Sunday, 5 January 2014

Hadith Specialization Curriculum Advice by Shaykh Muhammed Daniel

Ilm al-hadith is divided into two categories:

Ilm al-Riwayah

It is the knowledge of what is connected to the Prophet of Allaah (salalahu alayhi wa salam) concerning his sayings, actions, tacit approvals, and descriptions.These are to be found in two main sources:

1) The first source is to be found in the original and earliest books of Sunnah and these include the following compilations:The books of al-Saheeh, al-Sunan, al-Jami, al-Muwatta, al-Musannaf, al-Mustakhraj al-Masaneed

2) The second source is in the subsequent books of the Sunnah and these include the following compilations:al-Ma’ajim, al-Zawa’id, al-Mukhtasar, al-Muntakhab

Ilm al-Dirayah

This is the knowledge of the principles related to the condition of the narrators and narrations in order to define that which is accepted from that which is rejected.This is divided into three categories:

a) Ilm Mustalah al-Hadith (Nomenclature of Hadith)

b) Ilm al-Rijal (Science of Men) which includes Ilm Tarikh al-Ruwaat (Science of Narrators’ History) Ilm al-Jarh wa al-Ta’deel (Science of Narrator Criticism and Evaluation)

c) Ilm al-Takhreej (Science of Hadith Verification) which covers areas such as Ghareeb al-Hadith, Mukhtalaf al-Hadith, I’raab al-Hadith etc. Now that we are aware of these we can move on to talking about the approach one may adopt in order to master the field of Hadith. (I will only talk about the texts in the Arabic language as I do not have much experience studying through English.

Phase one for the student of Hadith:

Start with the study of the basic primers in the field of Mustalah:The Manzoomah (34-couplet poem) of Imam al-Bayquniyyah (RA) is useful as it will give you a taste of the subject and can be memorized within a day. There are numerous shourouh (exegesis) on the text and these can be read through self-study within a few days to give you a very basic outline. Having said that, the study of this text it is not compulsory and it can be omitted in favour of studying Nukhbat al-Fikar directly and under the guidance of a teacher. Nukhbat al-Fikar fi Mustalah Ahlil Athar of Imam Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani (RA) with its Sharh by the same author Nudhat al-Nadhr is a concise, yet invaluable text in this field. I think the best print is that of Shaikhy Nuruddin ‘Ettar (HA) and that is a wholly unbiased opinion. Along with the Nukhbat, you could benefit from Tayseer Mustalah al-Hadeeth of Shaikh Mahmood al-Tahaan, another Syrian scholar. It is a modern text designed to ease the understanding of Mustalah and follows Nukhbat in many ways.

Phase two:

Having focused on Ilm al-Dirayah I would like to now focus dedicate on Ilm al-Riwayah.

First of all the student should start by reading the Arba’eeniyaat to become familiar with how the Ulama would compile these short texts and to see the different styles. The most important of these is the collection of Imam al-Nawawi (RA)[1] with the addition of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (RA). The student should read these first cover-to-cover and then should start again, but this time should focus on memorising the text adeptly which can also be done simultaneously with the Sharh (exegesis) of the text at the hands of a qualified scholar.

Once the student has studied the text and has fully understood what is contained in the text, they may move up to a larger text that deals with ahkaam (rulings) and many believe that the best text for the beginner is Umdat al-Ahkaam[2] which contains approximately 425 hadith. (depending on print) If a student intends to dedicate himself to teaching Hadith full-time for the rest of his life, then this text should be memorized.

Once the student has studied this text with a scholar, they can move onto other texts of a similar size. My personal favourite is the Shama’il of Imam al-Tirmidhi[3] (RA). The main focus would be to get practice in reading the text and to become familiar with the tabweeb (chaptering) of the muhaddith as well as numerous other benefits.

After this the student continues to progress onto longer texts such as Riyadh al-Saliheen[4] and al-Adab al-Mufrad[5] all the while becoming more and more familiar with new and strange words, thus improving one’s receptive vocabulary of the Arabic Language and common words used in Hadith.

Phase Three:

Now we return to talking about furthering our studies on the side of al-Dirayah.

After finishing the study of Nukhbat al-Fikar and Tayseer al-Hadith with the commentary of Nudhat, I would recommend moving onto Imam al-Dhahabi’s (RA) al-Muwqidha which is a very beneficial yet short Risala based on the work of Ibn Daqeeq al-Eid (RA). At this point the talib al-ilm will find some repetition which is good for cementing their understanding, but they will also find some extra points that are well worthy of notice. It is also possible that the talib skip this step and move straight onto the study of Ibn Katheer’s (RA) al-Baa’ith al-Hatheeth Sharh Ikhtisaar Uloom al-Hadith which is a medium sized text for the intermediate level student. After this, I usually recommend that the student of Hadith take a short break from the intense study of Mustalah and read a short text like the Muqadimmah of Imam Muslim (RA) or the Risala of Abu Dawood (RA) to the people of Makkah. After studying these with the explanation of a qualified scholar the student will be in good stead to study arguably the most essential text in Mustalah, the masterpiece of Ibn al-Salah al-Shahrazuri (RA) entitled Kitab Ma’rifat anwa’ ilm al-Hadith and popularly known as the Muqadimmah of Ibn Salah (RA). After studying this text one may extract extra benefit from the study of Ibn Hajr’s (RA) al-Nukat which is based on the Muqadimmah of Ibn Salah (RA) and provides further detailed information that proves invaluable to the student of Hadith. One may then conclude their study of Mustalah by studying al-Iraqi’s (RA) al-Durar fi Ilm al-Athar which is more commonly known as the Alfiyyah of al-Iraqi and its exegesis by the same author or that of Imam al-Sakhawi (RA) known as Fathul Mugheeth fi Sharh Alfiyyat al-Hadith.

This is my recommendation in regards to the study of Mustalah and I acknowledge that there are many works that I have not included in this list and that one may derive benefit from. However, I feel that one who studies the above will have a firm grasp of the essentials in this science and there will be very few things that they will be unaware of.

A talib may also derive benefit from the following classical books in Mustalah:

al-Muhadith al-Fasil (al-Qadi al-Ramahurmuzi)

Ma’rifat Uloom al-Hadith (al-Hakim)

al-Kifayah (al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi)

al-Jami al-Akhlaq al-Rawi (al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi)

al-Ilmaa’ (Qadi Iyaad al-Yahsubi)

Shuroot al-Aimma al-Khams (al-Hazimi)

al-Irshaad (Imam al-Nawawi)

al-Taqyeed wal-Idaah (al-Iraqi)

Sharh Tabsira wa tazkira (al-Iraqi)

Tadreeb al-Raawi (al-Suyuti)

Tawdeeh al-Afkaar (al-Sanani)

They may also benefit from the contemporary works of the following amongst others:

Shaikh Mohammed Mustafa al-Azimi

Shaikh Abdul Fatah Abu Ghuddah

Shaikh Saeed Ahmed Palanpuri

Shaikh Mahmood al-Tahaan

Shaikh Tariq Awadullah

Shaikh Hatim al-Awni

Shaikh Nour Uddin Itr

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