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There are often anomalies and differences in various narrations that appear in the seerah (biography) of the prophet Muhammed (saw). These need further investigating and reconciling in order to determine which is correct.

Examples include:

  • Biruni (d. 1048 CE) in his account of Islamic history, states a significant divergency of opinion about the dating of the birth of the Messenger and when he was entrusted with his divine mission such that neither could become
    'the basis of something which must be agreed upon universally' (cited in Peters, 1994b:98).
  • Ibn Kathir in his al-Sirah al-Nabawwiya narrates a couple of conflicting dates when the prophesy mentioned in Mecca came true regarding the Byzantine victory over the Persians. One narration states it was less than ten days and the other suggests it was some years later in Medina around the battle of Badr or the treaty of Hudaibiyyah. (Vol. 2, p. 61)
  • Ibn Kathir in his al-Sirah al-Nabawwiya cites two opinions regarding the dating of the Isra and Miraj, the night journey to the heavens - one shortly after the Messenger (saw) received revelation, and the other around ten years later (Vol. 2, p. 65)
  • Some seerahs like that of Mubarakpuri claim the first three years of revelation in Mecca comprised a private phase, whilst others argue the message was public from day one.
  • Ibn Saad's Tabaqat cites various narrations regarding how long the messenger was in Mecca and Medina - with estimates varying from 10 years in each to 13-15 years in Mecca and the rest in Medina. (Vol. 1, p. 250)

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