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Classifications of Hadith
1. Classification of hadith based on acceptance and rejection
i) Al-Maqbul (acceptable): It is acceptable because it is reliably linked to the Prophet. For example, Sahih, Hasan, Gharib.
ii) Al-Mardud (rejected): It is rejected because of the weakness or fabrication in the isnad or matn. For example, Dhaif.
2. 2. Classification of hadith based on the numbers of reporters involved in each stage of isnad
i) Mutawatir (consecutive): Any hadith which is reported by many people, at least five. The most important condition of ‘tawatur’ is the hadith must be reported by a number of people who can never connive in telling lie.
a. Mutawatir lafzi: All the reporter of hadith use the same verbal language and wording and convey the same meaning. For example, “Whoever invents a lie and attributes to me intentionally, let him prepare his seat in the fire.”
b. Mutawatir ma’nawi: Narrated by various people using different wording but convey the same meaning. For example, “Raising hands during prayer.”
ii) Ahad (single): Any hadith narrated by less than five narrators
a. Gharib (strange): Only a single reporter is found relating it at some stage of isnad.
b. Aziz: Only two reporters at any stage of the isnad.
c. Masyhur (famous): More than two reporters at any stage.
3. Classification of hadith based on the reliability and memory of the reporters
i) Sahih Lizatihi: It is challenging to find this type of hadith. Sahih lizatihi any hadith satisfy the following five conditions.
- Narrated by trustworhty narrator (‘adl) from the beginning to the end.
- Has good memory and is a good preserver.
- The chain of narrators has to be connected and uninterrupted from the beginning to the end.
- Hadith must be total agreement with the narrations of other huffaz.
- It must be free from illat.
- For Imam Bukhari, he added a condition for sahih lizatihi which is the reporters must see each other at least once.
ii) Sahih Lighairihi: Does not qualify to be sahih lizatihi because of the weaknesses of the memory of the narrator. It has all the five conditions of sahih lizatihi. The only difference is in the strength of memory. It must be supported by external factors.
4 4. Classification of hadith based on rejection
i) Dhaif (weak): Hadith that lacks any of the five conditions of hadith maqbul. To identify, it begins with “It is reported that...” not “The Prophet says...”. A hadith can be weak based on its isnad but if the matn not, it can be accepted in as much it is supported from different chain. Similarly, a chain can be sound but if the content of the Hadith contradicts the report of others (shaz) it will be rejected. Opinions on the usage of hadith dhaif:
a. 1st opinion: Can be used to establish ruling in matters related to halal/haram in the abscence of any other alternative.
b. 2nd opinion: Will not be used in any way.
c. 3rd opinion: Recomended to be used only in matters related to mustahab and fadhail al-amal.
ii) Al-Maudu’: Most dangerous type of hadith (in fact, it is not even hadith) in destroying the religion and confusing the mentality of Muslim for specific purposes:
i. Political reason, to support Abu Bakr, Ali or Muawiyah.
“Ali is the best Human being ever, whoever disagrees with that is Kafir.”
“The trustworthy of all mankind are three: Myself (Prophet), Angel Jibril and of course Muawiyyah.”
ii. Hatred for Islam.
iii. Supporting madhab.
iv. For worldly, material gain.
In defense of sunnah, Scholars of Hadith exerted effort to reveal all forged a Hadith they could lay their hands on. The following are the most important collection of maudu’: Al-Mauduat by Abd al-Rahman Ibn al-Jawzi (597AH). This is one of the oldest and most comprehensive books on the subject. Some scholars however, critize Ibn al-Jawzi for including some a hadith which are not forged, some are even sound. For this reason, Al-Sayudi, summarised Ibn al-Jawzi’s book in his al-laili al-Masnuah fi al ahadith al-mauduah and made his critical observations and notification of those sound ahadith.
5. 5. Classification of hadith based on omission in the isnad
Based on whether the chain is interrupted or not Hadith can be classified into:
i) Al-Munqati: Any hadith that has a broken link or a reporter missing anywhere in the chain. Example, a hadith begins with “A man narrated to me...”
