?ad?th ( or ;Arabic: ?? ?ad?th Arabic pronunciation: [?adi:?], pl. Ad?th, , 'ad?thArabic pronunciation: [?a?adi:?], also "Traditions") in Islam denotes the words, actions, and the silent approval, of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Within Islam the authority of ?ad?th as a source for religious law ranks second to that of the Qur'an -- which Muslims hold to be the word of Allah revealed to his messenger Muhammad -- and whose verses (such as 24:54, 33:21) to emulate, obey, and abide by the judgement of Muhammad, provide the scriptural authority for ahadith. However, "the great bulk" of the rules of the Islamic law are derived from ahadith, rather than the Qur'an, because the number of verses pertaining to law in the Quran is relatively few.
?ad?th is the Arabic word for speech, report, account, narrative.:471 Unlike the Qur'an, Ahadith accounts are not held to be divine revelation, and were not written down by Muhammad's followers immediately after his death but several generations later when they were collected, collated and compiled into a great corpus of Islamic literature. Ad?th, the ?ad?th collections, would come to differentiate the different branches of the Islamic faith. A small minority of Muslims called Quranists reject all ?ad?th.
Because the vast number of ahadith include questionable and even contradictory statements, the authentication of ahadith became a major field of study in Islam. A hadith has two parts in its classic form, 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 ("authentic"), hasan ("good") or da'if ("weak"). However, different groups and different scholars may classify a hadith differently.
Among some scholars of Sunni Islam the term hadith may include not only the words, advice, practices, etc. of Muhammad, but also those of his companions. In Shia Islam, ?ad?th is the embodiment of the sunnah, the words and actions of the Prophet and his family the Ahl al-Bayt (The Twelve Imams and the Prophet's daughter, Fatimah).
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.
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 Mohammed 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 Mohammed himself."
Other associated words possess similar meanings including: khabar (news, information) often refers to reports about Muhammad, but sometimes refers to traditions about his companions and their successors from the following generation; conversely, athar (trace, vestige) usually refers to traditions about the companions and successors, though sometimes connotes traditions about Muhammad.
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 for deriving the Sunnah of Prophet" -- implying that while Hadith in limited to the "Traditions" of Muhammad, the Shia Sunna draws on the sayings, etc. of the Ahlul-Bayt or Imams of Shia Islam.
The word sunnah (custom or "all the traditions and practices" of the Islamic prophet that "have become models to be followed" by Muslims) is also used in reference to a normative custom of Muhammad or the early Muslim community.
Joseph Schacht describes hadith as providing "the documentation" of the Sunnah.
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 Ahadith 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.
Joseph Schacht quotes a Hadith by Muhammad that is used "to justify reference" in Islamic law to Sahabah (companions of Muhammad) as religious authorities -- "My companions are like lodestars." According to Schacht, 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 (or Madh'hab) -- with establishing the principle of the use of the ahadith of the Muhammad for Islamic law, and emphasizing the inferiority of hadith of anyone else, saying ahadith
"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 ahadith sometimes mix hadith of Muhammad with the ahadith of others. Muwatta Imam Malik is usually described as "the earliest written collection of hadith" but sayings of Muhamad are "blended with the sayings of the companions", (822 hadith from Muhammad and 898 from others, according to one count). 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"
The theological importance of ahadith comes from several verses in the Quran such as:
Say: Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, but if you turn away, he (the Prophet) 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 Messenger's duty is only to convey (the message) in a clear way. (An-Nur 24:54)
In God's messenger you have indeed a good example for everyone who looks forward with hope to God and the Last Day, and remembers God unceasingly. (Al-Ahzab 33: 21)
Hadith are also regarded by Muslims as important tools for understanding the Quran and commentaries (tafsir) written on it. Some important elements, which are today taken to be a long-held part of normative traditional Islamic practice and belief -- for example, the detailed ritual practice of the five salat (obligatory Islamic prayers) -- are in fact not mentioned in the Qur'an at all, but are derived solely from the hadith. Hadithists (i.e. believers in hadith, i.e. almost all Muslims), therefore, maintain that the ahadith 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 Qur'an is silent. Quranists, on the contrary, hold the critical view on hadith that anything on which the Qur'an is silent is deliberate because Allah did not hold its detail to be of consequence, and in the case of ahadith that contradict the Qur'an, more so should those ahadith be forcefully rejected outright as a corruption of Islam.
