Confirmation of the importance of Ḥadīth in Islam

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Note: We were unable to provide links to the English translations. The links, therefore, refer to the original Arabic sources. If the researcher is familiar with both English and Arabic, he/she will be able to compare the two languages and judge the credibility and accuracy of the translation for themselves.

 

Confirmation of the importance of Ḥadīth in Islam:
“It is known as being the most authentic book among Sunnis after the Book of Allāh (i.e., the Koran).”
Ibn Kathīr
“The [Islamic] nation is in unanimous agreement on the authenticity of these two books (Ṣaḥīḥ Al-Bukhārī and Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim) and that it is obligatory to practice the traditions contained in them.”
Imām Yaḥyā b. Sharaf An-Nawawī
“There isn’t under the canopy of the sky any book that is more authentic than Al-Bukhārī and Muslim, after the Koran.”

Islam is based on:
1) The Koran.
2) The Sunnah.

Sunnah of the Prophet is the second source of Islamic law.
But what is Sunnah?
Definition of Sunnah:
Sunnah in the Arabic language: manner and habit. The Koran says, “Certain [divine] precedents (sunan) have passed before you,” namely: paths. Sunnah is everything the Messenger of Allāh said or did. These linguistic meanings are consistent with the technical meaning: whatever the Prophet, peace be upon him, practiced became his path or manner of life, as well as the reports that were transmitted about him. All this was refined and purified from foreign matter by Ḥadīth scholars.
Sunnah is used by traditionists to mean the sayings of the Prophet, peace be upon him, his actions and silent approvals taqrīrāt.
For scholars of Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ʿulamāʾ al-ʾuṣūl, it is the second evidence of legal judgments after the Holy Koran …
They define it as follows: “All acts or statements coming from the Prophet, peace be upon him, that do not amount to miracles.” (i.e., which ordinary humans are capable of performing.)

Divisions of Sunnah:
The pure Sunnah is divided into several divisions:

1. Verbal (sunnah qawliyya):
Consists in traditions uttered by the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, as a result of which legal judgment was established. For example, the saying of the Prophet, peace be upon him: “The deeds are judged by the intentions,” among others holy ḥadīths uttered by the Messenger of Allāh, peace be upon him.
2. Actual (sunnah fiʿliyya):
It is the actions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, in matters of worship and otherwise, as a result of which legal judgment was established.
Such as: His performance, peace be upon him, of the five daily prayers in all their details.
3. Tacit (sunnah taqrīriyya); i.e., silent approvals or disapprovals:
It consists in all actions and words approved [or disapproved] by the Messenger of Allāh, peace be upon him.

The status of Sunnah
The status of Sunnah, once its authenticity is determined by means of the chain of narration (sanad); i.e., once we are certain that the Prophet, peace be upon him, uttered such words, is the same as that of the Koran in terms of authoritativeness. The authentic Sunnah of the Messenger of Allāh, peace be upon him, is, therefore, as binding as the Koran itself; it is obligatory to believe it and act on the judgments either directly or indirectly inferred from it. This is in keeping with the Koranic verse that says: “Allah has sent down to you the Book and wisdom.” [Surah An-Nisāʾ 4: 113], wisdom here meaning the Sunnah. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Let me not find any of you reclining on his couch, when he receives a command of mine, saying: ‘We do not know? We have followed what we found in Allāh’s book.’ I have indeed been given the Book along with [another] one similar to it.” [Narrated by Imāms Aḥmad, Tirmiḏī and Ibn Māja].
It is the second source of legislation, behavior and lifestyle for all Muslims, after the Koran. The consensus of all scholars of Sunni Islam is that the books Ṣaḥīḥ Al-Bukhārī and Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim (the two Ṣaḥīḥs) are the most important source of the Sunnah. As Nawawī stated, “The [Islamic] nation is in unanimous agreement on the authenticity of these two books (Ṣaḥīḥ Al-Bukhārī and Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim) and that it is obligatory to practice the traditions contained in them.”
Yaḥyā b. Sharaf An-Nawawī.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said, “There isn’t under the canopy of the sky any book that is more authentic than Al-Bukhārī and Muslim after the Koran.”
It is worth mentioning in this respect that quite a lot of the teachings of Islam are derived from the traditions contained in Ṣaḥīḥ Al-Bukhārī and Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim. There are some examples, but the most important one is that the five daily prayers in Islam were never mentioned in the Koran itself. Muslims, however, knew about them from the two Ṣaḥīḥs, together with the manner of performing them, the ablution, and the enactment of the call to prayer as law.

 

Degrees of Ḥadīth: Authentic, good, and weak. Ibn Ḥajar’s definition of the authentic ḥadīth: It is a tradition which enjoys the highest qualities of acceptance, or what is described as being on the basis of the most authentic chains of narration (asānīd).
In addition, Al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar showed in his commentary that there are also degrees of the authenticity other than the above.

He said: No doubt that the traditions narrated by Al-Bukhārī and Muslim are of the highest rank. These are followed by the traditions narrated by Al-Bukhārī only, and then by the traditions narrated by Muslim only. After that come the traditions narrated in Musnad Aḥmad, or in any other books. After studying the chain of narration (sanad) of such traditions, we also found them to be authentic.

Ibn Ḥajar Al-ʿAsqalānī, a medieval Shāfiʿī Sunni scholar of Islam, also known as shaykh al-islām and “Commander of the Faithful” (amīr al-muʾminīn) in matters of Ḥadīth. He authored some 50 works on Ḥadīth, history, biography, tafsīr, poetry, and Shāfiʿī jurisprudence, the most valued of which being his commentary of the Ṣaḥīh of Bukhārī, titled Fatḥ al-Bārī (in fifteen volumes).

Summary of Ibn Ḥajar’s view: Reliable traditions are those traditions contained in Ṣaḥīḥ Al-Bukhārī and Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, or in other sources, after studying their sanad and the establishment of their authenticity.
It is possible to ascertain the degree of authenticity of any given ḥadith through the Islamic website الدرر السنية – الموسوعة الحديثيةwww.dorar.net
After entering the website, you will find a space in which you can write any part of a ḥadīth. The search-engine will search for it and show you both its degree and sanad, and if it is authentic, good or poor.
Comments on the authentic traditions: Part I 159 a bold question
a bold question 160 comments on the authentic traditions: Part II

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