The Impact of Non-Islamic Sources on the Sirah-Writing: An Analytical Study of the Contemporary Western Scholarship
Keywords:Western, Orientalists, Sources of Sīrah, Islamic Literature, Non-Islamic Sources, Muḥammad
The eighteenth century Europe witnessed the application of the newly introduced historical-critical methods to the social sciences. Relying upon such methods, some Western scholars criticized the traditional approaches to the Islamic studies. Although the major Islamic sources were translated into European languages and thus became widely accessible, they incorporated several non-Islamic sources in the study of Islamic history and civilization after discovering them from the ancient archives. Hence, it is also claimed that there are some covenants allegedly concluded by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) with certain Christian communities of his time, which are surprisingly not recorded in the classical Islamic literature. Thus, this kind of non-Islamic sources have significantly drawn the attention of both Muslim and non-Muslim historians across the globe. This paper attempts to apply the criteria of Islamic sources set by the classical Islamic scholars, to the non-Islamic sources in order to examine the latter’s authenticity. The conclusion reached by the scholars in this regard shows the latter’s disagreement with a number of established Islamic doctrines. Moreover, it expounds how and to what extent one can rely upon the non-Islamic sources in this regard.