WHAT ARE HADITH – HADEETH – الحــــــديـث

WHAT IS HADITH?   الحــــــديـث  

The Hadith is the record of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).  The sayings and conduct of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) constitute the Sunnah.

The Hadith has come to supplement the Holy Qur’an as a source of the Islamic religious law.  The Hadith is the second pillar after the Quran upon which every Muslim rests his faith.  Hadith consists of Mat’n متن  and Isnad  اسناد .Mat’n means the text of the Hadith, while Isnad means the chain of transmitters to that Hadith.

The scholars of the Hadith literature divided the Traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) into categories according to the degree of authenticity and reliability, each category had to meet certain criteria.

The categories are as follows:

  1. Sahih:   صحـيـح   The genuine Traditions, the authentic ones.
  2. Moothaq:   موثـق Almost like the Sahih but the narration is not as strong as those of the Sahih.
  3. Hasan: حـسـن The fair Traditions although inferior in matter of authenticity.
  4. Da’eef:  ضـعيـف The weak Traditions which are not so reliable.

 

In the Shari’ah (Islamic Constitution) deeds and actions are divided into five classes:

  1. Fardh or Wajib:   فرض او واجـب  An obligatory duty the omission of which is Islamicly punishable.
  2. Mus’tahab:  مسـتـحب  An action which is rewarded, but whose omission is not punishable.
  3. Mu’baah::     مـباحAn action which is permitted but legally is indifferent.
  4. Mak’rooh: مكـروه   An action which is disapproved by the Shari’ah but is not under any penalty.
  5. Haram:  An action which is forbidden, and Islamicly punishable.

 

THE FABRICATED HADITHS:  الاحـــاديـت المــخـتلـــقه 

History of Fabrication:

During Benu Umayya’s Rule:  Bringing forth a Counterfeit Hadith was widespread throughout this period.

During Benu Abbas’ Rule, producing and circulating counterfeit Hadiths was widespread, in particular with the advent of the schools of thought in Islam.

By the year 200 H.:  Total of 600,000 Hadiths were in existence, out of which 408,324 Hadith were fabricated (counterfeit) Hadiths by 620 forgers, whose names and identity are known.

Most Notorious Forgers:  Ibn Jundub, Abu Bukhtari, Ibn Basheer, Abdullah Al-Ansaari, Al-Sindi.  One of them, Ibn Au’jaa, professed before he was hanged (for his heresy) that he alone had forged 4,000 Hadiths.

Reason to Fabricate (To do Hadith forgery):  

  1. Financial incentive by the Khalifas, for example Mu’awiya awarded Ibn Jundub and others hundreds of thousands of Dinars for coming forth with Hadiths that suited him.
  2. As a means of self-promotion in the government.
  3. In a drive to enhance a particular school of thought.
  4. Fanaticism for a school of thought at the expense of others.
  5. Al-Qassassoon (The story-tellers):  القصــاصــون  Their operation and major role in the public.

 

AHLUL SUNNAH COLLECTION OF AL-HADITH  

DURING THE 1ST CENTURY H.

  1. The administration of the early Khalifas discouraged putting the Hadith in writing, instead, they encouraged committing the Hadith to memory. The general public went along but soon it was discovered that confusion about the authenticity of the Hadith was taking place.  For one thing many of the Sahaaba had died, and for another, that committing to memory was not reliable at large, especially if you want the Hadith verbatim as the Prophet (pbuh) had said it at the circumstance it was said.
  2. Al-Zuhri, Al-Hazm were both commissioned by Khalifa Omar Ibn Abdul Aziz to collect the Hadith but the work was probably not done, due to early death of the Khalifa in 101 H.  No record of their work exists.

 

DURING THE 2ND CENTURY H.:

  1. Collection of Hadith was mainly by: a) Ibn Jarih, b) Al-Thawri, c) Ibn Basheer, and d) Malik Ibn Anas in his Mu’watta.
  2. The necessity of I’lm Al-Rijaal, علم الرجال   (Science of men of Hadith Transmitters):  The Background, Intelligence, Authenticity, Reliability, Capacity to Memorize, Manner of living, Reputation, Criticism, were all considered before reliability of the narrator could be established.  This was necessary because of the numerous counterfeit Hadiths circulated at the time.
  3. Compiling books about forged (counterfeit) Hadiths: This was necessary to warn the Scholars as well as the public about the plethora of the forged Hadiths at that time.

