Test Your Knowledge of Hadith

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By jwblackwell



9 Questions

What is Hadith?

What is the relationship between Sharia and Hadith?

What is the meaning of the term 'Hadith'?

What is the purpose of the authentication of Hadith?

What are the categories into which Hadith are classified by Muslim clerics and jurists?

What is the difference between Sunni and Shia Islam's interpretation of Hadith?

When were Hadith evaluated orally to written and gathered into large collections?

What is the difference between Hadith qudsi and Hadith sharif?

What are the two major aspects of a Hadith?


Collections of sayings and teachings of Muhammad

  • Hadith are transmitted reports attributed to what Muhammad said and did, and are considered by many to be a source for religious and moral guidance known as Sunnah, which ranks second only to that of the Quran.

  • The great bulk of the rules of Sharia (Islamic law) are derived from hadith, rather than the Quran.

  • Hadith is the Arabic word for speech, report, account, or narrative, and different collections of hadith would come to differentiate the different branches of the Islamic faith.

  • Authentication of hadith became a major field of study in Islam due to some hadith containing questionable and even contradictory statements.

  • Hadith are classified by Muslim clerics and jurists into categories such as sahih ("authentic"), hasan ("good"), or da'if ("weak").

  • Among scholars of Sunni Islam, the term hadith may include not only the words, advice, practices, etc. of Muhammad but also those of his companions, while in Shia Islam, hadith are the embodiment of the sunnah, the words, and actions of Muhammad and his family, the Ahl al-Bayt.

  • Hadith were evaluated orally to written and gathered into large collections during the 8th and 9th centuries, generations after Muhammad's death, after the end of the era of the Rashidun Caliphate, over 1,000 km (600 mi) from where Muhammad lived.

  • Reports of Muhammad's (and sometimes his companions') behavior collected by hadith compilers include details of ritual religious practice such as the five salat (obligatory Islamic prayers) that are not found in the Quran, as well as everyday behavior such as table manners, dress, and posture.

  • Hadith are regarded by Muslims as important tools for understanding things mentioned in the Quran but not explained and a source for tafsir (commentaries written on the Quran).

  • Hadith may be hadith qudsi (sacred hadith) — which some Muslims regard as the words of God — or hadith sharif (noble hadith), which are Muhammad's own utterances.

  • The two major aspects of a hadith are the text of the report (the matn), which contains the actual narrative, and the chain of narrators (the isnad), which documents the route by which the report has been transmitted.

  • Different branches of Islam refer to different collections of hadith, although the same incident may be found in hadith from different collections.

  • Traditions of the life of Muhammad and the early history of Islam were passed down mostly through oral transmission, and hadith were not promptly written down during Muhammad's lifetime or immediately after his death.The History and Importance of Hadith in Islamic Tradition

  • Hadith were orally transmitted for over a century after the death of Muhammad in AD 632, before being recorded.

  • Caliph Uthman ibn Affan is credited with urging Muslims to record the hadith.

  • Hadith use in Islamic law came gradually and early schools of Islamic jurisprudence used rulings of the Prophet's Companions, the Caliphs, and practices that had gained general acceptance.

  • Al-Shafi'i emphasized the final authority of a hadith of Muhammad over the Quran.

  • Islamic scholars of the Abbasid period sought to authenticate hadith to decide which were to be trusted as authentic and which had been fabricated.

  • The earliest surviving hadith manuscripts were copied on papyrus.

  • Sunni and Shia hadith collections differ because scholars from the two traditions differ as to the reliability of the narrators and transmitters.

  • In the Sunni tradition, the number of hadith texts is between seven and thirteen thousand, but the number of hadiths is far greater.

  • Sunni scholars claimed that they were collecting only the soundest of sound hadiths, and Bukhari and Muslim are considered the most reliable collections of hadith.

  • Shi'a Muslims have their own extensive hadith literature and do not consider any of the Sunni hadith collections to be entirely authentic.

  • Hadith are considered essential supplements to the Quran and for clarifying issues pertaining to Islamic jurisprudence.

  • Authenticity of a hadith is primarily verified by its chain of transmission, and various classifications of hadith have been developed.Overview of Hadith: Science of People and Scale of Transmission

  • Hadith is the record of the sayings, actions, and tacit approvals of Prophet Muhammad.

  • To ensure the authenticity of Hadith, the science of people or Asma Al-Rijal scrutinizes the details of the transmitter, including their date and place of birth, teachers and students, religiosity, moral behavior, literary output, travels, and date of death.

  • The reliability of the transmitter is assessed based on these criteria, and their contemporaneity and geographical proximity with other transmitters in the chain.

  • Reports that passed through many reliable transmitters in many isnad up until their collection and transcription are known as mutawātir, and are considered the most authoritative.

  • Reports not meeting this standard are known as aahad, and are of several different types.

  • The text or matn of Hadith is examined for conformity with the Quran, the Arabic language, and the context of the report.

  • Hadith may be categorized as sahīh, hasan, da'if, or maudu, based on the evaluation of their isnad and matn.

  • Critics have complained that the process of authenticating Hadith was confined to a careful examination of the chain of transmitters who narrated the report, and not the report itself.

  • Muslim scholars have a long history of questioning the authenticity of Hadith based on theological and philosophical Islamic grounds.

  • Some Muslim critics of Hadith completely reject them as the basic texts of Islam and instead adhere to Quranism.

  • Prominent Muslim critics of Hadith today include Rashad Khalifa, Kassim Ahmad, and Edip Yüksel.

  • Biographical dictionaries include Abd al-Ghani al-Maqdisi's Al-Kamal fi Asma' al-Rijal, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani's Tahdhīb al-Tahdhīb, and al-Dhahabi's Tadhkirat al-huffaz.


How well do you know the collections of sayings and teachings of Muhammad, known as Hadith? Test your knowledge with this quiz that explores the history, importance, and classification of Hadith in Islamic tradition. From the science of people to the different branches of Islam, see how much you know about this essential supplement to the Quran and its role in Islamic jurisprudence. Whether you're a student of Islam or just curious about its teachings, take this quiz to learn more about Hadith and its

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