in category Hadith

How would you summarise ulum al-hadith (science of hadith)?

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Uloom al-Hadith or the science of narrations (usually relating to prophetic narrations but can be applied to any narration as the science is general) looks at three aspects:

  • the chain (sanad)
  • the transmitters (rawi)
  • the text (matn)

The Chain (sanad)

Considering the chain, a hadith can be categorised as mutawatir or ahad.

Mutwatir is a narration transmitted by so many people at each stage whereby mistake or fabrication is impossible. Analytically it can be subdivided into two further types by wording and by meaning depending on whether one or the other is preserved in transmission.

Ahad is where the number of transmitters are less tham mutawatir and can be subdivided into three types.

  • Gharib where there is only one person in any part of the stages of the chain.
  • Aziz where there’s a minimum of two ppl in each stage of the chain.
  • Mash'hur which is where there’s more than two but less than mutawatir level of groups in each stage.


Then you have categories of chains that are either connected or unconnected.

  • A chain that is connected throughout is called musnad or mutassil.
  • If there’s no chain or severe missing links it’s called muallaqat.
  • If there’s two or more ppl missing in a chain it’s called mu’dal.
  • If there’s a person missing in anywhere in a chain it’s called munqati.
  • If the sahaba is omitted it’s called mursal.

Before we get to the discussion on transmitters we study the chain.

Then we look for attestation for each chain to cross reference the wording.

And then there’s further classification based on shadh, munkar, mu’allal or mawdu.

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