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Writing of the Hadeeth in the time of RasoolAllah (Peace be upon Him)

It’s true that the Ahadeeth were not in written book-forms in the time of the Sahaba but they rather preserved this treasure within their hearts. This does not necessarily mean that the Ahadeeth were not written at all by the Sahaba in the time Rasoolullah (Peace be upon Him). The truth is that writing of the Ahadeeth is proven from various Ahadeeth and even the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon Him) commanded the Sahaba to write down the Ahadeeth.

The following quotation is from Sunan Abi Dawood:

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو قَالَ كُنْتُ أَكْتُبُ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ أَسْمَعُهُ مِنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- أُرِيدُ حِفْظَهُ فَنَهَتْنِى قُرَيْشٌ وَقَالُوا أَتَكْتُبُ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ تَسْمَعُهُ وَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- بَشَرٌ يَتَكَلَّمُ فِى الْغَضَبِ وَالرِّضَا فَأَمْسَكْتُ عَنِ الْكِتَابِ فَذَكَرْتُ ذَلِكَ لِرَسُولِ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- فَأَوْمَأَ بِأُصْبُعِهِ إِلَى فِيهِ فَقَالَ « اكْتُبْ فَوَالَّذِى نَفْسِى بِيَدِهِ مَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهُ إِلاَّ حَقٌّ ».

It’s narrated by Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr Ibn Al-Aas, He says, “I used to write down every Hadeeth to memorize which I heard the Messenger of Allah speak. Few people of Quraish stopped me and said, ‘You write every single sayings of Rasoolullah (peace be upon Him) knowing He is a human who speaks in the state of anger as well as in pleasure?’ Then I stopped writing, and related it to Rasoolullah (Peace be upon Him). The Messenger of Allah replied, ‘Write down everything, and then He said pointing towards His blessed mouth, ‘I swear by the one in whose hand my life is! Nothing but truth is uttered by this mouth.’”

(Abu Dawood, Vol. 2, p. 513, 514)

The ruling about writing the Hadeeth is clearly mentioned in above Hadeeth, and the narration where it’s mentioned “Do not write from me anything besides Quran”, its objective is that the Sahaba must not write anything when they are writing the Quran with the Quran so that the Quranic verses do not get mixed with what is other than Quran.

The Compilation of Ahadeeth in the Time of Sahaba and Senior Taabe’een

About 10,000 Sahaba preserved the Ahadeeth in their hearts and passed them on to the Taabe’een and they narrated them to Tab’e Taabe’een and this is how the blessings of the Ahadeeth have reached us, Alhamdulillah.

Some Sahaba narrated a great number of Ahadeeth while some narrated a few. Amongst the ones, that narrated fewer Ahadeeth, are also the Khulafa-e-Raashideen, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddeeq, Hazrat Umar, Hazrat Uthmaan Ghani, Hazrat Maula Ali RadiyAllahu Ajma’een on top of the list.

Those who narrated the Ahadeeth abundantly are mentioned as follows:

1. Hazrat Abu Hurairah

2. Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Abbaas

3. Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Umar

4. Hazrat Jaabir Ibn Abdullah

5. Hazrat Anas Ibn Malik

6. Hazrat ‘Aaishah Siddeeqah

7. Hazrat Abu Sa’eed Khudri RadiyAllahu Anhum Ajma’een.

The most senior Tabe’een who took Ahadeeth from the Sahaba are as follows:

1. Hazrat Sa’eed Ibn Musayyib

2. Hazrat Hasan Basri

3. Hazrat Muhammad Ibn Seereen

4. Hazrat ‘Urwah Ibn Zubair

5. Hazrat Ali Ibn Husain (Huzoor Zain Al-‘Aabideen)

6. Hazrat Mujahid

7. Hazrat Qaasim Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abi Bakr

8. Hazrat Humaam Ibn Munabbah

9. Hazrat Saalim Ibn Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar

10. Hazrat Naafe’ (the freed slave of Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar)

11. Hazrat Sa’eed Ibn Jubair

12. Hazrat Ibn Shahaab Zohri

13. Hazrat ‘Ikramah (the slave of Sayyiduna Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Abbaas)

14. Hazrat ‘Ata Ibn Rabaah

15. Hazrat Qataadah Ibn Da’amah

16. Hazrat ‘Aamir She’bi

17. Hazrat Ibraheem Nakh’i

18. Hazrat Yazeed Ibn Abi Habeeb

(May Allah be pleased with them all. Ameen)

The Taabe’een who narrated Ahadeeth from the Sahaba, were located in different countries and cities. For example, the biographies of 484 Taabe’een are found in Tabaqaat Ibn Sa’d and the other books of history and Seerah. Similarly, the biographies of 131 Taabe’een of Makkah, 413 in Koofah, 164 in Basrah etc. are also available in the written form.

