Hadith literature (often called in Western scholarship “Muslim tradition”) is understood to be the repository of the sonna (normative conduct; pl. sonan) of the Prophet, which is regarded as second in authority only to the Koran as a source of Divine truth. The Hadith, in other words, is an authoritative and prescriptive body of material relating to the Prophet Moḥammad: it records what the Prophet did and said in order that Moslems may – whether through direct mimesis of the actions of the Prophet, acceptance of specific Prophetic pronouncements on points of law and doctrine, or the extrapolation of law from both Prophetic actions and utterances – live in accordance with Divine truth. The vast and detailed corpus of Hadith literature establishes a significant proportion of the specific content of Islamic law, praxis and doctrine. Unlike the Koran, which is considered Divine speech, the Hadith is the Prophet’s own discourse; however, a subcategory of Hadith, known as al-aḥādiṯ al-qodsiya, is understood as representing the Prophet’s own verbal expression of Divine inspiration (elhām; see below).

Given the authority of Hadith as a source for the specific content of Islam, it became important for Muslims to ascertain the authenticity of each ḥadiṯ as a true and accurate (ṣaḥiḥ) record of Prophetic action or speech. Each ḥadiṯ consists of two parts: a text (matn, literally “body”) appended to a chain of transmitters (esnād, literally “support”), typically in the following format and using terms such as these: so-and-so said (qāla): I heard (sameʿto)from so-and-so who said: so-and-so told me (ḥaddaṯa-ni), saying : so-and-so informed us (aḵbara-nā), saying:so-and-so announced to us (anbaʾa-nā)on the authority of (ʿan) so-and so, who said: the Prophet said, or did, such-and-such. The authenticity of a ḥadiṯ is assayed on the basis of the reputation for veracity and reliability of the individuals in the chain, which should go back to an eyewitness (see below).

While there are reports of the existence of small Hadith compilations in the first century A.H., the collection of Hadithand their systematic organization by scholars into compendia seems to have begun in earnest from the mid-2nd/8th century. For a period of about 200 years, the scholars of the Hadith movement (ahl al-ḥadiṯ, or al-moḥaddeṯun)traveled throughout the Islamic world collecting local knowledge about the Prophet (al-reḥla fi ṭalab al-ʿelm). The early scholars of the Hadith movement were also preoccupied with pressing the claim that Hadith should be the primary source of Divine truth after the Koran, especially against the respective proponents of rational theology, and of customary law. That the claim of Hadith to primacy was not unchallenged is reflected in those works written expressly to defend the Hadith movement against its opponents, such as Ebn Qotayba’s (d. 276/889) Taʾwil moḵtalef al-ḥadiṯ fi’l-radd ʿalā aʿdāʾ ahl al-ḥadiṯ and Ḥamd b. Moḥammad Ḵaṭṭābi’s (d. 383/998) Aʿlām al-ḥadiṯ (see bibliography).

The Hadith compendia which were eventually compiled took two forms: the mosnad, in which aḥādiṯ are organized according to the transmitter; and the more prescription-friendly moṣannaf, in which aḥādiṯ are organized according to their subject matter. The most famous mosnad is the largest extant early Hadith work, that of Aḥmad Ebn Ḥanbal (d. 241/855) of Baghdad, which contains over 30,000 aḥādiṯ. The earliest extant work that includes aḥādiṯ arranged by subject is not, strictly speaking, a Hadith collection, but rather a work of jurisprudence, namely, the Mowaṭṭaʾ of the Medinan scholar Mālek b. Anas (d. 179/795; see FEQH); however, the aḥādiṯ cited therein do not always have complete esnāds, and the work includes many reports about the words and legal decisions of Companions and Successors, as do the respective important published moṣannaf collections of ʿAbd-al-Razzāq Ṣanʿāni (d. 211/826), and of ʿAbd-Allāh Ebn Abi Šayba (d. 235/849).

