The Prophet’s Tradition (Sunnah)

Dr Salah Zaimeche, BMHC

The Seljuk vizier Nizam Al-Mulk (d. 1092) said:

“Indeed I know that I am not worthy of this, but I wish to tie myself to the train of those who transmit the hadiths of God’s Messenger, may the peace and blessings of God be upon him.” 1

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) exemplified the principles laid down in the Qur’an, and true Muslims strive to follow his example. His biography has been recorded in minute detail and is easily accessible for study. There is a complete, authentically narrated documentation of his sayings and practices, which is the Sunnah of the Prophet, which is the second source of Islamic legislation. It is complementary to the Qur’an and supplements it with additional details and clarification of meanings. Scholars have carefully and painstakingly scrutinised the reliability of the transmitters of these traditions, and only those whose narrators are found to be completely reliable and sound are accepted. 2

Although Islam’s doctrine of Prophethood, and especially its understanding of Muhammad’s nature is far different from the incarnationalism of Christianity, Denny remarks, there nevertheless is a sense that Muhammad continues to inspire and lead through his Sunnah. 3 Asked by Ali Ibn Abu Talib, concerning his Sunnah, the Prophet replied:

‘Wisdom is my capital, reason the force of my religion, love my foundation, longing my vehicle, the remembrance of God my constant pleasure, trust my treasure, mourning my companion, knowledge my arm, patience my robe, contentment my booty, poverty my pride, asceticism my profession, conviction my strength, truthfulness my intercessor, obedience my argument, holy war my ethics, prayer my supreme pleasure.’ 4

The Sunnah, in the collective sense of all that Muhammad left by way of teaching and example of the Prophet, then, is preserved and communicated in a major way by means of hadiths. 5 In Islamic terminology, the term hadith refers to reports of statements or actions of Muhammad, or of his tacit approval or criticism of something said or done in his presence. 6 The first people to hear hadiths were the Companions who preserved, them and then passed them on. 7 Then the generation following them received them, thus conveying them to those after them and so on. So a Companion would say, “I heard the Prophet say such and such.” The Follower would then say, “I heard a companion say, ‘I heard the Prophet.’” The one after him would then say, “I heard someone say, ‘I heard a Companion say, ‘I heard the Prophet…” and so on. 8 These hadiths were remembered and transmitted by many different people in a wide variety of contexts and regions.

Naturally, I. R. And L. Al-Faruqi remark, a source as authoritative as the Sunnah deserved all the attention Muslims could give to it. Like the Qur’an, the Sunnah covers almost every subject, and its coverage of angles from the most abstract and general to the most concrete and particular. 9 Naturally, the Muslims looked to it to answer their own enquiries concerning religion, morality, trade, contracts, crimes the state, and so on. The same problems they faced, and the more varied these problems were, the more they looked for the Sunnah for the answer or for directions leading to answers. 10

The calligraphy Prophet Muhammed (PBUH)

The calligraphy Prophet Muhammed (PBUH)

Beginning in the 8th century, Muslim scholars began to collect and compare accounts of the words and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad as a supplementary basis for guidance, relying on the Qur’anic assurance that ‘You had a beautiful model in the Messenger of God.’ 11 In the two hundred years since the beginning of the Islamic tradition, Muslims such as Al-Bukhari (b .810), one of, if not the, leading hadith collectors, had turned back again and again to the authoritative legacy of the Prophet’s teachings as it radiated outwards through the transmission and interpretation of pious members of the community. 12 The collecting of such accounts, the hadiths, took many decades and resulted in an almost immeasurable quantity of material, much of which many Muslims suspected to be spurious. As regards validity or authenticity, hadith scholars have classified the hadith into four main categories: Sahih or authentic; Hasan or good, likely to be authentic; Daif: weak, or likely to be unauthentic; and Mawdu’ or forged, and hence not a hadith. Laws derived from the first two are biding to all Muslims. 13

Scholars developed methods of sifting through the hadiths and evaluating them, weeding out those that were either questionable or spurious, and keeping authentic ones in systematically arranged collections. 14 The two major aspects of a hadith are the text of the report (the matn), which contains the actual narrative, i.e the substance, and the chain of narrators (the isnad), which documents the route by which the report has been transmitted. 15 The isnad consists of a chronological list of the narrators, each mentioning the one from whom they heard the hadith, until mentioning the originator of the matn along with the matn itself. 16

The qualities that justify classifying a hadith in the Sahih category, the highest in authenticity, are the following:

  1. Musnad, meaning that it is reported by an unbroken chain of qualified transmitters going back to the Prophet, every member of which had heard it personally from the next link of the chain (hearing being the most reliable form of transmission).
  2. Mutawatir: or universally related by at least four or sometimes as many as 310 different reporters in exactly the same form of meaning without contradiction by any.
  3. Absolutely free of any defect arising out of historical context, or in relation to other hadith, and satisfying every demand of rationality, coherence, correspondence with historical fact, and conformance to acceptable language and style.
  4. All links in the chain of reporters fulfil all requisites and thus constitute an unchallengeable chain, whose members cannot rationally be assumed to have agreed o falsehood, forgery or innocent mistake.