 

DURING THE 3RD CENTURY H.:  

The Hadith was collected and categorized in the later part of the third century of Hijrah resulting in six canonical collections called (Al-Sihaah Al-Sittah):

  1. Sahih of Al-Bukhari, d.256 A.H:  صـحيـح بخارى Selected 7275 (2712 Non-duplicated) out of 600,000 available Hadiths he was aware of.
  2. Sahih of Muslim, d.261 A.H:  صـحيـح مسـلم     Selected 9200 (4,000 Non-duplicated) out of 300,000 available Hadiths he was aware of.
  3. Sunan of Abu Dawood, d.276 A.H.  سنن ابو داود          Selected 4,800 of 500,000 available Hadiths he was aware of..
  4. Sunan of Ibn Maajeh: d.273 A.H.  ســــنن ابن ماجه
  5. Jami’ of Tirmidhi, d.279 A.H.  جـــامع التــــرمـذى
  6. Sunan of al-Nisaa’i, d.303 A.H.  ســـــنن النـــــسـائي 

 

It is worthy of note that the number of the Shi’a transmitters of Hadith whose quotes appear in the Al-Sihaah Al-Sittah is over 300.

 

Al-Bukhari,  —of Sahih Bukhari, 194-256H:  البخـــــاري  

Al-Bukhari’s mother tongue was Persian for he was born in Bukhara. Part of Persia in those days.  He collected the Hadith over a period of many years, having established certain strict criteria.  Political times during Bukhari’s lifetime were very troublesome especially against Ahlul Bayt (led by the weird ruler Al‑Mutawak’kilالمتوكل ).  As a consequence Bukhari was cautious and circumspect, having mentioned less about Ahlul Bayt’s narrations than any of the Al-Sihaah Al-Sittah.  Of the 2210 Hadiths claimed to have been narrated by Abu Hurairah quoting A’isha, by using their criteria Bukhari and Muslim accepted only 174 Hadiths as worthy and valid.  Therefore, the remaining 2,036 Hadiths produced forth by Abu Hurairah were flatly rejected by them simply as unacceptable.

Bukhari was born to a slave family of Bukhara in 194H.  His father died while Bukhari was a child, leaving him a considerable fortune.  Bukhari was of weak physique, but with strong intellect, sharp retentive memory, great capacity for hard work, he was methodical. He began to study Hadith at the early age of eleven and gathered all the Traditions within six years. Then he went to Mecca for pilgrimage from where he took a journey for the collection of Hadith. He traveled nearly forty years in quest of knowledge throughout the Muslim world.  He then returned to Nishapoor in Iran but he had to leave as he could not yield to the wishes of the Governor.  Bukhari settled afterwards in a village at Samarkand where he died at the age of 62 years in 256H.  It has been said by some that he died in Baghdad.ـ

Throughout his life Bukhari was pious, and the Prophet’s Tradition was his hobby while archery was his pastime.  He selected 2712 non-duplicated  Hadiths which became 7,275 when duplicated by many narrators.  These Hadiths were selected out of 600,000 Traditions available to him at the time. It can be said that Bukhari found the remaining 592,725 Hadiths of unworthy basis and were to be ignored. The fact is that if one Hadith was narrated by six narrators, then this Hadith was reported as 6 Hadiths though with minor variation in expression of the Hadith in question.  Thus the number of Hadiths would increase depending on how many narrators report it.

 

Muslim,   —of Sahih Muslim, 204-261H:  مـســـــــلم    

It is said Muslim was a student of Al-Bukhari and 8 years younger.  He differed from Bukhari in his methodology and criteria.  He collected the Hadith over a number of years, having established his own criteria.  Political times then were less troublesome against Ahlul Bayt, (since Al-Mutawak’kil was killed by his own son), therefore Muslim narrated a large number of Hadiths about Ahlul Bayt (far more than Bukhari), now that the political atmosphere had become less charged and the circumstance more favorable.

