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Module Two:

Hadith criticism and fiqh methodology of Bukhari and Tirmidhi

Overview

This module involves the study of selected chapters of hadith from the Sahih al-Bukhari and al-Jami al-sunan al-Tirmidhi. The students will be taught a critical examination of the text (matn) and how to apply the methodology developed in the usul al-hadith module in the previous years.

The Sahih al-Bukhari lessons will highlight the brilliant method used by Bukhari in extracting the narrations of his collection and his methodology in understanding Islamic law and theology. In the process, chains of transmission (isnads) for the same hadith texts from other collections will be analysed so as to show why Bukhari only chose the chains that he did, and why he left the others, in line with his remarkably consistent and thorough methodology. Moreover, the criticisms of masters like Daraqutni against some of the narrations included by Bukhari will be fully discussed, which will often highlight the superiority of Bukhari above such criticisms. By understanding how Bukhari understood such narrations, the student will be better equipped to understand how these same narrations can be understood and applied in our time to modern questions that the community faces. Currently there are no religious seminary that teaches Bukhari in the detail Shaykh Akram does for Al-Salam Institute.

The Sunan al-Tirmidhi lessons will further expand upon hidden defects of hadith by analysing the works of Daraqutni and others. Furthermore, Tirmidhi manages to bring together an incredible wealth of information about how the Companions, students of the Companions (taba’in) and the early generations of scholars derived law from hadith, or differed with some hadith or reconciled between certain hadith. In this way, the student is empowered with similar tools of analysis as those early generations when engaging with the hadith canon.

Primary Text

Primary Text:

  • Sahih al-Bukhari
  • Jami al-Tirmidhi

About the Text:

  • Bukhari: the full name of the book according to Ibn Salah is al-Jami’ al-Sahih al-musnad al-mukhtasar min umur Rasul Allah wa sunanihi wa ayyamihi. Bukhari travelled throughout the Abbasid-controlled lands from the age of 16, collecting over 300,000 hadith. One of Bukhari’s prominent teachers, Ishaq Ibn Rahwayh, requested him to compile a book of only authentic narrations of the Prophet, which led him to compile the al-Jami’. Bukhari finished his work around 846 CE. In the remaining twenty-four years of his life, Bukhari made minor revisions to his book, notably the chapter headings. Each version is named by its narrator. According to Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani the number of hadiths in all the versions of Sahih al-Bukhari is the same. The most famous one today is the version narrated by al-Firabri (d. 932 CE/320 AH), a trusted student of Bukhari. Other narrations of Bukhari were transmitted through Ibrahim ibn Ma'qal (d. 907 CE/295 AH), Hammad ibn Shaker (d. 923 CE/311 AH), Mansur Burduzi (d. 931 CE/319 AH) and Husain Mahamili (d. 941 CE/330 AH). The importance of studying Bukhari’s work is the fact that it is held to be the most authentic book in Islam after the Quran. The two primary benefits to studying his book are: firstly, he collected, according to his criteria, all of the most-sound hadith; secondly, he shows how these soundest narrations are sufficient for one’s religion.
  • Tirmidhi: the full title is al-Jami` al-mukhta?ar min as-sunan 'an Rasul All?h ? wa ma'rifah al-sahih wa al-ma'lul wa ma 'alaihi al-'amal. It is one of the six major hadith collections. It was collected by Abu `Isa Muhammad ibn `Isa al-Tirmidhi. He began compiling it after the year 250 AH and completed it on the 10 Dhu al-Hijjah 270 AH. It contains 3,956 hadith, and has been divided into fifty chapters. It is also classified as a Sunan, which implies that the book has been divided into chapters according to their legal subject, such as purification, prayer etc. The work is an extraordinary collection of hadith relating to legal rulings (ahkam) and how isnads are to be analysed for hidden defects (‘illah), which are sometimes explicitly mentioned by Tirmidhi and sometimes not. The compiler’s principal aim was to discuss the legal opinions of early jurists. Tirmidhi mostly mentioned those hadith which the jurists used as the basis for their legal decisions and he mentioned which school used which traditions. Hence this book became an important source for the different opinions of the various legal schools.