The hadiths qualifying for the second category, hasan, fulfil the same requirements as the sahih, but one, namely precision. Some reports of it showed imprecision in reportage. 17

The rigour of the process is highlighted by Al-Bukhari’s work. He travelled very widely the length and breadth of the Muslim world in pursuit of the hadiths. He is reported to have collected in all some 600,000. But many of them were duplicates, and many more were found by him to be weak or questionable, and so he finally selected 9,082 hadiths with differing isnads (chain of reporters). The sifting was so rigorous that when repetitions of the matn are counted, the number comes to only 2,602. 18

The process of selection took over two centuries. But when it was completed, the Muslims had a solid second source of authoritative teaching to assist them in all aspects of their individual and corporate religious, social, civil, and legal life. 19

There was another dimension to the hadith collection. As Brown remarks, Al-Bukhari, like generations of dedicated and pious Muslims before him, devoted his life to answering the question that lies at the heart of the Islamic religious tradition: How does one live according to God’s Will as revealed in the Qur’an and taught by His Prophet? 20

Major Collections of Hadith

  • Malik Ibn Anas
    The first substantial and carefully sifted collection of hadith was made by Malik Ibn Anas. He was born the son of Anas Ibn Malik (not the Companion) in Medina circa 711. His family was originally from the Yemen, but his great grandfather Abu ‘Amir relocated the family to Medina after converting to Islam in the second year after hijra (623). According to his work Al-Muwatta’ (The Approved) he was tall, heavyset, imposing of stature, very fair, with white hair and beard, with a huge beard and blue eyes. 21 He lived in Umayyad times (661-750) and worked mostly in Medina. His name is given to the school of jurisprudence that he founded, the Maliki school. As a descendant of a companion he was in a good position to preserve authentic materials from Muhammad’s time. 22 His greatest work is the Muwatta’, which contains traditions of the Prophet, legal decisions of the early Muslim jurists, and reports of the companions. This work is one of the respected Hadith collections and is still essential to scholarship and law. 23 Imam Malik’s chain of narrators was considered the most authentic and was called Silsilat Ul-Dahab or ‘The Golden Chain of Narrators’ by notable hadith scholars including Imam Bukhari. 24 The ‘Golden Chain’ of narration (i.e., that considered by the scholars of Hadith to be the most authentic) consists of Malik, who narrated from Nafi’, who narrated from Ibn Umar, who narrated from Muhammad. 25 Imam Malik was a great scholar whose intellectual gifts were exceeded only by his legendary piety. 26 He strongly prohibited theological rhetoric and philosophical speech, frequently referred to as kalam. Malik believed that kalam was rooted in heretical doctrines taken up and followed by controversial theologians such as Jahm Bin Safwan. He was also independent of the authorities. It is reported that when the Abbasid Caliph, Harun Al-Rashid (763-809), visited Medina to pay his respects at the tomb of the Prophet, he greeted Malik and asked him to come to his residence every day to teach his two sons. Malik replied: ‘O Caliph, science is of a dignified nature, and instead of going to any person, requires that all should come to it.’ 27 Harun al-Rashid was taken aback by this reply, still apologized and sent his sons to Malik’s class, where they sat among commoners to receive instruction. Toward the end of his life, Malik withdrew into a life of spiritual reflection and died in 795 C.E. at the advanced age of eighty-five. 28
  • Ahmad Ibn Hanbal
