"The most grateful people of Allah are those who are most grateful to other people." - Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)


In Islam, Hadith is known as the words of the Prophet Muhammad. These narrations are regarded as some of the most important tools for Muslims and help understand the Qur’an and Islam.1,2 Hadith also conveys the events involving the Prophet and early Muslims. Within the Hadith, there are many different forms of texts from stories and tales to declarations and commands, all existing in various degrees of complexity.3In Arabic, the word Hadith refers to the speech of any person. However, it is important to recognize that because of the fusion of Islam into the Arabic culture, the word Hadith primarily refers to the narrations and reports of the Prophet Muhammad. It also very important to recognize that the Hadith is different from the Qu'ran. The Qu'ran is made from the words of God, while the Hadith are of his messenger. Muslims are instructed only to worship and follow the words of God. Therefore, the Hadith is not meant to be a 'rule book' for Muslims, but rather a supplement to the Qu'ran that is meant to help Muslims understand the words of Allah and to be able to follow them.
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After the death of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in AD 632, traditions of Islam (from the words and actions of the Prophet) were passed down orally for over a hundred years. The first people to hear the Hadith preserved the message before conveying to those after them. This created a chain of ‘narrators’ that would develop into the isnad of a Hadith that is mentioned in the next section. Umar bin Abdul Aziz, the Umayyad caliph, is credited with having gathered the Hadith into large collections during the 8th and 9th centuries.1 After modern historians analyzed the Hadith collection, it became obvious that during the first centuries of Islam, many of the Hadiths were in fact fabricated.4 Therefore, it became very important for a Hadith to have a detailed isnad to insure the best accuracy. Today, numerous collections can be found that contain validated Hadiths. The Sunni Hadith took more than 230 years after the death of the Prophet to reach its final form. Between the two different denominations of Islam are two different Hadiths. The fundamental distinction between the Shi’ite and Sunni Hadith is that the Shi’ite Hadith includes traditions of the Imams as well as the Prophet Muhammad.2
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A Hadith can be generalized into have two major aspects; the matn and the isnad. The former is the actual narrative, the text report, and the latter documents how the Hadith has been transmitted. The isnad contains a chronological list of the narrators of the Hadith, where each narrator passes down whom they heard the Hadith from until it mentions the originator of the matn.1 Test what you've learned about this section!
The narratives, within the matn, can be broken down into two, three, or four part narratives.3
  • Two part narratives are of the simplest of the three. This form is known as “Action and Reaction”, in which the narrator reports that someone said or did something followed by someone reacting to the action.
    • “From Abd Allah b. Umar: [Action] The Prophet (Peace be upon him) passed by a man who was reproving his brother for being modest, saying, ‘you are so modest that it will be harmful to you.’ [Reaction] The Messenger of God (peace be upon him) said, ‘Leave him alone, for modesty if a part of faith.”’3

  • Three part narratives take the form of “Question and Answer”. It begins with a quotation of a statement or act of the Prophet, a Companion, or of someone else. A Question to this is then asked, followed by an answer from the Prophet Muhammad or a Companion.
    • From Abu al-Aswad al-Du ali: “I was sitting with Umar b. al-Khattab, and he said, ‘The Messenger of God (Peace be upon him) said, ‘’No person who dies, having three witnesses testify to his goodness, will be denied a place in paradise.’’ [Question] And I said, ‘’O Messenger of God, what about two witnesses?’’ [Answer] He said, ‘’Also two.’’ And no one asked the Messenger of God (Peace be upon him) about a single witness’’’3

  • Four part narratives are the most complex. The four parts include (A) an initial action or statement that sets the stage proceeded by (B) a section action or statement. (C) A reaction follows, and (D) a final response to the Reaction is heard.
    • “From Ali: [A] The Messenger of God (Peace be upon him) was presented with garment of silk, [B] but he sent it to me, [C] Then I put it on, and he said, to me, ‘What I despise for myself does not please me for you.’ [D] He commanded me, and I tore the garment into strips to serve as veils for the women. “3
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Hadith Collections

(in English)
About.com Islam - Hadith Collections
International Islamic University of Malaysia Collections
CRCC : Hadith Database

1. "Hadith.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation Inc. 18 Feb 2010 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadith>
2. "Meaning of Hadith & Traditions.” Hadith.net. Scientific and Cultural Institute of Dar al-Hadith. 18 Feb 2010 <http://www.hadith.net/english/researches/art-tradition%20and%20hadith-01.htm>
3. Speight, R. Marston. "Narrative Structures in the Hadith." Journal of Near Eastern Studies. The University of Chicago Press 59.4 (2000): 265-71. Web. 18 Feb 2010. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/545783>.
4. Godlas, A. "Hadith and the Prophet Muhammad." University Of Georgia. 1997. Feb 19 2010. <http://www.uga.edu/islam/hadith.html>.

