Arabic pronunciation: [ħadiːθ]
, pl. aḥādīth
Arabic pronunciation: [ʔaħadiːθ]
, literally means "talk" or "discourse") or Athar
, literally means "tradition")
in Islam refers to what the majority of Muslims
believe to be a record of the words, actions, and the silent approval of the Islamic prophet Muhammad
. In other words, the ḥadīth are reports about what the Prophet Muhammad said and did. As noted by Dr Emad Hamdeh
, each report is a piece of data about the Prophet; when collected, these data points paint a larger picture which is referred to as the Sunnah
Hadith have been called "the backbone" of Islamic civilization
and within that religion the authority of hadith as a source for religious law and moral guidance ranks second only to that of the Quran
(which Muslims hold to be the word of God
revealed to Muhammad). Scriptural authority for hadith comes from the Quran which enjoins Muslims to emulate Muhammad and obey his judgments (in verses such as 24:54
While the number of verses pertaining to law in the Quran is relatively few, hadith give direction on everything from details of religious obligations (such as Ghusl
prayer), to the correct forms of salutations
and the importance of benevolence to slaves.
Thus the "great bulk" of the rules of Sharia
(Islamic law) are derived from hadith, rather than the Quran.[Note 2]
is the Arabic word for things like speech, report, account, narrative.:471
Unlike the Quran, not all Muslims believe that hadith accounts (or at least not all hadith accounts) are divine revelation. Hadith were not written down by Muhammad's followers immediately after his death but many generations later when they were collected, collated and compiled into a great corpus of Islamic literature
. Different collections of hadīth would come to differentiate the different branches of the Islamic faith.
There are many modern Muslims (some of whom call themselves Quranists
but many are also known as Submitters) who believe that most Hadiths are actually fabrications (pseudepigrapha
created in the 8th and 9th century CE, and which are falsely attributed to Muhammad.
Because some hadith include questionable and even contradictory statements, the authentication of hadith became a major field of study
In its classic form a hadith has two parts—the chain of narrators who have transmitted the report (the isnad
), and the main text of the report (the matn
Individual hadith are classified by Muslim clerics and jurists into categories such as sahih
("good") or da'if
However, different groups and different scholars may classify a hadith differently.
In Arabic, the noun ḥadīth
) means "report", "account", or "narrative".
Its Arabic plural is aḥādīth
also refers to the speech of a person.
In Islamic terminology, according to Juan Campo, the term hadith
refers to reports of statements or actions of Muhammad, or of his tacit approval or criticism of something said or done in his presence.
Classical hadith specialist Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani
says that the intended meaning of hadith
in religious tradition is something attributed to Muhammad but that is not found in the Quran.
Scholar Patricia Crone
includes reports by others than Muhammad in her definition of hadith: "short reports (sometimes just a line or two) recording what an early figure, such as a companion of the prophet
or Muhammad himself, said or did on a particular occasion, prefixed by a chain of transmitters". But she adds that "nowadays, hadith almost always means hadith from Muhammad himself."
However, according to the Shia Islam Ahlul Bayt Digital Library Project, "... when there is no clear Qur’anic statement, nor is there a Hadith upon which Muslim schools have agreed. ... Shi’a ... refer to Ahlul-Bayt [the family of Muhammad] for deriving the Sunnah of Prophet" — implying that while hadith is limited to the "Traditions" of Muhammad, the Shia Sunna draws on the sayings, etc. of the Ahlul-Bayt
i.e. the Imams
of Shia Islam.
Distinction from sunnah
The word sunnah
is also used in reference to a normative custom of Muhammad or the early Muslim community
Another source (Joseph A. Islam) distinguishes between the two saying:
Whereas the 'Hadith' is an oral communication that is allegedly derived from the Prophet or his teachings, the 'Sunna' (quite literally: mode of life, behaviour or example) signifies the prevailing customs of a particular community or people. ... A 'Sunna' is a practice which has been passed on by a community from generation to generation en masse, whereas the hadith are reports collected by later compilers often centuries removed from the source. ... A practice which is contained within the Hadith may well be regarded as Sunna, but it is not necessary that a Sunna would have a supporting hadith sanctioning it.
Distinction from other literature
Islamic literary classifications similar to hadith (but not sunna
) are maghazi
. They differed from hadith in being organized "relatively chronologically" rather than by subject.
(literally "way of going" or "conduct"), biographies of Muhammad, written since the middle of the eighth century. Similar writings called Maghazi
(literally "raid") preceded the Sirat-literature, focusing on military actions of Muhammad, but also included non-military aspects of his life.
So there is overlap in meaning of the terms, though maghazi
suggests military aspects rather than general biographical ones.
Other "traditions" of Islam related to hadith including:
- khabar (literally news, information, pl. akhbar) may be used as a synonym for hadith, but some scholars use it to refer to traditions about Muhammad's companions and their successors from the following generation, in contrast to hadith as defined as traditions about Muhammad himself. Another definition (by Ibn Warraq) describes them as "discrete anecdotes or reports" from early Islam which "include simple statements, utterances of authoritative scholars, saints, or statesmen, reports of events, and stories about historical events all varying in length from one line to several pages."