    Another leading collector of Hadith was the Baghdad juris consult Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, who was active in the generation after Malik. His father was an officer in the Abbasid army in Khorasan and later settled with his family in Baghdad, where Ahmad was born in 780 CE. 29 Ibn Hanbal studied extensively in Baghdad, and later traveled to further his education. He started learning jurisprudence (Fiqh) under the celebrated Hanafi judge, Abu Yusuf, the renowned student and companion of Imam Abu Hanifah. After finishing his studies with Abu Yusuf, Ibn Hanbal began traveling through Iraq, Syria, and Arabia to collect hadiths. The historian Ibn Al-Jawzi (b.1114) states that Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal had 414 Hadith masters whom he narrated from. With this knowledge, Ahmad is said to have memorised a million hadiths, which he used to develop another law school, which bears his name (Hanbali), which is now most dominant in Saudi Arabia, Qatar as well as the United Arab Emirates. 30 Ibn Hanbal compiled a collection of Hadith called the Musnad, so-called because it is arranged according to the isnads of specific companions. It is estimated that the Musnad contains upwards of forty thousand hadiths. (They have not yet been counted). 31 
In addition to his scholastic enterprises, Ibn Hanbal was a soldier on the Islamic frontiers (Ribat) and made Hajj five times in his life, twice on foot. 32 Ibn Hanbal spent long periods of time in prison and was beaten for his rejection of the theological views of the Mu’tazilites, who were favoured at court under the Abbasid Caliph Al-Ma’mun (d.833), as the empire’s official school. 33 Ibn Hanbal was famously called before the Inquisition or Mihna of the Caliph. Al-Ma’mun wanted to assert the religious authority of the Caliph by pressuring scholars to adopt the Mu’tazila view that the Qur’an was created rather than uncreated. Ibn Hanbal was among the scholars to resist the Caliph’s interference and the Mu’tazila doctrine of a created Qur’an. 34 Due to his refusal to accept Mu’tazilite authority, Ibn Hanbal was imprisoned in Baghdad throughout the reign of Al-Ma’mun. During the rule of al-Ma’mun’s successor, Al-Mu’tasim, Ibn Hanbal was flogged to unconsciousness. After Al-Mu’tasim’s death, Al-Wathiq became caliph and continued his predecessors policies of Mu’tazilite enforcement and in this pursuit, he banished Ibn Hanbal from Baghdad. It was only after Al-Wathiq’s death and the ascent of his brother Al-Mutawakkil, who was much friendlier to the Sunni thought, that Ibn Hanbal was welcomed back to Baghdad. 35 Ibn Hanbal died in 855 at the age of seventy-five, and reportedly nearly a million people attended his funeral. Before he died, his views were exonerated, and he even was granted a generous gift of money by the caliph, which he refused. 36
  • Imam al-Bukhari
    Al-Bukhari was born on 21 July 810 in Bukhara. His family were wealthy landowners, and his great-grandfather had converted to Islam from Zoroastrianism. 37 He began to learn by heart Tradition at the age of ten, learning from local Bukharan experts, and seems to have been a precocious boy, for he is credited to have been able at an early age to correct his teachers. 38 In his late teens he began writing books on the sayings of the Companions and the Successors. 39 His pilgrimage to Makkah when he was sixteen was the beginning of a long career of travelling that connected him to the most renowned hadith scholars of his day. In Khurasan he visited Balkh, Merv and Naysabur, where he studied with Ishaq b. Rahawayh (d. 238/ 853). In western Iran he stayed in Rayy and made numerous trips to Baghdad, where he studied with Ibn Hanbal and Yahya b. Ma’in. 40 In Basra he heard from ‘Ali b. Al-Madini, who would become one of his main teachers. He also studied in Wasit, Kufa and Medina. In Makkah he heard from ‘Abdallah b. al-Zubayr Al-Humaydi (d. 219/834), and also went to Egypt and cities like ‘Asqalan and Hims in greater Syria. There is some debate on whether he visited the cities of upper Mesopotamia (Al-Jazira), 41 and it is unclear whether he reached Damascus. 42 He claimed to have heard tradition from over 1000 shaykhs. 43 He then returned to Bukhara where he died on 31 August 870.

    Al-Bukhari’s early works dealt with the sayings of the Companions and the Successors. These writings later on developed into a much more ambitious project. He began his Al-Tarikh Al-Kabir (The Great History) while a young man in Medina. 44 The extant work is a massive biographical dictionary of over 12,300 entries. 45 Al-Bukhari does not provide full names nor evaluations of the persons in question, but focuses instead on locating each subject within the vast network of hadith transmission 46 Al-Bukhari produced another smaller dictionary of hadith transmitters, one large book of weak transmitters [Kitab Al-Du’afa’ Al-Kabir,) (now lost) as well as a smaller book on weak narrators. 47 In addition, he wrote several smaller topical works.

