A record of Prophet Muhammad’s sayings or his companions is known as Hadith. The contents of the Hadith include some Islamic religious laws and it might be used to supplement the Holy Quran (Al-shafi 23). The components of the Hadith are: The text, also known as the matn, the isnad and the traf which is the part of the text that refer to the deeds and sayings of the prophet Muhammad.
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Though the matn may be rational and sensible, it needs authentic isnad with dependable reporters for it to be accepted (Yusuf 36). Isnads are authorities that transmit the accounts of the teachings and the actions of Muhammad.
Various reporters were involved in each isnad and thus there was need to introduce rules governing the Hadith in order to restrict its acceptance. Expert scholars were also chosen to assess and arrange the recordings of the hadith. They were also required to differentiate the valid from the fiction ones.
The Hadith is classified into five categories, that is, the reference of a particular authority, the links of the isnad, number of reporters in each stage of the isnad, the reliability and memory of the reporters and according to the nature of the text and Isnad (Ahmad 66).
In relation to the reference of a particular authority, the hadith can be identified in four different ways: Marfu’, Mauquf, Maqtu and Qudsi. Marfu’ is also known as elevated. This type describes narrations from the prophet Muhammad.
For example a reporter may say I heard ‘Umar b.al-Khattab saying, “The reward of deeds depends on the intentions, and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended; so whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he migrated.” (Ahmad 66).
The Mauquf type is also known as “stooped”. It shows the narration of a statement from the companion of the prophet only. An example of this is “We were commanded to” The Maqtu’ describes a narration from a successor, for example Ibn Sirin said, “This knowledge (i.e. Hadith) is the Religion, so be careful from whom you take your religion” (Ahmad 66).
The Qudsi type is also known as divine and it describes a narration from Allah, in link with the words of Prophet Muhammad. The authenticity of these four types is entirely dependent on factors like the validity of the reporters work and the type of association between them (Yusuf 37).
This classification in relation to the reference to authorities is crucial. Matters concerning Fiqh; Islamic’s jurisprudence, can be analyzed since this classification distinguishes the narrations from the prophet and those from companions and successors. Various collections of hadith have even numbers of these types of Hadith.
In relation to the links of the isnad, six categories of the Hadith are namely: Musnad, Mutassil, Mursal, Munqati, Mu’adal and Mu’allaq can be distinguished. Abdul describes Musnad as a “A hadith which a traditionist reports from his shaikh from whom he is known to have heard (ahadith) at a time of life suitable for learning, and similarly in turn for each shaikh, until the isnad reaches a well-known Companion, who in turn reports from the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)” (Yusuf 37).
Musnad may also refer to those hadith that give a hadith of each companion separately. An example of this Hadith is that of Immam Ahmad b.It is a collection of thirty thousand ahadith. A Musnad Hadith is also known as a supported hadith. A Mutassil Hadith is a continuous hadith that is one in which the isnad is uninterrupted. This type of Hadith traces back to a companion or successor (Ahmad 67).
A Mursal Hadith is also knowqn as a hurried hadith and is used to describe a hadith in which the relationship between the Prophet Muhammad and the Successor is missing. Munqati is a broken Hadith in which the link anywhere before the successor is missing (Jalal 34).
In a situation where the reporter fails to mention two or more consecutive reporters in a hadith, the case is referred to as Perplexed and describes a Mu’adal type of Hadith. In some cases, a reporter may omit the whole isnad and only quotes what the prophet said. This type of Hadith is known as a hanging or Mu’allaq Hadith (Yusuf 37).
Hadith classified on the basis of the number of reporters involved in each stage of the isnad can be categorized in five ways namely: Mutawatir,ahad, Mash’hur,Aziz and Gharib. Mutawatir is a Hadith in which the number of reporters is so many. Such hadith is assumed to be true since a large number of reoporters may not agree to give wrong narrations.
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This type of a Hadith is also known as consecutive. An Ahad or isolated Hadith is one in which the number of reporters is not as that of Mutawatir (Jalal 33). A Mash’ hur hadith, also known as famous is one in which the number of reporters are more than two. Aziz type of Hadith is rare and strong and is reported by only two reporters. In cases where only one reporter narrates the hadith, the category is referred to as Gharib or strange.
Two categories of Hadith are distinguished in cases where the Hadith is classified according to the nature of the text and Isnad. Munkar or denounced refers to a hadith in which the reporter is weak in that whatever is narrated, is against another hadith. A Mudraj on the other hand is an interpolated in such a way that the reporter only gives additional information to what already exists in the text (Ahmad 66).
The reliability and memory of the reporters also gives a base to which Hadith may be classified. In this case Hadith may be seen in four different perspectives: A sound or Sahih hadith is one in which the reporter is able to quote the right narration from the prophet, successor or companion According to Al- Sharfi:
each reporter should be trustworthy in his religion; he should be known to be truthful in his narrating, to understand what he narrates, to know how a different expression can alter the meaning, and to report the wording of the hadith verbatim, not only its meaning (Abdul 58).
A hadith in which the source of the reporter is known and is specific is known as Hasan. A Da’if Hadith is assumed to be weak since its state cannot be compared to that of the Hasan. Weakness in such a Hadith may be due to discontinuity of the isnad or unreliability of the reporter.
Maudu’ refers to a hadith which is forged, One in which the text is not based on the prophets narration. Forging of a Hadith may be based on creed, enmity within reporters, political differences, ignorance from the reporter, in favor of a given imam and personal motives of the reporter (Yusuf 36).
The basis for acceptance of hadith by traditionalist vary.In terms of knowledge, I’tibar refers to a situation in which the traditionalist support Hadith that have only one source from which the narrations were drawn(Abdul 57). A narration may be declared to be Fard mutlaq if the source of the narration is missing.
If research is done on a Fard Mutlaq hadith and is found that some other sources reported the same narration, the hadith will then be referred to as mutaba’ah tammah (full follow up). If it occurs that a reporter from a different authority has a similar narration, the Hadith will be referred to as mutaba’ah qasirah (incomplete follow up). A Shahid or witness refers to a hadith in which the reporter supports the original Hadith (Abdul 56).
Apart from the above mentioned knowledge, there are other concepts of knowledge that determine the acceptance of the Hadith. These include knowledge of: difficult words in the Hadith, altered words in the texts and isnad, companions’ successors, reporters and their relatives and the authorities (Alshafi 24). The knowledge of names of people involved in the Hadith making is also considered. This may vary from the names of: the reporters, traditionalist, authorities and their nicknames.
The concepts of the names are also considered. This includes names of reporters with similar names but different identities: those with similar first names but different surnames and names of reporters who have already written other Hadith.
Other concepts that are used to verify the acceptance of Hadith include, the character of the reporter, how the hadith is written; the punctuation, the way is reported, the ways of acquiring the Hadith and the manners of both the traditionalist and the students of the Hadith (Yusuf 36).
‘Abdul Baqi. “Introduction to his Sahih” The Islamic Journal 5.9 (2008): 56-60.
Ahmad, Ale. “Ulum al-Hadith.” Matba’ah al-Sa’adah 4.3 (2006): 66-67.
Al-Shafi’i. “Islamic Laws.” Matba’ah al-Sa’adah 7.8 (2003): 23-30.
Jalal al-Din. “Ulum al-Hadith.” Sharia 45. 9 (2009): 33-34.
Yusuf, Abdullah. “Tajrid al- Tamhid lima fi l-Muwatta’ min al-Asanid.” Hadith 3. 7 (2004): 31-35.