Hadith Terminology


Module Information



Hadith Terminology


3 Hours
Class DescriptionThis course is a survey of the principles upon which the study of hadeeth rests. The historical milieu that surrounded the developments of this science are taken into account and the methodology of this science that gradually appeared is rendered against its historical environment along with an analysis of its content. The various classification schemes are discussed and how the many developments of the science, although possibly seen independent of each other, are interconnected accumulating finally into a comprehensive critical appreciation of Islamic sources.
Instructor NameSheikh Shafiq Flynn
Required TextBilal Philips, Usool al-Hadeeth. The Fundamentals of Hadeeth Studies


  • To enable students to increase their worship of Allah Almighty by understanding hadeeth
  • To enable the student to understand the origins of the Science of Usool al-Hadeeth.
  • To familiarize the student with the proofs for the authority Hadeeth and its relationship to Quran.
  • To acquaint the student with the historical influences in the development of Hadeeth criticism.
  • To give the student a clear framework for understanding the nature of the methods and the processes of the Muhadithun.
  • To familiarize students with the methodology for dealing with apparently contradictory evidence.
  • To acquaint the student with the present culmination of earlier initiatives through textual readings of the books of Hadeeth.

Topics Covered


  • linguistic and technical definitions of the terms
  • Hadeeth and Sunnah and the differences held by the scholars.
  • the relationship of Hadeeth to Quran and the various ways in which Hadeeth compliments Quran.
  • sources from which Hadeeth derives its authority and the implication this enjoys upon Muslims

Early recording of Hadeeth and the initial prohibition of the Prophet (SAW) of Hadeeth recording.

  • Evidences from the pre-Islamic environment indicating the availability of intellectual and technical resources enabling written recording.
  • attitude of the Companions towards the recording of Hadeeth
  • the decision of Umar ibn Khattab to refrain from its recording.
  • written records that existed during the prohibition


  • The political schism that inflicted Muslim unity
  • the development of sectarian authorities.
  • The contamination of Hadeeth
  • The role of the travelers of Hadeeth
  • The early seeds of ‘ilm al-Jarh wa al-Tadil.


  • forms of Tahammul and the significance of each form in relation to the next.
  • The focus of ‘Ilm al-Hadeeth al-Riwayah and the scope of this branch of the study of Hadeeth.
  • The importance of the isnaad and its significance in the study of Hadeeth.
  • Conditions pertaining to the acceptability of a narrator.
  • The various ways in which narrators are considered eligible according to different Muslim communities.
  • the conditions set by al-‘Adalah (justice) and al-Dobt (precision).


  • The science of the terminologies of Hadeeth ‘ilm al-Jarh wa Ta’dil.
  • how terminologies are developed
  • various schemes in organizing and classifying the many types of Hadeeth.
  • The definitions of several types of Hadeeth
  • a brief note on the strongest chains.
  • The early classification oh Hadeeth into Saheeh and Do’eef
  • The definition of Hasaan Hadeeth and its various provisions.
  • Tadlis : definition and types.
  • Definition and explanation of Shahid and Mutaabi’ Hadeeths
  • al-Musalsal and al-Mudarraj
  • controversies leveled against several aspects of Hadeeth
  • a close look into some of the factors that lead to misunderstanding.
  • story telling in Muslim history.
  • The classificatory schemes for the terms of the science of impugnment and validation (al-Jarh wa al-Ta’dil).
  • The classificatory schemes of several scholars specializing in the area
  • The legislative significance of Hadeeth and the systems of the Schools of Law that developed.
  • The various procedures of each of the four major schools are discussed
  • The process of verifying and accepting AAhad Hadeeths
  • The position of AAhad Hadeeths in regards to law and legislation along with the conditions set for its acceptance by the various schools of law.

Conflicting Hadeeths.

  • definition of terms
  • technical differences between related yet slightly different technical terms.
  • The difference between Mushkal and Mukhtalif Hadeeths.
  • Abrogation of Hadeeth, its definition and conditions.
  • The basis of preference in Hadeeth.
  • The hukm regarding this initiative from among the scholars is also discussed.

The science of Takhrij al-Hadeeth.

  • the process of searching for Hadeeth according to the tools made available.
  • key works in this area and their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Imam al-Bukhari his life and times. A closer look at the circumstances surrounding his composition of his Saheeh and some of the conditions that cause his work to be regarded as the most authentic book after Quran.
  • An analysis of a number of the major works in Hadeeth like the Saheeh of Imam Muslim and the differences that set his work apart from Imam al-Bukhari’s.
  • The authors of the Sunnan are also discussed with particular reference to their methods and the significant differences each method entails

Female Muhadithat.

  • explication of the Quranic attitude towards women
  • the active role they played in the early society of believers.
  • female scholars and famous narrators of Hadeeth
  • the active role they played in the intellectual and social circles of the Muslim community.

A brief introduction to the scholar Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani

  • the environment he experienced.
  • A textual reading of his explanation of Saheeh al-Bukhari that introduces the brilliance of the scholar and the various Hadeeth sciences in action as the meaning of Hadeeths are made clearer and more intelligible
  • Another textual reading of later Hadeeth works from the 40 Nawawi Hadeeths.
  • Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali’s work is discussed and another example of how the earlier sciences of Hadeeth have matured and remain significant in its constituting a comprehensive critical approach to Hadeeth.