Islam and the Authority of Hadith
This paper discusses the Hadith in Islam and how this contemporary trend is slowly becoming more popular among different Muslim sects.
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This paper examines the role of Hadith, traditions about Muhammad, in Islam. It clarifies the reasons for the importance of such traditions to Sunni Muslims and looks at one of the most lively and potentially liberating trends in contemporary Islam, the complete rejection of the religious value of Hadith.
“The first problematic feature of hadith literature is precisely its casual, anecdotal nature. The hadith collections incorporate a large volume of material about the Prophet which varies from tales which are regarded even by most modern secular historians – as almost certainly authentic down to those which are regarded as highly improbable. Although Islamic scholars soon developed a “science” of hadith (riwayat) which seems admirable in comparison to the speculativeness which surrounds debate about the authenticity of traditions concerning Christ, the fact remains that the extant hadith collections date from a period as late as about a quarter of a millennium after Muhammed allegedly died. (I say “allegedly” because it is from the hadith literature itself that the Prophet’s life dates are determined.)”