- Conversely, athar (trace, vestige) usually refers to traditions about the companions and successors, though sometimes connotes traditions about Muhammad.
According to Schacht, (and other scholars)
in the very first generations after the death of Muhammad, use of hadith from Sahabah
("companions" of Muhammad) and Tabi‘un
("successors" of the companions) "was the rule", while use of hadith of Muhammad himself by Muslims was "the exception".
Schacht credits Al-Shafi‘i
— founder of the Shafi'i
school of fiqh
) — with establishing the principle of the use of the hadith of Muhammad for Islamic law, and emphasizing the inferiority of hadith of anyone else, saying hadiths
"from other persons are of no account in the face of a tradition from the Prophet, whether they confirm or contradict it; if the other persons had been aware of the tradition from the Prophet, they would have followed it".
This led to "the almost complete neglect" of traditions from Companions and others.
Collections of hadith sometimes mix those of Muhammad with the reports of others. Muwatta Imam Malik
is usually described as "the earliest written collection of hadith" but sayings of Muhammad are “blended with the sayings of the companions”,
(822 hadith from Muhammad and 898 from others, according to the count of one edition).
In Introduction to Hadith
by Abd al-Hadi al-Fadli, Kitab Ali
is referred to as "the first hadith book of the Ahl al-Bayt
(family of Muhammad) to be written on the authority of the Prophet". However, the acts, statements or approval of prophet Muhammad is called "Marfu hadith", the acts, statement or approval of companions are called "mawquf(موقوف)hadith", the acts, statement or approval of Tabi'un
are called "maqtu'(مقطوع)hadith".
Hadith and Quran
Importance of hadith complementing the Quran
Among the verses cited as proof that the Quran called on Muslims "to refrain from that which [Muhammad] forbade, to obey him and to accept his rulings" in addition to obeying the Quran,
- "And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad (SAW)) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it), and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment" [al-Hashr 59:7]
- "Say: "Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, but if you turn away, he (Messenger Muhammad (SAW)) is only responsible for the duty placed on him (i.e. to convey Allah’s Message) and you for that placed on you. If you obey him, you shall be on the right guidance. The Messengers duty is only to convey (the message) in a clear way (i.e. to preach in a plain way)" [an-Noor 24:54]
- "We sent no Messenger, but to be obeyed by Allah's Leave" [an-Nisa’ 4:64]
- "But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad (SAW)) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission" [an-Nisa’ 4:65].
Compilation of Quran and hadith
The hadith literature in use today is based on spoken reports in circulation after the death of Muhammad
. Unlike the Quran, hadith were not promptly written down during Muhammad's life or immediately after his death.
Hadith were oral to in writing evaluated
and gathered into large collections during the 8th and 9th centuries, generations after the death of Muhammad
, after the end of the era of the Rashidun Caliphate
, over 1,000 km (620 mi) from where Muhammad lived.
"Many thousands of times" more numerous than Quranic verses,
ahadith have been described as resembling layers surrounding the “core” of the Islamic belief (the Quran). Well-known, widely accepted hadith make up the narrow inner layer, with a hadith becoming less reliable and accepted with each layer stretching outward.
The reports of Muhammad's (and sometimes companions) behavior collected by hadith compilers include details of ritual religious practice such as the five salat
(obligatory Islamic prayers) that are not found in the Quran, but also everyday behavior such as table manners,
Hadith are also regarded by Muslims as important tools for understanding things mentioned in the Quran but not explained, a source for tafsir
(commentaries written on the Quran).
Some important elements, which are today taken to be a long-held part of Islamic practice and belief are not mentioned in the Quran, but are reported in hadiths.
Therefore, Muslims usually maintain that hadiths are a necessary requirement for the true and proper practice of Islam, as it gives Muslims the nuanced details of Islamic practice and belief in areas where the Quran is silent. An example are the obligatory prayers, which are commanded in the Quran, but explained in hadith.
Details of prescribed movements and words of the prayer (known as rakat's
) and how many times they are to be performed, are found in hadith. However, hadiths differ on these details and consequently salat
is performed differently by different hadithist Islamic sects.[Note 3]
Quranists, on the contrary, hold that if the Quran is silent on some matter, it is because God did not hold its detail to be of consequence; and that some hadith contradict the Quran, evidence that some hadith are a source of corruption and not a complement to the Quran. 
Components, schools, types (Hadith qudsi)
The hadith had a profound and controversial influence on tafsir
(commentaries of the Quran). The earliest commentary of the Quran known as Tafsir Ibn Abbas
is sometimes attributed to the companion Ibn Abbas.
The hadith were used in forming the basis of Sharia
(the religious law system forming part of the Islamic tradition), and fiqh
(Islamic jurisprudence). The hadith are at the root of why there is no single fiqh
system, but rather a collection of parallel systems within Islam.
Much of early Islamic history available today is also based on the hadith, although it has been challenged for its lack of basis in primary source material and the internal contradictions of the secondary material available.
Hadith may be hadith qudsi
(sacred hadith) — which some Muslims regard as the words of God
— or hadith sharif
(noble hadith), which are Muhammad's own utterances.