The 3rd/9th century witnessed the compilation of the moṣannaf Hadith collections that would eventually acquire canonical status in Sunni Islam; these are composed exclusively of aḥādiṯ from the Prophet carried by sound (ṣaḥiḥ) esnāds. It is noteworthy that most of this compilation activity was carried out by scholars in Iran. In the case of the two works that are universally recognized as the most authoritative, the Jāmeʿ al-ṣaḥiḥ of Moḥammad b. Esmāʿil Boḵāri (d. 256/870), and the Jāmeʿ al-ṣaḥiḥ of Moslem b. Ḥajjāj Naysāburi (d. 261/874), the process of their being invested with authority by the Muslim community seems to have taken place within a century or so of the respective compilers’ deaths – ever since then, these have been considered the two most important texts in Sunni Islam after the Koran. (The Shiʿites have their own Hadith collections, on which see Section ii. below.) Of only slightly less elevated status are the respective Sonan of Abu Dāʾud Sejestāni (d. 275/888), Moḥammad b. ʿIsā Termeḏi (d. 279/892), Ebn Māja Qazvini (d. 273/886) and Aḥmad b. Šoʿayb Nasāʾi (d. 303/915) – the authority of these four works was almost universally accepted by the 6th/12th century. Supplementary to “the Sound Six (al-ṣeḥāḥ al-setta)” collections are the respective Sonan of ʿAbd-Allāh b. ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Dāremi (d. 255/868), ʿAli b. ʿOmar Dāraqoṭni (d. 385/995) and Aḥmad b. al-Ḥosayn Bayhaqi (d. 458/1065). Other widely respected Hadith collections include al-Moʿjam al-kabir of Solaymān b. Aḥmad Ṭabarāni (d. 360/970), the Mostadrak of Ḥākem Moḥammad b. ʿAbd-Allāh Naysāburi (d. 403/1012), the Maṣābiḥ al-sonna of Ḥosayn b. Masʿud Baḡawi (d. 516/1122), which was expanded by Wali-al-Din Ḵaṭib Tebrizi (fl. 737/1337) under the title Meškāt al-maṣābiḥ, the popular Riāż al-ṣāleḥin of Yaḥyā b. Šaraf Nawawi (d. 676/1277) and the vast Kanz al-ʿommāl fi sonan al-aqwāl wa’l-afʿāl of ʿAli Mottaqi Hendi (d. 975/1567).

Over the centuries, several commentaries on “the Sound Six” were produced, some of which have acquired great fame in their own right. They include, in particular: on the Ṣaḥiḥ of Boḵāri, the Fatḥ al-bāri of Aḥmad Ebn Ḥajar ʿAsqalāni (d. 852/1449), the ʿOmdat al-qāri of Badr-al-Din ʿAyni (d. 855/1451) and the Eršād al-sāri of Aḥmad b. Moḥammad Qastallāni (d. 923/1518); on the Ṣaḥiḥ of Moslem, the Menhāj of Yaḥyā b. Šaraf Nawawi; on the Sonan of Abu Dāʾud, the ʿAwn al-maʿbud of Šams-al-Ḥaqq ʿAẓimābādi (d. 1329/1911); on the Sonan of Termeḏi, the Toḥfat al-aḥwaḏi of Moḥammad ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Mobārakpuri (d. 1354/1935); on the Sonan of Ebn Māja, the Šarḥ of Moḡalṭāy b. Qelej (d. 762/1361); and on the Sonan of Nasāʾi, the Zahr al-rabā of Jalāl-al-Din Soyuṭi (d. 911/1505), and the Šarḥ of Moḥammad b. ʿAbd-al-Hādi Sendi (d. 1038/1629).