    His major collection of tradition is titled Al-Djamii Al-Sahih, which was composed by 225H (847 CE) since he states that he spent sixteen years composing it and also that he showed it to Yahya Ibn Ma’in who died in 855. 48 Al-Bukhari’s Sahih, actually titled Al-Jami’ al-musnad al-sahih al-mukhtasar min umur Rasul Allah wa sunanihi wa ayyamihi (The Abridged Authentic Compilation of the Affairs of the Messenger of God, his Sunna and Times), 49 was, Brown says, a mammoth expression of his personal method of hadith criticism and legal vision. 50 It covers the full range of legal and ritual topics, but also includes treatments of many other issues such as the implication of technical terms in hadith transmission and the authority of reports transmitted by only a few chains of transmission in law. It is said that he selected his tradition from a mass of 600,000 and that he did not insert one tradition in the book without first washing and praying two raka’as. 51 The Sahih is divided into 97 books with 3450 chapters, including a total of 2760 hadiths, and contains only tradition of the highest authority. 52 The sub-chapter titles indicate the legal implication or ruling the reader should derive from the subsequent hadiths, and often include a short comment from the author. Al-Bukhari often repeats a Prophetic tradition, but through different narrations and in separate chapters. 53 To decide the reliability of a given tradition (hadith), the chain of transmission and the text were examined separately. In the process more attention was given to the individual transmitters and quite often what would seem reliable text was rejected because of a faulty chain of transmitters. 54 A perfect chain of transmission went back in uninterrupted succession to the Prophet, each person, or link, in the chain actually heard the text from the person before him. 55 Many transmitters in each generation were desirable. Great emphasis was also placed on the personality of a particular transmitter, most particularly his reputation for integrity and piety as well as his capacity for transmitting accurately. 56

  • Muslim
    The collector of the Sahih Muslim, Muslim Ibn Al-Hajjaj, was born in 204 AH (817/18 CE) in Nishapur and died in 261 AH (874/75 CE) in the city of his birth. He first learned hadith from Ishaq b. Rahawayh and Yahya b. Yahya Al-Tamimli (d. 224—6/839-41) in his hometown before leaving for a pilgrimage to Makkah in 220/835. 57 It was in Nishapur where he also became acquainted with Al-Bukhari. He traveled widely to gather his collection of hadiths, in the Arabian Peninsula, but also Iraq, Syria and Egypt.

    Muslim left many more works than his elder contemporary, Al-Bukhari. His most famous, of course, was his Sahih, originally titled Al-Musnad Al-Sahih. Muslim also completed two larger collections, a musannaf and a musnad, which represent the sum total of the hadith corpus from which he selected his Sahih. 58 He also produced several biographical dictionaries. The largest one, his Tabaqat, simply provides the names of the hadith transmitters in the generations after the Prophet. 59 Like Al-Bukhari and many other hadith masters of his age, Muslim produced a book of criticised narrations and a similar work but designed for a more general audience, the Kitab Al-Tamyiz. 60 This latter work has survived in part, and along with Muslim’s involved introduction to his Sahih, provides invaluable information about its author and his leanings. 61

    In regard to the Sahih, out of 300,000 hadith which Muslim evaluated, approximately 4,000 were selected to be included into his collection, which was based on stringent acceptance criteria. Each report in his collection was checked and the veracity of the chain of reporters was painstakingly established. In his introduction, Muslim divides hadiths and their transmitters into three groups, stating that he will rely on two of them in his Sahih. 62The first consists of the well-established hadiths whose transmitters do not lapse into the ‘excessive confusion’ into which many muhaddith’s stumble. 63 Having exhausted this group, he used the reports of transmitters who are not as masterful as the first group but nonetheless ‘are characterized by pious behaviour, honesty and the pursuit of knowledge.’ 64 He did not take reports from the third group, which consists of those who either forge hadiths or whose material differs beyond reconciliation with that of superior scholars. 65

    Amin Ahsan Islahi, the noted Islamic scholar, has summarised some unique features of Sahih Muslim:

    ‘Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj recorded only such narratives as were reported by two reliable successors from two Companions of Muhammad which subsequently travelled through two independent unbroken isnads consisting of sound narrators.’ 66

    Scientific arrangement of themes and chapters. The author, for example, selects a proper place for the narrative and, next to it, puts all its versions.

