University platform for research on Islam

Initiated by
the Federation
of European

Supported by
the International
of Catholic

Référence :

in Christian Cannuyer et Catherine Vialle, (éd.), dans Acta Orientalia belgica XXVIII – Les naissances merveilleuses en Orient, Bruxelles, 2015, p. 307-321.


The birth of the prophet Muhammad : thematic and literary approach to traditional texts

Original title : “La naissance du prophète Muhammad – Approche thématique et littéraire des textes traditionnels”


Our approach of the texts surrounding the birth and childhood of the Prophet MuÌammad in the Sîra, is more literary than historical. It seemed appropriate to revisit these texts, well known to scholars, in an intertextual perspective that tends to establish any formal or substantial link with the biblical literature. After the genealogies, we present successively the announcements and the warning signs of the Prophet’s birth, the stories of the events with their cosmic and wonderful character, and finally the episode of the monk Bahira. Our investigation has brought new elements, especially the clear link between the episode of the dream of King Rabi’a and the text of Daniel. This is the first time, it seems, that this is highlighted. In addition, we found a few direct or allusive references to the books of Genesis, Jonah, Daniel and the Psalms, and the Gospels of Matthew, Luke and John.

Notre approche des textes entourant la naissance et l’enfance du Prophète MuÌammad dans la Sîra est plus littéraire qu’historique. Il a semblé opportun de revisiter ces textes, bien connus des savants, dans une perspective intertextuelle qui vise à établir un lien formel ou substantiel avec la littérature biblique. Après les généalogies, nous présentons successivement les annonces et les signes avant-coureurs de la naissance du Prophète, les récits des événements avec leur caractère cosmique et merveilleux, et enfin l’épisode du moine Bahira. Notre enquête a apporté de nouveaux éléments, notamment le lien clair entre l’épisode du rêve du roi Rabi’a et le livre de Daniel. C’est la première fois, semble-t-il, que cela est mis en évidence. De plus, nous avons trouvé quelques références directes ou allusives aux livres de la Genèse, Jonas, Daniel, les Psaumes, et aux Évangiles de Matthieu, Luc et Jean.

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