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The Preservation of the Ḥadīth Literature

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Hadith & Fiqh Discussions

The Preservation of the adīth Literature

By Muntasir Zaman

Marks of ink on one’s mouth and clothes are emblems of honor.”[1]

– Ibrāhīm al-Nakha‘ī

Introduction

How has the Islamic civilization maintained the rich literary heritage of Ḥadīth developed by early Muslim scholars? What guarantee is there that the collections of ḥadīths in our possession have reached us accurately or that they were compiled by their purported authors? Far from being exhaustive, this article intends to provide answers to these questions. It begins by examining the procedures scholars instituted to ensure accurate transmission of Ḥadīth books. It then proceeds to study the practice of oral/aural transmission (samā‘) and public reading sessions and their influence in preserving the Ḥadīth literature. Thereafter, the article builds on three arguments that Ibn al-Wazīr al-Yamānī (d. 840 AH) posits in response to those who doubt the authorship of the major…

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