    Muslim informs us whose wordings among the narrators he has used. For example he says: haddathanā fulān wa fulān wallafz lifulān (A and B has narrated this hadīth to us and the wording used here is by A). Similarly he mentions whether, in a particular hadith, the narrators have differed over the wordings even over a single letter of zero semantic significance. He also informs the readers if narrators have differed over a specific quality, surname, relation or any other fact about a narrator in the chain.’ 67

Among the many hadith collections produced in the eighth and ninth centuries, Sunni Muslims came to accept two as being the best, the “Sound” (Sahih) collections of Bukhari and Muslim, and four more — the Traditions (Sunan) of Ibn Maja (d. 886), Abu Dawud (d. 889), Tirmidhi (d. 892), and Nasa’i (d. 915), — as also trustworthy. The Transmissions (Musnad) of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and the Muwatta’ of Malik ibn Anas are cited when appropriate. 68

If the multiple narrations of the same texts are counted as a single text, the number of hadiths each author has recorded roughly as follows:

  • Bukhari (as in Zabidi’s Mukhtasar of Bukhari’s book): 2134.
  • Muslim (as in Mundhiri’s Mukhtasar of Muslim’s book): 2200.
  • Tirmidhi: 4000.
  • Abu Dawud: 4000.
  • Nasa’i: 4800.
  • Ibn Majah: 4300.

There is considerable overlap amongst the six authors so that Ibn al-Athir’s Jami’ Al-Usul, which collects hadiths texts of all six books deleting repeated texts, has about 9500 hadiths. 69

To the people of the Sunnah, Ahl Al-Hadith, in the decades after their deaths al-Bukhari and Muslim were simply two accomplished scholars among many. 70 They studied at the feet of titans and were survived by cohorts who often outshone them in the eyes of fourth/tenth-century hadith authorities. 71 Scholars have generally devoted much less attention to Muslim’s legal positions, perhaps because his Sahih is more simply a hadith book than Al-Bukhari’s legally charged work. 72 Muslim’s Sahih is, however, the second most authentic hadith collection, after Sahih Al-Bukhari. With Al-Bukhari and Muslim, the science of Hadith reached its maturity, and the student of their works learns how perceptive, thorough, and critical historical and textual studies had become by the third century after the Prophet. 73 By the time of Nizam Al-Mulk, the 11th century founder of the madrasa, scholars from most of the disputing legal and theological schools that would comprise the Sunni fold had together deemed the Sahihayn, the two ‘Authentic’ hadith collections of Al-Bukhari and his student Muslim b. Al-Hajjaj, authoritative representations of the Prophet’s legacy.

‘By convening this reading, Nizam Al-Mulk was inculcating Al-Bukhari’s book as a touchstone of Sunni identity in the young minds of the next generation,’ says Brown. 74

Of significance, Denny insists, is the part played by personal piety and integrity in pursuing the study and application of sacred texts like the Hadith and the Qur’an but also the supporting sources such as the biographies that examine the lives and habits of those who are mentioned in the isnads. 75 In other words, Muslim scholarship ‘is not a disinterested affair, as modern scholarship claims to be; it was and continues to be closely related to the central concerns of faith and practice within the umma.’ 76

There is something ‘heroic’ in the lives of many of the pioneering Muslim scholars, Denny insists. Looking back through layers of tradition and legend, it may appear that individuals like Bukhari, Muslim, and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal simply rose easily to the top as great leaders and scholars. 77 Not so easily, though. In the early third/ninth century, the Abbasid Caliph Al- Ma’mun (d. 218/833) instituted a purge of these traditionalist beliefs from the empire’s corps of judges. 78 His Inquisition (mihna) was directed at those people who claimed to be the upholders of the Prophet’s Sunnah and defenders of the community’s unified identity. 79 The gruelling torture, imprisonment or humiliation of prominent and widely respected hadith scholars such as Ahmad b. Hanbal, Yahya b. Ma’in and ‘Ali b. Al-Madini in the Baghdad Mihna left an enduring and bitter impression on the hadith scholar community. 80

Bukhari, for his part. was quite poor and sometimes had to beg for food as he travelled alone across the central Islamic lands in search of Hadiths. 81 Nor was he a sedentary scholar, aloof from the practical and worldly issues of his day. He was a fine marksman with the bow and spent time regularly in that martial art so as to be ready for jihad at a moment’s notice. Gentle and moderate in his technical criticisms of former as well as contemporary lesser lights in the science of Hadith, Bukhari’s meaning was nevertheless clear. 82 But his manner of demonstrating the correct way in the science was by example much more than by sharp reproof and rejection. Once while visiting Baghdad, a group of local Hadith experts gathered to examine Bukhari’s knowledge of their subject. Ten of them each recited ten hadiths, but each (without Bukhari’s knowledge) mixed up the isnads and the matns. As the purposely bogus hadiths were recited, Bukhari in every instance said: ‘Not known to me.’ 83 Most of those in attendance thought Bukhari to be a very poor scholar, for the matns were familiar to everyone. But the few who were in on the test recognised the visitor’s sharpness. After the last forged hadith had been recited, Bukhari then proceeded to correct the whole list, matching isnad with matn and explaining their fine points. ‘You see, without the proper isnad, the matn is worthless.’ 84

