Translator's Preface

Haykal's Hayat Muhammad has a long and strange story. Its translation into English and publication by the University of Chicago Press was discussed by numerous western experts in the forties and early fifties. Obvious as the need for a scholarly sympathetic biography of the Prophet may be, negotiations took years to complete. Agreement, however, was not reached until 1964. When in 1968 the translation was completed, approved by the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, Cairo, Egypt, and the University of Chicago Press, the manuscript copy edited, and its actual production begun, mysterious forces intervened and the University of Chicago Press unilaterally withdrew from its agreement.

Another agreement was negotiated de novo between the same parties and Temple University Press, on practically the same terms as Chicago, in 1969. Five years passed with little or no action. Then, mysterious forces again intervened and resulted in the unilateral withdrawal of Temple University Press from its agreement.

This Determined opposition to the publication of the work did not dissuade the translator from preparing this new translation with the encouragement of the Muslim Students' Association of the United States and Canada, an agency interested in the promotion of Islamic scholarship.

Temple University

"God and His angels bless the Prophet. O men who have believed: Invoke God's peace and blessing upon him" (Al-Qur'an, 33: 56)


In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

Praise be to God, Lord of the universe,
The Gracious, the Merciful,
Master of the Day of Judgment.
You alone we worship; You alone we implore for help.
Guide us unto the straight path
The path of those whom You have blessed,
Those who have not incurred Your displeasure,
Those who have not gone astray.

Amen (Al-Qur'an, 1:1-7)


Translator's Acknowledgments

The assistance of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, Arab Republic of Egypt, in making the translation of this work possible; of Professor Roger Parsell in copy editing; of Professor Erdogan Gurmen, Sr. Freda Shamma, Miss Andree Coers, Mrs. Margaret Peirce, Dr. Lois Lamiya’ al Faruqi, and Dr. Kaukab Siddique in proofreading; of Sr. Anmar al Faruqi in preparing the index; of Dr. Lois Lamya’ al Faruqi in preparing the maps and illustrations; and of the North American Islamic Trust in the production of this book is gratefully acknowledged.

I wish to acknowledge with thanks the financial help and encouragement extended to this work by the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, Saudi Arabia.