A Reading List of English Books in Hadith Studies

Over the past few years, a significant number of friends and students have requested a list of suggested book readings for my various classes on Hadith Studies. Others over the past few years have asked my opinion about certain works or whether they are appropriate for the level of the enquirer. Recently, I was reminded of a promise to compile a short list of works I would consider useful reading material for a student and have thus decided to take out a few minutes to compose this post, keeping in mind the various levels of readers and the need for conciseness. Continue reading

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On the Hadith that the Ummah is Unlettered

Question: Where can I find the ḥadīth about this ummah being illiterate? Is it found in any strong sources, and if so, weren’t there Companions who could read and write in the Prophet’s time (sallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam)?

Answer: The ḥadīth I believe you are referring to reads: “We are an unlettered nation (ummah). We do not write nor do we calculate.” This ḥadīth can be found in Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī (1814), Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim (1080), Sunan Abī Dāwūd (5319), Sunan al-Nasā’ī (2451), Musnad Aḥmad (5017,5137,6041, and 6129), and Muṣannaf Ibn Abī Shaybah (3:85). Continue reading

The Status of the Hadith on the Obligation of Seeking Knowledge

Question:

What is the status of the ḥaḍīth: “Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim male and Muslim female”? I have been told that it is fabricated but then I hear it quoted by so many scholars. Please explain.

Answer:

The ḥadīth in question is normally quoted in two different manners, one without the addition of “Muslim female” and the other with it. It is true that the addition of “Muslim female” is not found in any of the primary ḥadīth sources and is thus baseless from the perspective of wording. Continue reading

Research on the Famous Hadith of the Virtues of Ramadan and Its Three Parts

Question:

There is a ḥadīth that divides Ramadan into three periods. Is this ḥadīth authentic?

Reply:

After a detailed analysis of all the corroboratory chains of the ḥadīth in question, it can be concluded that it is of a weak (ḍaʿīf) nature. The weakness of the narration, however, is not of such severity as to render it baseless. Narrations of this type can be used for the purpose of encouragement and relation of virtue according to the opinion of the vast majority of ḥadīth scholars. Continue reading

Research on the Hadith on Moving Mountains and Changing Habits

Question: 

I have often heard this hadith that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said that a mountain can move from its place but a man cannot change his habits. Is this really a hadith and is it authentic?

Answer:

In the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Mercy-Giving.

The narration that you refer to can be found in the Musnad of Imām Aḥmad bin Ḥanbal [ḥadīth no. 27539]. Its textual wording is as such: Continue reading