Class by Sh. Hamza Yusuf – recorded in 1998 – Cali – Tape 1 & 2

These notes are for the sake of remembering important details, not for transcribing or going against any copyrights.

  • This class is considered Mandhub (recommended but not required)

Goal of this class: To cover the features of the Prophets life and mission and increase our love of him by learning more about him

  • Books we will cover: Bayquni – Poem, Shama’il – Imam Tirmidi, The Life of Mohammad (saw) – Martin Lings(will cover 30pages a week) -> basically translated the Mukhtasar of Ibn Hisham
  • Other books: Shifa’ …(“The cure in explaining to you the rights of the Prophet Mustafa (saw)”- by Ayaad – definitly get it!

Etiquettes  of this class

  • Wear proper clothing while listening to seerah – Imam Malik used to take a ghusl, scent, turban, burn oud, – good smell reminds us of paradise
  • Prophet (saw) said : “Three things were made beloved for me from this dunya – Perfume, Women, and salaah was made coolness of my eyes. ” There is no extravagence in perfume – after a while you cant smell it, others do smell it, so its Sadaqa, so buy good scent and dont worry if spending much on it. Women obviously not wear perfume outside her home.
  • Lower the eyes, respect your classmates etc.
  • If you speak during the relation of the hadith, youve done a great wrong action. Quran prohibits us to raise our voices in front of the Prophet (saw). Listen to a hadith as if you are listening to it from the mouth of Rasulullah (saw).
  • Imam Maliks face color would change and he would lower his head when he would hear a hadith.

When a subject is taught in Islam- 10 things mentioned before taught- traditional way islamic sciences are taught

  1. Definition: Knowledge of the days of Rasulullah(saw) – Conditions of his family, hunger, house, life,  birth, society, his ancestors, battles. Shamail: His Khalq and Khulooq – His physical appearance and his Character. His Mothers pregnancy, his weaning. Seerah is not Hadith. Hadith literature is concerned with: Aqwaal- words , Afaal- deeds, Taqreraat- Things he saw but didnt condemn them or encourage them. Hadith is used to derive legal rulings, seerah is not.
  2. Topic: Essence of Prophet (saw) in relation to his days, events of his life, descriptive state, moral character
  3. Founder of the Science : The Sahaba – they realized he is the messenger of Allah, he is the last messenger, love of Allah is linked to following the Messenger of Allah. Following the messenger of Allah is not just a worship, but is also concerned with our daily interactions and lifestyle.
  4. Ism – Name : Seerah ( means “The way you go”, the way the prophet (saw) was), Maghazi (means “Intend somthing, a means to acheive somthing” , battles for justice), Al Waqaya( ), Ash Shamail (outword/inward character – good qualities of a person).
  5. Istimdaad – Sources: Those akhbaar, aathaar, hadith (sound hadith, some ulema take even the weak, if meaning is good).
  6. Hukum shar’i – Islamic Legal ruling : Some say Fard Kifayyah, but really Mandhoob for us – Maintaining a love for Rasulullah (saw) – Will understand more Allahs word. It is a condition of Imaan that we love Rasulullah (saw) , from that point you could say its fard, because if you dont know someone , then how can you love him? Its a condition of the soundness of imaan to Love the prophet more than everything except for Allah, even more than yourself. Umar (ra) said : “I love you more than anything other than my ownself”, Rasulullah (saw) said: “Ya Umar, non of you love me truly until he loves me more than his parents, wealth, children, and even his own self” Umar said: “Ya rasulullah(saw) I love you even more than my ownself” Rasulullah (Saw) said: ” Now your imaan is complete“. Studying his seerah is important in acheiving love of Rasulullah(saw).
  7. Conceptualizing the concern of the science (detailed topic description): Detailed description of Rasulullah(Saw) , knowledge of inward and outward qualities, history of his days, and successes and struggles of his life.
  8. Fadhilah- Virtue- Merit of studing the science: Extremely virtuous because we are studying the greatest subject after Allah.
  9. Nisbah- Category (ex: Humanities): Uloom Shari’yya
  10. Benefits derived from learning it: many benefits- 1. Guides you to path of sulook (way one goes down a path) of prophet (saw)- learning about the way Rasulullah(saw) lived in this world – In order that you can imitate this character. The closer you adhere to his character, the closer you become to human perfection. This doesn’t limit women, because Prophet(saw) is most balanced human being-  beautiful(feminine) and majestic(masculine) qualities are balanced in him. Also needed to study character of All the wives of prophet(saw) – examples for men and women. Maryam, Khadija. 2. Fills ones heart with awe of Rasulullah(saw). Order of Closeness to Allah(Surah Yusuf): Prophets, Siddiqqeen(Truthful ones- Maryum, Yusuf, Abu Bakr, and other sahaba and ulema), Martyrs, Salihoon- People of taqwa of Allah- do what Allah tells them and leave what he tells them. After this there is Fasiq,  Kafir/Munafiq. Dont feel safe that your at one of these states, may Allah protect us all, it depends on which state we die in. 3. Increase us in Imaan->increase us in awe -> increase us in taqwa ->we will be safe with Allah. 4. How to draw near to Allah with Sabr and Shukr- ex: All of Prophets children died during his lifetime except for Fatima, he buried all of them – no complain to Allah.- He used to pray at night till his feet swelled, Aisha (ra) used to say- Why do you pray all night, you have been forgiven of all your sins. He (saw) said- “Shouldnt i be a grateful slave” (*Sh. Hamza is crying here*) 5. Husn-his beauty, and Ihsaan- expression of that beauty to others. We incline by our nature towards beauty. Modern society is very ugly, we’ve lost our human nature. Even traditional music, modern music is so yuck unharmonious. traditionally humans beautify themselves, modern now make themselves look ugly(piercings). Classically – men with beards, women with braids, tatoos. Prophet(saw) -” The hearts are naturally inclined to falling in love with people who do good to them”. No one has showed us as much ihsaan as the prophet(saw). Loving him becomes a cause for us to be saved after death. Prophet(saw)-“My love does not permeate the heart of anyone, until Allah prohibits the fire from touching your body” – Love is cellular – people sweat when mention the beloved. Imam Malik’s skin color changed when he heard a hadith.  Somone asked about the last hour, the prophet(saw) asked him”what have you prepared for it”, the man said:”I havent prepared much fasting or salaah, only that I love Allah and His messenger”, then Rasulullah(saw) said:” You will be with whom you love”- Anas(ra): ” We didnt rejoice more than hearing that from Prophet(saw)”