- Balgamwalla, Sabrina. "Understanding the Hadith: The Sacred Traditions of Islam. " The Middle East Journal 57.4 (2003): Web. 19 Feb. 2010. <ProQuest Document ID: 489430231>
- Robinson, B.A. "About the Hadith: sayings of Muhammad (pbuh)." Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. 2002. 20 Feb 2010. <http://www.religioustolerance.org/isl_hadi.htm>.

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Above Written by Payam Entezami


The Qișșa

Above the three types of narratives have been described yet there are some that differ from these already described in the way that there are some texts that lack these structures. Instead, these texts that lack these narrative structures combine several of these structures into adapted forms. These are called composite or run-on narratives. They differ from the other narratives in ways such as: a) contain a long series of conversational exchange b) use more descriptive material than shorter forms that do not build to a climatic pronouncement c) are well structured narratives. These narratives are described in the sense that were used by story tellers (qussas) to entertain and edify their hearers. In Islamic Science it is suggested that the Qissa in order to be analysed, a different approach needs to be taken as opposed when describing the two-, three-, and four part narratives.1

Examples of Hadith (Collection of Sahih Bukhari)

a) Revelation:
Sahih Bukhari

"Narrated 'Aisha:
(the mother of the faithful believers) Al-Harith bin Hisham asked Allah's Apostle "O Allah's Apostle! How is the Divine Inspiration revealed to you?" Allah's Apostle replied, "Sometimes it is (revealed) like the ringing of a bell, this form of Inspiration is the hardest of all and then this state passes ' off after I have grasped what is inspired. Sometimes the Angel comes in the form of a man and talks to me and I grasp whatever he says." 'Aisha added: Verily I saw the Prophet being inspired Divinely on a very cold day and noticed the Sweat dropping from his forehead (as the Inspiration was over)"4

"Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:
Allah's Apostle was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Qur'an. Allah's Apostle was the most generous person, even more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind (in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds)"4

"Narrated 'Umar bin Al-Khattab:
I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "The reward of deeds depends upon 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 emigrated for."4

b) Friday Prayer:

"Narrated Abu Huraira:
I heard Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) saying, "We (Muslims) are the last (to come) but (will be) the foremost on the Day of Resurrection though the former nations were given the Holy Scriptures before us. And this was their day (Friday) the celebration of which was made compulsory for them but they differed about it. So Allah gave us the guidance for it (Friday) and all the other people are behind us in this respect: the Jews' (holy day is) tomorrow (i.e. Saturday) and the Christians' (is) the day after tomorrow (i.e. Sunday)."5

"Narrated 'Abdullah bin Umar:
Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) said, "Anyone of you attending the Friday (prayers) should take a bath."5

"Narrated Abu Said:
I testify that Allah's Apostle said, "The taking of a bath on Friday is compulsory for every male Muslim who has attained the age of puberty and (also) the cleaning of his teeth with Siwak, and the using of perfume if it is available." Amr (a sub-narrator) said, "I confirm that the taking of a bath is compulsory, but as for the Siwak and the using of perfume, Allah knows better whether it is obligatory or not, but according to the Hadith it is as above."5


"Methodologies for the study of hadith have been developed over centuries by Islamic scholars and jurists and are commonly referred to as the science of hadith study. Verification of hadith as reliable, and the use of hadith to verify or disavow Islamic practice, is left to Ulama, or Islamic scholars, with a deep understanding of Islamic jurisprudence and history. Articles on the science of hadith study, the history of the creation of the Compendium of Muslim texts, and other topics including approaches to the interpretation of difficult texts, viewing scripture as historical as well as religious documents, and other topics, are forthcoming."6

