Not all hadith were written 200 years after!
Stages of Recording Hadith!
During the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad, he used to teach his Sunnah using three methods: verbal, written (dictation to scribes), and practical demonstration.
As far as the first method is concerned, the Prophet used to repeat important things three times and then listen to what the Companions had learned from him. The second method includes all the letters of the Prophet to kings inviting them to Islam, and to Muslim governors detailing the rules of zakah and other legal matters.
Likewise, Prophet Muhammad taught his Companions how to perform ablution, prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, and so on. This represents the third method of teaching the Sunnah by the Prophet.
The Companions played an important role in learning and teaching the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad. They used all three methods applied by Prophet Muhammad to teach the Sunnah, and they committed hadiths of the Prophet to memory.
Writing Down the Hadith
In Hadith literature, there are hadiths that forbid and others that permit the writing down of hadiths, which often causes a confusion for some people.
Prophet Muhammad once said,
"Do not write from me anything except the Qur'an and whosoever has written anything from me other than the Qur'an should erase it." (Al-Bukhari)
By this hadith Prophet Muhammad actually meant that nothing should be written with the Qur'an on the same sheet, as this might lead to mixing the text of the Qur'an with that of the Hadith. This command was given when the Qur'an was being revealed piecemeal and was still incomplete.
Another interpretation of the hadith is that it was forbidden to write down hadiths in early days because all attention was to be paid to the Qur'an and its preservation.
Then later on, when there was no fear of abandoning the Qur'an, the previous order was abrogated and the Companions were permitted to write down hadiths. On the other hand, there is evidence that Prophet Muhammad approved of writing down his hadiths.
Many Companions recorded hadiths. For example, `Abdullah ibn `Amr was permitted and even encouraged by Prophet Muhammad to write down Hadith. In addition, some 50 Companions and many followers are said to have possessed manuscripts (sahifah, Arabic plural suhuf), which was used as a term to designate compendia of Hadith that emerged during the century before the formation of the classical collections.
The original manuscripts have been lost, but a very few copies have survived. An example is the manuscript of Hammam ibn Munabbih, who learned from Abu Hurairah and from him he wrote his manuscript which contains 138 hadiths. This manuscript is believed to have been written down around the middle of the first century after the Hijrah (seventh century CE).
In the beginning of the second Hijri century, during the reign of `Umar ibn `Abdul-`Aziz, the texts of Hadith were committed to writing. The Sunnah was collected in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, and Khurasan. Leading theologians uttered some statements warning against unscrupulous reporters and their unreliable reports.
Imam Malik was the first to undertake the comprehensive and systematic compilation of Hadith. His work is known as Al-Muwatta' (The Trodden Path). Later, other compilations came into existence.
In this regard, it is important to note that there are two kinds of compilations: musnad and musannaf. In musnad collections, hadiths are arranged alphabetically under the names of the Companions on whose authority these hadiths were reported. An example of this kind is the Musnad of Ibn Hanbal .
In musannaf collections, hadiths are recorded under various headings dealing with juridical subjects such as the compilations of Al-Bukhari , Muslim, An-Nasa'i, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah .
Evolution of the Science of Hadith
As time passed, many hadiths appeared due to several reasons. Some of these hadiths were not authentic. Therefore, it was necessary to sift out the authentic from the fabricated. The task was not that easy for early scholars to develop a tool by which they could regulate such immense Hadith literature.
The rules and criteria developed by Hadith scholars regulating their study of Hadith were meticulous. However, some of their terminology varied from person to person, and their principles began to be systematically written down, albeit scattered among various books, for example, the Risalah of Ash-Shafi`i, the introduction to the Sahih of Muslim, and the Jami` of At-Tirmidhi.
Many of the criteria of early Hadith scholars, such as Al-Bukhari, were deduced by later scholars from a careful study of which reporters or isnads (chains of transmission) were accepted or rejected by them.
In this way, the science of Hadith (mustalah al-hadith) emerged. It was the purpose of this science to sift, organize, develop, and systemize earlier material.
Scholars put forward theories, expanded biographical works of all generations, made full and well-defined classification of narrators and hadiths, and subjected works of leading compilers to vigorous scrutiny, sparing not even Al-Bukhari and Muslim.
· 1 decade ago