The Expeditions

The Expeditions: An Early Biography of Muhammad

Maʿmar ibn Rāshid
according to the recension of ʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Ṣanʿānī
Edited and translated by Sean W. Anthony
Foreword by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: NYU Press,
Pages: 384
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1287j5s
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  • Book Info
    The Expeditions
    Book Description:

    The Expeditionsis one of the oldest biographies of the Prophet Muhammad to survive into the modern era. Its primary author, Ma?mar ibn Rashid (714-770 AD/96-153 AH), was a prominent scholar from Basra in southern Iraq who was revered for his learning in prophetic traditions, Islamic law, and the interpretation of the Qur?an. This fascinating foundational seminal work contains stories handed down by Ma?mar to his most prominent pupil, ?Abd al-Razzaq of Sanaa, relating Muhammad's early life and prophetic career as well as the adventures and tribulations of his earliest followers during their conquest of the Near East.

    Edited from a sole surviving manuscript, the Arabic text offers numerous improved readings over those of previous editions, including detailed notes on the text's transmission and variants as found in later works. This new translation, which renders the original into readable, modern English for the first time, is accompanied by numerous annotations elucidating the cultural, religious and historical contexts of the events and individuals described within its pages.

    The Expeditionsrepresents an important testimony to the earliest Muslims' memory of the lives of Muhammad and his companions, and is an indispensable text for gaining insight into the historical biography of both the Prophet and the rise of the Islamic empire.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-2929-8
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xii)
    M. A. S. Abdel Haleem

    Scholars of Arabic literature and readers with an interest in Arabic and Islamic civilization are now most fortunate to have available to them the works being published as the Library of Arabic Literature, the first series to attempt a systematic coverage of the Arabic literary heritage. The editors have already shown good judgment in selecting books for the series, and the present volume,The Expeditions, an early biography of the Prophet Muḥammad by Maʿmar ibn Rāshid, is no exception.

    Maʿmar ibn Rāshid (d. 153/770) was a contemporary of Ibn Is?āq (d. 151/768), author of the famousAl-Sīrah al-Nabawiyyah(The Prophetic...

  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xv-xxix)

    The Expeditions(Ar.Kitāb al-Maghāzī) by Maʿmar ibn Rāshid (d. 153/770) is an early biography of the Prophet Muḥammad that dates to the second/eighth century and is preserved in the recension of his student ʿAbd al-Razzāq ibn Hammām of Sanaa (d. 211/827). The text is exceptional because, alongside Ibn Hishām’s (d. 218/834) redaction of the prophetic biography of Muḥammad ibn Isḥāq (d. 150/767–68),⁵The Expeditionsis one of the two earliest and most seminal examples of the genre of prophetic biography in Arabic literature to have survived.

    Early biographies of the Prophet Muḥammad—and by “early” I mean written...

  6. Note on the Text
    (pp. xxx-xxxvi)
  7. Timeline
    (pp. xxxvii-xxxvii)
  8. Arabia and the Near East in the 7th Century
    (pp. xxxviii-xxxviii)
  9. Mecca and Medina During the Lifetime of the Prophet
    (pp. xxxix-xxxix)
  10. Notes to the Frontmatter
    (pp. xl-xlvi)
  11. The Expeditions
    • The Digging of the Well of Zamzam
      (pp. 2-25)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of al-Zuhrī, who said:

      The first thing mentioned regarding ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib, the grandfather of the Messenger of God, is that when the Quraysh left Mecca’s Sacred Precincts¹ fleeing the Elephant Troop² he was still a young man, a youth. He said, “By God, I will not forsake the Sacred Precincts of God to seek glory elsewhere!” He sat down next to the Sacred House,³ even though the Quraysh had abandoned it. Then he declaimed:

      O Lord, a man protects his mount, so protect your mounts.

      Do not allow their cross⁴...

    • The Expedition of Ḥudaybiyah
      (pp. 26-49)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, who said: al-Zuhrī related to me, saying: ʿUrwah ibn al-Zubayr related to me from Miswar ibn Makhramah and Marwān ibn al-Ḥakam, each of whom attested to the truth of the other’s account. They said:

      The Messenger of God departed from Medina at the time of Ḥudaybiyah, leading a group of his Companions numbering a couple thousand men. When eventually they arrived at Dhū l-Ḥulayfah, the Messenger of God adorned the sacrificial camel with garlands and made an incision on its hump, marking it for sacrifice. He donned the two seamless garments for undertaking...

