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In Islam, the Arabic word sunnah has come to denote the way Prophet Muhammad (saas), the Messenger of Allah, lived his life. The Sunnah is the second source of Islamic jurisprudence, the first being the Qur'an. Both sources are indispensable; one cannot practice Islam without consulting both of them. The Arabic word hadith (pl. ahadith) is very similar to Sunnah, but not identical. A hadith is a narration about the life of the Prophet (saas) or what he approved - as opposed to his life itself, which is the Sunnah as already mentioned.

 

In M. M. Azami's Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature, the following precise definition of a hadith is given, According to Muhaddithiin [scholars of hadith -ed.] it stands for 'what was transmitted on the authority of the Prophet, his deeds, sayings, tacit approval, or description of his sifaat (features) meaning his physical appearance. However, physical appearance of the Prophet is not included in the definition used by the jurists.'

 

Thus hadith literature means the literature which consists of the narrations of the life of the Prophet and the things approved by him. However, the term was used sometimes in much broader sense to cover the narrations about the Companions [of the Prophet -ed.] and Successors [to the Companions -ed.] as well.

The explosion of Islam in the 7th and 8th centuries confronted Islamic scholars with a daunting task: to preserve the knowledge of the Sunnah of the Prophet (saas). Hence the science of hadith evaluation was born. We recommend that you read the "Introduction to the Science of Hadith" below to understand the tremendous efforts that were required to sift the true reports from the false reports. The success of the early scholars is also captured below by some collections of hadith.

Source: University of Southern California - MSA

 

  An Introduction to the Science of Hadiths

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We have, Without doubt, sent down the message: and we will assuredly guard it (from corruption). (Qur'an 15:9)

The promise made by Allah (SWT) in Qur'an 15:9 is obviously fulfilled in the undisputed purity of the Qur'anic text throughout the fourteen centuries since its revelation. However, what is often forgotten by many Muslims is that the divine promise also includes, by necessity, the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH), because the Sunnah is the practical example of the implementation of the Qur'anic guidance, the wisdom taught to the Prophet (PBUH) along with the scripture, and neither the Qur'an nor the Sunnah can be understood correctly without the other.

Allah (SWT) preserved the Sunnah by enabling the companions and those after them to memorize, write down and pass on the statements of the Prophet (PBUH), and the descriptions of his way, as well as to continue the blessings of practicing the Sunnah.

Later, as the purity of the knowledge of the Sunnah became threatened, Allah (SWT) caused the Muslim Ummah to produce individuals with exceptional memory skills and analytical expertise, who travelled tirelessly to collect thousands of narrations and distinguish the true words of prophetic wisdom from those corrupted by weak memories, from forgeries by unscrupulous liars, and from the statements of the large number of Ulama (scholars), the companions and those who followed their way. All of this was achieved through precise attention to the words narrated, and detailed familiarity with the biographies of the thousands of reporters of hadith.

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Source: University of Southern California - MSA

 

  Adhering to the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)

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Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Master of the Prophets and Messengers, and upon all his family and companions.

 

The Prophet (saas) (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to teach the Sunnah to his companions in word and deed, and urged them to follow it, as he said in his hadeeth: “Adhere to my Sunnah” and “Whoever neglects my Sunnah does not belong to me.” ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saas) (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “There is no Prophet whom Allah sent to any nation before me, but he had disciples from among his nation, and companions who followed his Sunnah and obeyed his commands.” (Narrated by Muslim, no. 71).

 

Some aspects of the Sunnah are waajib (obligatory) and some are mustahabb (encouraged). The Muslim should follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (saas) (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), whether it is waajib or mustahabb, as long as it is proven in sound reports. The Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them) used to spread the Sunnah of the Prophet (saas) (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) among people and they called people to follow it.

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Source: University of Southern California - MSA

 

  Hadith Qudsi

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Introduction


The following is a collection of 40 Hadith Qudsi. But what is Hadith Qudsi and how do they differ from other Hadith? The following discussion is given in the introduction to the book titled "Forty Hadith Qudsi" published by: Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, Islamic Translation Center, P.O.Box 38130, Aldahieh, Kuwait.

Hadith Qudsi are the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) as revealed to him by the Almighty Allah. Hadith Qudsi (or Sacred Hadith) are so named because, unlike the majority of Hadith which are Prophetic Hadith, their authority (Sanad) is traced back not to the Prophet but to the Almighty.

Among the many definitions given by the early scholars to Sacred Hadith is that of as-Sayyid ash-Sharif al-Jurjani (died in 816 A.H.) in his lexicon At-Tarifat where he says: "A Sacred Hadith is, as to the meaning, from Allah the Almighty; as to the wording, it is from the messenger of Allah (PBUH). It is that which Allah the Almighty has communicated to His Prophet through revelation or in dream, and he, peace be upon him, has communicated it in his own words. Thus Qur'an is superior to it because, besides being revealed, it is His wording."

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Source: Islamic Translation Center

 

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