Muslim al-Nishaapori was born in a distinguished family of Arab Muslims in Khurasan, Iran in 204H, and his mother tongue was Persian for he was born in Nishapoor of Persia. His forefathers occupied prominent positions during the time of four Khalifas; and Mus­lim himself inherited a large fortune from his father who was also a Traditionist of some repute. Muslim traveled to many places for learning Hadith, and after finishing off his studies he settled down at Nishapoor, spending the remainder of his life in sermonizing the Hadiths. He died in the year 261H.

Sahih of Muslim is considered as next to Bukhari in authenticity.  It is somewhat superior to Bukhari’s work in the details of arrangement of Traditions. The commentary of this book can be found in Ibn Khalikan’s work Vol. II, Page 91, and in Fehrist (page 231). Sahih Muslim contains 4,000 non-duplicate Hadiths becoming 9,200 when duplicates are registered.  These Hadiths were selected out of 300,000 circulating Hadiths he was aware of.

 

Abu Dawood—of Sunan Abu Dawood 203-276H  ابو داود   

Abu Dawood received his education in Tradition at Khurasan, in Iran. He traveled to all the important centers of Hadith, learned and collected them wherever they were found. He was so respected by the general body of the Muslims that after the city was sacked and depopulated on account of the invasion of the Zinjies, he was requested by al‑Muaffiq (the Commander‑in‑Chief of the Khalifa al‑Mu’tadhid) to settle there in order that the people and the students might be attracted to that town by his presence. He acceded to the request, but refused to teach the Commander’s son in private.  He said to the Abbasi General (and the founder of the Suffari dynasty) that he was unable to degrade knowledge by making difference between the princes and the poor students.

Abu Dawood wrote many books on Tradition and Islamic laws of which his “Sunan” is the most important. The Sunan contains 4,800 Traditions which were sifted from 500,000 Hadiths he was aware of. This work took him nearly 20 years.

 

al-Tirmidhi: —of Jami’i al-Tirmidhi :  209-279H  الترمــــذى   

This is another standard work on Hadith and is considered by the Sunni Muslim jurists as one of the six authentic Traditions works. Tirmidhi was the first man to determine the identity of the names, surnames, and titles of the narrators of Traditions.

 

al-Nisaa’i  —of Sunan al-Nisaa’i:  215-303H:    النسائي   

Al-Nisaa’i made a good Hadith collection, quite credible.  He wrote Al-Khasa’is book, about the eminence of Imam Ali and Ahlul Bayt and the Hadiths on their behalf.  Al-Nisaa’i was 88 years old when in Damascus he expressed his views about Mu’awiya by saying, “All I know is that the Prophet (pbuh) had said about Mu’awiya, `May Allah make a glutton out of him to eat and not feel full’.”  This infuriated Mu’awiya’s sympathizers, they attacked al-Nisaa’i, trampled upon him, crushed his testicles, after which the infirm Nisaa’i was taken to Mecca where he died.  He was buried between Safa and Marwa.

Sunan of al‑Nisaa’i work on Tradition has been recognized as the best Tradition work of his time, and his smaller work is now considered as one of the Sihaah Sittah. He was the foremost Traditionist of his age and spared no pains in having Hadith recorded in his Sunan. He admitted that in his work there are many weak and doubtful Hadiths (Traditions).

 

Ibn Majah —of Sunan Ibn Maajeh, 209-295H:    ابن ماجـــــه    

In search of Hadith Ibn Maajeh traveled to Baghdad, Basrah, Kufa, Syria, and Egypt.  Some reject his work in favor of al-Mu’watta of Malik.