    • The Incident at Badr
      (pp. 50-57)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of al-Zuhrī, who said concerning God’s decree, «Disbelievers, if you were seeking a divine decision, now you have witnessed one»:79

      Abū Jahl ibn Hishām sought a divine decision, praying, “O Lord, make known which of us”—by whom he meant Muḥammad and himself—“is more insolent against you and guiltiest of severing the bonds of kinship! May you cause him to perish this day!” Indeed, God killed Abū Jahl on the day of Badr as an infidel doomed to the fires of Hell.

      ʿAbd al-Razzīq, on the authority of Maʿmar,...

    • The Combatants Whom the Prophet Took Captive at Badr
      (pp. 58-59)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq related to us: Maʿmar related to us on the authority of Qatādah and ʿUthmān al-Jazarī, both of whom said:

      The Messenger of God ransomed the captives from Badr, and the ransom for each man was four thousand dirhams. ʿUqbah ibn Abī Muʿayṭ was killed before being ransomed. ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib attacked and killed him. Before he died, ʿUqbah said, “O Muḥammad! Who will look after my children?” “Hellfire!” he answered.

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, who said: ʿUthmān al-Jazarī related to me on the authority of Miqsam, who said:

      When al-ʿAbbās was taken among the...

    • The Incident Involving the Hudhayl Tribe at al-Rajīʿ
      (pp. 60-65)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of al-Zuhrī, on the authority of ʿAmr ibn Abī Sufyān al-Thaqafī, on the authority of Abū Hurayrah, who said:

      The Messenger of God dispatched a scouting expedition and appointed over them as commander ʿĀṣim ibn Thābit, who is also the grandfather of ʿĀṣim ibn ʿUmar. They set out and eventually made camp along the route between ʿUsfān and Mecca. Word of their whereabouts reached a clan of the Hudhayl tribe called the Liḥyān, and the Liḥyān pursued them with around a hundred archers. Once they had caught sight of their...

    • The Incident Concerning the Clan of al-Naḍīr
      (pp. 66-75)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of al-Zuhrī, according to his narration from ʿUrwah:

      Then there transpired the raid on the clan of al-Naḍīr, a faction of Jews, six months after the incident at Badr.95Their homes and date palms were located on the outskirts of Medina. The Messenger of God besieged them until they surrendered and entered exile, agreeing to take with them only what wealth and effects their camels could carry, minus any arms, meaning weaponry. Concerning them, God revealed:

      «Everything in the heavens and earth glorifies God; He is the Almighty, the Wise....

    • The Incident at Uḥud
      (pp. 76-81)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of al-Zuhrī who, in his narration from ʿUrwah, said:

      The incident at Uḥud was in the month of Shawwal, six months after the incident involving the clan of al-Naḍīr.125

      Al-Zuhrī, on the authority of ʿUrwah, said concerning God’s decree «you disobeyed once He had brought you within sight of your goal»:126

      On the day of the Battle of Uḥud, when Abū Sufyān and the infidel Quraysh attacked, the Prophet said, “I had a vision that I donned an impenetrable coat of armor, which I surmise must be Medina. Remain, therefore,...

    • The Incident Involving the United Clans and the Qurayẓah Clan
      (pp. 82-89)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of al-Zuhrī:

      The incident involving the United Clans, which is the Battle of the Trench, took place two years after the incident at Uḥud.135The Messenger of God had taken command over the Medinese side, and that day Abū Sufyān led the Pagans. They besieged the Messenger of God and his companions for over ten days until despair overtook every Medinese, at which point the Prophet—according to what Ibn al-Musayyab reported to me—said, “O Lord! I implore You to stay true to Your pledge and covenant—unless, O...

    • The Incident at Khaybar
      (pp. 90-93)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of al-Zuhrī, who said:

      When God’s Messenger turned away from al-Ḥudaybiyah to return to Medina, he undertook the raid against Khaybar. Concerning this, God revealed:

      «He has promised you many future gains: He has hastened this gain for you. He has held back the hands of hostile people from you as a sign for the faithful and He will guide you to a straight path.»143

      When the Prophet conquered Khaybar, he gave its spoils to those who had undertaken the expedition to al-Ḥudaybiyah with him and those who had given...

