to Quran and Sunnah
the Name of Allah, The Most
Beneficent, The Most Merciful.
Verily We: It is We
Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur'ân)
and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).
above ayat (verse) is obviously fulfilled in the undisputed purity
the Qur'anic text throughout the fourteen centuries since its
However, what is sometimes forgotten is that the divine promise also
by necessity, the Sunnah of the Prophet
Sunnah is the practical example of the
implementation of the Qur'anic
guidance, the wisdom taught to the Prophet
with the scripture, and neither the Qur'an nor the Sunnah
understood correctly without the other.
Allaah, subhana watala, says
in His Book (An-Nûr 24:54):
Allah and obey the Messenger, but if you turn away,
he (Messenger Muhammad saaws) is only responsible for the duty placed
him (i.e. to convey Allah's Message) and you for that placed on you. If
obey him, you shall be on the right guidance. The Messenger's duty is
to convey (the message) in a clear way (i.e. to preach in a plain way)."
Allah (SWT) preserved the Sunnah
by enabling the companions and
those after them to memorize, write down and pass on the statements of
and the descriptions of his way, as well as to continue the blessings
practicing the Sunnah.
From al-Irbaad ibn Saariyah
[radiy'Allaahu anhu] who said:
gave us an
admonition which caused the eyes to shed tears and the hearts
to fear, so we said, "O Messenger of Allaah, this is as if it were a
sermon, so with what do you counsel us?" So he said: "I have left you
clear proof , its night is like its day, no one deviates from it except
who is destroyed, and whoever lives long from amongst you will see
controversy. So stick to what you know from my Sunnah and the Sunnah of
orthodox, rightly-guided caliphs - cling to that with your molar teeth,
stick to obedience even if it is to an Abyssinian slave, since the
is like a submissive camel, wherever he is led, he follows"
(4/126), Ibn Maajah (no. 43), al-Haakim
(1/96) and others - Hasan]
Later, as the purity of the
knowledge of the Sunnah became a concern,
Allah (SWT) caused the Muslim Ummah to produce
exceptional memory skills and analytical expertise, who travelled
to collect thousands of narrations and distinguish the true words of
wisdom from those corrupted by weak memories, from forgeries by
liars, and from the statements of the large number of Ulama
the companions and those who followed their way. All of this was
through precise attention to the words narrated, and detailed
with the biographies of the thousands of reporters of hadith.
The methodology of the expert scholars of hadith
in assessing the
narrations and sorting out the genuine from the mistaken and
for ms the subject matter of the science of hadith.
Below is a brief
discussion of the terminology and classifications of hadith.
Components of Hadith
A hadith is composed of three
parts (see the
(chain of reporters), and taraf
(the part, or the beginning sentence, of the text which refers to the
actions or characteristics of the Prophet (PBUH), or his concurrence
others action). The authenticity of the hadith
depends on the
reliability of its reporters, and the linkage among them.
Classifications of Hadith
A number of classifications of hadith
made. Five of these
classifications are shown in the figure [below], and are briefly
According to the
reference to a particular authority
Four types of hadith can be identified.
- Divine; a revelation from Allah (SWT);
relayed with the
words of the Prophet (PBUH).
- Marfu - elevated; a narration
from the Prophet (PBUH), e.g. I heard
the Prophet (PBUH) saying ...
- Mauquf- stopped: a narration
from a companion only, e.g., we were
commanded to ...
- Maqtu' - severed: a narration
from a successor.
to the links of Isnad -
interrupted or uninterrupted
Six categories can be identified.
- Musnad - supported: a hadith
which is reported by a
traditionalist, based on what he learned from his teacher at a time of
suitable for learning; similarly - in turn - for each teacher until the
isnad reaches a well known companion, who in turn,
the Prophet (PBUH).
- Mutassil - continuous: a hadith
with an uninterrupted
isnad which goes back only to a companion or
- Mursal - hurried: if the link
between the successor and the Prophet
(PBUH) is missing, e.g. when a successor says "The Prophet said...".
- Munqati - broken: is a hadith
whose link anywhere before
the successor (i.e., closer to the traditionalist recording the
hadith) is missing.
- Mu'adal - perplexing: is a hadith
whose reporter omits
two or more consecutive reporters in the isnad.
- Mu'allaq - hanging: is a hadith
whose reporter omits the
whole isnad and quotes the Prophet (PBUH)
directly (i.e., the link
is missing at the beginning).
- According to the
number of reporters involved in each
Five categories of hadith can be identified:
- Mutawatir - Consecutive: is a hadith
which is reported
by such a large number of people that they cannot be expected to agree
a lie, all of them together.
- Ahad - isolated: is a hadith
which is narrated by people
whose number does not reach that of the mutawatir.
It is further classified into:
- Mash'hur - famous: hadith
reported by more than two reporters.
- Aziz - rare, strong: at any
stage in the isnad, only two
reporters are found to narrate the hadith.
- Gharib - strange: At some
stage of the Isnad, only one
reporter is found relating it.
- According to the
nature of the text and isnad
- Munkar -
denounced: is a hadith
which is reported by a
weak narrator, and whose narration goes against another authentic
- Mudraj - interpolated: an
addition by a reporter to the text of
the hadith being narrated.
According to the
reliability and memory of the reporters
This provides the final verdict on a hadith
- four categories can
- sound. Imam Al-shafi'i states the
for a hadith, which is not mutawatir,
to be acceptable
"each reporter should be trustworthy in his religion; he should be
to be truthtul in his narrating, to understand what he narrates, to
how a different expression can alter the meaning, and to report the
of the hadith verbatim, not only its meaning".
- Hasan - good: is the one
where its source is known and its reporters
- Da'if - weak: a hadith
which fails to reach the status
of hasan. Usually, the weakness is: a) one of
discontinuity in the
isnad, in which case the hadith
could be - according to
the nature of the discontinuity - munqati
mu'allaq (hanging), mu'dal
(perplexing), or mursal
(hurried), or b) one of the reporters having a disparaged character,
as due to his telling lies, excessive mistakes, opposition to the
of more reliable sources, involvement in innovation, or ambiguity
- Maudu' - fabricated or
forged: is a hadith whose text goes
against the established norms of the Prophet's sayings, or its
include a liar. Fabricated hadith are also
recognized by external
evidence related to a discrepancy found in the dates or times of a
by Ahmad, Abu Daawood, Ibn Maajah
and at-Tirmidhee, who declared it hasan. Al-Albaanee declared it saheeh
“There will come a time when a man sitting upon his couch is told
a hadeeth and he replies, ‘Between us and you is the Book of Allah,
the Mighty and Majestic. What we find in it to be lawful, we take as
and what we find in it to be forbidden, we take as forbidden.’ Indeed,
what the Messenger of Allah has forbidden is like what Allah has
Imam Maalik - Reported by Ibn
in Jaami’ Bayaan al-‘Ilm (2/91).
Imam Maalik (rahimahullaah) said, “Everyone after the Prophet
alaihi wa sallam) will have his saying accepted or rejected, not so the
Imam Ahmaad - Reported in
(2/15) and by Ibn battah in al-Ibanatul-Kubraa (1/97).
Imam Ahmaad (rahimahullaah) said, “Whoever rejects a hadeeth of
is on the
brink of destruction.”
Allah, subhana watala,
sees everything we do!