According to as-Sayyid ash-Sharif al-Jurjani, the hadith qudsi differ from the Quran in that the former are "expressed in Muhammad's words", whereas the latter are the "direct words of God
". A hadith qudsi
need not be a sahih
(sound hadith), but may be da‘if
or even mawdu‘
An example of a hadith qudsi
is the hadith of Abu Hurairah
who said that Muhammad said:
When God decreed the Creation He pledged Himself by writing in His book which is laid down with Him: My mercy prevails over My wrath.[non-primary source needed]
In the Shia school of thought, there are two fundamental viewpoints of hadith: The Usuli
view and the Akhbari
view. The Usuli scholars stress the importance of scientific examination of hadiths using ijtihad
while the Akhbari scholars take all hadiths from the four Shia books as authentic .
The two major aspects of a hadith are the text of the report (the matn
), which contains the actual narrative, and the chain of narrators (the isnad
), which documents the route by which the report has been transmitted.
The isnad was an effort to document that a hadith had actually come from Muhammad, and Muslim scholars from the eighth century until today have never ceased repeating the mantra "The isnad is part of the religion — if not for the isnad, whoever wanted could say whatever they wanted."
means literally 'support', and it is so named due to the reliance of the hadith specialists upon it in determining the authenticity or weakness of a hadith
consists of a chronological list of the narrators, each mentioning the one from whom they heard the hadith, until mentioning the originator of the matn
along with the matn
The first people to hear hadith were the companions who preserved it and then conveyed it to those after them. Then the generation following them received it, thus conveying it to those after them and so on. So a companion would say, "I heard the Prophet say such and such." The Follower would then say, "I heard a companion say, 'I heard the Prophet.'" The one after him would then say, "I heard someone say, 'I heard a Companion say, 'I heard the Prophet...''" and so on.
Different branches of Islam refer to different collections of hadith, though the same incident may be found in hadith in different collections:
- In the Sunni branch of Islam, the canonical hadith collections are the six books, of which Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim generally have the highest status. The other books of hadith are Sunan Abu Dawood, Jami` at-Tirmidhi, Al-Sunan al-Sughra and Sunan ibn Majah. However the Malikis, one of the four Sunni "schools of thought" (madhhabs), traditionally reject Sunan ibn Majah and assert the canonical status of Muwatta Imam Malik.
- In the Twelver Shi'a branch of Islam, the canonical hadith collections are the Four Books: Kitab al-Kafi, Man la yahduruhu al-Faqih, Tahdhib al-Ahkam, and Al-Istibsar.
- In the Ibadi branch of Islam, the main canonical collection is the Tartib al-Musnad. This is an expansion of the earlier Jami Sahih collection, which retains canonical status in its own right.
- The Ismaili shia sects use the Daim al-Islam as hadith collections.
- The Ahmadiyya sect generally rely on the Sunni canons.
- Some minor groups, collectively known as Quranists, reject the authority of the hadith collections altogether.
In general, the difference between Shi'a and Sunni collections is that Shia give preference to hadiths credited to Muhammad's family and close associates (Ahl al-Bayt
), while Sunnis do not consider family lineage in evaluating hadith and sunnah narrated by any of twelve thousand companions of Muhammad.
History, tradition and usage
Traditions of the life of Muhammad and the early history of Islam were passed down mostly orally for more than a hundred years after Muhammad's death in AD 632. Muslim historians say that Caliph Uthman ibn Affan
(the third khalifa (caliph)
of the Rashidun Caliphate
, or third successor of Muhammad, who had formerly been Muhammad's secretary), is generally believed to urge Muslims to record the hadith just as Muhammad suggested to some of his followers to write down his words and actions.
Uthman's labours were cut short by his assassination, at the hands of aggrieved soldiers, in 656. No sources survive directly from this period so we are dependent on what later writers tell us about this period.
According to British historian of Arab world Alfred Guillaume, it is "certain" that "several small collections" of hadith were "assembled in Umayyad times."
In Islamic law, the use of hadith as now understood (hadith of Muhammad with documentation, isnads, etc.) came gradually. According to scholars such as Joseph Schacht
, Ignaz Goldziher
, and Daniel W. Brown, early schools of Islamic jurisprudence
used rulings of the Prophet's Companions
, the rulings of the Caliphs
, and practices that “had gained general acceptance among the jurists of that school”. On his deathbed, Caliph Umar
instructed Muslims to seek guidance from the Quran, the early Muslims (muhajirun
) who emigrated to Medina with Muhammad, the Medina residents who welcomed and supported the muhajirun
), the people of the desert, and the protected communities of Jews and Christians (ahl al-dhimma
According to the scholars Harald Motzki and Daniel W. Brown the earliest Islamic legal reasonings that have come down to us were "virtually hadith-free", but gradually, over the course of second century A.H.
"the infiltration and incorporation of Prophetic hadiths into Islamic jurisprudence" took place.
It was Abū ʿAbdullāh Muhammad ibn Idrīs al-Shāfiʿī (150-204 AH), known as al-Shafi'i
who emphasized the final authority of a hadith of Muhammad
, so that even the Quran was "to be interpreted in the light of traditions (i.e. hadith), and not vice versa."