A sense of the content and arrangement of the moṣannaf collections may be obtained from surveying the chapter headings of a representative example, such as the Sonan of Nasāʾi: ritual purity (al-ṭahāra), water (al-miāh), menstruation (al-ḥayż wa’l-esteḥāża), bathing, and cleansing without water (al-ḡosl wa’l-tayammom), prayer (al-ṣalāt), appointed times (al-mawāqit), the call to prayer (al-aḏān), mosques (al-masājed), the direction of prayer (al-qebla), the office of Imam (al-emāma), the beginning of the prayer (al-eftetāḥ), the execution of the prayer (al-taṭbiq), forgetfulness in prayer (al-sahw), Friday prayer (al-jomʿa), shortening the prayer in travel (taqṣir al-ṣalāt fi’l-safar), the eclipse prayer (al-kosuf), prayer for rain (al-estesqāʾ), prayer of fear (ṣalāt al-ḵawf), the prayer of the two Eids (ṣalāt al-ʿidayn), staying up at night and giving up the day to pray (qiām al-layl wa-taṭawwoʿ al-nahār), funerals (al-janāʾez), fasting (al-ṣiām), alms-giving (al-zakāt), the rituals of the Pilgrimage (manāsek al-ḥajj), struggle in the cause of God (al-jehād), marriage (al-nekāḥ), divorce (al-ṭalāq), horses (al-ḵayl), mortmain (al-aḥbās), bequests (al-waṣāyā), gifts (al-noḥl wa’l-heba), conditional gifts (al-roqbā), lifetime gifts (al-ʿomrā), oaths and vows (al-aymān wa’l-noḏur), sharecropping (al-mozāraʿa), prohibition of bloodshed (taḥrim al-dam), the division of land that passes into the possession of the Muslim community (qesm al-fayʾ), pledging allegiance (al-bayʿa), sacrifice for new born children (al--ʿaqiqa), sacrifice of the first born camel foal, and of a sheep in Rajab (al-faraʿ wa’l-ʿatira), hunting and slaughtering (al-ṣayd wa’l-ḏabaʾeḥ), sacrifical animals (al-żaḥāyā), sales (al-boyuʿ), compurgation (al-qasāma), cutting the hand of the thief (qaṭʿ al-sāreq), faith (al-imān), adornment (al-zina), the conduct of judges (ādāb al-qożāt), seeking refuge in God (al-esteʿāḏa), and drinks (al-ašreba). The foregoing list is illustrative of the important role of Hadith in establishing religious praxis and law.

The growth of the Hadith movement was accompanied by an elaboration of the Hadith sciences (ʿolum al-ḥadiṯ). The historical development of the Hadith sciences may be traced through a study of the content of the important works in this field, such as al-Moḥaddeṯ al-fāṣel bayna’l-rāwi wa’l-wāʿi by Ḥasan b. ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Rāmahormozi (d. 360/971), al-Kefāya fi ʿelm al-rewāya by Ḵaṭib Baḡdādi (d. 463/1071), Maʿrefat ʿolum al-ḥadiṯ by Ḥākem Naysāburi, the Moqaddema by Abu ʿAmr ʿOṯmān Ebn Ṣalāḥ (d. 643/1245), and Fatḥ al-Moḡiṯ by Moḥammad b. ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Saḵāwi (d. 902/1497), which is a commentary on a 1,000-line pedagogical poem (alfiya) on the Hadith sciences by Zayn-al-Din ʿErāqi (d. 806/1404). The purpose of the Hadith sciences was to address the issue of how to establish the authenticity of reports; this, as noted above, was done on the basis of assaying the esnād. To this end, a “science of men” (ʿelm al-rejāl, encompassing also the women who transmitted Hadith) was formalized between the 2nd/8th and 4th/10th centuries, in which biographical notices were compiled for transmitters of Hadith, noting such details as their dates, locations, teachers and students. Of particular importance was the inclusion in biographical notices of the judgements of later Hadith scholars as to the veracity and reliability of the individual subjects, which could range from ṯeqa (trustworthy) and ṯabt (strong) to matruk (avoided) and kaḏḏāb (liar). From this crucial latter function derives the technical name for this science, al-jarḥ wa’l-taʿdil, or “the science of discrediting and accrediting.” The Companions (ṣaḥāba)of the Prophet are, as a category, regarded as being necessarily trustworthy under the principle called taʿdil al-ṣaḥāba (a doctrine which, for obvious reasons, is not accepted by the Shiʿites, who judge trustworthy only the aḥādiṯ transmitted by their own authorities).Among the most important of the early works of al-jarḥ wa’l-taʿdil are the Kitāb al-ṭabaqāt al-kabir of Moḥammad Ebn Saʿd (d. 230/845), Kitāb al-tāriḵ al-kabir of Boḵāri, and Kitāb al-jarḥ wa’l-taʿdil of ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Ebn Abi Ḥātem Rāzi (d. 327/938). Later rejāl works collated data from earlier ones and thus grew increasingly lengthy: especially well-regarded are the Mizān al-eʿtedāl of Šams-al-Din Mo-ḥammad al-Ḏahabi (d. 748/1348), the massive Tahḏib al-kemāl fi asmāʾ al-rejāl of Yusof b. ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Mezzi (d. 742/1341), and the Tahḏib al-tahḏib of Ebn Ḥajar ʿAsqalāni.

