Four Facts About Seerah, the Study of the Life of the Prophet
1. Every Muslim is encouraged to study Seerah.
Muslims look to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as their role model, and they strive to emulate him and love him more than they love their own selves. One of the best ways to achieve this is to learn about him and his life. The study of the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is known as seerah. This subject covers his day to
day life, interactions with Companions and family, his role as a leader, as well as his characteristics and mannerisms. The more people learn about the life of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), the more they learn about his devotion to his Lord and his concern for all of humankind. This results in an appreciation and a love for the Prophet
(peace be upon him), and hopefully, a motivation to follow his ways.
2. The Seerah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) does not begin with his birth.
When studying the seerah, or the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him), one cannot begin with the day he was born. Unlike other biographical works of famous figures in history, the study of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) life begins generations prior.
Sometimes, the books of seerah begin as far back as the time of the Prophet Ibrahim (or Abraham) and his sons. Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) came from the line of Prophet Ismaeel (Ishmael), the son of Ibrahim. Because of this, many seerah sources begin with this time in history and the settling of Ismaeel and his mother in Makkah, even though they were alive many generations before Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This sets the scene of where he would come into existence much later and the pure ancestral line he came from.
3. What we know of the Seerah comes from the Companions.
The Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) loved him deeply. As a result, they paid close attention to his behaviors and his life and kept a record of it. They then passed this knowledge on for the benefit of all Muslims who would come after them. They closely followed in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), knowing that his way of life was accepted and beloved to God. Thanks to them, Muslims today have a guideline of how they should aspire to behave.
4. Knowledge of the Seerah can provide context for Quran and Hadith.
Many verses and narrations that come in the Quran and Hadith require a bit more context to fully understand the situation. Knowledge of the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) comes in quite handy at these moments. Take for example this verse: “Your Lord has not forsaken you, nor has become displeased” (Q. 93:3). When read alone,
there is no context at all to understand this verse.
But the seerah paints the background scene during which this revelation came down. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had not received revelation for some time prior to this verse and was dealing with his enemies taunting him. The thought of his Lord becoming displeased with him had eventually settled into his head, and that is when Allah reassured him this was in no way the case.