    • The Expedition of the Triumph
      (pp. 94-103)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of ʿUthmān al-Jazarī—Maʿmar commented that ʿUthmān al-Jazarī was also known as “the eyewitness” (al-mushāhid)—on the authority of Miqsam, the slave-client of Ibn ʿAbbas, who said:

      During the two-year period of the Messenger of God’s truce with the Quraysh at al-Ḥudaybiyah, it is said that there was a war between the Bakr clan, allied with the Quraysh, and the Khuzāʿah clan, allied with God’s Messenger. Now, the Quraysh provided aid to their allies against Khuzāʿah, and when word of this reached the Messenger of God, he said, “By Him...

    • The Incident at Ḥunayn
      (pp. 104-111)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of al-Zuhrī, who said: Kathīr ibn al-ʿAbbās ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib reported to me on the authority of his father, al-ʿAbbās, who said:

      I witnessed the battle of Ḥunayn alongside the Messenger of God. Indeed, I saw the Prophet himself, for the only ones with him were Abū Sufyān ibn al-Ḥārith ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib and I. We stayed close to the Messenger of God and never left his side. He was mounted on a gray she-mule—or perhaps, Maʿmar said, a white one—which Farwah ibn Nufāthah al-Judhāmī had given him...

    • Those Who Emigrated to Abyssinia
      (pp. 112-129)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of al-Zuhrī, narrating a report from ʿUrwah:

      When the Muslims increased in number and the faith became manifest, the Pagans from the infidel Quraysh began to deliberate on the matter of what to do with the members of their own tribes who believed, torturing them and even imprisoning them,166for they desired to force them to abandon their religion.

      He said: We were told that the Messenger of God said to those who had faith in him, “Seek out another land,” but they asked, “O Messenger of God! Where shall...

    • The Story of the Three Who Remained Behind
      (pp. 130-139)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of al-Zuhrī, who said: the son of Kaʿb ibn Mālik reported to me from his father, who said:

      With the exception of the Battle of Badr, I never failed to accompany the Prophet on an expedition that he undertook until the Tabūk expedition. The Prophet had not censured anyone who failed to accompany him at Badr because he set out only to find the caravan. When the Quraysh set out to come to the rescue of the caravan, they met in battle without having planned to do so previously, as...

    • Those Who Failed to Accompany the Prophet on the Tabūk Expedition
      (pp. 140-143)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, who said: Qatādah and ʿAlī ibn Zayd ibn Judʿān related to me that they both heard Saʿīd ibn al-Musayyab say: Saʿd ibn Abī Waqqāṣ reported to me that:

      When the Messenger of God had set off for Tabūk, he appointed ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib over us as his vicegerent.187ʿAlī said, “O Messenger of God! I do not wish for you to set off in any direction without me at your side.” But the Prophet replied, “Are you not content to be as near to me as Aaron was to Moses, except that...

    • The Story of the Aws and the Khazraj
      (pp. 144-147)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of al-Zuhrī, on the authority of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Kaʿb ibn Mālik, who said:

      One of the graces God bestowed on his Prophet was these two tribes of the Allies, the Aws and the Khazraj. They vied to best one another in Islam like two rival stallions. The Aws would not achieve some feat without the Khazraj saying, “By God, you will never surpass us in bringing glory to Islam!” And if it was the Khazraj who achieved the feat, the Aws would say the same.

      When the Aws murdered...

    • The Story of the Slander
      (pp. 148-159)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of al-Zuhrī, who said: Saʿīd ibn al-Musayyab, ʿUrwah ibn al-Zubayr, ʿAlqamah ibn Waqqāṣ, and ʿUbayd Allāh ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿUtbah ibn Masʿūd all related to me the story of ʿĀʾishah, the Prophet’s wife, when the slanderers spoke against her as they did. Al-Zuhrī said:

      God proved her innocence. Each of my sources related to me a portion of her story, some of them being more knowledgeable of her story than the others or more reliable narrators. I committed what I heard of her story from them to memory, and...

    • The Story of the People of the Pit
      (pp. 160-165)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of Thābit al-Bunānī, on the authority of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Abī Laylā, on the authority of Ṣuhayb, who said:

      When the Messenger of God prayed the afternoon prayer, he used to murmur—“murmuring” means, one of them said, that he moved his lips as though he were saying something—so someone said to him, “O Prophet of God, whenever you pray the afternoon prayer, you murmur!” He replied, “One of the many prophets was more astounded by his community’s conduct than the rest. He asked God, ‘Who shall deal with...

