21867131911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 14 — Ibn IsḥāqGriffithes Wheeler Thatcher

IBN ISHĀQ [Mahommed ibn Isḥāq Abū ‛Abdallāh] (d. 768), Arabic historian, lived in Medina, where he interested himself to such an extent in the details of the Prophet’s life that he was attacked by those to whom his work seemed to have a rationalistic tendency. He consequently left Medina in 733, and went to Alexandria, then to Kufa and Hira, and finally to Bagdad, where the caliph Manṣūr provided him with the means of writing his great work. This was the Life of the Apostle of God, which is now lost and is known to us only in the recension of Ibn Hishām (q.v.). The work has been attacked by Arabian writers (as in the Fihrist) as untrustworthy, and it seems clear that he introduced forged verses (cf. Journal of the German Oriental Society, xiv. 288 sqq.). It remains, however, one of the most important works of the age.  (G. W. T.)