The Prophet’s words, his actions, and decisions as well as the practices that he approved of, allowed or condoned, and reports pertaining to his disposition and character have also been included in Hadith.
An Introduction to Hadith
In this work, the Hadith studies and its lexicon have been examined from a historical and literary perspective. Terminology is of paramount importance in the Hadith studies, with there being hundreds of terms therein. Those terms that are important in understanding such a discipline have been identified and defined in this book.
The elucidation of these terms alone is not sufficient, however, in acquiring a grasp of the Hadith studies. Thus, these have been examined together with their historical development. Sheer description of the history of Hadith studies has not been pursued in explaining the significant phases of the history of Hadith; instead, its nomenclature has been considered alongside its history.
One of the most important elements in the Hadith studies is the literature, for the books of Hadith of the first Islamic century constitute the primary sources of the religion of Islam. Knowledge of these primary sources and an awareness of exactly how we are to benefit from these are indispensable. Accordingly, seminal texts on the hadiths are introduced in this work and information pertaining to their key aspects provided. In view of an introduction to the various works of hadith playing a pivotal role in gaining an understanding of the specific topic at hand, a brief summary is provided at the end of each topic.
The key topics of the Hadith studies are explained in general terms and the lucid clarification of each topic aimed at, without there being much reference to controversy and difference of opinion. What has been sought, more so, is a concise demonstration of the functioning of the knowledge system itself.
In studies with matters pertaining to the history of Hadith as their subject matter, it becomes evident that they, more often than not, deal at length x An Introduction to Hadith UNIT ONE THE HADITH STUDIES AND THE SUNNAH with exceptional cases that have no direct bearing on the essence of the topic at hand and, as such, serve to distract and confuse more than anything. Essential in every discipline, first and foremost, is an explanation of the main guidelines and essentials, with exceptional cases and circumstances being investigated only by those with necessary expertise. Otherwise, the issues expounded are fated to remain in the shadow of unorthodox and dissident views.
Works, as much as individuals, are of importance in epistemology. Consequently, information relating to the founders of the Hadith studies, the Companions of the noble Prophet, is provided in addition to information regarding their successors and later hadith scholars.
Terminology, references, and information concerning personalities and methodology are presented in a comprehensible fashion. Nonetheless, it is still possible to encounter certain difficulties in understanding the topic at hand. Questions with regard to the various topics are offered at the end of each unit, in view of overcoming these difficulties. It is envisaged that further research into the answers to these questions, and instructors’ more extensive responses to these, will facilitate greater understanding.
Scope Of The Term Hadith
In the same way that the words and sayings of Allah’s Messenger are referred to as hadith, the words of the Companions regarding an incident involving him or reporting one of his actions has also come to be known as hadith.
The Prophet’s words, his actions, and decisions as well as the practices that he approved of, allowed or condoned, and reports pertaining to his disposition and character have also been included in this category.
For instance, the Messenger of Allah has said, “The Prayer performed without the prescribed ablution is not accepted.” This saying is a Tradition that Abdullah ibn Umar heard from the noble Prophet and narrated. Ali’s narration that “The Prophet performed ablution three times (for each limb),” is again a hadith attributed to the Messenger of Allah, for it is Ali’s report indicating the Prophet’s behavior.