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The Hadith (الحديث ahadith, plural) are traditions of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, giving us important information about him and his life. They are usually narrations about a certain incident in which he said or did something. Unlike the Qur'an, they typically follow a chronological order, and most of them are compiled by category (i.e. Jihad, Nikah, etc.).
The Hadith is where Muslims determine the Sunnah (or way) of the prophet, which is Muhammad's words, actions, and practices. This is key to Islam since Muslims are commanded to obey and emulate him, so even the most insignificant of actions on his part have a drastic effect upon the doctrines and laws of Islam.
The word 'Sunni' comes from the word 'Sunnah', and most of the world's Muslims (up to 90%) follow this Sunni form of Islam. There are certain Hadith considered by most Sunnis to be trustworthy and these are commonly known as the Authentic Six. Only two of them are actually labeled as authentic (sahih), and they are Bukhari and Muslim. These collections are second only to the Qur'an in authority. The others are from Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nasa'i, and Ibn Majah. In strength, Malik's Muwatta' is placed just below the two Sahihs, but is not generally included among the six.
Online Hadith (English Translations)
- Sahih Bukhari
- Sahih Muslim
- Sunan Abu Dawud (partial)
- Malik's Muwatta
- Jami al-Tirmidhi
- Hadith Qudsi (hadith which contain non-Qur'anic words from Allah, repeated by Muhammad)
In Shi'ite Islam (approx 10-20% of the world's Muslim population) they have their own collections and are more particular in regards to the Hadith narrations they will accept. If a narrator was not a member of the Ahl al-Bayt (Muhammad's household) or one of their supporters, then the narration is typically rejected. For example, they reject narrations from Abu Huraira. Al-Kafi is the most reliable Shi'ite hadith.
Qur'anist (Submitters, Reformists, etc.)
This minority group rejects the Hadith altogether and are classed as heretics by mainstream Islam. This "Qur'an-only" approach to the Islamic faith is not without its problems.
- Hadith - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Hadith
- Bukhari, Muslim, Malik, and Dawud Hadith Collection - Hadith software which features full text search and bookmarks
- Comparison of Sunni and Shia Islam - ReligionFacts
- Islām - Encyclopædia Britannica (2010)
- Sunnite - Encyclopædia Britannica (2010)
- Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Muslim Population - Pew Research Center, October 7, 2009
- Tracy Miller - Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population - Pew Research Center, October 2009
- Various Issues About Hadiths - by Sh. G. F. Haddad
- Shīʿite - Encyclopædia Britannica Online (2010)
- Al Kafi - The Bukhari of Shi'ism - AHYA