1.0 SCIENCES OF THE QUR’AN,
uluum al Qur’an
A. Description Of The Qur'an
B. Definition And Classification
Of Qur'anic Sciences
C. 'Ilm Tafsir Al Qur'an
D. Classification Of Ilm Al Tafsir
E. Other Aspects Of Tafsir
2.0 SCIENCES OF HADITH, ‘uluum al hadith
A. Description Of Hadith
B. Transmission And Collection Of
C. Description Of Sunnat
D. Hadith Sciences
E. The Criteria For Accepting A Report,
3.0 BIOGRAPHY OF THE PROPHET, SIIRAT
D. Main Authors And Their Books:
E. Main Authors And Their Books:
4.0 SCIENCES OF THEOLOGY, 'uluum usul al ddiin)
C. Main Scholars Of Usul Al Ddiin
D. Main Issues Of Usul Al Ddiin
E. Contemporary Situation
5.0 SCIENCES OF THE LAW & ITS
FUNDAMENTALS, uluum al fiqh wa usulihi
Fiqh, The Academic Study Of The Law
B. Schools Of Fiqh:
C. Usul Al Fiqh
E. Contemporary Challenges
1.0 SCIENCES OF THE QUR’AN,
uluum al Qur’an
A. DESCRIPTION OF THE QUR'AN
DEFINITION OF THE QUR’AN
The Qur'an is technically defined
as 'Allah’s words revealed to Muhammad (PBUH) in the Arabic language, transmitted to us in continuity, written in the
mashaf, whose recitation is worship, commencing with surat al fatihat and ends
with surat al nas (‘kalaam al llaah
al munazzal ala sayyidina Muhammad (SAW) bi al lafdh al ‘arabi al manquul ilaina bi al tawaatir al maktuub bi al masahif
al muta’abbadu bi tilaawatihi al mu’ujiz bi aqsar surat minhu al mabdu bi surat al fatihat al makhtuum bi surat
THE QUR'AN AS A PRACTICAL GUIDE
The Qur’an is a book that emphasizes
deed. The Qur’an is a practical work-plan and a guide for the individual, the family and the society. Each verse has
practical implications. Verses on historical events are in the Qur’an for the instruction of the living and not just
providing historical information. Verses of legal rulings, ayat al ahkam, regulate
the daily lives of individuals and communities. Many verses deal with the universe, ayat
kawniyyat, and are a basis for developments in science and technology. Other verses are for moral guidance or teaching
the upright aqidat.
RATIONAL APPROACH, al istidlaal al aqli
The Qur’an uses rational approaches
that are akin to scientific enquiry. The Qur'an uses the following tools that are also used in rational or empirical sciences:
similarity, tashabuhu & imtithaal, specialization, tajzi’at, generalization and particularization, ta’amiim &
takhsiis, definition, ta’areef, apposition, muqabalat, examples and similitudes, amthaal, stories, qisas, argument and debate, jadal & munadharat, and induction,
THE MIRACULOUS NATURE OF THE QUR’AN,
i’jaz al Qur’an:
The Qur'an is a miracle (p. 925 2:23-24,
10:38, 11:1, 11:13-14, 16:101, 17:88, 25:5, 28:48-50, 29:48, 52:33-34). The Qur’an is an intellectual, scientific and
linguistic miracle. Deep study reveals to an open and incisive mind that this is not a product of the human mind. It defies
and challenges human intellect. The Qur’an will continue as a standing miracle and challenge down the centuries to the
THE REVELATION OF THE QUR’AN,
nuzul al Qur’an
The Qur’an was revealed in
bits and pieces, nuzuul al Qur’an munajjaman (KS436: Bukhari K66 B6; p. 932 17:106, 25:32). The great wisdom behind this was to make sure that the first
Muslims learned the teachings of the Qur’an in a practical context so that their understanding of the message would
be perfect and thus ensure correct transmission to the later generations. Each verse was therefore revealed to coincide with
an occasion to which it was related.
