The Role of the Hadith in Sunnah and Islam

Written by Ismat. Posted in Islamic Discussions

This is an allegation invented long ago by some Orientalists immoderate based on a false illusion that we already discussed in the study restricted the inclusion of hadîth. They suggested that the Hadîth have remained two hundred years without writing. Then, after this long period, the scholars of Hadith have decided to compile reporting the remarks of those who have heard the Hadîth.

One would then say: I heard so and so said so and so said he heard the Prophet – peace and blessings of Allah upon him – said … Then, when discord has led to divisions and emergence of political groups, some groups have forged false hadiths to prove that truth was on their side.

Finally, scholars who have studied the Sunnah say the Hadith are classified in many categories, so it would become difficult to judge whether a hadith is authentic or fabricated.

In the context of previous studies devoted to the inclusion of H adith, historical chains of guarantors ( isnâd ) and conditions to be fulfilled by the students of hadith have analyzed this claim in sufficient depth so that we can dispense with these allegations.

Therefore, we’re going to limit the following points for answering the orientalists:

The inclusion of Hadîth started from the very first time during the lifetime of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah on him. It included a large part of hadiths as has been proven conclusively by scholars of the past, and we have already mentioned examples of such entry.

Let’s draw your attention to the books dedicated to the biography of the narrators of Hadîth. In various historical accounts they hold in a scattered fashion, the biographies of the narrators.

These biographies prove their extensive research of the Hadîth. This extensive research shows the beginning of the chain of narration of each Hadith. So the researchers knew each Hadith was accepted very early in Islamic history.

The classification of Hadith in chapters in the books of Hadith is a very advanced stage of Hadith analysis. These classifications began long before the year 200 AH. Specifically, Hadith classification began sometime in the early second century (Hijri), between 120 AD and the year 130 AH.

There are many who can bear witness to this evidence. Indeed, there are many Hadith books whose authors have died in the middle of the second century, such as:

The collection of Muammar ibn Rashid (d. 154 AH).

The collection of Sufyan Ath-Thawry (d. 161 AH).

The collection of Ibn Hisham Hassan (d. 148 AH).

The collection of Ibn Jurayh (d. 148 AH).

…and many others.

Scientists have found some of these books like Muammar ibn Rashid and they are currently the subject of research and analysis in India. Inshallah, the publication of these books will be a truthful witness and a proof of the authenticity of what is shown in this subject.

The scholars of Hadith have set conditions for accepting the hadith guaranteeing their transmission from generation to generation, with thoroughness and precision, as they were heard from the Messenger of Allah – peace be upon him.

As described above, the conditions to verify the narrator and ensuring his/her complete veracity, making sure they have the proper religious, social and psychological mindset, making sure they are completely in control of their faculties, and that they are able to assume responsibility for their actions.

Also involved in the science of hadith assessing the strength of memory of the narrator and his/her rigor, whether learning by heart or written record, or both.

In other words, making sure the one transmitting the hadith Hadith can memorize it return it as he has heard it.

Scholars have also outlined the criteria for determining the validity of authentic hadiths ( sahih ) and sound ( hasan). These classifications guarantees the narrator’s reliability and ability to be a link in the chain of transmission. The narrators character and personality must be free of defects that could disqualify him from being a link in the chain, whether visible or hidden.

Another point of emphasis is the severity of the scholars of Hadith ( muhaddith ) in the application of these rules for authentication of a hadith. They may have declared a hadîth weak simply because a prerequisite for its authenticity was not verified, without even waiting for condemning evidence. This shows how strict the scholars were in accepting hadiths.

But they were not content with just that. They were also vigilant with respect to other indicators of the authenticity of the written transmission beyond just the narrators character and ability to memorize. The scholars of Hadîth have also demanded that one of the conditions of validity of hadith is that the chain itself is checked for transmission errors.

This is why their names are included in the chain of the Hadith, their chain of transmission can be traced back to the first time it was written or collected.

Also included is the sama`at (chains plays) that complete the manuscript and the writing of the author or of the sheikh who teaches from a text obtained from the original author. or teaches teaches one of its copies. Thus the methodology of Hadith scholars is stronger, better informed and more vigilant than any other method of authentication of written narratives.

As we can see, authentication of the chains of narration ( al-isnâd ) did not happen 200 years after the Prophet (peace be upon him) as the secularists claim. In fact, the companions, ever since the first generation, have always looked carefully at the chain of narration when discord occurred to protect the Hadîth of tampering.

Muslims have given the world a unique example of the inspection chains of narration. We have traveled the world in search of stories. Travel eventually became a fundamental requirement in the training of the scientist’s Hadîth.

As we have shown, the scholars of Hadith have not been innattentive, nor involved in falsification, nor were they counterfeiters, nor involved in innovative sects or political aspirations. Nor did they blindly accept hadith willy-nilly.

Instead, they were eager to challenge each narration by applying scientific methodologies to ensure the preservation of the Sunnah and highlighting the forgers and concocted narrations.

The great diversity found within the Hadith are not because of diversity in terms of determining validity only. But because they include the study of the narrators, the chains of narration (isnâd) and their forward ( matn).

This is a proof of foresight of the great scholars of Hadîth and the rigor of their studies. The scholars have explained this very clearly in their books, so it only remains for those who sling false allegations to check the evidence.

These books include a proof of the rigor of the science, taxonomy, and classification of Hadîth. In fact, no science can be considered as such if it does not include a taxonomy, or in depth classification.

Diversity is found in every science and art.

If someone asked how to identify a particular disease from amongst hundreds of other diseases, or how to identify a particular chemical compound from amongst thousands of other chemical compounds, one would have to confer with specialists in that specific field.

Just as we refer to physicians for medicine, engineers for engineering, chemists for chemistry, pharmacists for pharmacy, we should do the same for recognizing the hadiths and its characteristics.

The study of hadith should be addressed by scholars specializing in this science who can provide conclusive evidence.

Not orientalists who think they understand Islam better than the scholars of Islam.


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