Style and Types of ahadith
During the early period of hadith compilations nothing specific regarding
subject, order or arrangement was into consideration. However with the passage
of time ahadith were compiled on different patterns and different styles.
Depending upon these patterns and styles of arrangements, the ahadith books are
classified into different categories.
PART – A (Well known categories.)
Some of the well known categories are as follows;
1 - Al-Sahih:
These are the books that contains ahadith, which on their personal judgment and
criterion of the compilers, as ‘sahih’. However, there exist probabilities that
some of the ahadith in such books may not have been judged ‘sahih’ by other
compilers. Few of such books are;
i) Sahih al-Bukhari, ii) Sahih Muslim, iii) Sahih ibn Khuzaima, iv) Sahih ibn
Habban, v) Kitab al ilzamat by Abul Hasan Ali ibn Umar Dar Qutni, and others.
2 - Al- Jama’e:
These are the books in which ahadith cover the following eight subjects viz., 1)
Siyar, plural of Sirah – the complete biography of Prophet Muhammad sws, 2)
Adab, plural of ‘adab’ – the etiquettes, 3) Tafsir – the exegesis of Qur’an, 4)
Aqa’ed – the believes, 5) Fitn, plural of ‘fitna’ – sedition, discord, 6)
Ishraat – the signs of day of judgment, 7) Ahkam, plural of ‘hukm’ – laws of
‘shareeah’, and 8) Manaqib, plural of Manqabt – the fine qualities of the
Prophet sws, his ‘sahaaba’ (companions) and his tribe.
The following books of ahadith fall in this category; i) Jama’e al Bukhari, ii)
Jama’e Muslim, iii) Jama’e al Tirmidhi, iv) Jama’e Sufyan ibn Saeed ibn Masrooq
al Kufi, and others.
The books Jama’e al Bukhari and Jama’e Muslim are also termed as al Sahih.
3 - Al Sunnan:
In these books the ahadith are compiled subject wise, and the subject matters
are arranged under the sections of law of books. These sections, initially were
called ‘abwaab, then they were termed as ‘musannaf’ and at present these are
called ‘sunnan’. Following are some famous ‘al sunnan’ books; i) Sunnan ibn
Jareeh, by abul Waleed Abdul Malik ibn Abdul Aziz Rumi (d.151 H), ii) Sunnan
Saeed ibn Mansoor (d. 227 H), iii) Sunnan abi Jafar, by Muhammad ibn al Sabah
Dawalbi (d. 227 H), iv) Sunnan al Imam al Shafaii (d. 204 H), v) Sunnan al
Daarmi (d. 255 H), vi) Sunnan al Tirmidhi (d. 279 H), vii) Sunnan ibn Majaa (d.
275 H),viii) Sunnan abi Dawood (d. 275 H), ix) Sunnan al Sughra by Ibn Shoib
Nisaii (d. 303 H), x) Sunnan dar al Qatni (d. 385 H), xi) Sunnan Ani Bakr Ahmad
ibn Suliman Najjar (d. 348 H), xii) Sunnan abi Qasim (d. 418 H), xiii) Sunnan al
Kubra by Ibn al Hussain Bayhaqi (d. 458 H), xiv) Sunnan al Sughra by Ibn al
4 - Al Musnad:
These are the books in which ahadith are arranged according to the names of the
‘Sahaaba’. Meaning that all the ahadith narrated by a particular ‘Sahaabi’ are
compiled at one place, no matter what subject any hadith deal with. The
criterion of selection of ‘Sahaabi’ is either based upon seniority i.e. who
embraced Islam first, or on alphabetical order. Some times Sunnan are compiled
on the bases of cities or regions.
Some of the ‘masaneed’ based upon the names of ‘sahaaba’ are; i) Munad abi
Dawood a; Tyalsee (d. 204 H), ii) Musnad abi Ishaq al Jawhari (d. 244 H),
acollection of ahadith from Abu Bakr Siddiq ra , and others.
Some of the ‘masaneed’ referring to the three Imams are; i) Munad al Imam Abu
Hanifa, ii) Musnad al Shaafii, iii) Musnad Ahmad.
