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Al-Waqidi

Al-Waqidi

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Abu `Abdullah Muhammad Ibn ‘Omar Ibn Waqid al-Aslami (Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 ) (c. 130 - 207 AH
Islamic calendar
The Hijri calendar , also known as the Muslim calendar or Islamic calendar , is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. It is used to date events in many Muslim countries , and used by Muslims everywhere to determine the proper day on which to celebrate Islamic...

; c. 748 - 822 AD
Anno Domini
and Before Christ are designations used to label or number years used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars....

), commonly referred to as al-Waqidi (Arabic: ), was an early Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 historian
Historian
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

.

He was born and educated in Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

. When Harun al-Rashid
Harun al-Rashid
Hārūn al-Rashīd was the fifth Arab Abbasid Caliph in Iraq. He was born in Rey, Iran, close to modern Tehran. His birth date remains a point of discussion, though, as various sources give the dates from 763 to 766)....

 made his hajj
Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

 in 186 AH, and intended to visit Medina, he sent his vizier Yahya ibn Khalid
Yahya ibn Khalid
Yahya ibn Khalid , yaḥyā bin ḫālid) was a member of the powerful Persian Barmakids family, son of Khalid ibn Barmak. Around 765, he was appointed to Azerbaijan by the Caliph Al-Mansur. Yahya's son Fadl ibn Yahya was born at Ar-Reiy, at the same time as Caliph al-Mahdi's son Harun...

 ibn Barmak ahead to locate a suitable guide, and Yahya chose al-Waqidi. Al-Waqidi then followed the caliph back to Baghdad where he lived thereafter. At the time of his death he was qadi
Qadi
Qadi is a judge ruling in accordance with Islamic religious law appointed by the ruler of a Muslim country. Because Islam makes no distinction between religious and secular domains, qadis traditionally have jurisdiction over all legal matters involving Muslims...

 of the western side of Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

.

Al-Waqidi was a tireless collector of traditions and the author of many books. His secretary, Muhammad Ibn Sa`d was also a famous historian. He made use of the information collected by al-Waqidi. Both of them wrote biographies of the prophet Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 that are important supplements to the "Sirat Rasul Allah" of Muhammad ibn Ishaq
Ibn Ishaq
Muḥammad ibn Isḥaq ibn Yasār ibn Khiyār was an Arab Muslim historian and hagiographer...

, but al-Waqidi's has survived only in part.

Only one of al-Waqidi's works has survived - "Kitab al-Tarikh wa al-Maghazi" ("Book of History and Campaigns") which describes the campaigns or more accurately "raids" (Arabic "Ghrazwat
Ghazw
Ghazi or ghazah is an Arabic term that means "to raid/foray." From it evolved the word "Ghazwa" which specifically refers to a battle led by the Islamic prophet Muhammad.In English language literature the word often appears as razzia, deriving from French, although it probably...

") made by Muhammad while he was ruling in Medina. Another work still often ascribed to al-Waqidi, "Futuh al-Sham" ("Conquests of Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

"), contains characters from the sixth Islamic century, long after the time al-Waqidi lived. al-Waqidi has been frequently criticized by Muslim writers, who claim that he is unreliable. Imam Shafi'i says that"the books written by Al-Waqidi are nothing but heaps of lies".