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Scholars such as Madelung do not reject the narrations which have been compiled in later periods, but judge them in the context of history and on the basis of their compatibility with the events and figures.Muslim scholars on the other hand typically place a greater emphasis on the hadith literature instead of the biographical literature, since hadiths maintain a verifiable chain of transmission (isnad); the lack of such a chain for the biographical literature makes it less verifiable in their eyes.At the age of six, Muhammad lost his biological mother Amina to illness and became an orphan.
Tradition places the year of Muhammad's birth as corresponding with the Year of the Elephant, which is named after the failed destruction of Mecca that year by the Abraha, Yemen's king, who supplemented his army with elephants.
Tribal affiliation, whether based on kinship or alliances, was an important source of social cohesion.
Indigenous Arabs were either nomadic or sedentary, the former constantly travelling from one place to another seeking water and pasture for their flocks, while the latter settled and focused on trade and agriculture.
Muhammad is sometimes addressed by designations deriving from his state at the time of the address: thus he is referred to as the enwrapped (al-muzzammil) in Quran 73:1 and the shrouded (al-muddaththir) in Quran 74:1.
The earliest surviving written sira (biographies of Muhammad and quotes attributed to him) is Ibn Ishaq's Life of God's Messenger written c. Although the work was lost, this sira was used at great length by Ibn Hisham and to a lesser extent by Al-Tabari.
Nomadic survival also depended on raiding caravans or oases; nomads did not view this as a crime.