WHAT ARE THE HADITH’S ROLE IN ISLAM?

HADITH

 

The word ‘hadith’ means communication or narrative that is handed down and recorded. The plural in Arabic is ‘ahadith’. From an Islamic perspective, Hadith refers to the various books compiled by respected Islamic scholars who put together the sayings, decrees and deeds of Muhammad.

 

It is the Islamic consensus that Muslims use the hadith as a pattern to guide their lives and a model for their behaviour. They are an important source reference for understanding the context of many verses of the Qur’an and provide the explanation, interpretation, and the living example of Muhammad, required for teaching of the Qur’an.

 

A term also often used in conjunction with the subject of ahadith is ‘sunnah’ (custom). This refers to the traditions as lived and expounded by Muhammad and the early Muslim community.

 

The major scholars (Imams) who put together the various Hadiths were:

  • Imam Al-Bukhari
  • Imam Muslim
  • Imam Abu Da’ud
  • Imam Al-Tirmizi
  • Imam An-Nasa’i
  • Imam Majah

 

Each collection of ahadith is named after their respective compiler. Some collections are considered strong while others, weak. Strong Hadiths are preceded with the title ‘Sahih’ meaning authentic. Sahih Hadiths are those that can be trusted based on the credibility of the compiler, the reliability of the chain of narrators, trustworthiness of source documents and plausibility that the tradition matched the life of Muhammad.

 

The Hadiths are also an essential foundation of Islam in that it supports and guides the Islamic rule of law or Sharia. Most of the laws defined by sharia find their basis in the Hadiths, not the Qur’an. How Muhammad punished, spread Islam, instituted marriage and divorce, treated believers and non-believers, ran stately affairs, defined inheritances and business transaction; what he prescribed (halal) or rejected (haram) are in essence sourced from the Hadiths.

 

Most ahadith consists of two parts: the text of the report containing the actual narrative; and the chain of narrators (isnad), which documents the route by which the report was transmitted. The isnad is critical as it determines the reliability of the hadith; in other words who narrated it and from whom they heard it. In this book the isnad is not included as there is no need to verify the hadith’s source here and more importantly to simplify the presentation, removing unnecessary chain of Arabic names.

 

Initially the sunnah of the prophet was transmitted orally from the companions down through successive generations. The grandson of Umar (the second caliph), Umar II evaluated and gathered into written collections many of the previous oral sources. Though these original writings have not survived, they most likely formed a basis for the works by Bukhari, Muslim, Da’ud, et al.

 

This chapter concentrates on the Hadith collection, Sahih Muslim by Imam Muslim (817-874) and is arranged in sections based on the chapters of that collection.

 

However also included are ahadith from other collections, Sahih al-Bukhari (SB), Sunan Abu Da’ud (SAD) and Sunan al-Tirmizi (SAT). These are inserted at the end of relevant sections of Sahih Muslim and identified by their respective abbreviation.

 

Authors: islamic scriptures unvealed/noislamonazis

 

 

 

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