While traditionally the Quran is considered above the sunna in authority, Al-Shafi'i "forcefully argued" that the sunna stands "on equal footing with the Quran", (according to scholar Daniel Brown) for (as Al-Shafi'i put it) “the command of the Prophet is the command of God.”
In 851 the rationalist Mu`tazila
school of thought fell from favor in the Abbasid Caliphate
The Mu`tazila, for whom the "judge of truth ... was human reason,"
had clashed with traditionists who looked to the literal meaning of the Quran and hadith for truth. While the Quran had been officially compiled and approved, hadiths had not. One result was the number of hadiths began "multiplying in suspiciously direct correlation to their utility" to the quoter of the hadith (Traditionists
quoted hadith warning against listening to human opinion instead of Sharia; Hanafites
quoted a hadith stating that "In my community there will rise a man called Abu Hanifa [the Hanafite founder] who will be its guiding light". In fact one agreed upon hadith warned that, "There will be forgers, liars who will bring you hadiths which neither you nor your forefathers have heard, Beware of them."
In addition the number of hadith grew enormously. While Malik ibn Anas
had attributed just 1720 statements or deeds to the Muhammad, it was no longer unusual to find people who had collected a hundred times that number of hadith.
Faced with a huge corpus of miscellaneous traditions supported differing views on a variety of controversial matters—some of them flatly contradicting each other—Islamic scholars of the Abbasid sought to authenticate hadith. Scholars had to decide which hadith were to be trusted as authentic and which had been invented for political or theological purposes. To do this, they used a number of techniques which Muslims now call the science of hadith.
Shia and Sunni textual traditions
Sunni and Shia hadith collections differ because scholars from the two traditions differ as to the reliability of the narrators and transmitters. Narrators who took the side of Abu Bakr
rather than Ali
, in the disputes over leadership that followed the death of Muhammad, are seen as unreliable by the Shia; narrations sourced to Ali
and the family of Muhammad, and to their supporters, are preferred. Sunni scholars put trust in narrators such as Aisha
, whom Shia reject. Differences in hadith collections have contributed to differences in worship practices and shari'a law and have hardened the dividing line between the two traditions.
Extent and nature in the Sunni tradition
In the Sunni tradition, the number of such texts is somewhere between seven and thirteen thousand,[Note 4]
but the number of hadiths
is far greater because several isnad
sharing the same text are each counted as individual hadith. If, say, ten companions record a text reporting a single incident in the life of Muhammad, hadith scholars can count this as ten hadiths. So Musnad Ahmad, for example, has over 30,000 hadiths—but this count includes texts that are repeated in order to record slight variations within the text or within the chains of narrations. Identifying the narrators of the various texts, comparing their narrations of the same texts to identify both the soundest reporting of a text and the reporters who are most sound in their reporting occupied experts of hadith throughout the 2nd century. In the 3rd century of Islam (from 225/840 to about 275/889),[Note 5] hadith experts
composed brief works recording a selection of about two- to five-thousand such texts which they felt to have been most soundly documented or most widely referred to in the Muslim scholarly community.[Note 6]
The 4th and 5th century saw these six works being commented on quite widely. This auxiliary literature has contributed to making their study the place of departure for any serious study of hadith. In addition, Bukhari and Muslim in particular, claimed that they were collecting only the soundest of sound hadiths. These later scholars tested their claims and agreed to them, so that today, they are considered the most reliable collections of hadith.
Toward the end of the 5th century, Ibn al-Qaisarani
formally standardized the Sunni canon into six pivotal works
, a delineation which remains to this day.
Over the centuries, several different categories of collections came into existence. Some are more general, like the muṣannaf
, the muʿjam
, and the jāmiʿ
, and some more specific, either characterized by the topics treated, like the sunan
(restricted to legal-liturgical traditions), or by its composition, like the arbaʿīniyyāt
(collections of forty hadiths).
Extent and nature in the Shia tradition
Shi'a Muslims seldom if ever use the six major hadith collections
followed by the Sunni, as they do not trust many of the Sunni narrators and transmitters. They have their own extensive hadith literature. The best-known hadith collections are The Four Books
, which were compiled by three authors who are known as the 'Three Muhammads'.
The Four Books are: Kitab al-Kafi
by Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni
al-Razi (329 AH
), Man la yahduruhu al-Faqih
by Muhammad ibn Babuya
both by Shaykh Muhammad Tusi
. Shi'a clerics also make use of extensive collections and commentaries by later authors.
Unlike Sunnis, the majority of Shia do not consider any of their hadith collections to be sahih (authentic) in their entirety. Therefore, every individual hadith in a specific collection must be investigated separately to determine its authenticity. However, the Akhbari school does take all hadith from the four books as authentic.
The importance of hadith in the Shia school of thought is well documented. This can be captured by Ali ibn Abi Talib, cousin of Muhammad, when he narrated that "Whoever of our Shia (followers) knows our Shariah
and takes out the weak of our followers from the darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge (Hadith) which we (Ahl al-Bayt) have gifted to them, he on the day of judgement will come with a crown on his head. It will shine among the people gathered on the plain of resurrection." Hassan al-Askari
, a descendant of Muhammad, gave support to this narration, stating "Whoever he had taken out in the worldly life from the darkness of ignorance can hold to his light to be taken out of the darkness of the plain of resurrection to the garden (paradise). Then all those whomever he had taught in the worldly life anything of goodness, or had opened from his heart a lock of ignorance or had removed his doubts will come out."