In the classical example of salat (obligatory Islamic prayers), where salat is commanded in the Qur'an, all Muslims agree that salat is an obligatory part of Islamic religious practice. Divergence among Muslims arises, therefore, in how salat is performed. According to hadithists, the details and instructions of how to correctly perform salat, so as to, in their view, "validly" fulfill the Qur'anic command of performing salat, can only be found in the ahadith. Despite this, salat is nonetheless performed differently by different hadithist Islamic sects, depending on which hadith collection each hadithist sect relies upon. Quranists, for their part, leave the detail of salat to be a matter between each individual Muslim and Allah, with salat performance done to each Muslim's own individual understanding, interpretation and need. In the Quranists' view, as the Qur'an is deliberately silent on the details of salat, Allah did not hold its detail to be of consequence, so correctly performed salat lies not in any supposed correct details of the performance of prayer, but on a correct intention to perform the prayers, valid however it may be individually performed.
Among most hadithists, the importance of ahadith is secondary to Qur'an given that, at least in theory, an Islamic conflict of laws doctrine holds Qur'anic supremacy above ahadith in developing Islamic jurisprudence. However, a minority of hadithists have historically placed ahadith on a par with the Qur'an. A smaller minority have upheld ahadith in contradiction to the Qur'an, thereby placing ahadith above Qur'an and claiming that contradictory ahadith abrogate the parts of the Qur'an where they conflict.
The hadith literature is based on spoken reports in circulation after the death of Muhammad. Unlike the Qur'an, ahadith were not promptly written down during Muhammad's life or immediately after his death. Hadith were 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 "rightful" Rashidun Caliphate, over 1,000 km (620 mi) from where Muhammad lived.
The hadith had a profound and controversial influence on moulding the commentaries (tafsir) 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 the hadith are at the root of why there is no single Sharia system, but rather a collection of parallel Sharia systems within Islam.
Much of early Islamic history available today is also based on the hadith and is challenged for lack of basis in primary source material, as well as internal contradictions of the secondary material available.
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:
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." The isnad 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. The isnad 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 itself.
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 general, the difference between Shi'a and Sunni collections is that Shia give preference to ahadith credited to the Prophet's family and close associates (Ahl al-Bayt), while Sunnis do not consider family lineage in evaluating aHadith and Sunnah narrated by any of twelve thousand companions of Muhammad.
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 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.
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 and Umar 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.
In the Sunni tradition, the number of such texts is ten thousand plus or minus a few thousand. But 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),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. 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 mu?annaf, the mu?jam, and the j?mi?, and some more specific, either characterized by the topics treated, like the sunan (restricted to legal-liturgical traditions), or by its composition, like the arbaniyy?t (collections of forty hadiths).
Shi'a Muslims do not 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 and Al-Tahdhib and Al-Istibsar both by Shaykh Muhammad Tusi. Shi'a clerics also make use of extensive collections and commentaries by later authors.
Unlike Sunnis, 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.
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."
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. 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 analyzing the text of the report, the scale of the report's transmission, the routes through which the report was transmitted, and the individual narrators involved in its transmission. 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 ?Ulum al-hadith is considered the standard classical reference on hadith studies.
By means of hadith terminology, hadith are categorized as ?a (sound, authentic), ?af (weak), or maw (fabricated). Other classifications used also include: ?asan (good), which refers to an otherwise ?a report suffering from minor deficiency, or a weak report strengthened due to numerous other corroborating reports; and munkar (denounced) which is a report that is rejected due to the presence of an unreliable transmitter contradicting another more reliable narrator. Both sah?h and hasan reports are considered acceptable for usage in Islamic legal discourse. Classifications of hadith may also be based upon the scale of transmission. Reports that pass through many reliable transmitters at each point in the isnad up until their collection and transcription are known as mutaw?tir. 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.
Another area of focus in the study of hadith is biographical analysis ('ilm al-rij?l, lit. "science of people"), 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 (thiq?t) 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 Tahdh?b al-Tahdh?b and al-Dhahabi's Tadhkirat al-huffaz.
Related article: Goldziher on Had?th
The major points of intra-Muslim criticism of the Hadith literature is based in questions regarding its authenticity. However, Muslim criticism of ahadith is also based on theological and philosophical Islamic grounds of argument and critique.
Muslim scholars have a long history of questioning the Hadith literature throughout Islamic history. Western academics also became active in the field later on.
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