HADITH -The term 'hadith' (plural: hadith, hadiths, or ahadith) is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
Hadith are regarded by traditional Islamic schools of jurisprudence as important tools for understanding the Quran and in matters of jurisprudence. Hadith were evaluated and gathered into large collections during the 8th and 9th centuries. These works are referred to in matters of Islamic law and history to this day. The two main denominations of Islam, Shiʻism and Sunnism, have different sets of hadith collections.
In Arabic the word ḥadīth (Arabic: حديث ḥadīṯ means 'a piece of information conveyed either in a small quantity or large'. The Arabic plural is أحاديث ʾaḥādīṯ/aḥādīth. Hadith also refers to the speech of a person. As taḥdīṯ/taḥdīth is the infinitive, or verbal noun, of the original verb form; hadith is, therefore, not the infinitive, rather it is a noun.
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. Classical hadith specialist Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani says that the intended meaning of hadith in religious tradition is something attributed to Muhammad, as opposed to the Quran. Other associated words possess similar meanings including: khabar (news, information) often refers to reports about Muhammad, but sometimes refers to traditions about his companions and their successors from the following generation; conversely,athar (trace, vestige) usually refers to traditions about the companions and successors, though sometimes connotes traditions about Muhammad. The wordsunnah (custom) is also used in reference to a normative custom of Muhammad or the early Muslim community.
Hadith Qudsi (or Sacred Hadith) is a sub-category of hadith which are sayings of Muhammad. Muslims regard the Hadith Qudsi as the words of God (Arabic:Allah), repeated by Muhammad and recorded on the condition of an isnad. According to as-Sayyid ash-Sharif al-Jurjani, the Hadith Qudsi differ from the Quran in that the former were revealed in a dream or through revelation and are "expressed in Muhammad's words", whereas the latter are the "direct words of God".
An example of a Hadith Qudsi is the hadith of Abu Hurairah who said that Muhammad said:
"When God decreed the Creation He pledged Himself by writing in His book which is laid down with Him: My mercy prevails over My wrath."
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), whichdocuments the route by which the report has been transmitted. The sanad, literally 'support', is so named due to the reliance of the hadith specialists upon it in determining the authenticity or weakness of a hadith. 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.
The first people to hear hadith were the companions who preserved it and then conveyed it to those after them. Then the generation following them received it, thus conveying it 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.
The overwhelming majority of Muslims consider hadith to be essential supplements to and clarifications of the Quran, Islam's holy book, as well as in clarifying issues pertaining to Islamic jurisprudence. Ibn al-Salah, a hadith specialist, described the relationship between hadith and other aspect of the religion by saying: "It is the science most pervasive in respect to the other sciences in their various branches, in particular to jurisprudence being the most important of them." "The intended meaning of 'other sciences' here are those pertaining to religion," explains Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, "Quranic exegesis, hadith, and jurisprudence. The science of hadith became the most pervasive due to the need displayed by each of these three sciences. The need hadith has of its science is apparent. As for Quranic exegesis, then the preferred manner of explaining the speech of God is by means of what has been accepted as a statement of Muhammad. The one looking to this is in need of distinguishing the acceptable from the unacceptable. Regarding jurisprudence, then the jurist is in need of citing as an evidence the acceptable to the exception of the later, something only possible utilizing the science of hadith."
Traditions of the life of Muhammad and the early history of Islam were passed down mostly orally for more than a hundred years after Muhammad's death in AD 632. Muslim historians say that Caliph Uthman ibn Affan (the third khalifa (caliph) of the Rashidun Empire, or third successor of Muhammad, who had formerly been Muhammad's secretary), is generally believed to urge Muslims to record the hadith just as Muhammad suggested to some of his followers to write down his words and actions.
Uthman's labours were cut short by his assassination, at the hands of aggrieved soldiers, in 656. No sources survive directly from this period so we are dependent on what later writers tell us about this period.
By the 9th century the number of hadiths had grown exponentially. Islamic scholars of the Abbasid period were faced with a huge corpus of miscellaneous traditions, some of them flatly contradicting each other. Many of these traditions supported differing views on a variety of controversial matters. Scholars had to decide which hadith were to be trusted as authentic and which had been invented for political or theological purposes. To do this, they used a number of techniques which Muslims now call the science of hadith.
THE SIX MAJOR HADITH COLLECTIONS :-
Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (Arabic: صحيح البخاري), as it is commonly referred to, is one of the six canonical hadith collections of Sunni Islam. These prophetic traditions, or hadith, were collected by the Persian Muslim scholar Muhammad ibn Ismail al-Bukhari, after being transmitted orally for generations. Sunni Muslims view this as one of the three most trusted collections of hadith along with Sahih Muslim and al-Muwatta. In some circles, it is considered the most authentic book after the Qur'an. The Arabic word sahih translates as authentic or correct.
Sahih Muslim (Arabic: صحيح مسلم, ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, full title Al-Musnadu Al-Sahihu bi Naklil Adli) is one of the Six major collections of the hadith in Sunni Islam, oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. It is the second most authentic hadithcollection after Sahih Al-Bukhari, and is highly acclaimed by Sunni Muslims. It was collected by Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, also known as Imam Muslim.
as-Sunan as-Sughra (Arabic: السنن الصغرى), also known as Sunan an-Nasa'i (Arabic: سنن النسائي) is one of the Sunni Six Major Hadith collections, and was collected by Al-Nasa'i. Sunnis regard this collection as third in strength of their Six major Hadith collections. Al-Mujtaba (English: the selected) has about 5270 hadith, including repeated narrations, which the author selected from his larger work, As-Sunan al-Kubra.
SUNAN ABU DAWOOD
Sunan Abi Daawud (Arabic: سنن أبي داود) is one of the Sunni Six Major Hadith collections, collected by Abu Dawood. Abu Dawood collected 500,000 hadith, but included only 4,800 in this collection. Sunnis regard this collection as fourth in strength of their Six major Hadith collections.
Jāmi` al-Tirmidhi (Arabic: جامع الترمذي), popularly and mistakenly Sunan al-Tirmidhi (Arabic: سُـنَن الترمذي), is one of the Sunni Six major Hadith collections. It was collected by Abu 'Eesa Muhammad ibn 'Eesa al-Tirmidhi. Al-Kattani said: "The Jaami' of al-Tirmithi is also named The Sunan, contrary to those thinking them to be two separate books, and [it is also named] Al-Jaami' al-Kabeer.
SUNAN IBN MAJAH
Sunan Ibn Majah (Arabic: سُنن ابن ماجه) is one of the Sunni Six Major Hadith collections, collected by Ibn Majah. It contains over 4,000 hadith in 32 books divided into 1,500 chapters. About 20 of the traditions it contains were later declared to be forged; such as those dealing with the merits of individuals, tribes or towns, including Ibn Majah's home town of Qazwin.