The Compilation of Hadeeth

When a great number of Sahaba passed away from the world then some of the Taabe’een felt the need of preserving the great blessing of Hadeeth and the great revolution of compiling the beloved Ahadeeth into volumes began. Hence, by the individual effort of the Khaleefah Hazrat Umar Ibn Abdul Azeez, an organization was formed in order to practically fulfill this great task. Few names of those early compilers who laid the foundation are given below:

1. Hazrat Rabee’ Ibn Sabeeh

2. Hazrat Moosa Ibn ‘Oqabah

3. Hazrat Imam Malik

4. Hazrat Ibn Juraij

5. Hazrat Imam Abu Yusuf

6. Hazrat Imam Muhammad

7. Hazrat Imam Auzaa’i

8. Hazrat Sufyaan Thauri

9. Hazrat Hammaad Ibn Salimah Ibn Deenaar

10. Hazrat Imam Azam Abu Hanifah

And many other great Muhadditheen were the earliest compilers that contributed great deal in the field of Hadeeth in form of books, as a result of which there were volumes of books of Hadeeth were written by the end of 2nd century A.H.

In the beginning of the 3rd century, Imam Asad Ibn Moosa Al-Basri, Nu’aim Ibn Hammaad Al-Khezaa’i, Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Ishaaq Ibn Raahwaih, Uthmaan Ibn Abi Shaibah, Abu Bakr Ibn Abi Shaibah compiled books of Ahadeeth on many different subjects; such as, Seerah, Ahkaam (Fiqh), Maghaazi (Battles). The writings of few of them are not available today, but it does not mean that they were wasted. The contemporary Ulama of their era and the later Muhadditheen included their works in their compilations and therefore people became needless of their original works. It was in the very century that Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Imam Abu Dawood, Imam Tirmidhi, Imam Nasaa’i, Imam Ibn Majah compiled their Sahih, Sunan and Jaame’ and this is how beautifully the work of Hadeeth compilation came to a successful conclusion.

We cannot thank the Sahaba, Taabe’een and the luminous Muhadditheen enough for their great contribution in the field of Hadeeth and for conveying the Message of Rasoolullah (Peace be upon Him) to us in the form of books that enlightened the hearts of the believers with the guiding torch of Ahadeeth. May Allah Ta’ala reward them on our behalf and also on the behalf of all the Muslims. Ameen!

The Essential Terminologies of the Principles of the Science of Hadeeth

The Definition of Hadeeth:

According to the majority of the Muhadditheen, “The words, actions and the Taqreer of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon Him) are called Hadeeth.”


The meaning of Taqreer is that if anything was said or done in the time of Rasoolullah (Peace be upon Him), being aware of it, He did not condemn that speech or action but rather observed silence without raising an objection.

According to some Muhadditheen, the words, actions and the Taqreer of the Sahaba and Taabe’een are also regarded as Hadeeth. Thus Hadeeth is categorized into three dimensions from in terms of it being a Hadeeth from Allah Almighty (Hadeeth Qudsi), the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon Him) (Hadeeth Marfoo’) or from a Sahabi (Mauqoof) or a Taabe’i (Maqtoo’):

1. Hadeeth Qudsi:

Hadeeth Qudsi is the Hadeeth which is narrated by Rasoolullah (Peace be upon Him) but originated by Allah Ta’ala.

(i.e. the Words of Allah Almighty)

2. Hadeeth Marfoo’

The words, actions or the Taqreer originated by Rasoolullah (Peace be upon Him)

(i.e. the Words of RasoolAllah – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him)

3. Hadeeth Mauqoof

The words, actions and the Taqreer originated by the Sahaba.

(Words of the Sahaba)

4. Hadeeth Maqtoo’

The words, actions and the Taqreer originated by the Taabe’een.