A complete esnād is called mottaṣel, marfuʿ or mosnad, and a ḥadiṯ supported by a complete esnād made up of unimpeachably ṯeqa transmitters is classified as ṣaḥiḥ (sound, authentic). One level down is the ḥasan (good) ḥadiṯ,which is also supported by a complete esnād made up of ṯeqa transmitters, but with a chain that is less strong than that of the ṣaḥiḥ. A ḥadiṯ that is not supported by a complete esnād is by definition żaʿif (weak), and can be categorized as progressively weaker according to whether the esnād is, for example, morsal (complete until the generation of the Successors (tābeʿun), but not originating from as far back as a Companion), monqaṭeʿ (missing a transmitter in the chain), moʿżal (missing two transmitters), or modallas (containing a false claim by one of the transmitters about having heard it from the next individual in the chain), to mention only four of several categories. A forged Hadith is called mawżuʿ. Hadith are also classified according to the number of esnāds by which the report is supported. The most authoritative category is the motawāter, which is supported by a sufficient number of esnādsand ṯeqa transmitters, making collusion on its contents seem virtually impossible. Ḵabar al-āḥād is the term used for a ḥadiṯ that is supported by esnāds and transmitters which, although ṯeqa, are insufficient to render it motawāter. Ḵabar al-wāḥed is a ḥadiṯ transmitted from a single ṯeqa person; the status of this category has been the subject of extensive debate among the moḥaddeṯun. (It should be noted that the terms ḵabar and aṯar (pl. āṯār) are sometimes used synonymously with ḥadiṯ, but more usually denote reports about the Companions of the Prophet; the term ḥadiṯ is also used more loosely to refer to any and all reports about the Prophet, including those that appear in genres other than Hadith literature, such as in theepic biographical genres, sira and maḡāzi – these are, however, more accurately denoted by the neutral term rewāya, or “report”). The sciences of Hadith also addressed the issue of how to account for contradictory aḥādiṯ on the same subject transmitted by sound esnāds: this was done through applying the doctrine of nasḵ (abrogation) to identify only one of the aḥādiṯ as the chronologically final ruling on the issue in question: see, for example, Moḥammad b. Musā Ḥazemi Hama-ḏāni (d. 584/1188), al-Eʿtebār fi’l-nāseḵ wa’l-mansuḵ men al-āṯār.

According to the ʿolum al-ḥadiṯ manuals, the ideal mode of Hadith transmission is oral. This does not mean that written transmission played no role – apparently from quite early in the history of the Hadith movement, note-taking was standard practice – however, while a great moḥaddeṯ would keep books,he was ideally expected to teach from memory. Hearing Hadith from a Shaikhis called samāʿ, while reciting or reading Hadith back to the Shaikhfor his approval is called ʿarż. The Shaikh’s certifying the right of a student to transmit on his authority is called ejāza (q.v.). Transmission solely on the basis of written materials was a categorically inferior, although permissible, method, whether by monāwala (the handing over of written materials), mokātaba (correspondence) or wejāda (discovery of written materials). The ʿolum al-ḥadiṯ manuals also emphasize the necessity of word-for-word transmission of ḥadiṯ (al-rewāya be’l-lafẓ), while acknowledging that this ideal was not always observed in the earliest period of transmission when what was conveyed might have been the meaning (al-rewaya be’l-maʿnā), rather than the exact wording.

The first scholar to systematically address the place of Hadith in Islamic jurisprudence seems to have been Moḥammad b. Edris Šāfeʿi (d. 204/820), the eponymous founder of the Shafiʿite legal rite,about one-quarter of whose foundational work, the Resāla, is dedicated to formulating a method for utilizing Hadith as a source of law. The recognition of the importance of Hadith as a source of religious praxis and law resulted in the establishment of the study of Hadith as a primary element in the education of the Moslem jurist, as well as a fundamental subject in the curriculum of the madrasas (see EDUCATION iv.),following their proliferation throughout the Islamic world from the 5th/11th century onwards. Institutions dedicated to the study of Hadith, known as dār al-ḥadiṯ, were also established.

