Hadith Notes

Articles, Translations, and Book Reviews of Classical Islamic Literature

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When Less is More: On the Chapter Headings and Organization of Ḥadīths in Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim

The Ṣaḥīḥs of Imām al-Bukhārī (d. 256 AH) and Imām Muslim (d. 261 AH) occupy a sacrosanct space in the hearts of Muslims and are justifiably considered the most reliable collections after the Qurʾān. While each of these two works possesses features that have persuaded scholars over the centuries to prefer one over the other, al-Bukhārī’s literary genius truly shines in his chapter headings...

Shaykh ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Kattānī, the Living Legend of Morocco

“I am from the partisans of Ḥadīth, and they are the best party. I hope to reach a hundred, having already passed the age of ninety.” – Abū Ṭāhir al-Silafī (d. 576 AH) The epithet ruḥla is an interesting designation coined for someone who is considered a destination for academic travel.  In the 4th century AH, al-Maḥbūbī (d. 346 AH), for instance, was deemed the sole destination for...

Prophetic Medicine Between Revelation and Traditional Knowledge

By Dr. Jamīl Farīd Translated by Muntasir Zaman [Translator’s preface: In today’s intellectually turbulent climate, many Muslims are increasingly finding it difficult to reconcile ḥadīths that conflict with modern sensibilities and are consequently dismissing them summarily. This crisis of faith is nothing new. As early as the second century AH, scholars like al-Shāfiʿī (d. 204 AH) and later al...

An Overview of Ten Manuscripts of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī

  With at least 400 scholarly works and 2000 extant manuscripts written over a millennium to its name, there is hardly a book in history that has received as much scholarly attention as Imām Muḥammad ibn Ismāʿil al-Bukhārī’s magnum opus, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī.[1] To acquaint readers with some of the most authoritative surviving manuscripts of the Ṣaḥīḥ, Markaz al-Sunnah wa al-Turāth al-Nabawī...

A Gem Among Stones: al-Ṣaghānī’s Manuscript of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī

Modern concerns surrounding the disappearance of al-Bukhārī’s exemplar stem from a failure to grasp the nuances of Ḥadīth transmission. Consequently, Alphonse Mingana (d. 1937 CE), for one, has erroneously criticized the authorship of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī.[1] In general, Ḥadīth scholars deemed oral transmission as the most authoritative method of establishing ḥadīths and were, therefore, not as...

A Timeless Tale of Erudition: al-Yūnīnī and his Proverbial Manuscript of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī

While mapping out his genealogy of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī (d. 852 AH) identifies nine routes of transmission from Muḥammad ibn Yūsuf al-Firabrī (d. 320 AH), the primary transmitter of the Ṣaḥīḥ from its author. These routes further multiply as the transmission spreads out in every successive generation.[1] The invention of the printing press has allowed for the production of...

On the Manuscripts of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī: Discrepancies and Disappearance of the Original Copy

On the Manuscripts of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī: Discrepancies and Disappearance of the Original Copy By ʿAbd al-Qādir Jalāl Translated by Muntasir Zaman Translator’s Preface Orientalist studies on Ḥadīth were part of a broader investigation into Islamic history. Their criticism on the reliability of Ḥadīth started as early as the nineteenth century; by 1848, Gustav Weil (d. 1889) had already criticized a...

A Study of Imām Muḥammad al-Shaybānī’s al-Ḥujjah ʿalā Ahl al-Madīnah

A Study of Imām Muḥammad al-Shaybānī’s al-Ḥujjah ʿalā Ahl al-Madīnah By Dr. Nājī Lamīn Translated by Muntasir Zaman [Translator’s note: the following excerpt explores the legal theory of Imām Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Shaybānī (d. 189 AH), a pioneer of the Ḥanafī school and leading acolyte of its eponym,[1] in light of his landmark polemic against the Medinese, al-Ḥujjah ʿalā Ahl al-Madīnah.[2]...

On the Statement “Acquire Knowledge from the Cradle to the Grave”

On the Statement “Acquire Knowledge from the Cradle to the Grave” By Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah [Translator’s note: The purpose of translating this short excerpt is not only to highlight the status of the report in question. Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ’s treatment of this report can be extended to other reports that may have a sound meaning but are not correctly transmitted from the Prophet...

A Historical Overview of Islāmic Legal Maxims

A Historical Overview of Islāmic Legal Maxims By Shaykh Muṣṭafā al-Zarqā Translated by Muntasir Zaman[1] Unlike conventional legal texts, Islamic legal maxims were not formulated at once. The conceptual underpinnings of these maxims and their definitions developed gradually when jurisprudence blossomed at the hands of leading jurists from the rank of derivative opinion-making (takhrīj) and rule...

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