THE COLLECTION and DISSEMINATION
OF THE QUR’AN, jam’u al Qur’an
During the life of the prophet: The
companions of the prophet learned the Qur’an by heart. People in that simple society were largely illiterate had good
memory because their minds were not crowded with other extraneous information as is found in more complex societies. Some
companions who were literate wrote the Qur’an down. The prophet had official scribes who wrote down every verse as soon
as it was revealed, kaifa kaana al nabiyy yumli al Qur’an (KS436: Bukhari K65 S4 B18; Bukhari K66 B2, 3; Bukhari K93
B37; Tirmidhi K44 S4 H19; Ibn Sa’ad J3 Q2 P50; Ahmad 3:120, 245; Ahmad 4:381). They also noted its location by chapter
and position in the chapter, kaifa kaan al nabiyy ya amur bi tartiib al suwar wa al ayaat (KS430: Abudaud K2 B121, Ahmad 1:57,
67; Ahmad 4:218). Writing of hadith at the time of the prophet was discouraged for fear of confusion with the Qur’an,
kitaabat al Qur’an wa ‘adam kitaabat al hadiith (KS437: Darimi Intr B41). The prophet recited the Qur’an
often so that the companions could learn and remember. He used to sit down on occasions and listen to their recitation to
make sure they were reciting correctly. Jibril used to come to earth once a year to review the entire Qur'an with the prophet.
In the year of his death, Jibril came twice.
In the era of the rightly guided
khilafat: Abubakr collected all writings of the Qur’an that had been made at the time of the prophet and kept them safely.
It was the third Khalifah Othman bin Affan who undertook the major task of collating all the existent writings into one standard
volume written in the Quraishi dialect. This volume known as mushaf Othmani is
what is read today throughout the Muslim world. The original style of writing has been preserved as much as possible and it
differs from that of modern Arabic in some details.
Subsequent historical eras: The earliest
mushafs were written without dots on letters which could cause confusion between
some letters like ‘b’ and ‘t’; it was Yusuf bin al Hajjaj al Thaqafi who introduced the dots. The
Qur’an unlike common Arabic text has vowels to make sure there are no mistakes in reading. The vowels were not written
at the beginning but when many non-native speakers of Arabic started entered Islam and started reading the Qur'an, vowels
were introduced. There are also many marks and instructions that guide the reader.
Modern era: technological developments
have introduced new and effective methods of recording and transmitting Qur'anic text. The Qur'an can be recorded on audio
and videotapes. It has also been put in the computer.
Memorization of the Qur'an. hifdh al Qur'an: In addition to the written mushaf there are thousands
of Muslims who have learned the Qur’an by heart and this will continue until the last day, yawm al qiyamat. Throughout history, Muslims have valued the learning of the Qur'an by heart. Specialized institutions
teach hifdh al Qur'an from the earliest ages. All Islamic education involves starting with memorization of at least some of
the Qur'an. In its heydays, Azhar
University admitted only those students who had memorized the Qur'an. Both scholars
and non-scholars memorized the Qur'an. A lot of respect is accorded those who know the entire Qur'an by heart.
Preservation of the Qur'an: The Qur’an
enjoys the distinction among all revelations of being the only scripture that has been preserved in its original form and
has been transmitted in an unbroken chain by a large number of people, manqul bi al
tawatir, until the present day
DIFFERENT RECITATIONS OF THE QUR'AN
Recitation of the Qur’an is
a form of worship, tilawat al Qur’an ‘ibadat (p 927 17:78-79) and has its own etiquette, adab al tilawat (p 929).
The prophet read the Qur’an in 7 different ways, qira’at al Qur’an
‘ala al ahruf al sab’a. All are valid and have been preserved. They differ in the enunciation of some letters
and words. Some types of recitation have become common in some countries for example the recitation by Warsh is common in
the maghreb countries. The Qur’an can be recited as tartiil or as tajwid.. The former is straightforward whereas the latter involves using a more pleasant voice. There are special rules for tajwid, ahkam al tajwid..
THE CONCEPT OF OCCASION OF REVELATION,
sabab al nuzuul
Proper understanding and interpretation
of a verse requires knowing the circumstances of its revelation. The Qur’an was revealed in a dynamically changing society.
The verses revealed related to events actually taking place. Thus the present order of the verses is different from the chronological
order in which they were revealed. Arranging the verses in their chronological order is like writing the history of the Islamic
dawa during the 23 years during which the Qur’an was revealed.
CHAPTERS AND SECTIONS OF THE QUR’AN:
Chapters: The Qur’an is divided
into 114 chapters each called a surat.
The first surat is al Fatihat also
called the opening or mother of the book. The remaining surats are arranged in
roughly a descending order on the basis of their length. Surat al Baqarat is the
longest surat and it follows surat al fatiha.
The last surat, al nas, is one of the
shortest. Each surat starts with the
basmalah except surat al baraa.