The history of the compilation and authenticity of Hadith literature is one of the most contested subjects in the study of Islam. Muslim orthodoxy holds that the recording of Hadith began in the lifetime of the Prophet himself, and culminated in the third century of the Hejra in the successful distinguishing of authentic from unreliable and fabricated aḥādiṯ; the authentic aḥādiṯ, which were gathered from all parts of the Islamic world, were compiled in the major collections whose canonical authority was swiftly recognized. This narrative, however, has been subject to criticism from the end of the 13th/19th century until the present day, primarily in the Western academy, but also by certain Muslim scholars. In 1898, Ignaz Goldziher pointed out the existence of many contradictory aḥādiṯ supported by sound esnāds,to argue that these could not represent authentic Prophetic discourse; he suggested that they were fabricated later, either by various political and religious factions in their efforts to legitimate themselves and discredit their rivals, or in discrete attempts to provide answers for specific religious issues that were in need of clarification. Half a century later Joseph Schacht argued that many legal aḥādiṯ were put into circulation only from the late 2nd century A.H. onwards, when they were furnished with wholly, or at least partially, false esnāds. Schacht’s ideas have effectively been taken as a datum-line by a prominent school of Western historians skeptical not only of the authenticity of Hadith literature, but also, on the same methodological basis, of early Muslim historiography in general. However, the validity of Schacht’s methods and conclusions has also been called into doubt, and other scholars have furnished narratives for the historical development of Hadith that tend, in different degrees, towards accepting their authenticity (see bibliography for a classified list of such studies). The questions of whether it is possible to distinguish between authentic and fabricated aḥādiṯ at all, and whether it is possible to date when a particular ḥadiṯ was put into circulation continue to be investigated, and new and more nuanced arguments about the historical development and authenticity of Hadith have begun to emerge.

The debate among Muslims in recent centuries over the authenticity of Hadith, which has included occasional reference to Western scholarship, has been concerned with the implications of the issue for the content of Islamic law. Two broad trends may be identified: the first trend has been to re-authenticate the received authoritative corpus of Hadith, sometimes on the basis of a particularly stringent application of established Hadith methodology, and sometimes using entirely new criteria for assaying the soundness of reports. The goal of this approach is to sift out definitively any remaining weak reports. Scholars such as Moḥammad ʿAbdoh (d. 1323/1905), Rašid Reżā (d. 1354/1935), Abu’l-Aʿlāʾ Mawdudi (d. 1399/1979) and Nāṣer-al-Din Albāni (d.1420/1999) strove, in different ways, towards such a goal. The second approach has been the categorical questioning of the actual methods of traditional Hadith criticism, and of the authenticity of the received Hadith corpus. This was first seen in the Muslim modernist project in the Indian subcontinent in the late 19th century where the historicizing arguments of Čerāḡ ʿAli (d. 1313/1895) preceded even those of Goldziher; and where those of Sir Sayyed Aḥmad Ḵān (d. 1316/1898), who viewed the excessive reliance on Hadith as an obstacle to reform, developed into a hostile debate between proponents of authenticity, the ahl-e ḥadiṯ, and those who argued for the exclusive authority of the Koran.

In a series of articles published between 1962 and 1963, the Pakistani scholar, Fazlur Rahman (d. 1988), argued that the sonna of the Prophet was not originally understood by the early Moslem community to be contained in the specific words and practices recorded in the Hadith (the authenticity of which cannot, in any case, be definitively ascertained), but that this putative relationship between the two was actually a concept successfully promulgated by the Hadith movement itself. Instead, Rahman asserted that the original and true meaning of sonna is the general spirit of the Prophet’s discourse and action as understood by the early community, and that sonna may therefore be identified without reference to Hadith being necessary. Rahman’s ideas provoked the hostility of the Pakistani ulema and resulted in his exile. Less radical views on the authenticity of Hadith were put forward in Egypt by Maḥmud Abu Rayya in 1958, but they also precipitated considerable controversy. In 1986, the Malaysian author, Kassim Ahmad, raised the question in South East Asia, with the result that his book was banned by the Malaysian authorities. Arguments against the authenticity of Hadith have, in general, had only limited purchase in the modern Islamic world, and the debate on the issue among Muslims seems, for the moment at least, largely to have died down.



Primary Sources. There are several reliable editions of the major Hadith collections, which are often published alongside a commentary: see Ebn Ḥajar ʿAsqalāni, Fatḥ al-bāri be-šarḥ Ṣaḥiḥ al-Boḵāri, ed. Ṭāhā ʿAbd-al-Raʾuf Saʿd et al.,28 vols., Cairo, 1978.

