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Definition of Science of Hadith and its subject

By: Assoc. Prof Dr. Sohireen Soliheen

Science of Hadith Comprises Two Main Subjects; Science of Hadith Riwayah and Dirayah.
1.Science of Hadith Riwayah:

It is science which undertakes the copy what is attributed to the Prophet (pubh) in matter of sayings, deeds, approvals, moral character precisely in written transmission. The subject matter of science of hadith riwayah is related to the sayings of the Messenger (pubh), deeds, approvals, characters, from aspects of transmission in precise way which covers precision of every hadith in its transmission. In taking care of science of hadith riwayah is to preserve the sunnah and its accurateness and to protect from any default in transmitting what is attributed to the Prophet (pubh) and through this manner it brings about goodness of taking example from the Prophet (pubh) and practice of his laws.

2.Science of Hadith Dirayah:

Ibn al-Akfani says, “Science of Hadith Dirayah is the one which through it could be known reality of narration, its conditions, types and laws, position of reporters of hadith and their condition, types of narrated and all other things pertain to it.”. Other scholars say, “Science which trough its rules could be known the position of sanad and matn. So, the subject matters are sanad and matan.

Sheikh al-Islam, Hafidz Ibn Hajr says: “The most virtuous definition with regard to science of hadith dirarayah is to comprehend the known rules on the position of reporters of hadith and what they reported. In conformity with that it causes the people of hadith more honorable.
The specialty of Science of Hadith Dirayah is the collection of rules and other affairs which through will be known the position of reporter of hadith and what they reported from aspect of acceptance and rejection. The reporter (al-rawi) is the one who brought the hadith while what they reported (al-marwa) is the one which is attribuited to the Prophet (pubh), companions, tabi’in and others.

What is meant regarding the position of reporter of hadith from the aspect of acceptance and rejection is to know his status in term of sickness, injury, injustice, the way of acquiring the hadith, system of conveying to others, and other thing which has link with the transmission of hadith.
What is aimed to knowing the position of what they reported is all aspects linked with continuity and discontinuity, knowing the diseases of hadith and other things which are related to the acceptance of hadith and its refusal.

The subject matters of science of hadith dirayah are sanad and matn. The first, from the aspect of the position of its individuals, continuity and discontinuity, uppers and lowers etc.. Matn is from the aspect of correctness and weakness and other things pertain to it. The advantage of science of hadith dirayah is to know the acceptance from the refusal.

The advantage of the science of hadith dirayah is to know the acceptance from its rejection. On the basis of this, these two sciences are inseparable from one to another, rather the science of hadith riwayah would be fruitless whenever it is not accompanied by the science of hadith dirayah to make it possible in knowing the acceptance from rejection.

Scholars of hadith give the names of science of hadith dirayah with sciences of hadith (ulum al-hadith), terms of hadith (mustalah al-hadith), and principles of hadith (usul al-hadith),all are the names of one subject as collection of principles and matters which through it can be known about the status of reporter and what they reported from angle of acceptance and rejection and through those names they obtain the division of hadith sahih (correct hadith), hassan (fair), daif (weak), system of acquiring and conveying (al-tahammul wa al-ada), and injured and justice (al-jarh wa al-ta ‘dil) etc.

In fact science of hadith dirayah is more general than only knowing about the principles and the known rules with regard to the status of reporter of hadith and what they reported from angles of the acceptance and rejection. Mostly both classical and current scholars of hadith give that name on the basis of understanding narration taking out of its meaning and laws and in view of this some muhaddithun blame students of hadith due to their confinement on the aspect of memorizing, writing, and collecting the ways of ahadith without looking into it was done by salafi scholars on the status of reporter, nature of narration, and system of derogating laws which are contained in the sunnah. If some of them saw that to derive laws is solely done by a jurist, and the task of scholars of hadith is just to report what they heard, then, the jurists got their understanding from what they reported within dirayah which make them becoming more perfect and virtuous in their choice.

