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Padre5

Hadith?

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As one trying hard to learn about Islam, I find the reliance on Hadith to be very puzzling. To me, as an attorney, this seems to be what we lawyers call "a secondary source." I have read quite a bit about hadith, but would love to hear what you all think about it, personally. By that, I means not what you have been taught, but what you have concluded. Do any of you have doubts about the utility of all the different hadith?

This relates, to some extent to the ideas of "reform Islam," of course, that I asked about in another thread. I'll welcome any candid comments!

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I think it is very difficult for any day to day Muslim to comment on what they think of the hadith. Some scholars spend years studying arabic and the science of hadith which is really commendable and have a much more insight than what we just 'think'. However personally I do believe the hadith are really important - I have learnt so much about Muhammad pbuh as a person from the hadith and more about what faith is. The hadith also provide a lot of context for the verses of the quran.

 

It is good that you are learning about them too.

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There's nothing wrong with Hadith, it's simply a given that, laymen like us could never give of any kind of judgement or verdict just by reading an english translation.

 

Hadiths have so much to it such as;

 

- Context

- Relation to Qur'an Aya(s)

- Language (For example, "wicked" a century ago meant "evil", today it could mean "good")

- How did the Prophet(pbuh) and the Companians(pbuh) understand it

 

etc.

 

And finally, God gave us a product to help humanity, that product is the Qur'an. It is only befitting that God gives us the manual, the blueprint on how to make full use of this product.

 

More info about hadiths, read this - http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Hadith/Ulum/

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The answer given by brother and sister is very good and will suffice. More than directly learning hadith I would recommend you to start with books on Islam. That will be good Inshallaah.

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All three answers are very good mashaaAllaah.

 

It may not be correct to call the Hadith 'secondary' source, rather it is the explanation of the Qur`aan and each one is in need of the other. Famous example, the 5 daily prayer is probably the most known aspect of Islaam, both by Muslims and non-Muslims, however we cannot pray just by looking at the Qur`aan - God gave Muhammad [saw] to show the practicality of it, the requirements, negations etc are known through his actions. So you see, the Hadeeth can never be separated from the Qur`aan as Islaam would not be complete.

In fact the Qur`aan directly commands us to follow the Messenger Muhammad's [saw] example.

The above is to show the importance of looking at the Qur`aan and Hadeeth as one entity, rather that 2 separate one

 

However, if you are talking about the actual chain of narration the example of this follows:

 

The Prophet [saw] taught something to 3 of his Companions, they then taught it to 3 other people [they could be other Companions or the students of the Companions which we refer to as Taabi'een] each, each the Taabi'een would teach it to their students [Taabi' Taabi'een]...and the Scholar of Hadeeth [called Muhaddith] would stop at this point. The people in the chain were sometimes scattered all over the Islamic empire [which covered vast amount of land]. So if each person in the chain [we are talking about 27 people in the current example] narrate the same thing...there would be no doubt in the mind of the Scholars who trace these chains.

On top of that, the biography of EACH person in the chain must be known [these include his name, fathers name, grandfathers name, his birth, where he lived, where he died, his teachers, his teachers teachers, his memory and theres more...] This is a way of determining who is reliable in the chain or not. The scholars had very strict criterion to judge someone reliable. Hence when a Hadeeth is classified [whether Saheeh, Hasan or Dhaa'eef etc], it means it has undergone very thorough investigation.

 

So you see, the Hadeeth can be relied upon by all Muslims and we do not doubt the ones that are classed as reliable by the Scholars. In fact it is part of our fundamental creed that the Message of God would be preserved until the Day of Judgement - as there is no more Prophets after Muhammad [saw], this preservation is a necessity.

 

And if you want to know who the Scholars of Hadeeth were, some of them were Imaam Bukhaaree, Imaam Muslim, Imaam Ahmad and others. These are Scholars whos trustworthiness are agreed upon by the general Muslim Community [ummah] in each generation of Islaam.

 

The post was a bit lengthy, but hope it helped answer a few of your questions.

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Just to add, in terms of the reliability of the Islaamic sources [i.e. the Qur`aan and Hadeeth] - there is nothing like it. If you look to all other Religious scriptures, they cannot claim that there books can be traced back to the founder of the Religion. They have all been tampered with and altered. The Qur`aan and Hadeeth have been preserved in such a manner [mainly through memorization] that it is safe to say that if ALL books in the world were destroyed, religious or otherwise, then the Muslims would be able to bring back the sources of their ideology - who else can do that?

 

Thus, when we invite non-Muslims to Islaam, we are inviting to something better than all else :)

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Padre5, I cannot post a link because I am new to this forum, but if you google Dr Jonathan Brown and find a video lecture of his on 'An Introduction to Hadith', you may find it helpful.

 

He is a Muslim convert and quite an academic in the field of Hadith Sciences.

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The science of Hadith has very strict rules to verify the authenticity of all ahadith. Here is a simplified explanation:

 

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