ʿAyni, ʿOmdat al-qāri, 25 vols., Cairo, 1970.

Abu’l-Ṭayyeb ʿAẓimābādi, ʿAwn al-maʿbud šarḥ Sonan Abi Dāʾud, ed. ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Moḥammad ʿOṯmān, 14 vols., Medina, 1968.

Idem, Taʿliq al-moḡni ʿalā Sonan al-Dāraqoṭni, 4 vols., Moltān, 1980.

Aḥmad b. al-Ḥosayn Bayhaqi, al-Sonan al-kobrā, ed. Moḥammad ʿAbd-al-Qāder ʿAṭā, 11 vols., Beirut, 1993-94.

Dāremi, al-Sonan, ed. Fawwāz Aḥmad Zamarli et al., 2 vols., Damascus, 1987.  

Aḥmad Ebn Ḥanbal, al-Mosnad, ed. Šoʿayb Arnaʾuṭ, 50 vols., Beirut, 1993-2001.

Mobārakpuri, Toḥfat al-aḥwaḏi šarḥ Jāmeʿ al-Termeḏi, ed. ʿAbd-al-Wahhāb ʿAbd-al-Laṭif, 10 vols, Medina, 1967.

Moḡalṭāy b. Qelej, Šarḥ Sonan Ebn Māja, ed. Kāmel ʿOwayda, 5 vols., Mecca, 1999.

Nasāʾi, Sonan be-šarḥ al-ḥāfeẓ al-Soyuṭi wa-šarḥ al-Emām al-Sendi, ed. ʿAbd-al-Wāreṯ Moḥammad ʿAli, 8 vols., Beirut, 1995.

Nawawi, al-Menhāj fi šarḥ Ṣaḥiḥ Moslem, ed. ʿAli ʿAbd-al-Ḥamid Balṭaji et al., 19 vols., Damascus, 1994.

Qastallāni, Eršād al-sāri, 10 vols., Baghdad, 1971.

Moḥammad b. ʿAbd-al-Bāqi Zorqāni (d. 1122/1710), Šarḥ Mowaṭṭaʾ al-Emām Mālek, 4 vols., Cairo, 1936.

The standard printed concordance of Hadith is that of A. J. Wensinck, which takes into account not only the “the Sound Six,” but also the Mosnad of Ebn Ḥanbal, the Sonan of Dāremi and Mālek’s Mowaṭṭaʾ. Many Hadith collections are now available on CD-ROM.

Other primary sources. Ebn Ḥajar ʿAsqalāni, Tahḏib al-tahḏib, ed. Moṣṭafā ʿAbd-al-Qāder ʿAṭā, 12 vols., Beirut, 1994.

Baḡawi, Maṣābiḥ al-sonna, 4 vols., ed. Yusof ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Marʿašli et al., Beirut, 1987.

Boḵāri, Ketāb al-tāriḵ al-kabir, 4 vols., Hyderabad, 1941-1964.

Ḏahabi, Mizān al-eʿtedāl, ed. ʿAli Moḥammad Bajawi, 4 vols., Cairo, 1964.

Ebn Abi Ḥātem Rāzi, Ketāb al-jarḥ wa’l-taʿdil, 9 vols., Beirut, 1952.

Ebn al-Ṣalāḥ, Moqaddemat Ebn al-Ṣalāḥ, ed. ʿĀʾeša ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Bent al-Šāṭeʾ, Cairo, 1974.

Ebn Abi Šayba, al-Moṣannaf, ed. ʿĀmer ʿOmari Aʿẓami, 15 vols., Bombay, 1983.

Ebn Qotayba, Taʾwil moḵtalef al-ḥadiṯ, ed. ʿAbd-al-Qāder Aḥmad ʿAṭā, Cairo, 1982.

Ebn Saʿd, Ketāb al-ṭabaqāt al-kabir, ed. Moḥammad ʿAbd-al-Qāder ʿAṭā, 9 vols., Beirut, 1990.

Ḥākem Naysāburi, al-Mostadrak ʿalā al-ṣaḥiḥayn, 4 vols., Hyderabad, 1915-1923.

Idem, Ketāb maʿrefat ʿolum al-ḥadiṯ, ed. Sayyed Moʿaẓẓam Ḥosayn, Cairo, 1937.

