Hadith and the Prophet Muhammad
Table of Contents
Hadith, Hadith Collections, and Searchable Hadith Database
sayings and accounts
Biographies of the Compilers of the Primary Hadith
Hadith Scholarship and Criticism
Sirah, Hagiographies of the Prophet,
including also information on his wives, and companions
Western Revisionist Approaches to the Prophet
Muhammad and Critical Responses
Important Online Hadith Texts in
Downloadable Arabic Research Library
hadith is a saying
of Muhammad or a report about
something he did. Over time, during the first few centuries of Islam, it became obvious
that many so-called hadith were in fact spurious sayings that had been fabricated for
various motives, at best to encourage believers to act righteously and at worse to
corrupt believers' understanding of Islam and to lead them astray. Since Islamic legal
scholars were utilizing hadith as an adjunct to the Qur'an in their development of the
Islamic legal system, it became critically important to have reliable collections of
hadith. While the early collections of hadith often contained hadith that were of
questionable origin, gradually collections of authenticated hadith called sahih
(lit. true, correct) were compiled. Such collections were made possible by the
development of the science of hadith criticism, a science at the basis of which was a
critical analysis of the chain of (oral) transmission (isnad) of the hadith
going all the way back to Muhammad. The two most highly respected collections of
hadith are the authenticated collections the Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.
(Sahih literally means "correct, true, valid, or sound.") In
addition to these, four other collections came to be well-respected, although not to
the degree of Bukhari and Muslim's sahih collections. These four other
the Sunan of Tirmidhi, Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, and Abu Da'ud. Together these four and the
two sahih collections are called the "six books" (al-kutub al-sitta). Two other
important collections, in particular, are the Muwatta of Ibn Malik, the founder
of the Maliki school of law, and the Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the founder of
the Hanbali school of law.
Iranica) A detailed scholarly introduction by Shahab Ahmed. Published not before
2002, it contains useful recent bibliographic citations.
Translation of the Sahih of Bukhari This online version, translated by M. Muhsin
Khan, has a useful table of
contents. Bukhari included 7275 hadith in his Sahih, many of which were variants
of others with
different chains of transmission. Of these, 2712 were not duplicates. It was
reported that he had originally collected 600,000 hadith before
subjecting them to
his critical method.
Translation of the Sahih of Muslim by Abdul Hamid Siddiqui. This, like the Sahih of
Bukhari, has a useful table of contents. Muslim included 9200 hadith, of which 4000
were not duplicated. Originally, he had collected 300,000 hadith; so out of these
300,000, 9200 met his criteria of authenticity.
Searchable Hadith Database
Translations of the entirety of the hadith collections of Bukhari (Sahih)
and Malik (Muwatta) and part of the collections of Muslim (Sahih) and Abu
Dawud (Sunan) are on-line and searchable at the MSA-USC
Nawawi's Forty Hadith (link fixed 17 August 2005) This selection of the sayings of the Prophet
compiled by Nawawi, a very important medieval Islamic scholar, has been a
favorite of Muslims since its compilation in the 13th century CE. (Back on
Forty Hadith recited and explained in both Arabic and English. This
is especially useful for intermediate and advanced level students of
Arabic Islamic texts.
A selection of hadith by Sir Abdullah Suhrawardy entitled Sayings of the Prophet. This
has a useful topic index.
Hadith Qudsi Hadith in which the Prophet reports non-Qur'anic
words of God are called hadith qudsi.
al-masabih, an online book by a Muslim scholar Moulana Yunus Osman,
deals with hadith in general but focuses on a popular collection of hadith
that has been translated into
English by James Robson.
The Sunna Project of the International
Hadith Study Association Network (IHSAN)contains online their Hadith Encyclopedia
containing a searchable version of the Arabic text and indices of the Seven Canonical
Collections: Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abi Daud, Sunan al-Tirmidhi,Sunan
al-Nasaíi, Sunan IbnMajah and the Muwattaí lik, as well as comments and footnotes.
Until February 2003, this service will be in beta testing and be free of charge.
the life of Imam Muhammad ibn Ism‚`Ól al-Bukh‚rÓ (from Bukhara, in what is today
Uzbekistan), written by `All‚ma Ghul‚m RasŻl Sa`ÓdÓ, translated by
`All‚mah Ishfaq Alam Qadri and M. Iqtidar (Minhaj-ul-Qur'an,
March 1995, pp. 30-37).
(202 or 206-261 AH / 817 or 821-875 CE)
the life of Muslim ibn Hajjaj al-Qushayri al-Naysaburi (from
Naysabur/Nayshapur/Nishapur, in northeastern Iran), the compiler of Sahih
Muslim; written by Dr. Abdul Hamid Siddiqui.
Da'ud (202-275 AH) Abu Da'ud Sulaiman ibn Ash`ath Sijistani
compiler of the Sunan Abi Da'ud, written by Alimah Alisha Akaloo.