The authenticity of the Hadith has been questioned given that there are some who consider these narratives or sources as non reliable, mostly non-Muslims. Muslims would not take this positions given that this would go against Muslim principles and mean that the word of Muhammad is neglected.2
Muslim specialists have considered the issue of authenticity ever since the classical period but it doesn’t seem to be a problem on the contemporary matter. Gustav Weil was among the first to suggest that the Hadith’s authenticity should be studied or considered “spurious”. Ignaz Goldziher inaugurated the critical study of the authenticity of Hadith. He claimed that a great majority of the prophetic Hadith constitutes evidence not of the prophet’s time which they claim to belong but rather of much later periods. Ever since this study of the Hadith started it has spread among scholars and within this realm three camps of scholars may be identified: One attempting to reconfirm his conclusions and at times going beyond them. Another endeavoring to refute them and a third seeking to create a middle perhaps synthesized positions between the first two.3


1. Speight, R. Matson. "Narrative Structures in Hadith" Journal of Near Eastern Studies. The University of Chicago Press. Vol 59, No4 (Oct., 2000), pp.265-271, 21/02/2010 <http://jstor.org/stable/545783>
2. "The Authenticity of the Hadith and the Sunna" Missionislam.net <http://www.missionislam.com/knowledge/Authenticity.htm>
3. Hallaq, B. Wael. "The Authenticity of Prophetic Hadith: A Pseudo-Problem" Studia Islamica. Maissonneuve & Larose. No. 89 (1999), pp.75-90, 23/02/2010 <http://jstor.org/stable/1596086>

4."Translation of Sahih Bukhari" islamicity.com <http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/hadith/bukhari/001.sbt.html>
5."Translation of Sahih Bukhari" islamicity.com <http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/hadith/bukhari/013.sbt.html>
6."Introduction to Science of Hadith" islamicity.com <http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/index.html>

Above Written by Giovanni

Shi’ite and Sunni Islam
Like my other members of my group has already stated about the Hadith. The Hadith in Arabic, the word Hadith refers to the speech of any person. However, it is important to recognize that because of the fusion of Islam into the Arabic culture, the word Hadith primarily refers to the narrations and reports of the Prophet Muhammad. It’s also very important to recognize that the Hadith is different from the Qu'ran. Sunni Muslims and Shi’ite have different views of the Hadith. According to www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shia-Sunni_relations, approximately 85% of the worlds Muslims are Sunni, and 15% are Shia with most of them belonging to the twelver tradition and they largest group religious group is in Lebanon. They have different point of views when it comes to the Hadith. But the main one is leadership.


According to www.hadith.net/english, the big difference between Shi’ite and Sunni Hadiths is that in Shi’ism the traditions are not limited to those of the Prophet, but include those of the Imams. The shi’ite collections of the Hadith, such as those of al-kulayni, also contain sayings of from and about the twelve imams. According to the article International Journal of Middle East Studies, the author Joseph Eliash talks about three different paths in the shi’ite culture and the third path he calls the “Perfect path”. It is the domain of those who are fathoming “the deepest dimensions of the Quran and Hadith”. What this meant is that the shi’ite’s really value the Quran and Hadith. They also believe in their imams. The shi’ite follow the Hadith, but they do not value the Hadith narrated by A’ishah’s who Ali’s wife is like the Sunni’s tend to do. They value the teachings of other companions because they are more respected. The Shi’ite Muslims believe that the Imam is sinless by nature, and that his authority is infallible as it comes directly from God. Therefore, Shia Muslims often venerate the Imams as saints and perform pilgrimages to their tombs and shrines in the hopes of divine intercession.


According to www.hadith.net/english, the collections of Hadiths in Sunni Islam, such as those of al-Bukhari and Muslim, contain only sayings transmitted from and about the Prophet. However there are four other collections of Hadith that are also held in particular reverence by Sunni Muslims, making a total of six; Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan an-Nasa'ii, Sunan Abu Dawud, Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Sunan ibn Majah. According to the journal Living Hadith in the Tablighi Jama At, Sunni Muslims believe there is no basis in Islam for a hereditary privileged class of spiritual leaders, and certainly no basis for the veneration or intercession of saints. Sunni Muslims contend that leadership of the community is not a birthright, but a trust that is earned and which may be given or taken away by the people themselves.


---Section for Ramone----

Above Written by Ramone