Ḥazemi Hamaḏāni, al-Eʿtebār fi’l-nāseḵ wa’l-mansuḵ men al-āṯār, ed. ʿAbd-al-Moʿṭi Amin Qalʿaji, Karachi, 1982.

Ḵaṭib Baḡdādi, al-Kefāya fi ʿelm al-rewāya, Hyderabad, 1938.

Ḵaṭib Tebrizi, Meškāt al-maṣābiḥ, ed. Moḥammad Nezār Tamim et al., 2 vols., Beirut, 1996.

Ḵaṭṭābi, Aʿlām al-ḥadiṯ, ed. Moḥammad b. Saʿd b. ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Āl Saʿud, 4 vols., Mecca, 1988.

Mezzi, Tahḏib al-kemāl, ed. Baššār ʿAwwāż Maʿruf, 35 vols., Beirut, 1980-92.

Mottaqi, Kanz al-ʿommāl, ed. Bakri Ḥosayni et al., 18 vols., Beirut, 1993.

Nawawi, Riāż al-ṣāleḥin, ed. Reżwān Moḥammad Reżwān, Beirut, 1969.

Rāmahormozi, Moḥaddeṯ al-fāṣel, ed. Moḥammad ʿAjjāj Ḵaṭib, Damascus, 1984.

Saḵāwi, al-Fatḥ al-moḡiṯ, ed. ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Moḥammad ʿOṯmān, Medina, 1969.

Ṣanʿāni, al-Moṣannaf, ed. Ḥabib-al-Raḥmān Aʿẓami, 12 vols., Johannesburg, 1970-72.

Šāfeʿi, al-Resāla, ed. Aḥmad Moḥammad Šāker, Cairo, 1940.

Ṭabarāni, al-Moʿjam al-kabir, ed. Ḥamdi ʿAbd-al-Majid Salafi, 28 vols. [to date], Baghdad, 1984-.

Secondary Sources. On Hadith in general, see M. Mustafa Azami, Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature, Indianapolis, 1977.

John Burton, An Introduction to the Hadith, Edinburgh, 1994.

Alfred Guillaume, The Traditions of Islam: An Introduction to the Study of the Hadith Literature, Oxford, 1924.

J. A. Robson, “Ḥadith,” EI2. Muhammad Zubayr Siddiqi, Hadith Literature: Its Origin, Development, Special Features and Criticism, Calcutta, 1961.

On the Hadith sciences, see Leonard Librande, “The Supposed Homogeneity of Technical Terms in Ḥadīth Study,” Muslim World 72, 1982, pp. 34-50.

J. A. Robson, “Traditions from Individuals,” Journal of Semitic Studies 9, 1964, pp. 327-40.

Sobḥi Ṣāleḥ, ʿOlum al-ḥadiṯ wa-moṣṭalāḥuh, Beirut, 1959.

Moḥammad Abu Šohba, al-Wasiṭ fi ʿolum wa-moṣṭalāḥ al-ḥadit, Damascus, 1982.

On Hadith as “tradition,” see William A. Graham, “Traditionalism in Islam: An Essay in Interpretation,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 23, 1993, pp. 495-522.

On al-aḥādiṯ al-qudsiya, see Idem, Divine Word and Prophetic Word in Early Islam, The Hague, 1977.

On early opposition to the Hadith movement, see Josef van Ess, “Ein unbekanntes Fragment des Naẓẓām,” in Der Orient in der Forschung: Festschrift fur Otto Spies, ed. Wilhelm Hoenerbach, Wiesbaden, 1967, pp. 170-201.

M. Isabel Fierro, “The Introduction of ḥadīth in al-Andalūs,” Der Islam 66, 1989, pp. 68-93.

On the sonna, see Meir Moshe Bravmann, “Sunnah and Related Concepts,” in his The Spiritual Background of Early Islam: Studies in Ancient Arab Concepts, Leiden, 1972, pp. 123-98.

On biographical dictionaries, see Ibrahim Hafsi, “Recherches sur le genre “ṭabaqāt” dans la littérature arabe, I,” Arabica 23, 1976, pp. 227-65, and G. H. A. Juynboll, “Ridjāl,” EI2.