Other divisions of the Qur'an: The Qur’an is sub-divided for purposes of recitation, tahziib al Qur’an
li al tilawat (KS444: Abudaud K6 B8, Ibn Majah K5 B178, Ahmad 4:9, 343; Tayalisi 1108). The Qur'an is divided into 30 parts each called juz u. Their demarcations do not coincide with those of
surats. Each juz'u is divided into 2 sections each called hizb. Each hizb is divided into quarters, rub'u;
and eighths, thumun. The sub-division into juz'u, hizb, rub'u, and thumun is based on the number of letters.
Madanese and Makkan chapters: The
verses and chapters revealed in Makka differ in many ways from those revealed in Madina. This reflects the historical experiences.
Muslims in Makka were weak and their main concern was to call others to the din,
to preserve and strengthen their aqidat. Muslims in Madina were strong and were
building a state. The Makkan verses are short, poetic, and powerful. They deal mostly with issues of aqidat. Verses revealed
in Madina are longer and deal with details of societal organisation.
B. DEFINITION and CLASSIFICATION
OF QUR'ANIC SCIENCES
DEFINITION OF SCIENCES OF THE QUR’AN, uluum al Qur’an:
Qur’anic sciences deal with
general matters relating to the revelation, arrangement, collection, writing, recitation, interpretation, miracles, and abrogation
of the Qur’an, al mabaahith al kulliyat allati tata’allaqu bi al Qur’an
al karim min nahiyat nuzuulihi, wa tartibihi, wa jamuhu, wa kitaabatuhu, wa qiraatuhu, wa tafsiiruhu, wa ijazuhu, wa nasikhuhu
LIST OF THE MAIN QUR’ANIC SCIENCES:
Qur'anic sciences are interrelated
and share the characteristic of being methodological in approach. The following are the major ones:
Interpretation, ‘ilm tafsir al Qur’an
Circumstances of revelation, ‘ilm asbaab al nuzuul
Miracles of the Qur’an, ‘ilm i’ijaz al Qur’an
Abrogating and abrogated verses in
the Qur’an, ‘ilm naasikh al Qur’an wa mansuukhuhu
Legal rulings in the Qur’an,
‘ilm ahkaam al Qur’an,
Excellence of the Qur’an, ‘ilm fadhail al Qur’an
Elucidating the complex in the Qur’an,
‘ilm ta’wiil mushkil al Qur’an,
Clear and allegorical verses in the
Qur’an, ‘ilm al muhkam wa al mutashhabih
History of the writing of the Qur’an,
‘ilm taarikh al Qur’an wa tadwwinuhu wa naskhihi wa kuttabihi wa rasmihi
Grammar of the Qur’an, ‘ilm i’iraab al Qur’an
Different recitations of the Qur’an,
‘ilm al Qira’aat
C. 'ILM TAFSIR AL QUR'AN
DEFINITION OF ‘ILM AL TAFSIR:
'Ilm tafsir al Qur'an was defined
by Zarkashi as the science that deals with elucidating the indication intended by Allah in the Qur’an to the best of
human capacity, ‘ilm yubhathu fiihi ‘an ahwaal al Qur’an al Majeed
min haithu dalaalatihi ‘ala muraad al llah ta’ala bi qadr al taqat al bashariyyat. ‘Ilm tafsir al Qur’an is the most important of the ‘uluum
al Qur’an. It has a basis in the Qur’an (Sad: 29, nisa: 82). The major issue in tafsir is to reconcile the holiness of the text with the humanness of the mufassir.
The mufassir, being human,
has limitations and weaknesses and may make mistakes in the interpretation of the text. Extreme care must be taken in the
interpretation of the Qur’an. It is prohibited to say anything about the Qur’an without specific knowledge, al
nahyu ‘an al qawl fi al Qur’an bi ghayr ‘ilm (KS436: Abudaud K20 B5; Ahmad 1:269, 4:155).
CLEAR and ALLEGORICAL VERSES
The tafsir of clear verses, ayat muhakamat, is easier and more straightforward
than that of allegorical verses, ayat mutashabihat.
A clear verse, ayat muhakkamat, is defined as one whose literal meaning
is the same as the actual meaning; is clear; and is not possibly abrogated, ‘al
dalaalat al dhaahiru alladhi la yatahammalu al naskh’ (p 55 3:7, 11:1, 22:52).