Regarding the importance of maintaining accuracy in recording hadith, it has been documented that Muhammad al-Baqir
, the great grandson of Muhammad, has said that "Holding back in a doubtful issue is better than entering destruction. Your not narrating a Hadith is better than you narrating a Hadith in which you have not studied thoroughly. On every truth, there is a reality. Above every right thing, there is a light. Whatever agrees with the book of Allah you must take it and whatever disagrees you must leave it alone.":10
Al-Baqir also emphasized the selfless devotion of Ahl al-Bayt to preserving the traditions of Muhammad through his conversation with Jabir ibn Abd Allah
, an old companion of Muhammad. He (Al-Baqir) said, "Oh Jabir, had we spoken to you from our opinions and desires, we would be counted among those who are destroyed. We speak to you of the hadith which we treasure from the Messenger of Allah, Oh Allah grant compensation to Muhammad and his family worthy of their services to your cause, just as they treasure their gold and silver."
Further, it has been narrated that Ja'far al-Sadiq
, the son of al-Baqir, has said the following regarding hadith: "You must write it down; you will not memorize until you write it down.":33
The mainstream sects consider hadith to be essential supplements to, and clarifications of, the Quran, Islam's holy book, as well as for clarifying issues pertaining to Islamic jurisprudence. Ibn al-Salah
, a hadith specialist, described the relationship between hadith and other aspect of the religion by saying: "It is the science most pervasive in respect to the other sciences in their various branches, in particular to jurisprudence being the most important of them."
"The intended meaning of 'other sciences' here are those pertaining to religion," explains Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, "Quranic exegesis, hadith, and jurisprudence. The science of hadith became the most pervasive due to the need displayed by each of these three sciences. The need hadith has of its science is apparent. As for Quranic exegesis
, then the preferred manner of explaining the speech of God is by means of what has been accepted as a statement of Muhammad. The one looking to this is in need of distinguishing the acceptable from the unacceptable. Regarding jurisprudence, then the jurist is in need of citing as an evidence the acceptable to the exception of the later, something only possible utilizing the science of hadith."
Studies and authentication
According to Bernard Lewis, "in the early Islamic centuries there could be no better way of promoting a cause, an opinion, or a faction than to cite an appropriate action or utterance of the Prophet." To fight these forgeries, the elaborate science of hadith studies was devised
to authenticate hadith known as ilm al jarh
or ilm al dirayah
Hadith studies use a number of methods of evaluation developed by early Muslim scholars in determining the veracity of reports attributed to Muhammad. This is achieved by
- the individual narrators involved in its transmission,
- the scale of the report's transmission,
- analyzing the text of the report, and
- the routes through which the report was transmitted.
On the basis of these criteria, various classifications were devised for hadith. The earliest comprehensive work in hadith studies was Abu Muhammad al-Ramahurmuzi's al-Muhaddith al-Fasil
, while another significant work was al-Hakim al-Naysaburi
's Ma‘rifat ‘ulum al-hadith
. Ibn al-Salah's ʻUlum al-hadith
is considered the standard classical reference on hadith studies.
Some schools of Hadith methodology apply as many as sixteen separate tests.
Biographical analysis (‘ilm al-rijāl
, lit. "science of people", also "science of Asma Al-Rijal
or ‘ilm al-jarḥ wa al-taʻdīl
("science of discrediting and accrediting"), in which details about the transmitter are scrutinized. This includes analyzing their date and place of birth; familial connections; teachers and students; religiosity; moral behaviour; literary output; their travels; as well as their date of death. Based upon these criteria, the reliability (thiqāt
) of the transmitter is assessed. Also determined is whether the individual was actually able to transmit the report, which is deduced from their contemporaneity and geographical proximity with the other transmitters in the chain.
Examples of biographical dictionaries include: Abd al-Ghani al-Maqdisi
's Al-Kamal fi Asma' al-Rijal
, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani's Tahdhīb al-Tahdhīb
's Tadhkirat al-huffaz
Scale of transmission
Hadith on matters of importance needed to come through a number of independent chains,
this was known as the scale of transmission. Reports that passed through many reliable transmitters in many isnad
up until their collection and transcription are known as mutawātir
. These reports are considered the most authoritative as they pass through so many different routes that collusion between all of the transmitters becomes an impossibility. Reports not meeting this standard are known as aahad
, and are of several different types.
According to Muhammad Shafi, Hadith whose isnad has been scrutinized then have their text or matn examined for
- contradiction of the Quran
- contradiction of reliable hadith
- making sense, being logical
- being a report about the importance of an individual (or individuals) which is transmitted only through their supporters or family, and which is not supported by reports from other independent channels.
However, Joseph Schacht
states that the "whole technical criticism of traditions ... is mainly based on criticism of isnads", which he (and others) believe to be ineffective in eliminating fraudulent hadith.