(Words of Taabe’een)

Sanad or Isnaad:

A group of the narrators of a Hadeeth is called Sanad or Isnaad.


The actual Hadeeth; at the conclusion of Isnaad or Sanad.


The Hadeeth in which the link of the chain or Sanad is not broken at any point.


The Hadeeth which has one of the narrators missing from its chain or Sanad.


The Hadeeth which has two or more narrators, one after the other, missing from its chain.


The Hadeeth where the upper narrator above the Taabe’i is missing from its chain. This way of narration is called Irsaal.


The Hadeeth where the entire chain has been ommitted or some narrators are not mentioned.

The Categorization of Hadeeth based on of the quantity of its Chains of Narrators

They are of four types:

1. Khabar Mutawaatir

If the Hadeeth is narrated through so many different chains that it’s regarded impossible for so many people to be lying at once. There is difference of opinions as to how many chains or Sanad will provide that confidence but its condition is that the Hadeeth must be based on physical concepts and witnessing.

2. Khabar Mash’hoor:

Khabar Mash’hoor is the Hadeeth which contains at least three narrators at every instance of its chains.

3. Khabar ‘Azeez:

Hadeeth ‘Azeez is the Hadeeth which contains at least two narrators at every instance of its chains.

4. Hadeeth Ghareeb:

Hadeeth Ghareeb is the Hadeeth which contains only one narrator at every instance of its chain or somewhere in the chain. It’s also called Fard.

Hadeeth Fard or Ghareeb is further divided into two types:

1. Fard Mutlaq:

Fard Mutlaq is the Hadeeth which contains only one narrator at every instance of its chain.

2. Fard Nasabi:

Fard Nasabi is the Hadeeth which contains only one narrator at some instances of its chains.

The Categorization of Hadeeth based on of the quality of its Narrators


All the narrators of its chain must be ‘Aadil[1], with sound memory[2], its chain must be well-connected[3], and must be blameless of Shudhoodh[4] and ‘Illah[5].


Which is in accordance with all the pre-requisites of Sahih besides the quality the narrator of having good memory power.

Each of Sahih and Hasan are further divided into two:

1. Sahih Li-Dhaatihi:

Is the Hadeeth which has all the pre-requisites a Sahih Hadeeth at the level of perfection.

2. Sahih Li-Ghairhi:

Is the Hadeeth which has all its pre-requisite slightly lower (in the chain) from the level of perfection but this imperfection is resolved through another supporting chain.

1. Hasan Li-Dhaatihi:

Is the Hadeeth in accordance with all the pre-requisites of Sahih besides only lacking the quality of great memory power.

2. Hasan Li-Ghairhi:

Is the Hadeeth which flaw (in the chain) can be perfected through another supporting chain.

Hadeeth Da’eef:

Is the Hadeeth which neither has the recommended pre-requisites of Sahih nor of Hasan in one or more of the narrators of its chain, and also one or more of its narrators are blameworthy on the basis of Shudhoodh or ‘Illah. It’s further divided into many different categories which are not being mentioned hereunder due to the length of its branches.

Hadeeth Shaadh vs Mahfooz:

If a Thiqah narrator narrates against the narration of a more Thiqah narrator than him then it will regarded as Hadeeth Shaadh and the one contrary to it will be taken as Mahfooz.

Hadeeth Munkar vs Ma’roof:

If a weak narrator narrates against the narration of a stronger narrator then it will be regarded as Hadeeth Munkar and the one contrary to it will be taken as Ma’roof.

Hadeeth Mutaabe’:

If a narrator narrates a supporting narration of another narrator but the chain is linked to only one Sahaabi then it will be called Hadeeth Mutaabe’.

Hadeeth Shaahid:

If the same Hadeeth is narrated by another Sahabi then it will be called Hadeeth Shaahid.

Hadeeth Maudoo’:

Maudoo’ is the Hadeeth of a narrator whose lies are revealed and established in any Hadeeth.

Hadeeth Matrook:

Matrook is the Hadeeth which narrator is blamed to be a liar.

Hadeeth Muttafaq ‘Alaih:

Is the Hadeeth which is narrated by both Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim in their Sahihs from the same Sahabi.