About the Authors:

  • Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Isma’il ibn Ibrahim ibn al-Mughira al-Ju’fi al-Bukhari was born in 194 AH and died in 256 AH, corresponding to 19 July 810 – September 870 CE. Bukhari's great-grandfather, al-Mughirah, settled in Bukhara after accepting Islam at the hands of Bukhara's governor, Yaman al-Ju`fi. Bukhari’s academic life in hadith began in the year 205 AH. He memorised the works of ‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak while still a child. He was raised by his mother because his father died when he was an infant. He began authoring books and narrating hadith as an adolescent.
  • Abu ‘Isa Mu?ammad ibn ?Isa al-Sulami al-?arir al-Bughi al-Tirmidhi was born during the reign of the Abbasid Caliph al-Ma'mun in 209 AH (824/825 CE). He was born in Tirmidh, in modern-day Uzbekistan. Tirmidhi began the study of hadith at the age of 20. He was a pupil of Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Dawud. Muslim narrated one hadith from Tirmidhi in his own Sahih. Tirmidhi became blind in the last two years of his life and died on 13 Rajab 279 AH (892 CE).

Recommended Reading list

Sahih al-Bukhari: A student’s best primary preparation for the Bukhari class will be Ibn Hajar’s Fath al-Bari; and the ideal comprehensive preparation would be to also read the relevant section in ‘Ayni’s ‘Umdat al-qari, in order to then see a Hanafi perspective on the narrations:

  • Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani. Fath al-Bari: Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari. 14 vols. Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-`Ilmiyya, 1989
  • Al-`Ayni, Badr al-Din. ‘Umdat al-qari: Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari. Beirut: Dar Ihya' al-Turath ? Al-Qastalani, Ahmad ibn Muhammad, Irshad al-sari li sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2000

Sunan al-Tirmdihi: The best preparation for the Tirmidhi class will be for students to consult the relevant commentaries by Ibn al-‘Arabi al-Maliki, ‘Abd al-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ahmad Shakir and Daraqutni for their insights and criticisms.

  • Al-Tirmidhi, Abu `Isa `Ali ibn `Isa. Sahih al-Tirmidhi. Ed. Ahmad Muhammad Shakir et al. Beirut: Dar al-ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, 5 vol.
  • Ibn Al-Arabi, Muhammad ibn Abdullah, Aridat al-Ahwadhi, Tunisia
  • Al-Mubarakfuri. Tuhfa al-Ahwadhi bi sharh Jami` al-Tirmidhi. 10 vols. Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-`Ilmiyya, 1990.
  • Al-Daraqutni, Ali ibn Umar, al-‘Ilal al-warida fi al-ahadith al-nabawiyyah, al-Riyad, 1405 AH.

Teaching Method

Teaching Method

Each class will consist of a 55 minute lecture, where the primary text will be read in Arabic along with its translation, commentary and relevance to the wider field. There will be an encouragement for the teaching to be interactive, with questions both posed of the students and welcomed from them. The teacher may also use power point presentations and post recorded webinars for study aid.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • be able to analyse and critically evaluate hadith commentaries
  • be able to relate the level of authenticity of a hadith to its social, theological and spiritual application
  • be able to demonstrate in-depth understanding of the criteria for hadith preference in legal applications
  • be able to investigate the primary source of hadith material in the analysis of religious issues • be better equipped to understand how these same narrations can be understood and applied in our time to modern questions that the community faces.

Syllabus

The module will cover the following topics:

  • Examine hadith from Sahih al-Bukhari
  • Examine hadith from Sunan al-Tirmdhi

Assessment

This course will involve one short in-course essay and end-of-course written examination.

Teacher Profile

Dr. Mohammad Akram Nadwi is an Islamic scholar from the Indian city of Jaunpur and a graduate of the world renowned Nadwatul Ulama (India) where he studied and taught Shariah.

Shaykh Akram is a Muhaddith of the highest calibre who has specialised in Ilm ul Rijal [the study of the narrators of Hadith]. He has Ijaza (licenses) from many of the most renowned scholars of our time including Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali Al-Nadwi, Shaykh Abdul-Fattah Abu Ghuddah and Shaykh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi. Shaykh Akram Nadwi has a doctorate in Arabic Language and has authored and translated over 25 titles on Language, Jurisprudence, Qur'an and Hadith.

In May 2010, he completed a monumental 57-volume work on the lives of female scholars of Hadith in Islamic History. Also now available in English is Madrasah Life (2007) the translation (from Urdu) of his personal memoir of a student’s day at Nadwat al-Ulama.

His al-Fiqh al-Islami vol1 published by Angelwing Media is an original compilation of the fiqh (the codified legal rulings) of Imam Abu Hanifah and his school. For the first time in the English language, the detailed rulings of this school are presented together with the evidence on which they are based; every argument is fully and carefully referenced. Also, the author has taken present day circumstances into consideration, making al-Fiqh al-Islami the first authentic, reliable and relevant account of Hanafi practice in the English language.

Shaykh Akram is the recipient of the Allama Iqbal prize for contribution to Islamic thought. As a leading scholar steeped in traditional Islamic learning and in modern academia, Shaykh Akram is currently a research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford.

 

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