Terminology: admissible and inadmissible hadiths
Having been evaluated, hadith may be categorized. Two categories are:
Other classifications include:
- ḥasan (good), which refers to an otherwise ṣaḥīḥ report suffering from minor deficiency, or a weak report strengthened due to numerous other corroborating reports;
- mawḍūʿ (fabricated),
- munkar (denounced) which is a report that is rejected due to the presence of an unreliable transmitter contradicting another more reliable narrator.
Both sahīh and hasan reports are considered acceptable for usage in Islamic legal discourse.
Critics have complained that, contrary to the description above where the matn
is scrutinized, the process of authenticating hadith "was confined to a careful examination of the chain of transmitters who narrated the report and not report itself. 'Provided the chain was uninterrupted and its individual links deemed trustworthy persons, the Hadith was accepted as binding law. There could, by the terms of the religious faith itself, be no questioning of the content of the report; for this was the substance of divine revelation and therefore not susceptible to any form of legal or historical criticism,'" according to scholar N.J. Coulson.
The major points of intra-Muslim criticism of the hadith literature is based in questions regarding its authenticity.
However, Muslim criticism of hadith is also based on theological and philosophical Islamic grounds of argument and critique.
With regard to clarity, Imam Ali al-Ridha
has narrated that "In our Hadith there are Mutashabih (unclear ones) like those in al-Quran as well as Muhkam (clear ones) like those of al-Quran. You must refer the unclear ones to the clear ones.”.:15
Muslim scholars have a long history of questioning the hadith literature throughout Islamic history. Western academics also became active in the field later, starting in 1890, but much more often since 1950.
- ^ The plural form of hadith in arabic is aḥādīth, أحاديث, ʼaḥādīth but hadith will be used instead in this article.
- ^ “The full systems of Islamic theology and law are not derived primarily from the Quran. Muhammad’s sunna was a second but far more detailed living scripture, and later Muslim scholars would thus often refer to Muhammad as `The Possessor of Two Revelations`”
- ^ Muslims have come to blows over differences in the proper ritual movement in salat prayer. In the 18th century, a man was “almost beaten to death” in the great mosque of Delhi for raising his hands during salat in the manner that revivalist preacher/scholar Shah Waliullah Dehlawi had advocated. The victim's assailants supported the doctrine of traditionalists of Hanafi fiqh which held that hand should be raised only once during the ritual prayer, while Waliullah held that madhhab schools of fiqh had ignored authentic hadith which made clear hands should be raised over ears multiple times during the praying of salat.
- ^ See the references and discussion by Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah Thalathatu rasa'il fi ulum al-hadith; risalat abi dawud ila ahl makkata fi wasf sunanihi, pg 36, footnote. Beirut: Maktaba al-Matbu'at al-Islamiyah: 2nd ed 1426/2005.
- ^ The earliest book, Bukhari's Sahih was composed by 225/840 since he states that he spent sixteen years composing it (Hady al-Sari, introduction to Fath al-Bari, p. 489, Lahore: Dar Nashr al-Kutub al-Islamiya, 1981/1401) and also that he showed it to Yahya ibn Ma'in who died in 233. Nasa'i, the last to die of the authors of the six books, died in 303/915. He probably completed this work a few decades before his death: by 275 or so.
- ^ Counting multiple narrations of the same texts as a single text, the number of hadiths each author has recorded roughly as follows: Bukhari (as in Zabidi's Mukhtasar of Bukhari's book) 2134, Muslim (as in Mundhiri's Mukhtasar of Muslim's book) 2200, Tirmidhi 4000, Abu Dawud 4000, Nasa'i 4800, Ibn Majah 4300. There is considerable overlap amongst the six books so that Ibn al-Athir's Jami' al-Usul, which gathers together the hadiths texts of all six books deleting repeated texts, has about 9500 hadiths.
- ^ "hadith". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
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- ^ see also Haddad, GF; Hajj Gibril. "The Hadith: "My Companions Are Like The Stars"". living islam.
- ^ Ignaz Goldziher, ‘’The Zahiris: Their Doctrine and their History’’, trans and ed. Wolfgang Behn (Leiden, 1971), 20 ff
- ^ a b Brown, Rethinking tradition in modern Islamic thought, 1996: p.7
- ^ Schacht, Joseph (1959) . The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence. Oxford University Press. p. 12.
- ^ Shafi'i. "Introduction. Kitab Ikhtilaf Malid wal-Shafi'i". Kitab al-Umm vol. vii.
- ^ Schacht, Joseph (1959) . The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence. Oxford University Press. p. 4.
- ^ al-Fadli, Abd al-Hadi (2011). Introduction to Hadith (2nd ed.). London: ICAS Press. p. 59. ISBN 9781904063476.
- ^ Schacht, Joseph (1959) . The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence. Oxford University Press. p. 22.
- ^ Zurqani (d.1122 (1310). Commentary on Malik's Muwatta', 4 vols. i. Cairo. p. 8.
- ^ al-Fadli, Abd al-Hadi (2011). Introduction to Hadith (2nd ed.). London: ICAS Press. p. 62. ISBN 9781904063476.
