Professor Guillaume’s translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah
is now reissued. The translator used Ibn Hisham’s abridgement and also included many additions and variants found in the writings of early authors. The book thus presents in English practically all that is known of the life of the Prophet.
In the introduction, the translator discusses the character of the Sira in the light of the opinion of early Arabian scholars, noting especially the difficulties of the poetry. As the earliest monument of Arabian prose literature, the Sira remains a work of the first importance.
Alfred Guillaume (1888–1966) was Professor of Arabic and Head of the Department of the Near and Middle East in the SOAS, University of London, UK.