Book Review: The Preservation of Hadith

The Preservation of Hadith

Title: The Preservation of Hadith: A Brief Introduction to the Science of Hadith
Author: Shaikh Ibrahim Madani
Publisher: Madania Publications (2010)

This is a short treatise, consisting of 46 pages, introducing the science of hadith. Shaikh Ibrahim Madani writes in his introduction:

This short booklet is written to introduce the reader to the knowledge of hadith. It discusses important issues such as how the hadith were compiled, the preservation of hadith, principles regarding the authenticity and weakness in a hadith, the importance of hadith and the various types of hadith books. It ends with short biographies of some of the famous hadith masters. This booklet may be looked upon as a first step in acquiring the insight that is necessary for advancing in this science.

The chapter on the ‘Methodologies of Hadith Preservation’ was very interesting, because it presents stories which describe the accurate memories of the Companions of the Prophet (may Allah be please with them) and those who followed them. Some of the stories include having their memories being tested by the rulers of their time. The chapter also breaks down the misconception that many people have, which is that the hadiths were not written down by the Companions. The author presents stories of Abu Huraira and Anas (may Allah be please with them) having personal libraries and documenting hadith in a written manner.

There is also a chapter of the different types of hadith books. We tend to be very familiar with their names but are often unaware of their definitions and descriptions. Some of the types of hadith books that Shaikh Madani includes are al-Jawami, al-Sunan, al-Manasid, al-Mu’jam, al-Mustadrak and more. After mentioning thirteen different types of hadith books the author writes:

There are many other types of hadith books which are not being mentioned here, both for the sake of brevity and because understanding the various other types of compilations requires an expertise in the field of hadith.

There also a chapter on the different types of hadith, such as Marfu’, Mauquf, Maqtu’ and so on. The author explains that there are over fifty terms that are used by the hadith masters to define hadith. Other technical terminologies are defined and briefly described such as Mutawatir, Mashhur, Gharib, Shadh, and Ma’ruf, along with many other terms. Lastly the book ends with brief biographies of twenty-five hadith masters of the past.

The book leaves the reader with an understanding of the complexity of the science of hadith and an appreciation for the scholars of hadith who have preserved this great Prophetic knowledge and the jurists (Fuqaha) who are able to examine this extensive and complex field to derive rulings of jurisprudence (fiqh) from them. May Allah always preserve this knowledge and reward all those who assisted in writing and publishing this book. Ameen.

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