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Title: On the margins of Sira : Mughulta'i (689-762/1290-1361) and his place in the development of Sira literature
Author: Miskinzoda, Gurdofarid
ISNI:       0000 0004 2670 7506
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis is a study of Mughultai's work entitled al-Zahr al-basim fi siyar Abi al-Qasim (literally "Smiling blossom in the siras of Abu al-Qasim") and seeks to place it within the wider genre of slra literature. The thesis argues that this work of Mughultai is not a sira as has generally been believed until now. Instead, I argue that al-Zahr is a commentary similar to the work upon which it tries to comment: the famous commentary on Ibn Hisham's (d. ca. 218/812-3) sira by al-Suhayi (d. 581/1185), al-Rawd al-unuf A narrative of Muhammad's life is provided by another work of MughultaJI, entitled Kitab al-Ishara, which the author himself described as an abridged version of al-Zahr. The reasons for my interpretation of al-Zahr are presented in Chapter 3 of the thesis. This chapter attempts to describe the genre of sira by proposing several fundamental characteristics that distinguish it from other genres of Muslim literary and historical tradition. In a wider sense, the thesis is concerned with the development of sira literature. Here I compare early works with those of later periods to identify changes and shifts within this broad corpus of texts. Due to the sheer amount of the material, I have identified several particularly rich case studies in around fifteen works of sira representing various stages of its development. In analyzing these cases as well as contemporary scholarly approaches to the study of sira, I address questions such as how do we recognize a work of sira; what is the place of sira in relation to other representatives of Muslim literary tradition; and how far does slra reflect the concerns and preconceptions of the generations that produced our sira texts? These questions are addressed with the aim of understanding the dynamics of this complex literature and how the authors working within the tradition perceived their task in relation to its aim and purposes, not with the aim of historical reconstruction of the life of the Prophet. Finally, the biography of the author of my main text, Mughultai is re-examined by utilising primary sources of the period. This examination takes into account the political, social and intellectual milieu of his time and its effect on his scholarly career.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available