- ^ a b c d e "If the Qur'an is perfect and complete and contains everything needed for the laws and regulations of sharee'ah, what need is there for the Sunnah?". IslamQA. 19 January 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
- ^ J.A.C. Brown, Misquoting Muhammad, 2014: p.94
- ^ An-Nawawi, Riyadh As-Salihin, 1975: chapter 100
- ^ An-Nawawi, Riyadh As-Salihin, 1975: chapters 117-122
- ^ An-Nawawi, Riyadh As-Salihin, 1975: chapters 127,128,310
- ^ J.A.C. Brown, Misquoting Muhammad, 2014: p.65
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- ^ Glasse, Cyril (2001) . The New Encyclopedia of Islam. Altamira. p. 159.
- ^ "Qu'est-ce que le hadith Qudsi ?". aslamna.info.
- ^ Related by al-Bukhari, Muslim, an-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah.
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- ^ Tadrib al-Rawi, vol. 1, pp. 39–41 with abridgement.
- ^ Ilm al-Rijal wa Ahimiyatih, by Mualami, p. 16, Dar al-Rayah.
- ^ "Religions. Sunni and Shi'a". BBC. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
- ^ ^ Tirmidhi, "‘Ilm," 12.
- ^ ^ Collected in the Musnad of Ahmad (10\15-6\ 6510 and also nos. 6930, 7017 and 1720), Sunan Abu Dawud (Mukhtasar Sunan Abi Dawud (5\246\3499) and elsewhere.
- ^ Roman, provincial and Islamic law, Patricia Crone, p2
- ^ Guillaume, Alfred (1954). Islam (2nd (Revised) ed.). Penguin. p. 89. ISBN 0140135553
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- ^ Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, III/1, 243. Cf G.H.A. Juynboll, Muslim Traditions: Studies in Chronology, Provenance and Authorship of Early Hadith (Cambridge, 1983; Juynboll, G.H.A., “Some New Ideas on the Development of Sunna as a Technical Term in Early Islam”, ‘’Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam’’ 10 (1987): p.108, cited in Brown, Daniel W. (1996). Rethinking tradition in modern Islamic thought. Cambridge University Press. p. 10. ISBN 978-0521570770. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- ^ Motzki, Harald (1991). "The Musannaf of Abd al-Razzaq al-San'ani as a Source of Authentic Ahadith of the First Century A.H.". Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 50: 21. doi:10.1086/373461. S2CID 162187154.
- ^ Brown, Rethinking tradition in modern Islamic thought, 1996: p.12
- ^ Joseph Schacht, The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence (Oxford, 1950, repre. 1964) esp. 6-20 and 133-137): Ignaz Goldziher, The Zahiris: Their Doctrine and their History, trans and ed. Wolfgang Behn (Leiden, 1971), 20 ff...)]
- ^ J. SCHACHT, An Introduction to Islamic Law (1964), supra note 5, at 47
- ^ Forte, David F. (1978). "Islamic Law; the impact of Joseph Schacht" (PDF). Loyola Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Review. 1: 13. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- ^ al-Shafii ‘’Kitab al-Risala’’, ed. Muhammad Shakir (Cairo, 1940), 84
- ^ Brown, Rethinking tradition in modern Islamic thought, 1996: p.8
- ^ Martin, Matthew (2013). Mu'tazila - use of reason in Islamic theology. Amazon. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- ^ Goldziher, Ignác (1967). Muslim Studies, Vol. 1. SUNY Press. p. 127. ISBN 0873952340
- ^ Islam – the Straight Path, John Eposito, p.81
- ^ (Hady al-Sari, introduction to Fath al-Bari, p. 8
- ^ Muqaddimah Ibn al-Salah, p. 160 Dar al-Ma’aarif edition
- ^ Ignác Goldziher, Muslim Studies, vol. 2, p. 240. Halle, 1889-1890. ISBN 0-202-30778-6
- ^ Scott C. Lucas, Constructive Critics, Ḥadīth Literature, and the Articulation of Sunnī Islam, p. 106. Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2004.
- ^ Ibn Khallikan's Biographical Dictionary, translated by William McGuckin de Slane. Paris: Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. Sold by Institut de France and Royal Library of Belgium. Vol. 3, p. 5.
- ^ Muhammad Zubayr Siddiqi, Hadith Literature, Cambridge, Islamic Texts Society, 1993, edited and revised by Abdal Hakim Murad.
- ^ Momen, Moojan, Introduction to Shi'i Islam, Yale University Press, 1985, p.174.
- ^ Mohammad A. Shomali (2003). Shi'i Islam: Origins, Faith and Practices (reprint ed.). ICAS Press. p. 35. ISBN 9781904063117.
- ^ a b c d e f ibn Ya’qub al-Kulayni, Abu Ja’far Muhammad (February 2013). Kitab al-Kafi (eBook ed.). New York: The Islamic Seminary Inc. ISBN 978-0-9890016-2-5.
- ^ Ulum al-Hadith by Ibn al-Salah, p. 5, Dar al-Fikr, with the verification of Nur al-Din al-‘Itr.
- ^ Ibn Hajar, Ahmad. al-Nukat ala Kitab ibn al-Salah, vol. 1, p. 90. Maktabah al-Furqan.