Tirmidhi (209-279 AH) Abu 'Isa, Muhammad ibn 'Isa ibn Sawra al-Tirmidhi, from
Tirmidh, in what today is southern Uzbekistan, just inside the Uzbek border and due
north of the Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif.
Imam al-Nasa'i (215-303 AH), Abu 'Abd al-Rahman Ahmad ibn Shu'ayb ibn 'Ali ibn
Sinan ibn Bahr al-Khurasani al-Nasa'i, from Nasa', which today is in Turkmenistan. His
most well-known hadith collection is called the Sunan al-Nasa'i or more precisely
al-Sunan al-mujtaba (The Selected Sunan), which is actually a selection of a larger
work of his, al-Sunan al-kubra, which still appears not to have been published.
Imam Ibn Majah (209-273 AH), Abu 'Abdallah Muhammad ibn Yazid al-Rab'i al-Qazwini,
from Qazwin in Iran. His hadith collection is called the Sunan Ibn Majah.
ibn Anas (93-179 AH), compiler of the Muwatta and origin of the Maliki
(school of law); written by Dr. G. F. Haddad.
ibn Hanbal (d. 241 AH), compiler of the Musnad Ibn Hanbal and origin of the
Hanbali madh'hab (school of law); written by Dr. G. F. Haddad.
Muhammad ibn `Abd All‚h al-NaysabŻrÓ, known as Ibn al-Bayyi` (321-405 AH), compiler
the well-known al-Mustadrak `al‚ al-SahÓhayn, supplement to the collections of Bukhari
and Muslim; written by Dr. G. F. Haddad.
Because of the epistemological importance of hadith for
Muslims, they developed an entire field of scholarship or
science ('ilm) based on the study of hadith. The traditional
Islamic study of hadith is outlined in The
Science of Hadith page.
A more detailed discussion is given in
An Introduction to the Science of Hadith. by Suhaib Hassan.
A surprisingly high percentage of hadith scholars were women.
Scholars of Hadith by Dr. Muhammad Zubayr
Siddiqi, is a scholary and well-documented article on this
A well-done annotated
of hadith collections and scholarly studies on hadith is B. Sadeghi's
Sirah, Hagiographical Literature on the Prophet
The Prophet's life-story was transmitted by story tellers and
then compiled in books called sirah (pronounced as seera.)
In the works of this genre,
the Prophet Muhammad's virtuous character is made clear. Even
before receiving the revelation of the Qur'an, the Prophet Muhammad
was well-known for his good character. One example of his character
can be seen in the
well-attested hadith transmitted by
Umm al-'Ala', an Ansari woman [of Madina] who made the pledge to the
Prophet. She narrated the following hadith: At
the death of Abu Sa'ib 'Uthman ibn Maz'un, she said, "O Abu Sa'ib, I
testify that God has enobled you."
The prophet said, "How do you know that God has enobled him?" So I [Umm
al-'Ala'] said, "May my
father be sacrificed for you, O Messenger of God! Whom does God
enoble?" Then the Prophet said,
"As for him, [the] certainty [of death] has indeed come to him, and by
God, I hope the best for him. By
God, I do not know--even though I am the messenger of God--what will be
done with me." She said,
"By God, I never attested to anyone's piety after that."
(Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 1, p. 419-20; M. M. Khan, v. 2, p. 189-90
Jana'iz, bab 3, #2 (#334); Ibn Hajar, Irshad al-sari, vol. 2, p. 376-77).
A well-written on-line
Biography of the Prophet Muhammad is that of the
contemporary Muslim scholar Muhammad Hamidullah.
A useful on-line translation of the first chapter of a widely read
medieval Islamic text by the well-known Qadi Iyad deals with God's praise
of and high regard for the Prophet Muhammad. The title, Kitab
al-Shifa', means "The Book of Healing."
A prominent Christian scholar of Islam, W. Montgomery Watt, has written
the following--generally positive--assessment of
as Prophet and Statesman.
One of the many critical events in the life of the Prophet Muhammad is the
Journey," when, while in a state of consciousness between
wakefulness and sleep, he was taken from the Ka'ba
(link fixed, Sept. 3, 2000) in Mecca
to what the Qur'an (17:1) refers to as
"Furthest Mosque" --in Jerusalem-- where the Dome
of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa
Mosque stand today. From there he
was transported through the heavens and then back to this world during
what is called his
of the Prophet (link fixed 17 August 2005), written by Muslims affiliated with the Alharamain
Islamic Foundation, consists of short but useful biographies of all of
Muhammad's wives. One of the difficulties that
non-Muslims encounter when reading
Muhammad is that unlike Jesus, who lived a celibate life, Muhammad was
married. Furthermore, after the death of Khadija (his first wife) in 619
CE until the time of his death in 632 CE,
a total of
wives. Muslims, however, are not alarmed by his numerous marriages,
since they know the following: 1)that it was not unusual for
Middle Eastern chieftan to marry a number of wives, and
2) that almost all of
these 11 other wives were widows when he married them, and
3)for the most part these marriages were contracted in order to cement
the tribes of the wives.