Grades of Sahih Hadeeth

Despite the minor differences the Muhadditheen have, in taking Ahadeeth from the narrators, the Ulama have given a guideline to establish the grades for the authenticity of a Sahih Hadeeth:

1. The Muttafaq Alaih Ahadeeth are on the highest level in the category of Sahih Hadeeth.

2. After that are the Sahih Ahadeeth that are mentioned only in Bukhari.

3. Then the ones mentioned only in Muslim.

4. Then those that are on the level of authenticity established by Bukhari and Muslim.

5. Then the ones that are on the level of authenticity established by Imam Bukhari.

6. Then of Imam Muslim’s.

7. Then comes the authenticity of all those Ahadeeth recorded in the rest of the six most authentic Hadeeth compilations.

The grades of the people of Hadeeth

1. Taalib:

Is the beginner in the faculty of Hadeeth and its sciences.

2. Muhaddith:

Is the one who teaches the Hadeeth and its sciences.

3. Haafiz:

Is the one who has memorized 100,000 Ahadeeth along with their Sanads.

4. Hujjat:

Is the one who has memorized 300,000 Ahadeeth along with their Sanads.

5. Haakim:

Is the one who knows all the Ahadeeth along with their Sanads and he must be also aware of all the narrators.

The Types of Hadeeth Books

1. Sahih

Sahih is a book of Hadeeth in which only the collection of Sahih Ahadeeth is compiled; such as Sahih Bukhari etc.

The books where few non-Sahih Ahadeeth are also found can still be called Sahih due to the number of Sahih Ahadeeth being dominant over the non-Sahih.

2. Jaame’

Jaame’ is a type of Hadeeth-book which comprises of the Ahadeeth pertaining to the following eight subjects:

1. Siyar (The Ahadeeth pertaining to Seerah)

2. Aadaab (Morals and ethics)

3. Tafseer (Quranic interpretation)

4. ‘Aqaaid (Ahadeeth pertaining to beliefs)

5. Fitan (End time, time of trials)

6. Ashraat (Ahadeeth pertaining to the end of time, Dajjal etc.)

7. Ahkaam (Ahadeeth pertaining to Fiqh)

8. Manaaqib (Ahadeeth pertaining to the merit of a place, person or thing)

Like Jaame’ Sahih Bukhari and Jaame’ Tirmidhi.

3. Sunan:

Sunan are the books of Hadeeth in which Ahadeeth that are relevant to the fiqhi issues are recorded chapter-wise; like, Sunan Abi Dawood etc.

4. Musnad:

Musnad are the books of Hadeeth in which Ahadeeth are recorded in the order of the Sahaba; like Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal etc.

5. Mu’jam:

Mu’jam are the compilations of Ahadeeth where the Ahadeeth are recorded in the order of Shuyookh of Hadeeth; like Mu’jam Al-Tabraani etc.

6. Mustakhraj:

Mustakhraj are the books of Hadeeth where the Ahadeeth are recorded with reference to the other Hadeeth books; such as, Mustakhraj Abu Nu’aim ‘Ala Al-Bukhari etc.

7. Mustadrak:

Mustadrak are those books of Hadeeth where such Ahadeeth are added to a particular book that were worthy of being added to that particular book but were left out; like, Al-Mustadrak Ala Al-Saheehain Li Al-Haakim.

8. Juz:

Juz is the book of Hadeeth where only the Ahadeeth pertaining to a one specific subject are mentioned; such as, Juz’-Al-Qiraa’ati Li Al-Bukhari.

9. Mufrad:

Mufrad is the book of Hadeeth in which only the Ahadeeth of one individual are recorded; like Musnad Abi Hurairah Li Ibraheem Ibn Al-‘Askari.

10. Arba’een:

Arba’een are the books of Hadeeth in which forty Ahadeeth are recorded; like, Arba’een Nawawi.

11. Maraaseel:

Maraseel are the books where Mursal Ahadeeth are recorded; such as, Maraaseel Abi Dawood.

12. Amaali:

Amaali are the books of Hadeeth where a Muhaddith Aalim compiles the lessons which he taught to his student when explaining the interpretations of Ahadeeth; like, Amaali Haafiz Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalaani.

13. Atraaf:

Atraaf are the books where the parts of a particular book of Ahadeeth are recorded; like Atraaf Li Al-Muzzi.

(Above is extracted from the works of Ghazaali-e-Zamaan, Hazrat Allamah Shah Kaazmi Saheb – Alaihir Rahmah)