3.Importance of Science of Principles of Hadith

On the basis of previous elaboration, then, we grasp the importance of science of principles of hadith which explains the defectiveness from the complete, the weak from the correct, the ceased from the raised, and the accepted from the discarded. Then, deriving law can be done from purified sunnah and through this it fulfills the perfection in taking example from the Messenger (pubh) and this is great science which brings about uniqueness of Muslim to compare with other nations which is seen as greatest contribution to human civilization due to the distinguished precisiveness in its matters and principles, origin of unsurpassable rules and principles and many other aspects which will be discussed in this research.

4.Emergence of Science of Principles of Hadith

Emergence of sciences of hadith coincided with emergence of narration and transmission of hadith in Islam and these principles came into being following the death of the Messenger (pubh) when Muslims were concerned to collect hadith due to the fear of lose which caused to render great efforts in memorizing it, accurateness, transmission and codification and it is not strange if the codification of hadith proceeded the science of principle of hadith as the first is the attempted subject to be collected and studied while science of hadith is rules and systems to be followed in term of acceptance and refusal to know correct from weak of hadith.

All sahabahs, tabiin, and later generations followed academic rules in matter of accepting the news without formulating the texts until the emergence of people of knowledge who derived laws of that rules from their systems in accepting the news and knowing the status of reporters whether their reports are recognized or denied. In addition, they also derived the laws regarding the conditions of reports, ways, and principles of ascertaining the injured and sound of hadith and other things related to that aspect.
Emergence of science of principle of hadith coincided with its transmission of the narration, and this is a ordinary thing, because as long as there is transmission of hadith it should posses its own system. Then agterward, science of hadith was taking its full shape and became an independent science which has distinctive position within other Islamic sciences.

5.Various Numbers of Science of Hadith

Muslim scholars, under the names of science of hadith (ulum al-hadith), terms of hadith (mustalah al-hadith), science of principles of hadith (ilm usul al-hadith), or science of hadith dirayah (ilm al-hadith al-dirayah), bring about a lot of issues such as the division of hadith into sahih (correct, hassan (fair), and daif (weak). Again, there is a big number of weak of hadith such as al-munqati (truncated), mu’dal, mudtarib (disorder) as they also bring about issue of age of hearing, system of acquiring and reporting (al-tahammul wa al-ada), examining about default and just (al-jarh wa al-ta’dil), conditions of both makers of default and just (al-jarih wa al-mu’addil), degree of default and justice, etc, knowing about the reporters and their home land, and distinguishing between trusted (al-thiqah) from those who are weaks. They made each of this issue or each discussion as special form of science of hadith, and that is the reason that science of hadith are a lot which caused al-Imam al-Suyuti to say, “Indeed science of hadith are a lot and unaccountable’, and al-Hazimi also says, ‘Science of hadith consists a lot of things which reach a hundred in number, and every one of it becomes an independent science, and whenever a student spend the whole of his lifetime he will not know the end of it.”

According to Ibn al-Salah that there are sixty five forms of science of hadith. Among them are knowing the correct of hadith (al-sahih), hasan (fair), weak (al-daif), al musnad and the raised (al-marfu), system of hearing (kaifiyyah al-sama), trusted (al-thiqqah), and those who are weak (al-duafa), etc, and then he said, “and it is not possible to claim it as final thing as it is subject to change into unaccountable forms due to unlimited position of reporters of hadith and their attributes. Similarly, the position of the body of hadith (matn al-hadith) and its attributes. And whatever the position and attributes it is unlikely to mention as it becomes unique form.”

However it can be simplified from those variety and can be gathered under one form as al-Hafiz Ibn Kathir says in taking benefit from the Ibn al-Salah, “There is a view with regard to all of these and there is also another view to simplify these varieties into several numbers as some of them can be merged into another group and it is mor appropriate what he said. Then, it should be differentiated between those which are identical and it is suitable to mention that each form to section which is in harmony.”