The Wives of the
Prophet Muhammad, is the English translation
medieval Arabic work by the highly regarded Muslim scholar, Ibn Kathir.
Note that when you reach the bottom of the first page at this site,
choose "next" in order to see the remainder of the site.
the Prophet Muhammad Marry Young 'A'isha? This is a response
written by a Muslim scholar, Sabeel Ahmed, to the
contemporary polemical accusation that the Prophet in marrying 'A'isha
(while she was young) was committing paedophilia and child abuse.
to the Question of A'isha's Age at the Time of Her Marriage to the
Prophet Based on an analysis of the relevant hadiths, the
Muslim author of this article argues--in contrast to some hadith
reports- that 'A'isha was about 15
years of age when her marriage to the Prophet was consumated. The
author elaborates on his initial argument during the course of his
answers to the questions listed at the bottom of the page.
The Prophet Muhammad lived next to main mosque that he established in
Madina. When he died he was buried in his house. Today, the mosque
encompasses his tomb. Muslim often make a pilgrimage to the Prophet's
Mosque and tomb after they perform the Hajj in Mecca. From here you can
make a virtual pilgrimage to the Prophet's Mosque.
Companions of the Prophet Muslims who were alive at the time
of the Prophet and had seen him were called "companions" (sahaba).
This online book consists of biographies (in English) of
many of the companions. At least some of the biographies here are
from the book, Companions of the Prophet, by Abdul Wahid
Up until fairly recently Western revisionist scholarship on Islam
(though now often discredited) has
largely been focused in two areas: attempting to criticize accepted
Muslim beliefs about the compilation of the Qur'an (dating it much later
than have Muslims), examples of which were in the work of Wansbrough
and Crone and
Cook; and attempting to criticize
criticism of hadith, arguing
that early accepted chains of transmission were fabricated,
examples of which were in the work of
Schacht and Juynboll. In 2009, Prof. David S. Powers, in his volume
Muhammad is Not the Father of Any of Your Men: The Making of the Last
Prophet, attempted to revise certain accepted aspects of
Muhammad's life in
the light of his (Powers') historical-linguistic scholarship. See
Powers' own summary of his book Muhammad
is Not the Father of any of Your Men: The Making of the Last
Prophet Rorotoko: Cutting-Edge Intellectual Interviews
(Sept. 4, 2009).
Prof. Walid Saleh has strongly criticized Powers' arguments in his
review article concerning Powers' book. See Comparative Islamic
2011 for the print version of Saleh's review.
Hadith Collections in Arabic at al-islam.com . This is a searchable
index of the "Six Books" (al-kutub al-sitta), which are the most
authoritative of the hadith collections, in addition to three other well
respected collections, the Musnad of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, the Sunan of
al-Darimi, and the Muwatta' of Imam Malik; along with important commentaries
by traditional scholars.
al-mutanathir fi al-hadith al-mutawatir by Muhammad ibn Ja'far
al-Kattani. This is a collection of 310 mutawatir hadith, namely hadith
heard by multiple transmitters. Hence these are considered to be the
most reliable hadith.
al-khafa' of Ajluni, which is a major compilation consisting largely
of fabricated (mawdu') or weak (da'if) hadith.
al-mawdu'at by Muhammad Tahir ibn 'Ali al-Siddiqi al-Fitani, is a
compilation of fabricated (mawdu') hadith.
al-'ummal by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, is an enormous compendium of
hadith without isnads (chains of transmission).
mashhura da'ifat al-sanad (Well-known hadiths with a weak chain of
transmission) [author not noted, but contemporary, post Al-Albani] This
cross-references a few other works for most of the hadiths.
la tasihhu (Hadiths that are not authentic) by Sulayman ibn Salih
al-Kharrashi. This, like the text at the previous link, is a listing of
popular hadiths that are criticized as being inauthentic. Also cites
This invaluable free service includes all the major hadith texts
many of the minor ones) as well as
works of hadith criticism, some important tafsirs, dictionaries,
of fiqh. These can be downloaded --and NOW SEARCHED and READ
ONLINE!!! (click on "English" to get the instructions in English)-- from
the Al-Muhaddith Islamic
Library and Search
Program. They are essential for university libraries as well as for
scholars who wish to pursue original research in Islamic primary sources.
In addition to the hadith collections, one can
also download various Arabic tafsirs such as Tafsir
al-Durr al-manthur (which uses hadith to clarify and expand on
of the Qur'an), and an abridged version of the Tafsir
The library includes as well a number of important
general dictionaries such as Ibn Manzur's Lisan
al-'Arab and Fayruzabadi's al-Qamus al-muhit; Ibn al-Athir's
rare words used in hadith, al-Nihayah fi gharib
al-hadith; Asfahani's dictionary of the Qur'an, Mufradat alfaz
al-Qur'an; and even an Arabic-English and English-Arabic dictionary.
A PC running Arabic Windows95 is necessary in order to read the texts,
although Arabic Windows98 is recommended.