Al-Waqidi bigraphy, stories - Historian

Al-Waqidi : biography

– 822

Abu `Abdullah Muhammad Ibn ‘Omar Ibn Waqid al-Aslami (Arabic ) (c. 130 – 207 AH; c. 748 – 822 AD), commonly referred to as al-Waqidi (Arabic: ), was an early Muslim historian and biographer of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad specializing in his campaigns. Al-Waqidi served as a judge (qadi) for Harun al-Rashid and Al-Ma’mun.

It was said by the prominent Sunni scholar, Ahmad bin Hanbal in regards to Al-waqidi: "He is a liar." Other famous Sunni scholars like Al-Bukhari and Abu Hatim al-Razi said in regards to Al-Waqidi’s work: "His narrations are not retained, and their bane comes from him." Western orientalists who enjoy his writings include Martin Lings


He was born and educated in Medina. When Harun al-Rashid made his hajj in 186 AH, and intended to visit Medina, he sent his vizier Yahya ibn Khalid 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.


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 that are important supplements to the "Sirat Rasul Allah" of Prophet Muhammad ibn Ishaq, 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 "Battles" (Arabic "Ghrazwat") made by Prophet Muhammad while he was resident of Medina. al-Waqidi has been frequently criticized by Muslim writers, who claim that he is unreliable."Muhammad", in P.J. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs et al., Encyclopædia of Islam, 2nd Edition. (Leiden: E. J. Brill) 12 Vols. published between 1960 and 2005. Imam Shafi’i says that"the books written by Al-Waqidi are nothing but heaps of lies".

Another work occasionally ascribed to al-Waqidi, "Futuh al-Sham" ("Conquests of Syria"), is not authentic; it contains characters from the sixth Islamic century, long after the time when the real al-Waqidi lived. Many modern scholars accordingly refer to its author as "Pseudo-Waqidi."Walter E. Kaegi, Byzantium and the Early Islamic Conquests, (Cambridge, 2000) 159 n. 34, 172–173.


Category:822 deaths Category:Arab historians Category:9th-century historians Category:9th-century writers Category:Muslim historians Category:Year of birth unknown