5- Al Mawata:
Such book contains ahadith of Prophet sws , the narrations of ‘Sahaaba’, fatawa
(rulings) of ‘Tabiin’ and sayings of the writer himself. Such books are; i)
Mawatta al Imam Malik by Malik ibn Anas (d.179 H), ii) al Mawatta by Muhammad
ibn Abdur Rahman bin Abi Za’ib (d. 158 H), iii) Mawatta Ubdaan by Abu Muhammad
Abdullah ibn Musa Maruzi (d. 293 H)
6 – Al Musannaf:
Such book contains ahadith of Prophet sws , the narrations of ‘Sahaaba’, and
fatawa (rulings) of ‘Tabiin’. It does not contain the sayings of the writer but
includes a great number of narrations of ‘Sahaaba’. There is no much difference
between Sunnan, Mawatta and Musannaf.
7- Al Mu’jam:
According to Shaikul Hadith Muhammad Zakaria, ‘mu’jam’ is that book of hadith in
which the alphabetical order is maintained for the narrators no matter they are
‘sahaaba’ or the teachers of the compilers. It means ‘mu’jam’ is very close to
Some of the known ‘mu’ajam’ are; i) Al Mu’jam as Saghir by Imam Tabarani, in
which he has selected one hadith each from his teachers. ii) Mu’jam al Sahaaba
by Abu Muhammad Hussain ibn Masud Baghwi (d. 516 H), iii) Mu’jum al Sahaaba by
ibn Qana’e (d. 351 H) and others.
8 - Al Mustadrak:
It is that book in which those ahadith are compiled which were gathered by
others but they could not include these in their books, although these ahadith
were at par with the criterion set by them. Mustadarakat have been written for
‘Sahihain’ (Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim); these include; i) Kitab al ilzamat by
Ali ibn Umar ibn Ahmad Dar Qatni ( d. 385 H), In this book Dar Qatni compiled
those ahadith which fulfilled the criterion set by Imam Bukhari and Muslim but
were included in their ‘Sahihain’.This book is also based upon the principle of
‘Musnad’. ii) al Mustadrak ela as Sahihain by Hafiz abu Zar Harvi (d. 434 H),
iii) al Mustadrak as Sahihain by Abu Abdullah al Hakim Nishapuri (d. 405 H).
9 - Al Mustakhraj:
In such books those ahadith have been compiled which are taken by other books
without mentioning the names of those compilers. Following are some examples;
Mustakharajat on Sahih Bukhari: i) Al Mustakhraj by Abi Bakr Ahmad ibn Ibrahim
Ismaili (d. 371 H), ii) Mustakhraj al Ghatrifi by Hafiz abu Ahmad ibn Abu Hamid
Ghatrifi 9d. 377 H).
Mustakharajat on Sahih Muslim: i) Mustakhraj Abi Muhammad at Tusu (d. 339 H),
ii) Mustakhraj Abi Saeed Nishapuri (d. 353 H).
Mustakharajat on Sahihain: i) Mustakhraj Abi Naeem by Abu Naeem Ahmad ibn
Abdullah (d. 430 H), ii) Mustakhraj Abi Bakr al Burqani (d. 425 H)
10 – Al Juzz:
In these books ahadith on a particular subject are compiled. These books
include; i) Juzz al Qira’at Khalf al Imam by Imam Bukhari, ii) Juzz Hajjah al
Widaa by Shaikh Muhammad Zakaria (d. 1403 H)
11 – Al Arba’in:
In such books 40 ahadith are compiled either on one subject or different. In
fact the objective to write such books was to follow a hadith related by Imam
Bayhaqi, in which Abul Dard’a narrated that while answering to a question; how
much ‘ilm’ (knowledge) is acquired to become a ‘faqih’ ( jurisprudent),the
Prophet Muhammad sws said, that whoever amongst my ‘ummah’ remembers 40 of my
ahadith that relates to ‘deen’ (religion), he will be raised on the day of
resurrection as a ‘faqih’, and I sws will be his witness and ‘shaafe’
(recommender). (Mishkaat, Kitab al Ilm, 240/10)
The first ‘Arbai’n’ was written by Abdullah ibn Mubarek. Imam Dar Qatni, Imam
Hakim, Abu Naeem, Abu Abdur Rahman Salma, Abu Bakr Bayhaqi and Imam Nawwai also
12 – Al Mawdu:
These are books in which fabricated or concocted narrations are compiled. Such
books include; i) Al Mawduaat al Kubra by Ibn Jawzi, ii) Al Minar al Munif fi al
Sahih wa al Da’if by Ibn Qayyam, iii) Al Mawduaat al Kubra by Mulla Ali Qari,
iv) Silsila al Ahadith al Da’ifa by Allama Nasiruddin Albaani.