The allegorical verse is defined as one whose actual meaning can not be elucidated from its literal meaning and can not be
understood if it stands by itself without interpretation, ma lam yutalaqqa ma’anhu
min lafdhihi, wa la yastaqillu bi nafsihi bal yahtaaju ila bayaan’.
HISTORY OF ‘ILM AL TAFSIR:
The evolution of tafsir went through many stages: The Prophet’s tafsir was to
explain the details and explain the meaning. A major portion of tafsir was through the actions of the prophet because
his life was a reflection of the Qur’an in practice, kaana khulquhu al Qur’an. The tafsir of the companions, sahabat, was either transmitted from the
prophet, naqli, or was based on their
own judgment, ijtihadi. The most famous mufassiriin
among the companions were according to al Suyuti: Abubakr, Omar, Othman, Ali, Ibn Mas’ud, Ibn Abbaas, Ubayy bin Ka’ab,
Zayd bin Thabit, Abu Musa al Ash’ari, and Abdullah bin al Zubayr (Hadidi 1983). The discipline of tafsir grew when differences started to appear and there was a need to look for solutions to the problems that
arose in the community. Tafsir remains a dynamic and growing discipline to our
day because the Qur’an is a continuing challenge and every generation understands it in its own way.
SOURCES OF TAFSIR:
There are 2 primary sources of tafsir: the Qur’an and the sunnat.
The Qur’an explains itself. Sunnat explains the Qur’an. Ijtihad and inference, istinbaat, are additional sources of tafsir.
The Qur’an can explain itself
because of its internal unity such that one part can elaborate and not contradict another. Methods of the Qur’an interpreting
itself, tafsir al Qur’an bi al Qur’an, include: a detailed verse interpreting a brief concise verse, sharh al mujaz
bi al mubassat; an open-ended verse being interpreted by a restrictive one,
sharh al mutlaq bi al muqayyad; the general being interpreted by the specific,
sharh al aam bi al mukhassas; reconciling what are apparently different assertions,
al jamu bayn ma yatawahhamu annahu mukhtalif) (Hadid 1983).
Methods the sunnat interpreting the
Qur’an, tafsir al Qur’an bi al sunnat, include: explaining the general;
clarifying the complicated, mushkil, making the general particular, restricting
the open-ended, mutlaq; explaining terminology, lafdh; explaining abrogation, naskh;
and emphasizing Qur’anic legal rulings, hukm. (Hadid 1983).
DISCIPLINES THAT ASSIST TAFSIR:
The science of linguistics, ‘ilm al lugha wa al nahawu wa al saraf
Science of Qur’anic readings,
ilm al qiraat
Theology, ‘ilm usul al ddiin
Science of the principles of jurisprudence,
ilm usul al fiqh
Science of the occasions of revelation,
‘ilm asbaab al nuzuul
Others: There are disciplines not yet described today that will push ‘ilm
al tafsir to new heights of achievement in the future.
METHODS OF TAFSIR:
Each mufassir uses a different methodology. It is worth studying the methodology before reading the tafsir. Famous
mufassirin like Ibn Abbas and Abu Jarir al Tabari had each a different approach.
Ibn Abbas: The methodology of Ibn Abbas, the father of tafsir, included: use of
sabab al nuzuul (occasion, time, and place), identifying the abrogating, naasikh, and abrogated, mansuukh,
verses, use of poetry to understand meanings of Arabic words and expressions,
using the Qur’an to interpreter itself, tafsir al Qur’an bi al Qur’an,
and considering the personal and human dimension.
al Tabari: Al Tabari’s tafsir methodology included: using precedence, tafsir bi al mathuur; interpreting stories
using evidence, tafsir al qisas bi al hujjat; refusal
of rationalist interpretation, rafdh al tafsir bi al ray; literal interpretation
of the text, tafsir al nass dhahiriyat; and use of linguistic tools.
