In today’s complex and volatile world the consequences of relying on fraudulent and counterfeit Hadith to legitimise extremist behaviour, issue. Authentication of Hadith: Redefining the Criteria. Remember me, or Register. Authentication of Hadith: Redefining the Criteria. JB Yusuf. Abstract. No Abstract. readers into further exploration of the original. Dr. Israr Ahmad Khan’s Authentication of Hadith: Redefining the. Criteria was published in complete form in
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In this book he takes a fresh look at the question of the authentication of Hadith which are oral accounts of the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.
As explained in “A Textbook of Hadith Studies: Authenticity, Compilation, Classification and Criticism of Hadith” by Mohammad Hashim Kamali, most of the effort on Hadith authentication has traditionally been spent on the chain of transmission the isnad with relatively little emphasis on considering the text of the Hadith. The author considers that greater attention needs to be given to the text of Hadith when considering their authenticity.
The book is quite short and easy to read, being less than pages, rdeefining just eight chapters after the Foreword and Introduction:. The following quote explains the need for the book:. In addition, given the widespread anti-Islamic sentiment currently dominating mainstream discourse, it is imperative that the issue of fabricated ahadithextensively publicised and ruthlessly exploited to support the thesis of Islamic violence and backwardness, is addressed.
It is consequently the responsibility of Muslim scholars well versed authenticattion the Islamic sciences, to root out with honesty and courage those ahadith which have clearly been fabricated, and which not only invite spurious interpretation but also perpetuate ignorance betraying both the Quran and the Prophet. Any serious study of the content and scope of these traditions must necessarily start at the beginning, in this instance after the death of the Prophet Muhammad.
As such, notes the author, any hadith which seems to go against the Quran must be examined carefully and accurately, and if no interpretation to resolve the contradiction found, it is to be rejected. Further, as Muhammad was the Last Prophet sent to all mankind, interpretations of both the Quran and Hadith are not to be fixated in time, but rather to be carefully examined and reinterpreted to give practical guidance meeting the requirements and challenges of a new age, that is taking into account the time-space factor.
It is here that the science of maqasid al-shariahor the higher intents and purposes of Islamic law, comes into its own as the heart and philosophy of Islamic Law. The author begins by pointing out that when it comes to Hadith Muslims fall into four categories:.
The second category is criticised particularly strongly:. Furthermore, if a survey were to be conducted on Prophetic traditions very popular among Muslims today, the findings may be shocking, for in religious circles a great number of such traditions are being narrated, interpreted, and practised as if genuine when in reality they are little more than the remainders of fabricated Prophetic traditions.
As such this is one authenticatuon the main factors behind Muslim backwardness and decline in virtually every field criteris life including the religious and spiritual. The Quran refers to these Muslims as those in whose hearts is a disease, not sincere to Islam or its cause. The author lists the five criteria applied to the chain of narrators when assessing the authenticity of a Hadith:.
He points out that the last two criteria are also applicable to the examination of the text of a Hadith but that this is rarely done. It is generally suggested that such differences in reporting are not due to error on the part of narrators but because the Prophet himself made rddefining statements differently on different occasions.
This principle may be true in some cases but is not relevant everywhere. For example, in his chapter on al-Musaqat sharecropping Muslim has recorded fifteen traditions on the spiritual loss that the domestication of dogs may bring, seven on the authority of Abd Allah ibn Umar and the remaining eight on the authority of Abu Hurayrah Muslim: Out of seven report narrated on the authority of Ibn Umar five traditions inform us of the daily deduction of two carats Qiratan from the deeds of one who keeps a dog as a pet without any genuine purpose, but two of them refer to the deduction of only one single carat Qirat.
Out of eight reports narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah authentcation one mentions the deduction of two carats eedefining good deeds, whereas the remaining seven put the deduction to only one carat. How is one to resolve the discrepancy and is there any way to make a compromise between them? On discussing the issue of textual disparity with several scholars I met with one of two reactions, either discouragement from pursuing debate on Hadith further or encouragement to continue discourse.