- ^ Lewis, Bernard (2011). The End of Modern History in the Middle East. Hoover Institution Press. pp. 79–80. ISBN 9780817912963. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
- ^ Nasr, S.H. Ideals and Realities of Islam, 1966, p.80
- ^ a b c d e f g Shafi, Mohammad. "The HADITH - How it was Collected and Compiled" (PDF). Dar al-Islam. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 November 2019. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
- ^ Berg (2000) p. 8
- ^ See:
- Robinson (2003) pp. 69–70;
- Lucas (2004) p. 15
- ^ Schacht, Joseph (1950). The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence. Oxford: Clarendon. p. 163.
- ^ "The science of hadith is based on reason and shar'i guidelines. 239540". Islam Question and Answer. 10 September 2016. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
- ^ See:
- "Hadith," Encyclopedia of Islam Online;
- "Hadith," Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim world.
- ^ N.J. Coulson, "European Criticism of Hadith Literature, in Cambridge History of Arabic Literature: Arabic Literature to the End of the Umayyad Period, editor A.F.L. Beeston et al. (Cambridge, 1983)
- ^ B. Hallaq, Wael (1999). "The Authenticity of Prophetic Ḥadîth: A Pseudo-Problem". Studia Islamica. No. 89 (1999) (89): 75–90. doi:10.2307/1596086. JSTOR 1596086.
- ^ See Western scholarship section in Criticism of hadith re: Ignatz Goldziher, Josef Schacht, Patricia Crone, John Esposito, and Reza Aslan in particular.
- Berg, H. (2000). The development of exegesis in early Islam: the authenticity of Muslim literature from the formative period. Routledge. ISBN 0-7007-1224-0.
- Brown, Daniel W. (1996). Rethinking tradition in modern Islamic thought. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521570778. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Brown, Jonathan A. C. (2004). "Criticism of the Proto-Hadith Canon: Al-daraqutni's Adjustment of the Sahihayn". Journal of Islamic Studies. 15 (1): 1–37. doi:10.1093/jis/15.1.1.
- Brown, Jonathan A.C. (2007). The Canonization of al-Bukhārī and Muslim(PDF). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. ISBN 9789004158399. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
- Brown, Jonathan A.C. (2009). Hadith: Muhammad's Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World (Foundations of Islam). Oneworld Publications. ISBN 978-1851686636.
- Brown, Jonathan A.C. (2014). Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy. Oneworld Publications. ISBN 978-1780744209. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
- Hallaq, Wael B. (1999). "The Authenticity of Prophetic Ḥadîth: A Pseudo-Problem". Studia Islamica (89): 75–90. doi:10.2307/1596086. ISSN 0585-5292. JSTOR 1596086. S2CID 170916710.
- Ibn Warraq, ed. (2000). "1. Studies on Muhammad and the Rise of Islam". The Quest for the Historical Muhammad. Prometheus. pp. 15–88. </ref>
- Lucas, S. (2004). Constructive Critics, Hadith Literature, and the Articulation of Sunni Islam. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 90-04-13319-4.
- Muhyi ad-Din Abu Zakariyya Yahya bin Sharaf an-Nawawi (1975). Riyadh as-Salihin [Gardens of the Righteous]. Mauhammad Zafulla Khan, translator. New York: Olive Branch Press. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
- Robinson, C. F. (2003). Islamic Historiography. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-62936-5.
- Robson, J. "Hadith". In P.J. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C.E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; W.P. Heinrichs (eds.). Encyclopaedia of Islam Online. Brill Academic Publishers. ISSN 1573-3912.
- Schacht, Joseph (1950). The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence. Oxford: Clarendon
- Senturk, Recep (2005). Narrative Social Structure: Anatomy of the Hadith Transmission Network, 610-1505. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804752077.
- Swarup, Ram (1983). Understanding Islam through Hadis. New Delhi: Voice of India. ISBN 9788185990736. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
- Encyclopedia of Sahih Al-Bukhari by Arabic Virtual Translation Center (New York 2019, Barnes & Noble ISBN 9780359672653)
- 1000 Qudsi Hadiths: An Encyclopedia of Divine Sayings; New York: Arabic Virtual Translation Center; (2012) ISBN 978-1-4700-2994-4
- Gauthier H.A. Joynboll (PhD) (2013). Encyclopedia of Canonical Hadith. archive.org. London and Boston: Brill. p. 839. doi:10.1163/ej.9789004156746.i-804. ISBN 978-9004156746. OCLC 315870438. Archived from the original on 22 November 2018.
- Lucas, S. (2002). The Arts of Hadith Compilation and Criticism. University of Chicago. OCLC 62284281.
- Musa, A. Y. Hadith as Scripture: Discussions on The Authority Of Prophetic Traditions in Islam, New York: Palgrave, 2008. ISBN 0-230-60535-4
- Fred M. Donner, Narratives of Islamic Origins (1998)
- Tottoli, Roberto, "Hadith", in Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God (2 vols.), Edited by C. Fitzpatrick and A. Walker, Santa Barbara, ABC-CLIO, 2014, Vol I, pp. 231–236.
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