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Hadees Project ((Value of Hadith of prophet in Islam))

Hadees Project ((Value of Hadith of prophet in Islam))

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 Islamic Perspectives
by Dr. Ahmad Shafaat
 A NOTE ON TRANSLITERATION OF ARABIC WORDS: Long vowels are indicatedin bold, e.g. had
th. If a word itself is in bold, the long vowels are indicated by theordinary font, e.g.
. Also, note that underlining instead of dotting is used todistinguish between related letters (e.g. h and h). If a word itself is underlined, thenabsence of underlining indicates the letter that would otherwise be indicated byunderlining, e.g. had
th . Finally, a word that has been once written with proper diacriticalindicators may subsequently be written without such indicators. Thus had
th may bewritten simply as hadith. Diacritical indicators may also be omitted from well-knownwords like allah.
PART I: THE SUNNAH AND THE HADITH IN THE LIGHT OF THE QUR`ANChapter 1: The Qur’anic Usage of the Words “Sunnah” and “Hadith”Chapter 2: The Message and the MessengerChapter 3: How Far the Sunnah is BindingPART II: THE SUNNAH AND THE HADITH IN THE LIGHT OF THETRADITIONSChapter 4: Ahadith concerning the Role of the Sunnah and the HadithChapter 5: Traditions about the Companions concerning the Role of theSunnah and the HadithChapter 6: Traditions about the Transmission, Collection, and Writing of theHadithPART III: HOW RELIABLE WAS THE TRANSMISSION OF HADITH
Chapter 7: Historical TraditionsChapter 8: Widely Quoted Ahadith Known to be UnauthenticChapter 9: Ahadith in Recognized CollectionsChapter 10: “Sahih” AhadithChapter 11: Ahadith Found in More Than One “Sahih” CollectionChapter 12: Ahadith With the Best Possible DocumentationPART: IV: WHAT IS INVOLVED IN THE SACRED HADITH PROJECTChapter 13: Reviewing the Older MethodologyChapter 14: Overcoming Some Hurdles in the Way of Reviving theHadithCriticismChapter 15: Organizing the Hadith Project
 (Part I was published in this Journal, Vol. 4, No. 1, January-December, 2000. This part isreproduced, with minor changes by the author, from the Journal of the Muslim ResearchInstitute, Vol. 6, No. 1, January-March, 2001) In Part I we examined some basic questions about the Sunnah/Hadith in the light of theQur’an. In this part we examine the same questions in the light of the traditions. Let usrecall from the definitions given in the Introduction that in this book the term “tradition”covers both the reports about the Prophet (Hadith) and the reports about other earlyIslamic personalities and communities. It is helpful to look at all the traditions, especiallythose pertaining to the time of the companions,because the teachings and orders of theProphet created a certain understanding among the companions and by looking at thetraditions we can determine some of that understanding which in turn throws light on themessage of Islam itself.That the way the revelation was understood by the Prophet and his first followers isdecisive in determining the meaning of the revelation is fairly clear but some Qur’an-onlyMuslims confuse the issue a little by saying that the Qur’anic revelation transcends any
 particular time and place, including the time and place of the Prophet and thecompanions, and hence its fuller understanding is an unending and gradual process. Animplication of this is that it is possible for us to understand the Qur’an better than theProphet and the companions. But from the Qur’anic verses discussed in Part I it is clear that theProphet’s understanding of the revelation is decisive and is the norm foMuslims. And since the companions were the first eyewitnesses of what the Prophettaught and did, their testimony becomes decisive in determining the Prophet’sunderstanding of the revelation. It is possible that in case of some verses about Nature our understanding can increase with time by scientific development, but it is inconceivable inthe light of the Qur’an that we can know better the religious teachings of Islam than didthe Prophet and his companions, especially when it comes to the basic questions of thetype we are concerned with in this book, e.g., is the Sunnah/Hadith a source of Islam, is itrevelatory, does it have an authority exactly like that of the Qur’an, and to which extent itis binding?Interestingly, some of the more compelling arguments of the Qur’an-only people are not based on the Qur’an but on the Hadith – yes, the very Hadith that they so vehementlyreject. From the Hadith and the other traditions it becomes clear (see Chapter 6) that theProphet and the companions did not consider it necessary to produce authoritativecomprehensive collections of the Hadith for the guidance of the people, which isincomprehensible if the Hadith or the Sunnah is viewed as an independent and primarysources of Islam, along with the Qur’an. This favors some aspects of the views of theQur’an-only Muslims, although, not their main contention that the Hadith has norevelatory value and is not a part of Islamic teachings.
Traditions discussed in Part II
In Chapter 4 we discuss those prophetic traditions (ahadith) that have a bearing on therole of the Sunnah and/or the Hadith. These include, but do not consist entirely of,ahadith that are often mentioned in the classical hadith collections under the subject of the Sunnah as a source of Islam, e.g.,
b al-‘itis
m bi al-kit 
b wa al-sunnah
h al-Bukhari. Chapter 5 discusses traditions about some leading companions thatreveal their attitude towards the Sunnah/Hadith. A particular class of traditions, thoseconcerned with the transmission, collection or writing of the Hadith is discussedseparately in Chapter 6.This part of the book not only serves the purpose defined above – to examine the basicquestions about the Sunnah/Hadith in the light of the Hadith -- but it also contributes tothe subsequent parts of the book. We discuss here many ahadith in some detail andcomment on their authenticity. In this way we will provide several examples of unauthentic traditions that are found in
collections. The process will be continuedin Part III and will show that the ahadith in the existing collections are much more subjectto doubt than is generally admitted.

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