For Western criticism of the authenticity of Hadith, see Ignaz Goldziher, MuslimStudies, tr. C. R. Barber and S. M. Stern, London, 1971, II, pp. 17-254 [originally published as Muhammedanische Studien, Halle, 1890].

Joseph Schacht, The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence, Oxford, 1950.

Idem, “A Revaluation of Islamic Traditions,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 49, 1949, pp. 143-53.

On the Schacht-based skeptical school of historians, see Fred M. Donner, Narratives of Islamic Origins: The Beginnings of Islamic Historical Writing, Princeton, 1998, pp. 13-31.

See also the studies on Hadith by G. H. A. Juynboll, Muslim Tradition: Studies in chronology, authorship and provenance of early hadith, Cambridge, 1983, and his subsequent articles collected in Idem, Studies on the origin and uses of Islamic Hadith, Aldershot, 1996.

For criticisms of Schacht’s methods see Zafar Ishaq Ansari, “The Authenticity of Traditions: A Critique of Joseph Schacht’s argument e silentio,” Hamdard Islamicus 7/2, 1984, pp. 51-61.

M. Mustafa al-Azami, On Schacht’s Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence, New York, 1985.

J. W. Fück, Review of J. Schacht, Origins, in Bibliotheca Orientalis 10/5, 1953, pp. 196-99.

For a test of some of Schacht’s conclusions, see Michael Cook, “Eschatology and the Dating of Traditions,” Princeton Papers in Near Eastern Studies 1, 1993, pp. 23-47.

For narratives of the development of Hadith literature in support of their authenticity, see Nabia Abbot, “The Early Development of Islamic Tradition,” in her Studies in Arabic Literary Papyri II: Qur’ānic Commentary and Tradition, Chicago, 1967, pp. 5-85.

M. Mustafa al-Azami, Studies in Early Hadith Literature, Indianapolis, 1978.

Sezgin, GAS I, Leiden, 1967, pp. 53-84.

For recent alternative approaches to Hadith literature, see Yasin Dutton, “Sunna, Ḥadīth, and Madinan ʿAmal,” Journal of Islamic Studies 4, 1993, pp. 1-31.

Idem, “ʿAmal v. Ḥadīth in Islamic Law: The Case of ṣadl al-yadayn (holding one’s hands by one’s side) when doing the prayer,” Islamic Law and Society 3, 1996, pp. 13-39.

Harald Motzki, “The Muṣannaf of ʿAbd-al-Razzāq al-Ṣanʿānī as a Source of Authentic aḥādīth of the First Century A.H.,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 50, 1991, pp. 1-21.

Idem, “The Prophet and the Cat: On Dating Malik’s Muwaṭṭaδ and Legal Traditions,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 22, 1998, pp. 18-83.

Idem, The Origins of Islamic Jurisprudence, Leiden, 2002.

Iftikhar Zaman, “The Science of rijāl as a Method in the Study of Hadiths,” Journal of Islamic Studies 5, 1994, pp. 1-34.

For the reconsideration of Hadith in modern Muslim discourses, see Maḥmud Abu Rayya, Ażwāʾ ʿalā al-sonna al-Moḥammadiya, Cairo, 1958.

Charles J. Adams, “The Authority of Prophetic Ḥadīth in the Eyes of some Modern Muslims,” in Essays on Islamic Civilization Presented to Niyazi Berkes, ed. Donald P. Little, Leiden, 1976, pp. 25-47.

Kassim Ahmad, Hadis: Satu Penilaian Semula, Penang, 1986. Idem, Hadis: Jawapan Kepada Pengkritik, Penang, 1995.

J. M. S. Baljon Jr., “Pakistani views of Hadīth,” Die Welt des Islams 5, 1957-58, pp. 219-27.

Daniel W. Brown, Rethinking tradition in modern Islamic thought, Cambridge, 1996.

G. H. A. Juynboll, The Authenticity of the Tradition Literature: Discussions in Modern Egypt, Leiden, 1969.

Fazlur Rahman, Islamic Methodology in History, Karachi, 1965.

(Shahab Ahmed)

Originally Published: December 15, 2002

Last Updated: February 24, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XI, Fasc. 4, pp. 442-447

Cite this entry:

Shahab Ahmed, “HADITH i. A GENERAL INTRODUCTION,” Encyclopædia Iranica, XI/4, pp. 442-447, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/hadith-i-intro (accessed on 30 December 2012).