D. CLASSIFICATION OF ILM AL TAFSIR
CLASSIFICATION OF ‘ILM AL TAFSIR ACCORDING TO VARIOUS CRITERIA:
by approach: linguistic, literal
by source: Qur’an, sunnat, ijtihad, istiqra, isitinbat
by method: precedence, tafsir bi al mathur, tafsir
bi al ra’ay
by subject matter, tafsir mawdhu’i
by terms and words, tafsir bi al alfadh & al kalimaat;
by jurisprudence, tafsir fiqhi
by the sufi approach, tafsir sufi
by the philosophical approach, tafsir falsafi
by the scientific methods, tafsir ‘ilmi
by linguistics, tafsir lughawi
by methods of literature, tafsir adabi
by methods of social sciences, tafsir ijtimae
by empirical methods, tafsir tajriibi
sectarian, tafsir aqdi, such as sunnite
INTERPRETATION BY PRECEDENT, TAFSIR BI AL MA’ATHUUR:
bi al mathuur refers to explanations that are from the Qur’an, the sunnat,
the companions and the followers. The three most important authors of this method were: Muhammad bin Jariir bin Yaziid bin
Kathir Abu Ja’afar al Tabari (224 - 310 AH), Ismail bin Omar bin Kathiir al Qurashi al Basrawi al Dimashqi (701 - 774
AH), and Abd al Rahman bin Abi Bakr bin Muhamad bin Sabiq al Ddiin al Khudhairi al Suyuuti (849 - 911 AH).
TAFSIIR BASED ON IJTIHAD, RATIONALITY
& OPINION, tafsir bi al ra’ay
Tafsir based on human reason can
be praiseworthy, mahmuud, or blameworthy, madhmuum.
The praiseworthy uses opinion guided by valid general principles from the Qur’an and sunnat. The blameworthy is based purely on rational reasoning and could lead to wrong conclusions. The main field
of tafsir bi al ra’ay are the allegorical verses. Tafsir bi al ra’ay has been controversial throughout the ages because of its use reason and rationality.
Ibn Taymiyyat considered tafsir bi al ra’ay forbidden, haraam. There are supporters and opponents of tafsir bi al ra’ay
in the ancient and modern periods. The balanced view is that use of reason or rationality within limits is not bad. The general
principles and fundamentals of the creed, aqidat, and the purposes of the law, maqasid al shariat, should define these limits.
INTERPRETATION BASED ON EMPIRICAL
SCIENCE, TAFSIR ‘ILMI
Definition: Tafsir ‘ilmi is empirical and scientific; it related to empirical sciences, uluum kawniyyat, and the miraculous nature of the Qur’an, ijaz al
Qur’an. The main assertion of tafsir ilmi is that there is no contradiction
between science and the Qur’an. Tafsir ilmi is defined as the intellectual
effort of the interpreter to discover the link between the verses of the Holy Qur’an dealing with the empirical world
on one hand and the discoveries of empirical science on the other hand such that the miraculous nature of the Qur’an
is exposed; this proves that the Qur’an is indeed a word of Allah and is suitable for every place and every time, Ijtihad al mufassir fi kashf al silat bayn ayaat al Qur’an al kareem al kawniyyat
wa muktashafaat al ilm al tajriibi ala wajh yadh’hiru bi ijaz li al Qur’an yadullu ala masdarihi wa salahiyatihi
li kulli zamaan wa makaan (Rumi pt 3, p 549, 1987).
Examples of tafsir ilmi are: finding scientific explanations for Qur’anic verses on creation of everything
from water, prohibition of coitus during menstruation, haidh; and exemption from
salat and saum during menstruation.
Controversies: In both ancient and modern times tafsir ‘ilmi
has had proponents and opponents. Ancient supporters of tafsir ‘ilmi: al Ghazzali (d. 505 AH), al Fakhr al Razi (d.
606 AH), al Zarkashi (d. 794 AH), Ibn Abi Fadl al Mursi, and al Suyuti (d. 911 AH). Ancient opponents of tafsir ‘ilmi: al Shatibi (d. 790), and Ibn Hayyaan al Andalusi (d. 745 AH). Modern supporters of tafsir ‘ilmi are: Abd Rahman al Kawakibi in tabaiu al istibdaad wa
masariu al istibaad, Muhammad Abduh, Abd al Hamid bin Badees in tafsir Ibn Badees
- majalis al tadhakkur min kalaam al hakiim al khabiir, Muhammad Mutawalli Sha’araawi, Hasan al Banna, al Tantawi
in al jawahor fi tafsir al Qur’an al karim, Abdul Aziz Ismail in al islam wa al tibb al hadith, Hanafi Ahmad in: al tafsiir al ilmi li al
ayaat al kawniyyat fi al Qur’an, Muhammad Bakhiit al Mutie in: tanbiihu al
‘uquul al insaniyyat lima fi ayat al Qur’an min al ‘uluum al kawniyyat, Mustafa Maraghi, Muhammad Abdullah
Darraaz in: madkhal ila al Qur’an al kareem, Wahidu al Ddiin Khan in: al Islam yatahadda, Mustafa Sadiq al Rafie
in: ‘ijaz al Qur’an wa al balaghat al nabawiyyat, Muhammad Ahmad al
Ghamrawi, Muhammad Jamaluddin al Fandi in al Qur’an wa al ‘ilm, and Muhammad al Tahir bin Ashour in al Tahriir wa al tanwiir. Modern opposes of tafsir ‘ilmi: Mahmud Shaltuut, Amin
al Kholi, Abbas al Aqaad, Syed Qutb, Muhammad Rashid Ridha, Abbas Mahmoud al Akkad, Muhammad Izzat, Muhammad Abd al Rahiim
al Zarqani (in: manahil al irfaan fi uluum al Qur’an).
