Al-Waqidi originally earned a living as a wheat trader, but when a calamity struck at the age of 50, he migrated to Iraq during the reign of Harun ar-Rashid. Western orientalists who enjoyed his writings include Martin Lings. Modern scholars generally classify Futuh al-Sham as a falsely-attributed later work, dating it to around the time of the Crusades , though some scholars believe a small portion of the text may be traced back to al-Waqidi. If one storyteller should happen to mention a raid, the next storyteller would know the date of this raid, while the third would know everything that an audience might wish to hear about. But given that this information was all unknown to Ibn Ishaq, its value is doubtful in the extreme.
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It is sometimes written as "seera", "sirah" or "sirat", all meaning "life" or "journey". In Islamic literature, the plural form, siyar, could also refer to the rules of war and dealing with non-Muslims. These stories are intended as historical accounts and are used for veneration. It also records some of the speeches and sermons made by Muhammad, like his speech at the Farewell Pilgrimage. These parts were often used by writers of tafsir and asbab al-nuzul to provide background information for events mentioned in certain ayat.
Many of these storytellers are now unknown. Thus they were banned from preaching at mosques. However, Fred Donner points out that the earliest historical writings about the origins of Islam first emerged in AH, well within the first century of Hijra see also List of biographies of Muhammad. Furthermore, the sources now extant, dating from the second, third, and fourth centuries AH, are mostly compilations of material derived from earlier sources. Yet, despite the lack of a single orthodoxy in Islam, there is still a marked agreement on the most general features of the traditional origins story.
Scholar Patricia Crone found a pattern, where the farther a commentary was removed in time from the life of Muhammad and the events in the Quran, the more information it provided, despite the fact it depended on the earlier sources for its content.
If one storyteller should happen to mention a raid, the next storyteller would know the date of this raid, while the third would know everything that an audience might wish to hear about.
But there are also similarities and agreements both in information specific to Muhammad,  and concerning Muslim tradition at large. He wrote letters replying to inquiries of the Umayyad caliphs, Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan and al-Walid I , involving questions about certain events that happened in the time of the Prophet. He is not known to have written any books on the subject. Several books were ascribed to him but none of them are now extant. Some of his traditions have been preserved, although their attribution to him is disputed.
His traditions survived through a number of sources, most notably Ibn Hisham and Ibn Jarir al-Tabari. Ibn Jurayj d.
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