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Style and Types of Ahadith Books
Author/Source:   Posted by: M Rashid Hai
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Style and Types of ahadith books

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 Hussain Bayhaqi.

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 ‘musnad’.

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 compiled ‘Arbai’n’.

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).

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