Reading List

  • M. A. S. Abdel Haleem: The Qur’an, a New Translation; Oxford University Press; 2004-5.
  • Muhammad Mustafa Azami: Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature (Indianapolis: American Trust Publications, 1977).
  • J. Brown: The Canonization of Al-Bukhari and Muslim; Brill, Leyden; 2007.
  • J. Davenport: An Apology for Mohammed and the Koran; J. Davy; London; 1869.
  • F. M. Denny: Introduction to Islam; Macmillan; New York; 1985.
  • J. W. Draper: A History of the Intellectual Development of Europe; Vol I; Revised edition; George Bell and Sons, London, 1875.
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  • W. Durant: The Age of Faith, Simon and Shuster, New York; 6th printing; 1950.
  • L. Esposito: Islam the Straight Path; Oxford University Press; 1998.
  • I.R. al-Faruqi and L. L al-Faruqi: The Cultural Atlas of Islam; Mc Millan Publishing Company New York, 1986.
  • F. Gabrieli: Muhammad and the Conquests of Islam; World University Library, London; 1968.
  • R. Garaudy: Comment l’Homme devint Humain; Editions J.A; 1978.
  • E. Gibbon: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; vol 5; ed.W. Smith; London, 1858.
  • J.B. Glubb: The Life and Times of Muhammad; Hodder and Stoughton, London; 1970.
  • A.H. Haykal: The Life of Muhammad; tr. From Arabic by I.A. Al-Faruqi; The Islamic Book Trust, Selangor, Malaysia; 2008.
  • M. Heinen: Religion and Science in Islam, in Islam: Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine in Non Western Cultures; Editor: H. Selin; Kluwer Academic Publishers. London, 1997. pp 861-4.
  • Ibn Hisham; Annotated recension of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat rasul Allah (The Life of the Prophet); Wustenfeld.
  • Ibn Hisham: Sirat Ibn Hisham: Biography of the Prophet as abridged by Abdus Salam M. Harun; Al-Falah Foundation; Cairo; 2000.
  • Mohammed Ibn Ishaq (151/769) and Mohammed Ibn Hisham (218/834): Sirat al-Nabiy Salat Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam; ed by M.M. Abd Al-Hamid; Cairo; 1963; vol 1.
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  • Hisham Ibn al-Kalbi: The Book of Idols; tr. from Arabic by N.A. Faris; Princeton University Press; 1952.
  • K.M. Khaalid; A.Hamid Eliva: Men and Women Around the Messenger; tr into English by M. M. Gemeiah et al; dar al-Manarah; Al-Mansurah; Egypt; 2003.
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  • M. Lings: Muhammad, His Life Based on the Earliest Sources; Islamic Texts Society; George Allen and Unwin; 1983.
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  • M. Pickthall: Introduction to The Meaning of the Glorious Qur’an; Taha; London; first printing 1930.
  • I.M. Ra’ana: Economic System Under Umar the Great, S.M. Ashraf; Lahore; 1970.
  • H.U. Rahman: A Chronology of Islamic History: 570-1000 CE; Mansell Publishing Limited; London; 1989.
  • J. Robson: Al-Bukhari: Encyclopaedia of Islam; New Series; Vol 1; pp. 1296-7.
  • B. Rogerson: The Heirs of the Prophet Muhammad; Little Brown; London; 2006.
  • A.M. As-Sallabi: Umar Ibn al-Khattab; His Life and Times; Tr. into English from Arabic edition by N.Al-Khattab; International Islamic Publishing House; Riyadh, 2007.
  • A. Salahi: Muhammad, Man and Prophet, The Islamic Foundation, Leicester, 2006.
  • Sayid Sulayman Nadwi: Muhammad the Ideal Prophet; tr. M. Ahmad; International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations; 2006.
  • S.P. Scott: History of the Moorish Empire; in 3 vols; The John Lippincott Company; Philadelphia; 1904.
  • R. B. Smith: Mohammed and Mohammedanism; London; Smith Elder; 1876 ed.
  • S. Spectorsky: Al-Bukhari; Dictionary of the Middle Ages; vol 2; pp. 397-9.
  • Jalal Al-Din al-Suyuti: The History of the Khalifas Who Took the Right Way; Taha; London; 1998.
  • Al-Tabari: Tarikh al-Rusul wal Muluk; Dar al-Ma’arif; 4th ed.
  • Joseph Van Ess: Islamic Perspectives: In H. Kung et al: Christianity and the World Religions; Doubleday; London; 1986.
  • Washington Irving: Mahomet and his Successors; New York and London, 1970.


