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Hadith: Things You Should Know – 2

بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم

Parts Of Hadith (حدیث):

A Hadith is composed of two parts:

  • The Matan متن (text)
  • The Isnad اسناد (chain of reporters)

A Text or Matan is the saying of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and Sanad is the chain ofreliable reporters to be acceptable.

‘Abdullah b. al-Mubarak, one of the illustrious teachers of Imam al-Bukhari, said:

“The isnad is part of the religion: had it not been for the isnad, whoever wished to would have said whatever he liked.”

During the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and after His death, His Companions (Sahabah) used to refer to him directly, when quoting his sayings. The Successors (Tabi’un) followed suit; some of them used to quote the Prophet ﷺ through the Companions while others would omit the intermediate authority – such a hadith was later known as mursal. It was found that the missing link between the successor and Prophet Muhammdﷺ might be one person, i.e. a Companion, or two people, the extra person being an older successor who heard the Hadith from the Companion. This is an example of how the need for the verification of each isnad arose. Imam Malik said:

“The first one to utilise the isnad was Ibn Shihab al- Zuhri”

The other more important reason was the deliberate fabrication of Ahadith by various sects which appeared amongst the Muslims, in order to support their views. Ibn Sirin, a successor, said: “They would not ask about the isnad. But when the fitnah (trouble, turmoil, esp. civil war) happened, they said: “name to us your men”. So the narrations of the Ahl al-Sunnah (Adherents to the Sunnah) would be accepted, while those of the Ahl al-Bid’ah (Adherents to Innovation) would not be accepted.”

Let me explain by giving an example for better understanding.

Narrated Abdullah Ibn Musa said (told us) Hanadzlah ibn Abi Sufyan from Ikrimah bin Khalid from Ibn ‘Umar , may Allah be pleased with them said:

Allah’s Apostle said: Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):

To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly. To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity).To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca). To observe fast during the month of Ramadan.

The blue part in above Hadith is the isnad, and the green part is the matn.

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