Example: Abu Dawud reported that Shuja’ bin Mikhlad narrated from Hashim from Yunus bin Abaid from al-Hasan al-Basari he says: “Umar bin al-Khattab appointed Ubay bin Kaab to lead people tarawih prayers making 20 rakaat, he does not do qunut until towards the end.” Obviously, this is munqati because al-Hasan was born 21 AH while Umar died 23AH.
ii) Al-Mursal: If the link between the successor and the Prophet SAW is missing. Example: When the successor says, “The prophet said…” Al-Shafi says, “Prophet was making talbiyat aloud saying “Labaika allahumma labaik”. Shafi’i is tabii reporting from the prophet. This type of hadith is acceptable.
iii) Al-Muallaq: Any hadith in which one or two people are consecutively missing from the beginning of the chain. It is rejected and unacceptable.
iv) Mu’dal: Any hadith in which two or more reporters are missing anywhere in the chain. It does not matter whether at the beginning, center or at the end of the chain. This type of hadith is rejected.
v) Al-Mursal al-Khafiy: Is a type of Hadith in which the narrator reports from his contemporary whom he had not heard from, or met. They lived at the same time but they did not meet. The fact that they are contemporary creates an impression that the two reporters met each other. This Hadith is weak due to the confusion and uncertainty in the chain.
Example: Ibrahim reported Abdallah al-Harwiy from Hisham, Hisham heard from Yunus, Yunus heard from Nafi’, Nafi’ heard from Ibn Umar who said that the prophet said:
“For a wealthy to postpone paying off his debt is a sign of aggression…”
This hadith obviously creates an impression that Yunus bin Ubaid Met with Nafi’, hence there is no omission in the chain. But al-Bukhari said Yunus did not hear the hadith directly from Nafi’.
vi) Al-Mudallas: Hadith which is weak as a result of uncertainty caused by tadlis. Tadlis (concealing) is a situation in which reporters conceals the identity of his teacher or hide the name of his teacher. There are three types of tadlis which are:
a. Tadlis al- Isnad: A person reports from a teacher (whom he met) but he reported that he did not hear from him.
b. Tadlis as- Syuyukh: The reporter does not mention his teacher by name, but uses a less well-known to disclose his teacher’s identity.
c. Tadlis at- Taswiyah: A trustworthy reporter narrates from a weak reporter who in turn reports from another trustworthy authority.
Example: He plainly shows that he heard from the trustworthy authority but uses the mode, “on the authority of”, to link his immediate chain to the trustworthy one. Obviously, the sanad seems free of any doubt or discrepancy. That is exactly the impression the mudallis wants to create. The Hadith is weak because of this dishonesty and intellectual fraud.
6. 6. Classification of Hadith based on its origin
i) Al- Hadith al- Marfui: Any hadith related to the prophet directly without any omission in the chain in relation to action, saying or silent approval. This sometimes called Hadith al- Muttasil. For example, As- Sahih Lizatihi, As- Sahih Lighairihi, Hasan and so on.
Example: Al- Marfui can be a direct report from the prophet or a reported speech from a companion of the prophet, saying for example, the hadith begins with Imirna ( “we are permitted to do...”), Nuyina ( “we are prohibited to do…” ), Minas sunnah (“it is in line with the teaching of Sunnah that...”)
ii) Al- Hadith al- Mauquf: Any hadith related to the companion of the Prophet. The chain of the Hadith does not go beyond the companion of the prophet.
In otherwords, it is the Hadith reports the saying of Sahabi of the prophet. Example: It begins with "Ibn umar says...", "Ibn Abbas says..."
iii) Al- Maqdui: This refers to what is related to at-tabii, the successor of the companions of the prophet. This also can be Sahih, Hasan or Daif. The best place to find al-Maqdui are Musannaf by Abdul Razak ibn Humam al-Sanaani (211 AH), and Musannaf by AbuBakr bn Abi Shaibah 235AH. They gather all what they know about what companions and tabiin say on a specific issues.