 

Imam Ahmad —of Mus’nad Ahmad, 164-241H:  اٍِمام احمـــــد      

Imam Ahmad was born in Baghdad, and his was the most im­portant and exhaustive of all Mus’nad works.  His pious and selfless life created a halo of sanctity around his great collection of Traditions and in spite of its great bulk, it survived the vicissitude of time and revolution of empires.  His Mus’nad contains 30,000 Traditions on various subjects, reported by as many as 700 companions of the Prophet. He died before he gave it a final shape and his son Abdullah completed it in the course of 13 years.  This book occupied a very important position in Hadith literature and served for a long time as the chief source of Hadith. It was read up to the 12th century.  Afterwards it fell into relative disfavor owing to other better works.

 

THE SHI’A COLLECTION OF AL-HADITH:

It was during the Khilaafah of Abu Bakr and early Khilaafah of Omar that Imam Ali (a.s.) set to the task of registering the Hadiths “as per the shia sources WHICH CAN NOT BE CONFIRMED”.  Imam Ali was incomparably strict about Islam, and could foresee the need to render the Hadith in written form to be the source for future generations.  Ali was fanatic about the accuracy of his writing, and in an agonizingly methodical manner he accomplished the following:

During Abu Bakr’s Khilaafah: The Legened says Ali rendered in writing the following:

  1. Holy Quran:  Chronological order of the Quran’s revelations called القـــرآن حســـب ترتيــب النـــزول
  2. Tafseer of the Holy Quran, 3 volumes:  called:  Mus’haf Fatima. مصــحف فاطـــمه

During Omar’s Khilaafah: The Legened says Ali rendered the following:

  1. Hadith of the Prophet (pbuh):  Voluminous, called: Saheefa of Ali.     صحيـــفه علي
  2. Fiqh:  Al-Ah’kaam and Mu’aamalat, the Halal and Haram called  الاحــكام  والمعاملات       

During Uthman’s Khilaafah:  The Legened says Ali rendered the following:

  1. History of the various Prophets as he learned from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), called:  The White Al-Jafr. .  الجـــفر الابيـــض
  2. Islamic rules and directives of Wars, called  The Red Al-Jafr.  الجـــفر الأحـــمر

As rendered the books of Ali were called Al-Jami’ah  ألجـامــــعـه (the Encyclopedia) and they were left with the Imams of Ahlul Bayt, each new Imam receiving them from the dying predecessor Imam.  The Imams referred to these Hadiths and books over a period of about three centuries.  Notable among them is Imam Ja’far Al-Saadiq, who was the teacher of Imam Abu Hanifa and Al-Maaliki, and as many as 4000 scholars who graduated from his school.  As many as 400 religious books were written by Al-Saadiq’s students, referred to as the 400 Usool (the 400 books of basics in Islam) الأصـول الأربعمـائه   .

 

THE SHIA SO CALLED: CORPUS OF ISLAMIC KNOWLEDGE
 

  1. The Holy Quran in chronological order,
  2. The Tafseer of the Holy Quran consisting of three large volumes, called Mus’haf Fatima,
  3. The books of Hadith as Imam Ali had recorded them, called Saheefa of Ali,
  4. The books about Al-Ah’kaam, detailing the rule and regulations of the Shari’ah, and
  5. The books of the Jafr:
    1. The White Jafr about knowledge of the Prophets, life happenings, and other special (mystic) matters
    2. The Red Jafr comprised of rules and matters about and involving wars.

 

 

Because of the source and chain of narration of the Hadith, the Shi’a (Ja’fari) rely only on the Hadiths as narrated by Ahlul Bayt or those Hadiths in the Al-Sihaah Al-Sittah (Bukhari, Muslim and others) that are similar to what Ahlul Bayt had quoted.

 

JA’FARI (SHI’A) SOURCE OF HADITH  

The original books of Hadith as written by Imam Ali are not available, but the sources of Hadith of Ahlul Bayt were best registered by:

  1. Al-Kulaini (d.329AH/940AD) in the book of Al-Kaafi which registers 16,199 Hadiths.
  2. Al-Siddooq in the book of Man La Yah’dharhu al-Faqeeh.
  3. Toosi in the book of Al-Tah’dheeb, and the book of Istibsaar.

 

والله تعالى أعلم

وصلى اللهم وسلم وبارك على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه والتابعين

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

أخوك أبو ناصر

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