  1. J. Brown: The Canonization of Al-Bukhari and Muslim; Brill, Leyden; 2007; preface.
  2. S. Lucas: Constructive Critics, Hadith Literature, and the Articulation of Sunni Islam. Brill Academic Publishers; 2004.
    Recep Senturk: Narrative Social Structure: Anatomy of the Hadith Transmission Network, 610-1505 (Stanford, Stanford UP, 2006).
  3. F.M. Denny: Introduction to Islam; op cit; p. 159.
  4. A.H. Haykal: The Life of Muhammad; op cit; p.
  5. F.M. Denny: Introduction to Islam; op cit; p. 159.
  6. See T.W. Juynboll: Hadith,” Encyclopedia of Islam. Vol 2; 1st series; Brill; Leyden;1927 p. 189 ff.
  7. F.M. Denny: Introduction to Islam; op cit; p. 160.
  8. Ilm al-Rijal wa Ahimiyatih, by Mualami, pg. 16, Dar al-Rayah.
  9. Al-Faruqi: The Cultural Atlas; op cit; p: 252.
  10. Ibid.
  11. R.C. Foltz: Animals in Islamic Tradition and Muslim Cultures; Oneworld, Oxford; 2006, p. 18.
  12. J. Brown: The Canonization of Al-Bukhari and Muslim; op cit; p. 48.
  13. Al-Faruqi: The Cultural Atlas; op cit; p: 261.
  14. F.M. Denny: Introduction to Islam; op cit; p. 159.
  15. T.W Juynboll: “Hadith,” Encyclopedia of Islam, vol 2; 1st series; Brill; Leyden; 1927; p. 190.
  16. T.W Juynboll: hadith; op cit; p. 191 ff. see also J. Robson: Hadith: in Encyclopaedia of Islam; vol 3; new ed; Brill; Leden; 1971; pp. 25 ff.
  17. I.R and LL. Al-Faruqi: The Cultural Atlas; op cit; p: 262.
  18. M.M. Azami, Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature (Indianapolis: American Trust Publications, 1977), p. 89.
  19. F.M. Denny: Introduction to Islam; op cit; p. 159.
  20. J. Brown: The Canonization of Al-Bukhari and Muslim; op cit; p. 48.
  21. “Malik ibn Anas ibn Malik ibn `Amr, al-Imam, Abu `Abd Allah al-Humyari al-Asbahi al-Madani”.
  22. F.M. Denny: Introduction to Islam; op cit; p. 164.
  23. Ibid.
  24. Imaam Maalik ibn Anas, by Hassan Ahmad, Al Jumuah’ Magazine,’ Volume 11 – Issue 9. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  25. Ibid.
  26. F.M. Denny: Introduction to Islam; op cit; p. 164.
  27. T.P. Hughes: A Dictionary of Islam; London, W.H. Allen; 1935; p. 312.
  28. F.M. Denny: Introduction to Islam; Ibid; p. 164.
  29. Roy Jackson: Fifty Key Figures in Islam, Taylor & Francis, 2006. p 44.
  30. H.A.R. Gibb et al., ed: Aḥmad B. Ḥanbal. Encyclopaedia of Islam. A-B. 1 (New ed.). Brill Academic Publishers. 1986; p. 272.
  31. M.M. Azami, Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature; Indianapolis: American Trust Publications, 1977, p. 86.
  32. H.A.R. Gibb et al., ed. Aḥmad B. Ḥanbal; op cit; p. 272.
  33. F.M. Denny: Introduction to Islam; op cit; p. 155.
  34. Brill, E.J., ed. (1965-1986). The Encyclopedia of Islam, vol. 7. pp. 3.
  35. C. Melchert: Ahmad ibn Hanbal; Makers of the Muslim World, Oneworld, 2006.
  36. F.M. Denny: Introduction to Islam; op cit; p. 165.
  37. J. Brown: The Canonization of Al-Bukhari and Muslim; op cit; p. 65.
  38. J. Robson: Al-Bukhari: Encyclopaedia of Islam; New Series; Vol 1; pp. 1296-7; p. 1296:
  39. J. Brown: The Canonization of Al-Bukhari and Muslim; op cit; p. 66.
  40. Ibid.