Despite some heated discussions and opposition I persevered and continued deliberation upon traditions recorded in al-Bukhari and Muslim, reading Hadith commentaries of these two works, and also particularly the works of hzdith, al-Ayni, and Ibn Hajar.
It seemed to me that the Hadith commentators had not used any well-established and universally defined principles of Hadith commentary, and that they had not been justly balanced in their approach to Hadith, placing main focus on the chain of narrators, and not on the text of the traditions.
As I felt somewhat dissatisfied with the interpretations made by the great scholars I began more serious research on the authenticity of Hadith from the point of view of its text. The general observations were encouraging and I submitted a small portion of the research to a highly recognised international refereed journal in America, where it was published, after which I decided to have it published as a book, culminating in this work. In order to do this Authenticarion have had to include two new chapters not originally part of the research.
The author reminds us just how much of an industry there was in the fabrication of Hadith and enumerates eight particular causal factors which are elaborated upon in the text:. The author then proceeds to explain how Muslim scholars went about identifying fabricated traditions and the work done to document the chains of transmission, and to assess the authenticity redwfining the narrators.
Authentication of Hadith Redefining the Criteria
This included the assembly of biographical dictionaries of Hadith narrators so that one could know whether two purported narrators could actually have met and whether they were reliable people.
In the above illustration, Bukhari meets individual A who recounts a Hadith, explaining that he received this Hadith from individual B who received it from individual C who received it from individual D who received it from individual E who directly heard the Prophet say those words. The Hadith scholars would assess whether each of individuals A, B, C, and D could actually have met the respective person from whom the Hadith is alleged to have been received, and similarly whether individual E could have met the Prophet at a time when individual E was sufficiently mature to hear, understand and remember the alleged Hadith.
Furthermore, the character and integrity of individuals A – E would be considered and people who were bad Muslims, known liars or persons known to have faulty memories would be regarded as unreliable transmitters. However if all of the appropriate criteria were satisfied, the Hadith would be accepted. In my view this places particularly heavy reliance upon the integrity of individual A since he is the only person from whom Bukhari received the alleged Hadith.
A clumsy fabricator may trip up by naming individuals whose lives or geographical locations did not overlap but a fabricator with good knowledge of history would be impossible to detect purely by relying upon analysis of the stated chain of transmission.
The author begins by explaining in more detail how the chain of transmission is evaluated and gives further background on the two most important Hadith collectors, al-Bukhari and Muslim. He then goes on to discuss the authentication of Hadith from a textual perspective. Even when Hadith works have been criticised, particularly those believed authentic, this has been carried out from the perspective and analysis of the chain only.
This is not to say that scholars of Ulum al-Hadith [the study of Hadith] have paid no attention to content. References to problems contained in the texts of some of the traditions recorded in authentic Hadith works, including al-Bukhari and Muslim, have been made in places. Yet a truly serious attempt is largely absent.
The author goes on to discuss three scholars who have, to varying extents, taken the text of Hadith into account when considering authenticity. His work was originally a doctorate thesis submitted to and approved by Umm al-Qura University, Makkah.
According to them, in a situation of uncompromising conflict between a tradition recorded in the name authentiaction the Prophet and the Quran, the tradition is to be rejected as unacceptable.
The Quran therefore is a God-given criterion, which spells out what is right authentlcation what is wrong, distinguishing truth from falsehood. Redefning states that Allah revealed to the Prophet two things, the Quran and its bayan interpretation: Undoubtedly the role of the Hadith and the Sunnah is to serve as the interpretation of the Quran. Thus as the Prophet’s utterances and practices symbolise the bayanboth the Quran and bayan should complement each other.
Ot should be perfect harmony between the two. If any component of the bayan i. Hadith contrasts with the Quran, the tradition attributed to the Prophet may be forthrightly rejected as unacceptable. The book of Allah exists not only to serve as a authwntication but also as a mediator in a situation of dispute.