Ta’a – willing obedience . Rasulullah(saw)- “If you love Allah, obey me” Whats important is that: does Allah love me, (Allah has mercy on everyone, love is different)

First Seerah : Seeratu Rasulillah – Abu bakr Ibn Muhammad ibn Ishaq (d. 151AH) – 120 years after Prophets (saw) death

Islamic tradition was oral for first 100 years. Ulema were writing down hadith, quran, but not the way it was taught. Scholars told stories by memory. There are people who memorize entire books by heart (thousands of pages, small print) Can’t appreciate this unless meet a person who can memorize really well. The person was more reliable than the book. Imam Shafi’- “My knowledge is in my breast, its not in a chest back home, if i go to the marketplace its with me, if i go to the masjid its with me”.

  • Muritania – people memorize whole Quran without even looking at a mus’haf – kids listen to teacher and they write it down.
  • Most people don’t have masahif ( Quran written down)
  • More virtuous to read quran from the Mus’haf, so eye and tongue can share in the reward
  • Tarqain shafawi – oral transmission of Qur’an.
  • Now the knowledge is in the books, but the keys to those books are the Scholars. Need to have a sheikh to read classic books properly

Second Seerah: by Imam Al Waqidi –

Most famous now : 3 volume – Abu Muhammad Abdul Malik Ibn Hisham – (d. 219AH) – some people think he took Ibn Ishaq’s seerah and ‘took out the fat and left the skinny’

Other books: Muktasar- Nooral Yaqeen

“We have elevated your rememberance”- Quran – this is shown by all the seerat which are written in so many different languages. Even those languaged which are just oral in Africa.

The fact that Muhammad is called Muhammad – ‘the praised one’ – thats enough of a reason that he’s praise worthy. Even his enemies couldnt say anything bad about them.

Arabs say: “give me an intellegent enemy, not an ignorant friend.” – You can deal with an intellegent enemy, but the firend wants to help you but he really harms you.

Asbaab un Nuzool – “Reasons why things are revealed” – Verses in the Quran are explained through the seerah – example: During the Prophet(saw) wedding night dinner three guests stayed longer than was comfortable for the prophet (saw) but he didnt say anything. Then Allah revealed an ayat saying that you should leave the gathering after your done with the food.

Two types of actions of Prophet(saw):

  1. Aada (yaeedu- something you return to) – A Norm – habit -Ex: When he walked, if somone called him, he would stop and turn fully around. Ex: he ate on the floor, its not a hukm shari’. Ex: He liked squash – we should too because thats how sahaba acted after. Ex: Grapes – He would put a few grapes in his mouth from the stem and pull the stem and some of the juice would go onto his beard (saw). Ex: He liked watermelon – one scholar didnt like to eat watermelon until he knew how he ate the watermelon. Human beings are imitative by nature. (when baby first born, they only have vision focused from breast to the face of the mother.) Allah says: “You have in the messenger of Allah the best of example to imitate” Find people who follow the prophet (saw) most and learn from them
  2. Ibada – An act of Worship –

Proverb of the arabs: “Everything is an aada, even ibaada”

Some say that theres no use or benefit in learning how the Prophet (saw) looked or dressed. But then why did the sahaba transmitt all these hadith which describe the prophet(saw). The lover wants to know everything about the beloved. ex: “Really what was she wearing? Oh a blue dress?”

Imam Al Busairi – its said that he died out of love of rasulullah (saw), just yearning to be with him

Ibn al Qayim Al Jawzeeya – in  Zaad Al Ma’aad – if the facilitisness of the two abodes is connected to the guidance of rasulullah (saw), then it becomes incombent on anyone who is sincere with his soul to desire his souls safety and salvation, he has to do that through learning about the seerah in order to remove him from the ignorant people and to place him among those who follow the prophet(saw).


  1. When prophet (saw) said he loved women – means that he loved the qualities which women posess – Rahma- Merciful Love,  men have to strive towards this. Women tend to be by nature humble.  There are more divine qualities in a women than in a man.
  2. Prophet(saw)- “Whoever see’s me in a dream has seen me, because shaytaan cannot take my form” – If there is an attribute of him in your dream which is not an attribute of his , then that is rasulullah(saw) telling you about your faults. No hukm shari’ (islamic ruling) related to the dream.