The Problems with Ibn IshaqBismillah Hir Rehman Ir Raheem
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The Problems with Ibn Ishaq | HowAuthentic Is The Work Of Ibn Ishaq
"Something old doesn't mean authentic"
Why Ibn Ishaq work isn't reliable?
"The Life of Muhammad" by Ibn Ishaq has been quoted by many critics of Islam. They get excited when Ibn Ishaq paints a bad picture of Prophet Muhammad and use it in their writings to attack Islam. Although Ibn Ishaq was the earliest of the traditionists to write a biography of the events that pertained to the time of Muhammad there are several severe problems with his writings. Bassam Zawadi a Muslim missionary says" Just because something is early doesn't mean it is true". He has a good point. Not everyone back then was reliable and honest. Ibn Ishaq was known to be careless in him collecting stories about the Prophet, etc.
Several respected Muslim theologians rightly reject his (Ibn Ishaq's) authority for several reasons:
(A) That he was a Shi'i favouring Ali over all the other contenders to the Khilfa.
(B) His Isnads (chains of transmissions) were defective, i.e not 'iron' tight by naming all the reporters, which is important because this determines whether the transmitter of the story is trustworthy or not. Ibn Ishaq was not an eye witness to any of the events of Prophet Muhammad's life. Ibn Ishaq was writing about 150 years after the Prophet's death so this is very important. In Islamic sciences in order for a report of the Prophet (peace be on him) to be true is if the isnad is solid or not.
(D) He used reports of traditions gathered from Jewish sources. Jews made up a lot of false stories/legends of Prophet Muhammad (just like the early Christians living outside of Palestine made up a lot of myths and legends of Jesus and put them in the Gospels). Making up stories and legends about the Prophet are unnacceptable in the eyes of many Islamic scholars.
(E) Ibn Ishaq was (for lack of better term) a "suck up" to the Jews of Arabia. He said several complimentary reports of the Jews of Arabia, despite the fact that the Jews of Arabia were constatnly fighting with the Arabs and were charging interest when loaning money. The Jews of Madinah were constatly plotting againist the Prophet Muhammad. They were always trying to undermine his authority. In fact they sided with the Makkans in order to assinate the Prophet.
(F) Most important of all, his report about Laylat al Qadr (the first revelation), contradicts all the hadith versions. The hadith collectors Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, etc were more careful in collecting their hadith (their chains of transmission).
(G) There are several stories in Ibn Ishaq which are never found in the hadith. The reason why is because several hadith collectors such as Bukhari-- did not trust Ibn Ishaq.
(F) Ibn Ishaq live among the Shi'i Muslims and Jews and was heaviy inspired by Jewish and Shi'i traditions
(I) Ibn Ishaq is refer to as one of the early scholar for the deveopment of Shia. Some of his work is even criticize by Shi'a scholar. His works contains false stories regarding Prophet Muhammad and contradicts the hadith.
(J) Many prominent scholars such as Imam Hanbal had rejected his narrations, others hardly use his narrations in their works.
(K) Ibn Ishaq original biography (Sirah) did not survive. The modern day biography has been mixed and revised with the work of Ibn Hisham