Encyclopedia Brittanica - The Qurʾān provides very few concrete details regarding Muhammad’s life. Most such information thus comes from the sīrah (“biography”) literature, consisting of accounts of his life by various writers dating mainly from the 8th and 9th centuries. Those reports are not consistent, however, and some include miraculous elements or stories obviously adapted from the Bible. By carefully comparing accounts, scholars have identified common elements that were in circulation by the late 7th century, and some rudimentary details are confirmed by non-Islamic sources (e.g., a Syriac chronicle and an Armenian history) dating to the first few decades after his traditional death date.
The Qurʾān yields little concrete biographical information about the Islamic Prophet: it addresses an individual “messenger of God,” whom a number of verses call Muhammad (e.g., 3:144), and speaks of a pilgrimage sanctuary that is associated with the “valley of Mecca” and the Kaʿbah (e.g., 2:124–129, 5:97, 48:24–25). Certain verses assume that Muhammad and his followers dwell at a settlement called al-madīnah(“the town”) or Yathrib (e.g., 33:13, 60) after having previously been ousted by their unbelieving foes, presumably from the Meccan sanctuary (e.g., 2:191). Other passages mention military encounters between Muhammad’s followers and the unbelievers. These are sometimes linked with place-names, such as the passing reference to a victory at a place called Badr at 3:123. However, the text provides no dates for any of the historical events it alludes to, and almost none of the Qurʾānic messenger’s contemporaries are mentioned by name (a rare exception is at 33:37). Hence, even if one accepts that the Qurʾānic corpus authentically documents the preaching of Muhammad, taken by itself it simply does not provide sufficient information for even a concise biographical sketch.