before acceptance whereas he is doubtlessly acknowledged as a master of History.[1] In regards to Hadith, al-Waqidi has been frequently criticized by later Muslim writers, who claim that he is unreliable.[4] Al-Shafi'i is reported to have said that al-Waqidi's books are "lies."[2]

Because Al-Waqidi lived at the time of Abu Hanifa, Malik ibn Anas and Ja'far al-Sadiq in Madina and was taught by Malik ibn Anas and had access to the children and the grand children of many of the companions of Muhammad in Madina, initially he was accepted by the greatest scholars of his time and is still accepted for his history, but on the Hadiths, since he did not retain the chains of narration there is debate.

Al-Waqidi's books predate most of the Sunni and Shia books that were written later Abbasid period. Only the books of Abu Hanifa and Malik predate his books. Al-Waqidi's history books are some of the earliest history books on Islam. They cover a period in history before Sharia became rigid; a time when the Quran and the example of Muhammad was the only source of law. Before the Sunni and Shia schools of fiqh developed. They cover a period in history that saw the greatest expansion of the Islamic state. Al-Waqidi books are more in line with the other early history books on the Islamic State like Al-Baladhuri and also more inline with the independent Roman history books of the time. They are free of much from the political distortion of the later Abbasid period, which means that they do not sit well with the modern Sunni and Shia views and hence some modern Muslim Imams over look the work of Al-Waqidi. Al-Waqidi's books, along with other early history books like al-Baladhuri, illustrate the important role early Muslim women played in society.

According to his literature, women play a leading role in Muslim Society and it was due to their support during the Battle of Yarmouk and other battles that the Muslims defeated the Romans and the Persia Empires. He covers these battles in great detail. Battle of Yarmouk is regarded as one of the most decisive battles in military history where the Muslims were outnumbered by the Romans but, with the help of the women and the young boys amongst them, finished off the Roman Empire.[5][6]

They show how Early Muslim women, including Hind bint Utbah[7][8][8][9][10][11] and Asma bint Abi Bakr,[12] were instrumental in the Battle of Yarmouk.

al-Waqidi wrote "As for Asma bint Abi Bakr, she tied he horses reins to the reins of her husband, az-Zubayr bin Awwam whenever he struck she would equaled him. Under desperate circumstances and heavily outnumbered ever time the men would flee the women would sing:[13]

"O you who flee from his loyal lady
"She is beautiful and stands firmly
"Your abandoning them to the Romans
"to let them the forelocks and girls seize
"They will take what they want from us to the full
"And start fighting them selves."

After seeing the women fight the men would return and said to each other "If we do not fight then we are more entitled to sit in the women's quarter than the women."[14]

Works[edit]

Al-Waqidi was a tireless collector of traditions and the author of many books.[citation needed] His secretary, Muhammad Ibn Sa`d, was also a historian. He made use of the information collected by al-Waqidi. Both of them wrote biographies of Muhammad that are important supplements to the "Sirat Rasul Allah" of Prophet Muhammad ibn Ishaq, but al-Waqidi's has survived only in part.[citation needed]

One of al-Waqidi's works, Kitab al-Tarikh wa al-Maghazi ("Book of History and Campaigns"), describes the battles (Arabic "Ghrazwat") fought by Muhammad.

Another work ascribed to al-Waqidi is Futuh al-Sham ("Conquests of Syria") A modern English translation of the book translated by Sulayman al-Kindi also exists and could be found here.[15] It is extremely detailed and shows the level to which early Muslims went to in order to defeat the huge Roman armies which outnumbered them. It illustrates the extra ordinary involvement of the early Muslim women in the Campaigns against the huge Roman armies. Muslim Scholars believe that the book was written by al-Waqidi but over time as hand written copies were produces, slight variations and additions were introduced. Sulayman al-Kindi, its translator says "It must be noted that different companies of ancient manuscripts often differ widely. This should be borne in mind when comparing the translation with the Arabic originals, if differences are found. However, if any clear mistakes are found the translator would appreciate being informed thereof."[1] Some modern western authors say that some copies of the book contain characters from the sixth Islamic century and could have been changed later.[16]

Early Islam scholars[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Islamic Conquest of Syria A translation of Fatuhusham by al-Imam al-Waqidi, pgs. x-xi. Trns. Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi.
  2. ^ a b Al-Dhahabi, Siyar A'lam an-Nubala, vol. 9, pg. 462.
  3. ^ Muhammad ibn Umar Waqidi at Let Me Turn the Tables.
  4. ^ "Muhammad", in P.J. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs et al., Encyclopædia of Islam, 2nd Edition. (Leiden: E. J. Brill) 12 Vols. published between 1960 and 2005.
  5. ^ Walton, Mark W (2003), Islam at war, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 0-275-98101-0, p. 30
  6. ^ Walton, Mark W (2003), Islam at war, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 0-275-98101-0 page 6
  7. ^ Islamic Conquest of Syria A translation of Fatuhusham by al-Imam al-Waqidi Translated by Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi Page 325 [1]
  8. ^ a b al-Baladhuri 892 [19] Battle of Yarmuk.
  9. ^ Islamic Conquest of Syria A translation of Fatuhusham by al-Imam al-Waqidi Translated by Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi Page 331 to 334 [2]
  10. ^ Islamic Conquest of Syria A translation of Fatuhusham by al-Imam al-Waqidi Translated by Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi Page 343-344 [3]
  11. ^ al-Baladhuri 892 [20] from The Origins of the Islamic State, being a translation from the Arabic of the Kitab Futuh al-Buldha of Ahmad ibn-Jabir al-Baladhuri, trans. by P. K. Hitti and F. C. Murgotten, Studies in History, Economics and Public Law, LXVIII (New York, Columbia University Press,1916 and 1924), I, 207-211
  12. ^ Islamic Conquest of Syria A translation of Fatuhusham by al-Imam al-Waqidi Translated by Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi Page 352-353 [4]
  13. ^ Islamic Conquest of Syria A translation of Fatuhusham by al-Imam al-Waqidi Translated by Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi Page 331-332 [5]
  14. ^ Islamic Conquest of Syria A translation of Fatuhusham by al-Imam al-Waqidi Translated by Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi Page 353 [6]
  15. ^ [7]
  16. ^ Walter E. Kaegi, Byzantium and the Early Islamic Conquests, (Cambridge, 2000) 159 n. 34, 172–173.
  17. ^ The Quran
  18. ^ The Great Fiqh
  19. ^ Al-Muwatta'
  20. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari
  21. ^ Sahih Muslim
  22. ^ Jami` at-Tirmidhi
  23. ^ Mishkât Al-Anwar
  24. ^ The Niche for Lights
  25. ^ Women in Islam: An Indonesian Perspective by Syafiq Hasyim. Page 67
  26. ^ ulama, bewley.virtualave.net
  27. ^ 1.Proof & Historiography - The Islamic Evidence. theislamicevidence.webs.com
  28. ^ Atlas Al-sīrah Al-Nabawīyah. Darussalam, 2004. Pg 270
  29. ^ Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz by Imam Abu Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Hakam died 829