E. OTHER ASPECTS OF TAFSIR
The concept of ta’awil can be used in a positive sense or in a negative one. In the positive sense it is similar to tafsir but there are technical differences that experts can explain. In a negative
sense it can be used to refer to attempts to interpret the holy text to support pre-conceived views or personal or parochial
interests. The Qur’an condemned this type of ta’awil (p 221 3:7).
The concept of abrogation, naskh, has already been discussed at length before in the unit on
Some mufassirin have borrowed from judaic folklore to provide details about some Qur’anic stories. This reflects
misunderstanding of the purposes of the Qur’an. The stories told by the Qur’an are for moral teaching of the living;
they have no historical value since the Qur’an is not a textbook of history. The Qur’an therefore did not tell
all the details of each story and the prophet did likewise not feel the need to do so. Recourse to israiliyaat is an attempt to get the historical details complete, which is unnecessary.
INDEXATION OF THE QUR'AN
Indexation of the Qur’an: All
down the centuries students of the Qur’an have always wanted to index it so that it is easier to look for verses relevant
to a certain subject or topic. Several indices were published and more will continue to be published. Since the Qur’an
is a living miracle, new developments in knowledge always lead to new insights in its interpretation. It is therefore inevitable
that the indices are reviewed regularly.
The index can be based on words,
al mu'ujam al mufahras liu alfaadh al Qur'an. It can also be based on meanings,
al mu'ujam al mufahras li ma'aani al Qur'an..
2.0 SCIENCES OF HADITH, ‘uluum al hadith
A. DESCRIPTION OF HADITH
Hadith can be words of the prophets,
qawl al rasul, actions, fi’ilu al
rasul, or tacit approval, iqrar, of actions performed in front of him or which
he knew about and he did not indicate disapproval. Hadith also embraces the words and actions of the companions of the prophet
and the general events and phenomena that occurred during the period of prophet hood, ‘ahd
al risalat, and the era immediately after it.
STRUCTURE OF HADITH:
A hadith consists of 2 main parts:
the chain of transmitters, sanad, and the text, matn.
Hadith methodology is derived from
the Qur’an. What has been discussed previously about Qur’anic methodology applies to hadith as well.
CLASSIFICATION OF HADITH:
Hadith can be classified by sanad,
number of narrators, or grade of authenticity. There is no unanimity of classification among hadith scholars but the differences
are relatively minor. Hadith can be classified according to sanad as: muttasil, munqatiu,
mursal, mu’udhal, mudlas, mawquuf, marfuu’. Each of these terms has a technical definition used by hadith
scholars that will be explained later. Hadith can be classified according to number of narrators as: famous, mashhur, reported by an overwhelming number of narrators, mutawatir, or
reported by a single narrator, hadith al ahad.. The number of narrators reporting
the same hadith indicates authenticity. It is most unlikely that a large number of people who do not live together can concur
in error. Hadith reported by a single narrator, hadith al ahad, should always be
suspected and should never be accepted in fundamental matters like aqidat. A hadith
can be classified by grade as: authentic, sahih; good, hasan; weak, dhaif; strange, shaadh,
ie different from others in text and chain of transmission; faulty, mu’allal,
ie has a hidden reason for not being sahih even if it is apparently correct.
nabawi is part of unrecitable revelation, wahy ghair matlu’. The content
and meaning are from Allah (SWT) but unlike the Qur’an, the sentence structure, language and words used are from the
prophet (PBUH). Unlike the Qur’an the reporting of hadith from the prophet by the companions and the followers was partly
by meaning (paraphrasing); in some cases it is not the exact words or linguistic expressions that the prophet used.
qudsi is similar to the Qur’an in that the language and words are directly from Allah (SWT) and all the prophet
did was to convey them. There are very few hadith qudsi.
