The Language of Hadith

Dr. Maurice Bucaille has brought out many books and articles on the subject of the veracity of the Qur’an. He has proved by scientific argument that the Qur’an is the Book of God.

He does not, however, place the Hadith on the same plane as the Qur’an. Expressing his doubts regarding the authenticity of the hadith, he holds that some traditions are authentic, but that others are either dubious, or should be rejected outright. (p. 243)

Imam Muslim (204-261)

Imam Muslim ibn al Hajjaj of Nishapuri belonged to the Qushayri tribe of Arabia, which played an important part in Islamic history. Many of his clan members had been the Prophet’s companions.

Imam Bukhari (810-870 A.D.)

Muhammad ibn Ismail al Bukhari was born in Bukhara. Bukhari’s grandfather Mughira was the first in his family to have converted to Islam from Zoroastrianism. Bukhari’s father was a traditionist, but he died when Bukhari was just an infant. After his father’s death, Bukhari’s mother brought him to Makkah from Bukhara.

Important Hadith Collections

Sihah al Sitta or the ‘six correct books’ is the name given to six collections of Hadith, which are considered standard and most authentic by all Muslims. These are:

1.  Sahih of Muhammad bin Ismail al Bukhari (d.236 A.H.) His Sahih is considered to be next to the Quran in authenticity.

2.  Sahih of Muslim bin Qushairi (d.261 A.H.). His Sahih is the next most important collection of hadith.

3.  Sunan of Ibn Majah (d.275 A.H.).

Types of Hadith

The early writers on the subject of the hadith evolved certain rules to classify the hadith. There are two main types of classification in use. One deals with the degree of the authenticity of the tradition, while the other takes as its base the way the tradition was transmitted.

How were Hadith Compiled?

The history of the compilation of Hadith may be broadly divided into four stages:

1.  The first stage relates to the period of the Prophet till 10 A.H.

2.  The second stage is approximately from 11 A.H. to 100 A.H. This is the period of Sahaba, the companions of the Prophet.

3.  The third stage is from about 101 to nearly 200 A.H. This is the period of the Tabiun, the disciples of the companions of the Prophet.

What are Hadiths?

Hadith meaning a ‘statement’ or ‘report’ is used as an Islamic term for the records kept of the words, deeds and sanctions of the Prophet Muhammad. Some scholars have also included in hadith the sayings and doings of the companions of the Prophet. In English very often in place of ‘hadith’ the term ‘traditions of the Prophet’ or simply ‘traditions’ is used.