بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
In Arabic the word “Hadith” (حدیث) means “that which is new from amongst things” or “a piece of information conveyed either in a small quantity or large”.
Hadith also refers to the speech of a person.
In Islamic terminology, the term Hadith refers to reports of statements or actions of Muhammadﷺ, or of His ﷺ tacit approval 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 Muhammadﷺ, as opposed to the Qur’an”
Broadly Hadith is defined as:
- Sayings of Muhammad ﷺ
The statements of the Prophet include everything the Prophet said for various reasons on different occasions.
- Actions of Muhammad ﷺ
The actions of the Prophet include everything that the Prophet did that was related to us by his Companions. This includes how he made ablutions, how he performed his prayers, and how he made the Hajj pilgrimage.
- Approval of Muhammad ﷺ
The tacit approvals of the Prophet includes everything that his Companions said or did that he either showed his favor towards or at least did not object to. Anything that had the tacit approval of the Prophet is as valid as anything that he said or did himself.
Let me explain by the examples which would help us for better understanding…
Example of Saying of Muhammadﷺ:
Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported:
“Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: When there comes the month of Ramadan, the gates of mercy are opened, and the gates of Hell are locked and the devils are chained” (صحیح البخاری ۵۹۳)
Example of Action of Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ:
Abdullah Ibn Abu Aufa, may Allah be pleased with him, reported: We went on seven expeditions with Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) and ate locusts. (صحیح البخاری۱۱۳۰)
Example of Approval of Muhammadﷺ:
An example of this is the approval that was given to the Companions when they used their discretion in deciding when to pray during the Battle of Bani Quraydhah. God’s Messenger had said to them:
“None of you should perform your afternoon prayers until you arrive at Bani Quraydhah.”
The Companions did not arrive at Bani Quraydhah until after sunset. Some of them took the Prophet’s words literally and postponed the afternoon prayer, saying: “We will not pray until we get there.” Others understood that the Prophet was only indicating to them that they should hurry on their journey, so they stopped and prayed the afternoon prayer on time.
The Prophet learned about what the two groups had decided, but did not criticize either of them.