KATIBU ‘L-WAQIDI كاتب الواقدي
The secretary of al-Waqidi. A Muslim historian, largely quoted by Sir William Muir in his Life of Mahomet, and also by Sprenger, and often given as an authority in the present work.
Mr. Ameer Ali in his Life of Muhammad (London, 1873), couples the name of Katibu l-Waqidi with that of al-Waqidi himself, as regarded by “the Muslim as the least trustworthy and most careless biographers of Muhammad,” and quotes Ibn Khalliakan in support of his opinion. It is quite true that Ibn Khallikan does speak of the traditions received by al-Waqidi as “of feeble authority,” but he bears testimony to the trustworthiness of al-Waqidi’ secretary in the strongest terms, as will be seen in the following quotation, and it is manifestly unfair of Mr. Ameer Ali to couple the two names together in his preface: –
“Abu Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Saad Ibn Mani za-Zuhri, was a man of the highest talents, merit, and eminence. He lived for some time with al-Wakidi [WAQIDI] in the character of a secretary, and for this reason he became known by the appellation of Karibu-l-Wakidi. Amongst the masters, under who he studied was Sofyian Ibn Oyaina. Traditional information was delivered on his own authority by Abu Bakr Ibn Abid-Dunya and Abu Muhammad al-Harith Ibn Abi Osama at-Tamimi. He composed an excellent work, in fifteen volume, on the different classes (tabakat) of Muhammad’s companions and of the Tabis. It contains also a history of the khalif brought down to his own time. He left also a smaller Tabakat. His character as a veracious and trustworthy historian is universally admitted. It is said that the complete collection of al-Wakidi’s works remained in the possession of four persons, the first of whom was his secretary, Muhammad ibn Saad. This distinguished writer displayed great acquirements in the sciences, the traditions, and traditional literature; most of his books treat of the traditions and law. The Khatib Abu Bakr, author of the history of Baghdad, speaks of him in these terms: ‘We consider Muhammad ibn Saad as a man of unimpeachable integrity, and the Traditions which he delivered are a proof of his veracity, for in the greater part of the information handed down by him, we find him discussing it, passage by passage.’ He was a mawla (slave) to al-Husain Ibn Abd Allah Ibn Obaid Allah Ibn al-Abbas Ibn Abd al-Muttalib. He died at Baghdad on Sunday the 4th of the latter Jumada, A.H. 203 (December, A.D. 818), at the age of sixty-two years, and was interred in the cemetery outside the Damascus gate (Bab as-Sham.)” – (Ibn Khallikan, Biog. Dict, in loco.)
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam