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Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature

Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature

By Shaykh Muhammad Mustafa al – Azami

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A tremendous amount of literature is available in Arabic on the methodology of Hadith but our new generation whose majority does not know Arabic is unable to benefit from it. Even those who speak Arabic find it difficult to use these books due to the terminology used in them. Only a few books on the science of Hadith have been written in English and most of them seem to be meant to confuse the readers. The only one in English that can claim scholarly merit is one by Professor Zubair Siddiqi. I read it some 15 years ago, but it is out of print now and unavailable. Therefore, I have written Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature to fulfill the needs of College students, as well as those of educated laymen. I have avoided unnecessary details and technical language as far as possible. I hope its careful reading will eliminate most of the doubts that have been created, deliberately or out of ignorance, by Orientalists and others and will provide basic knowledge of the subject. However, it would be naive to think that after reading this book one would gain the capacity to criticize the Hadith.

The book has been divided into two parts. In Part One, I deal with the subject of Hadith Methodology. In Part Two, I discuss the literature, introducing the six principal books, as well as six others which had great significance and represent a stage in the compilation of Hadith books. Those interested in the early recording of hadith may go through my book Studies in Early Hadith Literature while the problem of isnad has been discussed in my work On Schacht’s Origins of Mahammadan Jurisprudence. Much valuable information on the criticism of hadith may be found in the introduction to Kitab al-Tamyiz of Imam Muslim. Thus these early works have contributed to many chapters of the present work.

Two of my colleagues Dr. M. S. Al-A’wwa and Dr. Ja’far Shaikh. Idris took the trouble to read the manuscript. I have benefited from their criticism and clarification. May Allah reward them for their help.

Thanks are also due to Dr. ElTigani Abugideiri whose initiative and persistent demand the book was written. One should not fail to mention Mr. Abdur Rahman of WAMY who worked hard to type the draft from my poor handwriting.

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