The Science of Hadith

That is why we find that after the time of the Sahaba and after the recording of the hadith, scholars of ‘Ilm al-Hadith began to develop the rules and methods for classifying and formulating hadith. And we find that many terms are used technically to describe the different types of hadith.

The Classifications of Ahadith

For example in ‘ilm al-hadith we find many classifications of hadith. One of them is ‘sahih,’ which is defined as “opposite of wrong.” The description of the meaning of the term ‘sahih’ takes at least one volume to explain. The term ‘hadith hasan’ needs another volume to explain its meaning. The next level of classification is hadith da’eef. Following that is hadith marfu’, then hadith musnad, then hadith muttassil, then hadith mawquf, then hadith maqtu’, then hadith munqati’, then hadith mu’adal, then hadith mursal, then hadith mu’alaq, then hadith musalsal, then hadith gharib, then hadith ‘aziz, then hadith mashhur, then hadith mutawwatir, then hadith mu’ana’an, then hadith mubham, then hadith mudallas, then hadith ash-shaaz, then hadith mahfouz, then hadith munkar, then‘hadith ma’ruf, then hadith ‘aliy wan-naazil, then hadith mudarraj, then hadith muddabaj, then hadith muttaffaq, then hadith muftarak, then hadith mu’talif, then hadith mukhtalif, then hadith maqloub, then hadith mudtarib, then hadith mu’allal, then hadith matruk, and then hadith mawdu’.So we find 35 precise classifications of hadith, that scholars use when they read hadith, according to which they classify them. This is how scholars knew whether a hadith could be accepted or not.

A logical question arises here, “where are these terms to be found literally in the Qur’an or Sunnah?” And what follows on logically from this is, from whence came the permission to create this science and to develop these classifications and terms, because this was not done by the Prophet (s)?

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