The Muslims are agreed that the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) is the second of the two revealed fundamental sources of Islam, after the Glorious Qur’an. The authentic Sunnah is contained within the vast body of Hadith literature.(1)
A hadith (pl. ahadith) is composed of two parts: the matn (text) and the isnad (chain of reporters). A text may seem to be logical and reasonable but it needs an authentic isnad with reliable reporters to be acceptable; `Abdullah b. al-Mubarak (d. 181 AH), one of the illustrious teachers of Imam al-Bukhari, said, “The isnad is part of the religion: had it not been for the isnad, whoever wished to would have said whatever he liked.” (2)
All Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, and on his family and companions.
We have undoubtedly sent down the Reminder, and We will truly preserve it. (al-Qur’an, Surah al-Hijr, 15:9)
The above promise made by Allah is obviously fulfilled in the undisputed purity of the Qur’anic text throughout the fourteen centuries since its revelation. However, what is often forgotten by many Muslims is that the above divine promise also includes, by necessity, the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), for it is the practical example of the implementation of the Qur’anic guidance, the Wisdom taught to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) along with the Scripture, and neither the Qur’an nor the Sunnah can be understood correctly without recourse to the other.
1 – Introduction:
Praise to Allah who never ceases being knowing, able. May Allah bless our leader Mohammed, whom He sent to mankind as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner, and upon his family, his companions and many salutations.
To proceed: The books of the classification of hadith specialists are many and were expanded and condensed. One of my brothers asked that I summarize for them what is important. I responded to his request seeking to be counted among those who walked the (scholarly) paths. So I say:
2 – Reports and their Paths:
The paths of a report are either:
1) Without a specific number
2) More than two paths
3) Two paths
4) One path
Types Of Narrations According To A Particular Authority
This type of narration is divided into 3 categories;
- Marfu’ (Elevated):
This is a narration which is connected to the Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ). It is of 2 types;
- Marfu’al Sarihan (Directly Elevated):- This is a narration which is directly related to the Prophet of Allaah (ﷺ) concerning his sayings, actions, tacit approvals and descriptions of his manners and features.
Examples of Marfu’al Sareehan:
Al – Jarh Wat Ta’deel (Criticism And Endorsement)
Al – Jarh (Criticism)
Definition: This is where a muhadeeth (scholar of narrations) makes disparaging remarks in relation to particular traits about a narrator. This criticism leads to the narrations reported by such a narrator to be abandoned or rejected. The criticism of a narrator is done in 2 ways;
1. By confirming a negative trait in the narrator (e.g. ‘he is a liar’, ‘he is an open sinner’, ‘he is an innovator’, etc).
2. By removing a positive trait from the narrator (e.g. ‘his ahadeeth are not written’, ‘he is not trustworthy’, ‘he is weak’, etc).
Al-Wadi’oon (The Forgers/Fabricators)
- Az-Zanaadiqah (Heretics): These are those people who wish to corrupt the ‘Aqeedah (Belief/Creed) of the Muslims, distort the rulings of the Shari’a (Divine Law) and change the picture of al-Islam, by inventing false and fabricated ahadeeth. below are some examples of the zanaadiqah;
- Muhammad ibn Sa’eed al-Masloob who was killed by the abbasid Caliph, Aboo Ja’far al-Mansoor (d.158H) Rahimahullaah. Al-Masloob invented the hadeeth below;
Al–Mawdu’al Hadeeth (Fabrication Of Hadeeth)
Definition: This is a narration where the narrator falsely attributes it to the Messenger of Allaah (‘Alahyi sallatu wa salam) as been his words i.e. intentionally lying upon The Prophet of Allaah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam).
The Ruling: The fabricated hadeeth is completely rejected nor is it permissible to mention it, except that it is stated that the hadeeth is mawdoo’ (fabricated) and this is in order to warn the people from believing in it and/or acting upon it.