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Hadith (pronounced /ˈhædɪθ/; Arabic: الحديث‎ al-ḥadīth [ħaˈdiːθ]; pl. aḥādīth; lit. “narrative”) are narrations concerning the words and deeds of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Hadith are regarded by traditional Islamic schools of jurisprudence as important tools for understanding the Qur’an and in matters of jurisprudence. Hadith were evaluated and gathered into large collections mostly during the reign of Umar ibn AbdulAziz during the 8th and 9th centuries. These works are referred to in matters of Islamic law and history to this day. The two main denominations of Islam, Shiʻism and Sunnism, have different sets of Hadith collections.


In Arabic the word hadith means ‘that which is new from amongst things’ or ‘a piece of information conveyed either in a small quantity or large’. The Arabic plural is aḥādīth. Hadith also refers to the speech of a person. As tahdith is the infinitive, or verbal noun, of the original verb form; hadith is, therefore, not the infinitive,[3] rather it is a noun.[4]

In Islamic terminology, the term hadith refers to reports of statements or actions of Muhammad, or of his tacit approval of something said or done in his presence.[5] Classical hadith specialist Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani says that the intended meaning of hadith in religious tradition is something attributed to Muhammad, as opposed to the Qur’an.[6] Other associated words possess similar meanings including: khabar (news, information) often refers to reports about Muhammad, but sometimes refers to traditions about his companions and their successors from the following generation; conversely, athar (trace, vestige) usually refers to traditions about the companions and successors, though sometimes connotes traditions about Muhammad. The word sunnah (custom) is also used in reference to a normative custom of Muhammad or the early Muslim community.

Sunnihadith literature
The Six Books
(Al-Kutub al-Sittah)
Primary collections
Secondary collections
Hadith terminology
and science
Biographical evaluation

External links

Wikiquote quotations related to: Hadith

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