  41. Al-Subki cites his teacher al-Mizzi’s rejection of al-Hakim’s claim that al-Bukhari had entered the Jazira and heard from people like Isma’ll b. ‘Abdallah b. Zurara al- Raqqi; Taj al-Din ‘Abd al-Wahhab b. ‘All al-Subki, Tabaqat al-shafi’ijya al-kubra, ed. Mahmud Muhammad al-Tanahi and ‘Abd al-Fattah Muhammad al-Halw, 10 vols. ([Cairo]: ‘Isa al-Babi al-Halabi, 1383-96/1964-76), 2:214.’
  42. Ibn ‘Asakir lists al-Bukhari in his history of Damascus. For more on al-Bukhari’s teachers, see Fuat Sezgin, Buhdri’nin Kaynaklan (Istanbul: Ibrahim Horoz Basimevi, 1956); A.J. Arberry: The Teachers of Al-Bukhari,” Islamic Quarterly 11 (1967): 34—49.
  43. J. Robson: Al-Bukhari: op cit; pp. 1296-7.1296:
  44. J. Brown: The Canonization of Al-Bukhari and Muslim; op cit; p. 68.
  45. C. Melchert: Bukhari and. Early Hadith Criticism, in Journal of the American Oriental Society, 121, no. 1 (2001): 8.
  46. J. Brown: The Canonization of Al-Bukhari and Muslim; op cit; p. 68.
  47. Al-Bukhari’s Tarikh al-awsat and his Kitab al-du’afa’ al-saghir have both been published in several editions. Al-Dhahabi notes his Kitab al-du’afa’ al-kabir, now lost; al-Dhahabi, Mizan al-i’tidal, 2:570, 598; 3:31 1.
  48. Hady al-Sari, introduction to Fath al-Bari, p. 489, Lahore: Dar Nashr al-Kutub al-Islamiya, 1981/1401); see also p. 8.
  49. Abu Nasr Ahmad al-Kalabadhi:,Rijal Sahih al-Bukhari ed. ‘Abdallah al-Laythi, 2 vols. (Beirut: Dar al-Ma’rifa, 1407/1987), 1:23. For a discussion of the tide of the Sahih, see ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda, Tahqiq ismay al-Sahihayn wa ism Jami’ al-Tirmidhi (Aleppo: Maktab al-Matbu’at al-Islamiyya, 1414/1993), 9-12.
  50. J. Brown: The Canonization of Al-Bukhari and Muslim; op cit; p. 69.
  51. J. Robson: Al-Bukhari: Encyclopaedia of Islam; op cit; p. 1296.
  52. Ibid.
  53. J. Brown: The Canonization of Al-Bukhari and Muslim; op cit; p. 69.
  54. S. Spectorsky: Al-Bukhari; Dictionary of the Middle Ages; vol 2; pp. 397-9; at p. 398.
  55. Ibid.
  56. Ibid.
  57. J. Brown: The Canonization of Al-Bukhari and Muslim; op cit; p. 81.
  58. Ibid.
  59. Ibid; p. 82.
  60. Ibid.
  61. Ibid.
  62. Ibid; p. 83.
  63. Ibid.
  64. Ibid.
  65. Ibid.
  66. Takmilat Fath al-Mulhim by Muhammad Taqi Usmani.
  67. J. Brown: Canonisation of Bukhari and Muslim; op cit.
  68. R.C. Foltz: Animals in Islamic Tradition and Muslim Cultures; Oneworld, Oxford; 2006, p. 18.
  69. Ibid.
  70. J. Brown: The Canonization of Al-Bukhari and Muslim; op cit; p. 86.
  71. Ibid.
  72. Ibid; p. 84.
  73. F.M. Denny: Introduction to Islam; op cit; p. 165.
  74. J. Brown: The Canonization of Al-Bukhari and Muslim; op cit; p. 4.
  75. F.M. Denny: Introduction to Islam; op cit; p. 165.
  76. Ibid.
  77. Ibid.
  78. J. Brown: The Canonization of Al-Bukhari and Muslim; op cit; p. 76.
  79. Madelung, “The Origins of the Controversy Concerning the Creation of the Koran,” 516; Hinds, “Mihna”; C. Melchert, “The Adversaries of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal,” 238-9. For a critique of current scholarship on the mihna, see C. Lucas, Constructive Critics, 192-202.
  80. J. Brown: The Canonization of Al-Bukhari and Muslim; op cit; p. 76.
  81. M.M. Azami: Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature; op cit. pp. 87-88.
  82. F.M. Denny: Introduction to Islam; op cit; p. 165.
  83. Ibid.
  84. Ibid.