Sciences of Hadith: A Student’s Perspective
by Faraz Bajwa
I start by praising Allah and asking Him to increase us all in beneficial knowledge and righteous actions for His Pleasure and His Face Alone.
In the old days, the sahabah and tabi’een would travel great distances to learn just a simple concept or hear one Hadith from another person who heard it directly from the Prophet peace be upon him. Today, we are blessed, but also tested with the widespread availability of such beneficial knowledge at our doorsteps. Let us avail these opportunities of learning to improve our knowledge and righteous actions.
The Sciences of Hadith, or also known as Mustalah al-Hadith in Arabic, is a relatively unknown subject to many Muslims today. Many are ignorant of the enormous efforts of the Hadith scholars, who collected, recorded, graded, and classified the ahadith found in the Hadith books.
Mustalah al-Hadith can be defined as the study of hadith in terms of principles, rules, and state of the isnaad (chain of narration going back to the Prophet) and the matan (text) contained in the hadith with respect to its acceptance and rejection. Similar to other subjects and fields of study, Mustalah al-Hadith has a history and tradition that traces back to the time of the companions and pious predecessors.
It is only with knowledge of this subject, that one can begin to appreciate the great efforts that went into gathering even a single hadith and evaluating every single person in its sanad (chain of narrators) in order to ensure its correctness and authenticity. Study of this subject increases one›s connection with hadith and respect for the scholars who dedicated their entire lives for this cause. In reality, Allah utilized these great scholars for the service of Islam.
Mustalah al-Hadith is seldom taught and the majority of books and lectures on the subject are primarily in Arabic. Fortunately, for the community living in the GTA, there is a class that started in late 2011, with the objective of explaining each of the 42 Hadith of Imam Nawawi, as compiled in his book “Al-Arba’een An-Nawawiyyah” (40 Hadith of Nawawi), but also to introduce the topic of Mustalah al-Hadith to the students. The class is offered at Madina Centre (Unit 47, 3176 Ridgeway Drive, Mississauga ON L5L 5M6) on Sundays 3pm-5pm by a teacher who has studied directly with some of the big scholars of Yemen.
It is hoped that these few words can be a means of encouragement to the reader to seek this knowledge in this particular field. No student of knowledge can call themselves as such without studying this important subject.