B. TRANSMISSION and COLLECTION of
METHODS OF HADITH TRANSMISSION:
Hadith scholars are very particular
about the method of transmission to ensure accuracy. The reporter can listen to the Sheikh reading the hadith, qiraat al Sheikh alayhi. The reporter can read a hadith to the Sheikh who either approves by saying yes or just
keeps quiet signifying consent, an yaqra ala al sheikh fayaqulu na’am aw yaskut.
The sheikh can after a period of teaching give the reporter a written or oral authorisation to report hadith from the sheikh,
al ijaazat. The sheikh can give a written document to the reporter and tell him
to report its contents, al munawalat: khudh hadha al kitaab fa a’rwiihi anni.
The reporter can report a hadith by meaning or can use the exact words he heard. The following words are used in hadith reporting:
haddathana, akhbarana, anba’ana.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HADITH AND QUR’AN
Both Qur’an and hadith are
revelations. The former is recitable revelation, wahy matluw, and the latter is
non-recitable revelation, wahy ghair matluw. The Qur’an is direct speech
of Allah. The meaning of the hadith is from Allah but the words are those of the prophet (PBUH). In some hadiths the meaning
is from the prophet but the words are those of the narrators. Hadiths, unlike Qur’an, were not all transmitted as in
continuity and by many people, mutawaatir.
REPORTING OF HADITH BY COMPANIONS:
The number of hadith reported from
different companions varies; some reported heavily, some reported only a few whereas some have no hadith reported from them
at all. The older companions who died earlier reported fewer hadith; this is because they died before great interest in reporting
hadith arose. Those who stayed close to the prophet all the time like Abu Hurairat and Ibn Abbas reported more hadith than
HISTORY OF THE COLLECTION AND WRITING
Hadith was not written down during
the era of the prophet (PBUH) and the 4 companions. Reporting of hadith was limited. The few documented hadiths at the time
of the prophet and the 4 rightly guided khulafa were the exception and not the rule. Writing of hadith was actively discouraged
because it was feared that hadith and Qur'an would be confused. Omar Ibn Abd al Aziz was the first to order systematic collection
and the writing of hadith (Sadi 1408 AH, p 67). Systematic efforts of hadith collection became necessary during the great
fitna due to death of many narrators and the appearance of hadith fabrication to justify partisan stands. Most of hadith collection
was in the era of the followers of the followers, tabiu al tabiin. That is why
most hadith narration chains include a follower who heard the hadith from the companion.
DIFFERENT METHODOLOGIES OF HADITH
The collectors of hadith each developed
a methodology. Those with the most rigorous methodology have the most authoritative collections. However too rigorous criteria
for hadith acceptance left out many authentic hadiths that other collectors with less rigorous criteria have preserved for
us. The methodology of Imaam Malik in al muwatta was characterised by the following:
reliance only on trusted narrators, use of mubalaghaat (using the formula the ‘report
reached us’ ablaghana), use of mursalaat
( ), use of athaar
that stopped at tabiin and tabiu al tabiin,
and mixing hadith with fiqh al hadith.
The method of Bukhari in his sahih was very rigorous. He searched widely for hadith
and accepted only the most authentic. He accepted only 4000 hadiths (with repetitions) and
2761 hadith (with no repetition) out of 600,000 hadiths initially collected. He reported one hadith using several chains
of transmitters as further proof of authenticity. Muslim was a student of Bukhari and adopted much of the former’s methodology.
He recorded 4000 hadiths (with no repetitions) selected from 300,000 initially collected. Abudaud collected 4800 hadiths.
COLLECTIONS OF HADITH
The most important hadith collections
are indicated below in chronological order by date of death of the author:
Malik (d. 179 H): al Muwatta;
Ahmad (d. 241 AH): Musnad Ahmad;
al Daarimi (d. 255 AH): Sunan al Daarimi;
al Bukhari (d. 256 H): Sahiih al Bukhari
Muslim (d. 261 H): Sahiih Muslim-
Ibn Majah (d. 273 AH): Sunan Ibn Majah;
Abu Daud (d. 275 H): Sunan Abu Daud 4800 hadiths;
al Tarmidhi (d. 279H ); al Jamiu al Sahiih;
Al Nisae (d. 303 H): Sunan al Nisae;
al Tabrani (d. 360 AH): al Mu’jam
Al Hakim (d. 405 AH): al Mustadrak;
al Bayhaqi (d. 458 AH): al Sunan al Kubra;
al Mundhiri (d. 656 AH): al Targhiib wa al Tarhiib;
al Nawawi (d. 767 AH): Riyaadh al Saalihiin;
al Haythami (d. 807 AH): Majmau al Zawaid;
al Suyuuti (d. 911 AH): al Jamiu al Kabiir;
Ibn Abi Shaybat (d. ): Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybat;
Ibn al Athiir (d. ); Jamiu al Usuul;
Some were primary collectors like
Bukhari and Muslim. Some of the later collectors like Imam al Nawawi put together their collections from hadiths already reported
in the primary collections.
