It Is Reported That The Prophet Said…
often reads “It is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)
said…” or similar words. These reports are known as Hadiths (meaning
“statements”, but often called Traditions in English). They have been handed
down to us from the Companions, the Muslims who lived at the time of the
Actually, a Hadith might be a report of what the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, did, or what he approved or disapproved of. The collection of the deeds, practices, and words of the Prophet—known from the Hadiths—is known as the Sunnah, and it forms the second source of Islamic Law after the Qur’an.
Muslims accept the Sunnah as equivalent to the Qur’an, the Book of Allah (God), and its ordinances are of equal weight to the ordinances of the Qur’an. This is because both the Qur’an and Sunnah are from Allah.
Sometimes the Qur’an gives a general principle, and the details are known only
from the Sunnah. An example of this is the five daily ritual Prayers (Salah).
The Qur’an instructs us to remember Allah at various times of the day, but the
details of exactly when and how to perform Salah are known from the
Sunnah, the words and actions of the Prophet himself (peace and blessings be
Hadiths were written down during the life of the Prophet, while others were
passed on orally and collected later. Scholars study the Prophetic Hadiths and
their chains of oral transmission to determine which are valid or authoritative.
No Hadith is held true or cited as a proof unless it can be authentically
attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
are six well known collections of Hadiths, the most authoritative of which are
those by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. After a Hadith is quoted, it is common to cite
the collection(s) from which it came. If the same Hadith appears in all of them,
the words “agreed upon” or “the group” will usually follow it.
are approximately 10,000 Hadiths. They are widely available in libraries and
bookshops throughout the Muslim world. Some of the collections have been
translated into English and other languages. But like the Qur’an, they can only
be fully understood in Arabic, and only the Arabic text can be used in making