PART – B ( Other categories)
13 – Al Ahkaam:
These books contains ahadith selected from the most reliable books and are
related to ‘ahkam’ (laws of ‘shareeah’ and ‘fiqh’. ‘Balugh al Maraam min Adl al
Ahkaam’ by Hafiz ibn Hajr is a good example of it. Such books also fall in the
category of ‘Sunnan’.
14 – Al Mashikha:
In such books ahadith related to one particular Shaikh are compiled, for example
Mashikha al Hafiz Abi Yaala al Khalilee (d. 446 H)
15 – Al Mujjared:
Such books contains those ahadith from one of the reliable books but repetition
of ‘isnad’ and ‘matan’ are omitted and is only referred to narrating ‘sahaabi’.
For example ‘Tajreed al Sahihain’ by Imam Qartabi.
16 – Al Takhreej:
In these books such ahadith which were without ‘isnad’ in other books, are
compiled with relevant ‘isnad’. For example ‘ Talkhis al Hubair fi Takhrij
Ahadith al Rafa’e al Kabeer by Hafiz ibn Hajar.
17 – Al Jama’a:
Such books contains those ahadith from different reliable books but repetition
of ‘isnad’ is omitted, like ‘Al Jama’a bain al Sahihan by Imam Abu Abdullah
Muhammad ibn Abu Nasr Hameedi (d. 488 H), Jama’a al Jawama’e by Allama
Jajaluddin Sauti (d. 911 H)
18- Al Fahris:
Such books have compilations of the ‘fahris’ (list) of all the ahadith books, so
that any hadth may be located easily. For example ‘Miftah Sahih al Bukhari and
Miftah Sahih Muslim both by Muhammad ibn Mustafa Tauqadi.
19 – Al Itraaf:
In these books hadith are collected by their first or last lwords, so that a
particular hadith may be recognized. Such books are very helpful to relocate a
semi-forgettable hadith. Itraaf al Sahihain by Abu Masud Ibrahim ibn Muhammad
Damishiqi (d. 401 H)
20 – Al Mushtehara:
In these books such ahadith are collected which are ‘mashoor’ (well circulated)
but their ‘isnad’ is generally not known. For example; i) Al Durr al Muntashra
fi al Ahadith al Mushtehara by Allama Jalaluddin Sauti, ii) Al La’a li al
Manshura fi al Ahadith al Mashhura by Hafiz ibn Hajar.
21 – Asbaab al Hadith:
Ahadith, along with details that how, when and under what circumstances these
were narrated by Prophet sws, are compiled in such books. For example al Lama’a
fi Asbaab al Hadith by Hafiz Jalaluddin Sauti.
22 – Al Zawwaid:
In these books all those ahadith, which are collected from all other books but
are not in ‘Sahihain’ ( Sahih al Bukhar, Sahih Muslim). For example Majma’e al
Zawwaid wa Munba’e al Fawaid by Allama Nooruddin Haithmi (d. 807 H)
23 – Al Illal:
In such books those ahadith are compiled which have question marks on ‘isnad’
and incoherence in their ‘matan’. Kitab al Illal by Imam Bukari, Kitab al Illal
al Kabeer by Imam Tirmidhi are good examples.
24 – Sharh al Hadith:
These are the books which are commentaries on hadith books. For example Fath al
Bari by Hafiz ibn Hajar is a commentary on Sahih al Bukhari.
25 – Al Azkaar:
In such books all those ahadith relating to supplications are compiled. For
example Kitab al Azkaar by Imam Nawwi, Al Hasan al Husain by Allama al Jazri or
al Kalam al Tayyab by Imam Taimyyah.
26 – Al Musalsalat:
In these books those ahadith are collected in which all the narrators have a
common characteristic, e.g. all the narrators are ‘faqih’ or ‘muhaddith’ or they
use to perform same actions while narrating ahadith. For example; Al Azb al
Silsal fi al Hadith al Musalsal by Hafiz Shamsuddin Dhahabi (d. 748 H), Al fazal
al Mubin fi al Misalsal min Hadith al Nabi al Ameen by Shah Waliullah Dehalvi
(d. 1176 H)
27 – Al Targheeb wa Al Tarheeb:
These books include those ahadith that relate to alluring and persuasion towards
‘deen’. Al Targheeb wa al Tarheeb by zakiuddin Abdul Azeem ibn Munzaree (d. 656
H) is one of the examples of such books.
28 – Ghareeb al Hadith:
These are books in which all the words in a hadith are explained by providing
their literal and tradional meanings. For example; Ghareeb al Hadith by Abul
Farj ibn Jawzi (d. 597 H).