Dr. Mahmoud At-Tahhaan
Language: English | Format: PDF | Pages: 24 | Size: 1 MB
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) is reported to have said,
“The isnad is part of the religion: had it not been for the isnad, whoever wished to would have said whatever he liked.”
During the lifetime of the Prophet (SAS) and after his death, his Companions (Sahabah) used to refer to him when quoting his sayings. The Successors (Tabi’un) followed suit; some of them used to quote the Prophet (SAS) through the Companions while others would omit the intermediate authority – such a hadith was known as mursal (loose). It was found that the missing link between the Successor and the Prophet (SAS) might be one person, i.e. a Companion, or two persons, the extra person being an older Successor who heard the hadith from the Companion. This is an example of how the need for the verification of each isnad arose. Malik (d. 179) said,
“The first one to utilise the isnad was Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri” (d. 124 AH).
Mustalah al-Hadith and Rijal
As time passed, more reporters were involved in each isnad, and so the situation demanded strict discipline in the acceptance of ahadith; the rules regulating this discipline are known as Mustalah al-Hadith (the Science of Hadith).
Mustalah books speak of a number of classes of hadith in accordance with their status. The following classifications can be made, each of which is explained later:
1. According to the reference to a particular authority, e.g. the Prophet (SAS), a Companion, or a Successor; such ahadith are called marfu’ (elevated), mauquf (delayed) and maqtu’ (severed) respectively .
2. According to the nature of the chain of reporters, i.e. whether interrupted or uninterrupted, e.g. musnad (supported), muttasil (continuous), munqati” (broken), mu’allaq (suspended), mu’dal (perplexing) and mursal (loose).
3. According to the number of reporters involved in each isnad, e.g. mutawatir (consecutive) and ahad (isolated), the latter being divided into gharib (rare), ‘aziz (scarce), and mash-hur (widespread) .
4. According to the way in which a saying has been reported such as using the words ‘an ( – “on the authority of”), haddathana ( – “he narrated to us”), akhbarana ( – “he informed us”) or sami’tu ( – “I heard”). In this category falls the discussion about mudallas (concealed) and musalsal (connected) ahadith.
5. According to the nature of the matn and isnad, e.g. an addition by a reliable reporter, known as ziyadah thiqa, or opposition by a lesser authority to a more reliable one, known as shadh (aloof). In some cases a text containing a vulgar expression, unreasonable remark or an apparently erroneous statement is rejected by the traditionists outright without consideration of the isnad. Such a hadith is known as munkar (denounced). If an expression or statement is proved to be an addition by a reporter to the text, it is declared as mudraj (added).