hadith history

History, Importance and Compilation of Hadith

The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) is the last messenger of Allah and is the seal of the prophets. The actions and the saying of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) are the most important sources of the Islamic law. This is why His actions are regarded as Sunnah and sayings as Hadith.

There are four ways in which the sayings and conduct of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) are presented. They are as follows:

  1. In the verbal teachings of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H), He used to repeat things three times to His companions. Then He listened to His companions to make sure that they had not made any mistake in learning them.
  2. The practical way of demonstrating included the way to offer prayer, pilgrimage, fast and ablution. This type of teaching is called as Sunnah.
  3. Teaching through letters to many kings and emperors.
  4. Through silent approval.

The Two Types of Hadith:

There are two types of Hadith.

  1. Hadith-e-Qudsi
  2. Hadith-e-Nabawi

Hadith-e-Nabawi or a Prophetic Hadith is the one which contains the words that the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) spoke.

Hadith-e-Qudsi or a Divine Hadith is the one that contains words from Allah. They are not the part of the Holy Quran, yet they are determined as the saying of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) related from Allah Himself. An example is mentioned below:

Allah says, ‘Fasting is for Me and I shall certainly compensate it.

The Classification of Hadith:

The Hadith can be classified into four types. They are:

  1. Authentic or Sahih Hadith.
  2. Approved or Hasan Hadith.
  3. Weak or Zae’ef Hadith.
  4. Fabricated Hadith.

These are the classifications of different types of Hadith.

More About Different Classifications of Hadith:

1- Authentic or Sahih Hadith:

A Hadith is authentic if it is not antithetical to the other Hadith that is already accepted by the authorities as an authentic or reliable Hadith. Moreover, it should not be against the teaching of the Holy Quran, the Ijma and the principles of Islam.

It should not be against the dictates of common sense or the laws of nature. It should not level the accusation against the family of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) and his companions, or praise a particular person or tribe.

It should not mention any incident that is only reported by a particular person and have no other reporter. It should not lie down punishments for minor offenses or promises high rewards for insignificant good deeds.

It is no longer an authentic Hadith if the narrator himself confessed that he had fabricated the report.

The Sanad must be full and unbroken and each narrator mentioned in it must be known for his knowledge, piety, memory and trustworthiness. The narrators must have met each other and the chain of information must be linked to the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H).

The best Sanad consists of those narrators who met the person relating Hadith and the person to whom they related it. The chain of transmission should be unbroken.

The narrators should be at an age at which they could understand the importance of what they had heard.

The report of a child or an insane person could not be accepted. The narrator must be a Muslim. Higher the qualification of a narrator, greater the authority of a tradition.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim are the compilers of the authentic Hadith. Imam Bukhari was the first one to conceive the idea of the compilation of authentic Hadith and therefore, was the first one to do so.

2- Approved or Hasan Hadith:

This type of Hadith is similar to an authentic Hadith except that its narrators or some of its narrators have been found defective in memory in comparison with the narrators of an authentic Hadith.

3- Weak or Zaeef Hadith:

A Hadith is considered to be weak if any one of its narrators was known to be a liar or known to have a bad memory.

If the narrator has not met the person he was supposed to be narrating from or there was a weakness in the text or the Sanad, then the Hadith was said to be a weak or Zae’ef Hadith.

4- Fabricated Hadith:

When a saying or action was attributed to the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) which He had not said or done, then the Hadith was considered to be a fabricated Hadith.

The Structure of Hadith:

Each Hadith consist of two parts:

Isnad – chain of its transmitters and the Matn, its text. Each of these parts is of equal importance to the traditionists, who treat and consider traditions with one and the same Isnad and different texts as well as the traditions with identical texts and different Isnads as entirely independent traditions.

The first part of the Hadith consists of a chain of names. These are the series of authorities who are called narrators. This is called Sanad which means support because it is the authority for the genuineness of Hadith.

These authorities can be as few as one, two, three, or even four, depending on how far the compiler’s time was from the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H).

Imam Malik, for example, in some Hadith related from his teacher Nafi, who related from his teacher Abdullah bin Umar, who heard it from the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H)

The traditionists attached great importance to Isnad and considered it an indispensable part of every tradition. In order to ascertain the value of the different Isnad, they even produced a vast literature on the biographies of the transmitters.

To check the Isnad, it is essential to know the life and career as well as the character and scholarship of all the individuals named.

In order to reduce the risk of forgery, every teacher on every book of Hadith, gave his students the names of the teachers through whom he had received it from the original author, each of them stating that he had read the whole or a part of it which had to be specified with his own teacher.

The second part of the Hadees consist of the words of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) himself. This is called Matn or the text of the Hadith, for example “ Pray as you see me offering prayers “ is called the Matn of the Hadith.


This article provides you with a comprehensive detail about Hadith. It also tells about the types and classification of Hadith.

I hope you like all the information about Ahadeeth provided in this article.

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