The author goes on to give a number of examples of how the Prophet’s wife Aishah always made it clear by referring to the Quran that the Prophet would not have said anything that went against the Quran. The author also mentions how a number of other scholars have dealt with this point. Some are listed below.
Authentication of Hadith: Redefining the Criteria – IIIT
Abd Allah ibn Abbas rejected the authenticity of the report on the basis of the Quranic ayah: I find not in the message revealed to me any meat forbidden for one who wishes to eat it, unless it be dead meat, or blood poured forth.
In his opinion any tradition in the name of the Prophet which clashed with the Quran was to be rejected as false. In fact he quotes a Hadith of the Prophet himself to support this position: The author goes on to give a number of specific examples of Hadith which conflict with the Quran and which therefore must be rejected.
The Quran describes Prophet Ibrahim as a paragon of truth siddiqwhereas the Hadith quotes some exceptions to this quality. If this Hadith is considered authentic, then the Quranic statement proves meaningless. If the sanctity of the Quran is maintained, then the tradition will have to be classified as unreliable. The author goes on to mention a number of commentators on Bukhari who attempt to maintain the authenticity of the tradition and their reluctance to reject the tradition as unreliable despite its clear contradiction with the Quran.
He also mentions other commentators who do reject the authenticity of the tradition. The first Hadith quoted in these sources is on the authority of Abd Allah ibn Masud.
According to this tradition the Prophet said:. By the One except whom there is no deity but He! One of you indeed performs the deeds of the people deserving Paradise until there is almost no distance between him and Paradise, he is then overtaken by destiny al-kitab ; he consequently does the deeds of those to be condemned to Hell, and he enters it. And one of you performs the deeds of the condemned until there is very little distance between him and Hell, he is then overtaken by destiny and he starts doing good deeds, as a result of which he enters Paradise.
According to this tradition, man is not free to think, choose and act, but bound crjteria to do that which has already been fixed by the Creator. On around twenty-two occasions, the Quran reiterates the fact that man is being tested in various ways.
Behold, we have willed that all beauty on earth be a means by which We put men to a test, to see as to which of them are best in conduct. He who created death and life, that He might test you, as to which of you is best in deed. In fact, what the above tradition declares and what the Quran explains are poles apart, and there may hardly be any way to affect a compromise between them.
This is why only one of them can be accepted as right. Naturally, the judgement will go in favour of the Quran.
He has rightly understood the import of the Hadith. What is absolutely clear is that the Hadith stands in marked contrast to certain Quranic injunctions:.
There shall be no coercion in matters of faith. Distinct has now become the right way from [the way of] error. If they turn away, we have not sent you as a guard over them: And so, [O Prophet,] exhort them; your task is only to exhort: These ayat obviously prohibit the use of force in conversion to Islam. All Islamic jurists hold the position that forcible conversion is, under all circumstances, null and void, and that any attempt to coerce a non-believer to accept Islam is a grievous sin: Al-Nawawi does feel very strongly about this contradiction but suggests that we interpret the traditions so as to remove the conflict.
As shown earlier, his attempt to effect a compromise between the two apparently contradictory ideas fails entirely, making it crystal clear that there exists an uncompromising conflict between what the Quran states and what the traditions convey. The Prophet carried out his mission for a period of over two decades before its eventual accomplishment. All these constitute an Islamic legacy that was meant to continue, leading people in general and believers in particular, throughout every age, time and place.
Although adhered to, it was also unfortunately betrayed by those who sought to gain for themselves many known and unknown advantages. In this situation well-known Sunnah and Hadith, as well as the Quran, could be used to determine the nature of other traditions supposedly related by the Prophet.
The Prophet had said: In other words, what is in conformity with the known traditions of the Prophet is to be accepted as an authentic report; and what appears in stark contrast with highly authentic Sunnah and Hadith is to be rejected as non-hadith. The author goes on to give a number of examples where leading Muslims from the early generations rejected purported traditions because they contradicted other more reliable traditions.