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Again:— "Legends, elaborately composed episodes, and marvels, form the sole matter which, during the first four or five decades after Mahomet's death (i.e. to A.H. 50 or 60), were formularised out of the history of the Prophet. And, once more, speaking of Campaigns: `these form the kernel of the chronological history of Mahomet, and constitute almost the only historical material furnished us by the systematic biographers, such as Ibn Ishâc'" (p. lxiv.).

Now these views appear erroneous and misleading in several respects. They altogether ignore the merit and value of the Biographers, which in other places are fully admitted by Sprenger himself. It is not the case that their works are entirely composed of legend and romance, to the exclusion, or nearly so, of fact. The marriage of Mahomet, the birth of his daughters, the persecution and consequent flight to Abyssinia, the Prophet's "lapse," the long-continued ban and its cancelment, the death of Khadîja and Abu Tâleb, the marriage with Sauda and betrothal to Ayesha, the visit to Tâyif, the meeting with the citizens of Medina and the contract made with them;—surely these and many other incidents, all prior to the Flight, are based on fact and not on fiction. The truth appears to be that the Biographers made use of whatever material they found to their hand, and, free from the shackles of the Sunna, they adopted the current legends and marvellous episodes with the rest; but, far from confining themselves to these, they constrained into their service every kind of tradition pertinent to their subject: and it is thus that Wâckidi and his Secretary are specially commended elsewhere by Sprenger, for their diligence in the collection of traditions, and care in verifying them by the requisite authorities. Like the whole race of early Mahometan writers, the Biographers endeavoured (and that not seldom by questionable means) to glorify Mahomet and magnify Islam; but there is no reason to doubt that otherwise they sought honestly to give a true picture of the Prophet; that while they admit some legendary tales excluded from the Sunna, their work's are to a very great extent composed of precisely the same material; and that they are, moreover, less under the influence of theological bias than were the collectors of the Sunna

Further, in respect of the episodes themselves, these are not always absolute fictions, as represented by Sprenger. The repetition 


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