    • The Story of the Companions of the Cave
      (pp. 166-171)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, who said: Ismāʿīl ibn Sharūs related to me on the authority of Wahb ibn Munabbih, who said:

      One of the Apostles of Jesus, the son of Mary, came to the city of the Companions of the Cave. He desired to enter the city, but was told that an idol stood at its gate and that none could enter without prostrating before it. Wishing, therefore, not to enter the city gate, he traveled to a bathhouse nearby. He worked there and earned his living from the owner of the bathhouse. When the owner of...

    • The Construction of the Temple of Jerusalem
      (pp. 172-175)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of Qatādah concerning God’s decree, «We placed a human form on his throne, but later he turned in repentance»,205saying:

      A demon sat on his throne for forty nights until God restored to Solomon his rule.

      Maʿmar said: But the demon did not exercise any authority over his wives.206

      Maʿmar said: Qatādah said:

      Solomon declared to the demons,207“Verily, God has commanded me to build a mosque in Jerusalem, but I must not hear there the sound of a saw or the clang of a hammer.” The demons replied, “Truly...

    • The Beginning of the Messenger of God’s Illness
      (pp. 176-191)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of al-Zuhrī, who said: Abū Bakr ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn al-Ḥārith ibn Hishām related to me on the authority of Asmāʾ bint ʿUmays, who said:

      The onset of the Messenger of God’s illness occurred while he was in the chamber of his wife Maymūnah. His illness became so severe that he lost consciousness. His wives then gathered to discuss whether or not they should treat him by pouring medicine into the corner of his mouth.211They administered the medicine, but when the Prophet had regained consciousness, he said, “This is...

    • The Oath of Fealty to Abū Bakr at the Portico of the Sāʿidah Clan
      (pp. 192-203)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of al-Zuhrī, on the authority of ʿUbayd Allāh ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿUtbah, on the the authority of Ibn ʿAbbās, who said:

      During ʿUmar’s caliphate I used to teach the Qurʾan to ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn ʿAwf. Now when ʿUmar undertook his final hajj, we were in Minā.226ʿAbd al-Raḥmān came to see me at my residence that evening and said, “If only you had witnessed the Commander of the Faithful today! A man went up to him and said, ‘O Commander of the Faithful, I’ve heard so-and-so say, Were the...

    • What ʿUmar Said about the Members of the Shura
      (pp. 204-209)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of Qatādah, who said::

      A group gathered together, and al-Mughīrah ibn Shuʿbah was among them. They said, “Whom do you suppose the Commander of the Faithful will designate as his successor?”

      “ʿAlī,” said one.

      “ʿUthmān,” said another.

      Yet another suggested, “ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿUmar, for he’s the caliph’s son.”

      Then al-Mughīrah said, “Why don’t I find out for you all?”

      “Yes, do so!” they answered.

      ʿUmar was accustomed to riding out on the Sabbath to a plot of land he owned, so when the Sabbath arrived, al-Mughīrah kept its time...

    • Abū Bakr’s Designation of ʿUmar as His Successor
      (pp. 210-211)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of al-Zuhrī, on the authority of al-Qāsim ibn Muḥammad, on the authority of Asmāʾ bint ʿUmays, who said:

      A man from the Emigrants came to see Abū Bakr, God grant him mercy, while he was stricken ill, and he said, “You have designated ʿUmar to succeed you. He has been harsh with us, even though he lacked authority. If he is to rule over us, then he will certainly be stern with us and even harsher. How will you tell this to God when you meet Him?”

      “Help me sit...

    • The Oath of Fealty Pledged to Abū Bakr
      (pp. 212-215)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of Ayyūb, on the authority of ʿIkrimah, who said:

      When the oath of fealty was pledged to Abū Bakr, ʿAlī withdrew to his house. ʿUmar met him and said, “So you’ve withdrawn to avoid pledging fealty to Abū Bakr?” ʿAlī replied, “I swore an oath when the Messenger of God was taken from this world that I would not don a coat until I had collected the Qurʾan, except to perform the required prayers, for I feared that the Qurʾan would slip away.”245After that he came out and pledged...

    • The Expedition of Dhāt al-Salāsil and the Story of ʿAlī and Muʿāwiyah
      (pp. 216-237)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of al-Zuhrī, who said:

      After the Messenger of God had undertaken the Hijrah and those who had been in the land of Abyssinia had arrived in Medina, the Prophet dispatched two expeditions into Syria against the Kalb, Bal-Qayn, and Ghassān tribes, as well as the infidel Arabs who dwelled along the Syrian steppe. He appointed Abū ʿUbaydah ibn al-Jarrāḥ, a member of the Fihr clan, to be commander of the first expedition, and appointed ʿAmr ibn al-ʿĀṣ as the commander of the second. Abū Bakr and ʿUmar left Abū ʿUbaydah...