C. DESCRIPTION OF SUNNAT
Sunnat is a type of hadith but is
restricted to words, actions, and tacit approval of the prophet (PBUH) from the start of the revelation to his death, ma sadara ani al rasuuli min qawli, aw fi’ili, aw iqrar min mabdai al wahy hatta wafaatihi. There is a difference
between sunnat that is a basis for law, sunnat tashriyat, and that, which is not,
sunnat ghair tashri'iyat. The former is part of revelation and is legally binding.
The latter is not legally binding on all people all the time. It is however recommended to follow sunnat ghair tashri'iyat as much as practicable because all what the prophet did or said is guidance to the good
and the moral. Another reason for following sunnat ghair tashri'iyat is that the
demarcation from sunnat tashrei may not be clear and it is better to err on the
right than or the wrong.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HADITH AND SUNNAT
The term hadith has a wider scope
that the term sunnat. Hadith includes even rulings that were abrogated. It embraces
the prophet's personal human attributes (sifaat khilqiyyat), food habits, food
preferences, health conditions, illness,
and medical treatment.
SUNNAT AS A SOURCE OF LAW, hujjiyat
al sunnat: The sunnat is the second
most important source of legislation in Islam coming only next to the Qur’an. Direct proof of this is found in the Qur'an.
A similar conclusion can be reached by considering that the words and actions of the prophet PBUH) were needed to interpret
the Qur’an. That was the purpose for sending a human messenger. As discussed before Allah had the power to reveal His
message to humans in some other way.
D. HADITH SCIENCES, ‘uluum
DEFINITION OF HADITH SCIENCES, uluum al hadith:
al Suyuuti defined ‘ilm al hadith as the science of the principles by which the status of the chain of transmitters, sanad, and the text, matn, are ascertained, ;ilm bi qawannin yu’urafu biha ahwaal al sanad wa al matn’. The main aim of hadith sciences is to
make sure that transmission of information, naql, is correct.
CLASSIFICATION OF ULUM AL HADITH:
al hadith are classified into 2 broad categories: sciences of transmission of hadith, ‘uluum
riwayat al hadith, and sciences of understanding hadith, uluum dirayat al hadith.
There are many sub-disciplines under each of the 2 categories above. The science of critique of hadith, ‘ilm naqd al hadith, Involves critiquing the internal structure
of the hadith and its meaning. The hadith can be critiqued as text, matn, or chain
of transmission, sanad. Critique of text, matn,
involves identifying defects, ‘illat, establishing if the text is different
from the report of other trustworthy narrators, and finding problems in the text itself such as logical inconsistencies. Hadith
scholars have over the centuries developed criteria that can enable them distinguish an authentic from an unauthentic hadith
or to grade it. In order to deal with false positive and false negative, criteria are set in such a way that it is easier
to reject a true hadith than accept a false one. These same criteria are employed to grade a particular hadith text according
to degree of its authenticity. The criteria for accepting a hadith are more stringent
than laws of evidence in court.
E. THE CRITERIA FOR ACCEPTING A REPORT,
Criteria used in relation to any
report fall under three categories: personal integrity of the narrator, ‘adaalat al raawi; mental and intellectual
capacity of the narrator, dhabt al rraawi; and the integrity of the chain of transmitters, ittisal al sanad. A narrator must fulfil the following conditions of personal integrity, ‘adaalat.
He or she must be a Muslim, adult, not a sinner, fasiq, and has social respectability,
muru’at. This personal integrity can be nullified by: disbelief, kufr, minority report, sinning, fisq, innovations in religion, bid’a, lying in ordinary conversation, getting reward from reporting hadiths, fanaticism about a madhhab
or a sect. Mental and intellectual integrity is assessed by the following attributes: good memory, being careful, no experiencing
of illusions, and not reporting what is radically different from the trustworthy reporters.
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