    • The Story of al-Ḥajjāj ibn ʿIlāṭ
      (pp. 238-243)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of Thābit al-Bunānī, on the authority of Anas ibn Mālik, who said:

      When the Messenger of God had conquered Khaybar, al-Ḥajjāj ibn ʿIlāṭ said, “O Messenger of God, in Mecca I still have property and family. I want to go to them, but am I at liberty to claim I defeated you or say something similar?” God’s Messenger granted al-Ḥajjāj permission to say whatever he wished, so when he arrived in Mecca, he went to his wife and said, “Gather together all that you have, for I want to purchase...

    • The Dispute between ʿAlī and al-ʿAbbās
      (pp. 244-251)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of al-Zuhrī, on the authority of Mālik ibn Aws ibn al-Ḥadathān al-Naṣrī, who said:

      ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb sent me a message saying, “The leaders of the households of your tribe have convened in Medina, and before us lies the task of giving them a small bit of compensation. You are to divide it between them.”

      “O Commander of the Faithful,” I objected, “ask someone else!”

      “Come now, man, take it,” he responded.

      While I was thus occupied, ʿUmar’s slave-client came to him and said, “It’s ʿUthmān, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn ʿAwf,...

    • The Story of Abū Luʾluʾah, ʿUmar’s Assassin
      (pp. 252-261)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of al-Zuhrī, who said:

      ʿUmar would not permit a single non-Arab to enter Medina, but al-Mughīrah ibn Shuʿbah wrote to ʿUmar, saying, “I own a slave who’s a carpenter, artisan, and smith; he can be of great benefit to the inhabitants of Medina. If you deem it fit to permit me to send him, consider it done.”

      ʿUmar granted him permission, and al-Mughīrah levied a payment of two silver pieces per day from this slave. The slave was called Abū Luʾluʾah, and he was originally a Zoroastrian. He remained in...

    • The Story of the Shura
      (pp. 262-265)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of al-Zuhrī, on the authority of Sālim, on the authority of Ibn ʿUmar, who said:

      When ʿUmar had been stabbed, he called for ʿAlī, ʿUthmān, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn ʿAwf, and al-Zubayr—and I believe he also mentioned Saʿd ibn Abī Waqqāṣ—and said, “I have examined the state of the people and have not found any discord in their midst. If discord does appear, then it shall be from you. What’s more, your people will recognize one of you as Commander of the Faithful in three days’ time. And you,...

    • The Expeditions to al-Qādisiyyah and Elsewhere
      (pp. 266-271)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of al-Zuhrī, who said:

      The Messenger of God appointed Usāmah ibn Zayd as the commander of an army in whose ranks were ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb and al-Zubayr, but the Prophet was taken from this world before that army could proceed. Usāmah, who did not set out until after Abū Bakr had been given the pledge of allegiance, said to Abū Bakr when he pledged his allegiance, “The Prophet ordered me to go and do what had to be done, but now I fear that the Arabs will soon apostatize.285Still,...

    • The Marriage of Fāṭimah
      (pp. 272-282)

      ʿAbd al-Razzāq, on the authority of Maʿmar, on the authority of Ayyūb, on the authority of ʿIkrimah and Abū Yazīd al-Madīnī, or one of the two (the doubt is Abū Bakr’s),288that Asmāʾ bint ʿUmays said:

      When Fāṭimah was brought to ʿAlī as a bride, we found nothing in his house save a floor of packed sand, a pillow stuffed with palm fibers, and a single earthen jar and jug. The Prophet sent ʿAlī a message saying, “Don’t plan to do anything”—or he said: “Stay away from your kin”—“until I come to see you.” When the Prophet came,...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 283-314)
  13. Glossary of Names, Places, and Terms
    (pp. 315-344)
  14. Genealogical Table of the Quraysh of Mecca
    (pp. 345-345)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 346-355)
  16. Further Reading
    (pp. 356-357)
  17. Index
    (pp. 358-369)
  18. About the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute
    (pp. 370-370)
  19. About the Typefaces
    (pp. 371-371)
  20. About the Editor-Translator
    (pp. 372-372)