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Sayyidina Muhammad (pbuh) said in his last Khutbah at Arafat:

All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly.

1)      Sahifah:

Sahifah is a collection of Ahadeeth of Sayyidina Muhammad  as written down by one of his companions. Collection of Abdullah bin Al-Aas  known as Sadiqah is an example.

2)      Musannaf:

It is a large collection of Ahadeeth in which Ahadeeth relating to different topics are put together and arranged in chapters dealing with a particular topic. Muwatta of Imam Malik, Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim are examples of this kind.

3)      Musnad:

The word Musnad (supported) was originally used for Ahadeeth which were supported by a complete uninterrupted chain of narrators going back to a companion who related it from Sayyidina Muhammad. But later on the term came to used in a more general sense of reliable and authoritative Ahadeeth. In this sense the term is also used for all reliable works of Hadeeth literature, and the works like Sunan of al-Darimi and Sunan of Al-Bukhari may be called Musnads. But technically, it is used only for those collections of Ahadeeth in which they are arranged in accordance to the names of the final authorities by whom they are related irrespective of their subject matter.

4)      Sunan:

Sunan are collections of Ahadeeth relating to Al-Ahkam (legal injunctions). The collection prepared by Imam Abu Dau’d (RA), Imam Nasa’i (RA), and others are known as Sunan works.

5)      Mu’jam:

The term Mu’jam is commonly applied to such works on various subjects which are arranged in alphabetical order. The collections which are arranged under the names of the companions in alphabetical order are also known as Mu’jam al-Sahaba. But according to the authorities of the science of Hadeeth the term is technically used for such collections of Ahadeeth which in fact have been arranged according to the Muhadditheen from whom the compiler himself received them. Collections belonging to this class are Tabrani, Ibn al-Qani.

6)      Ijzah:

The ijzah are collections of Ahadeeth that have been handed down on the authority of one single individual whether he be a Sahabi (companion) or a Taba’ee (successor).

7)      Rasa’il:

These are collection of Ahadeeth which deal with one particular topic out of the following eight topics into which the contents of the Jam’i books of Ahadeeth may be classified:

a)      Aqaaid (Beliefs).

b)      Ahkam (Laws).

c)      Ruqaq (Peity, Asceticism, Mysticism etc.)

d)      Aadaab (etiquettes in eating, drinking, travelling etc.)

e)      Tafsir (commentary of the Holy Qur’an).

f)        Tarikh or Siyar (historical or biographical matters which include cosmology, ancient history, life of Sayyidina Muhammad   companions and successors.

g)      Fitan (trials and tribulations).

h)      Appreciation and denunciation of persons and places.

The Rasa’il are also called Kutub (Books). The works of Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani and Jalaluddin Suyuti belong to this category.

8)      Mustadrak:

These are collections of Ahadeeth in which the complier has accepted the conditions laid down by previous compilers, and adds Ahadeeth left by the original compilers for some reason. Mustadrak of Hakim belongs to this category who increased the Ahadeeth in the works of Bukhari and Muslim which were originally not included by them in their Sahihs.

9)      Mustakhraj:

Mustakhraj are those collections of Ahadeeth in which a later compiler adds fresh Isnads (chains of narrators) to the traditions already collected by previous compilers. Abu Nu’aym Isfahani wrote a Mustakhraj on the Sahih of Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim by adding fresh chains of narrators for some of the traditions which were already included by them in their Sahihs.

10)  Jami’:

Jami’ are those collection of Ahadeeth which contain Ahadeeth relating to various subject matters mentioned under Rasa’il. Sahih Bukhari and Tirmidhi are examples of this category.

11)  Arba’eenat:

Arba’eenat as the name suggests are the collections of forty Ahadeeth relating to one or more subjects which may have appeared of special interest to the compiler.

The Arba’een of Imam Nawawi (RA) is an example of this kind.

This is in obedience to the Hadeeth of Sayyidina Muhammad:

“Whosoever of my ummah commits to memory Forty Ahadeeth regarding religious matters, he will be raised with the Jurists and religious scholars on The Day of Judegement”


Ahadeeth have been divided into three main categories on the basis of reliability of the narrators and the degree of authenticity of the text:

1)      Al-Sahih (Sound):

A Hadeeth that has come down through the virtuous and pious men of age and whose integrity is beyond doubt and therefore the chain of transmission (Al-Isnad) and the text (Al-Matn) are sound, furthermore its text doesn’t contradict any established belief of Islam. They have grades:

a)      Those given by Bukhari and Muslim.

b)       Those given by Bukhari alone.

c)      Those given by Muslim alone.

d)      Those not given by either, but fulfil their shuroot (conditions set by them).

e)      Those which fulfil Bukhari’s Shuroot (conditions set by Imam Bukhari).

f)        Traditions sound in the opinion of other authorities.

2)      Al-Hasan (Good):

A Hadeeth which is not considered quite as strong as a Sahih Hadeeth because of the fact that some of its narrators have been found to have a weaker memory in comparison to the narrators of a Sahih Hadeeth. They are however sufficient for establishing points of law.

3)      Al-Da’eef or Al-Saqeem (infirm):

The moral excellence of narrators of this category of Ahadeeth is questionable. These types of Ahadeeth have various degrees keeping in view the defects in their reporters or the texts. Allowance is made for using weak Ahadeeth in dealing with advise, stories, and good behaviour. Weak Ahadeeth should not be used in dealings with matters of law, i.e. Halal and Haram.


1)      Mutawatir (continuous):

A Hadeeth reported by a large number of people at different times, which makes it impossible for any falsehood to enter it. This condition must be met in the entire chain from its source to its end.

2)      Mashoor (popular):

These are Ahadeeth which were originally narrated in the first generation by two to four narrators. Later (on their authority) these were narrated by several narrators.

3)      Aziz (rare):

A Hadeeth that has been transmitted by not less then two persons from not less then two.

4)      Ghareeb (poor or strange):

A Hadeeth that is narrated from only one companion or from a single person at a later stage. It may apply to the chain of transmission (Al-Isnad) or the text (Al-Matn) or both. With a little difference it is also known as Fard with only one transmitter at each stage or which is transmitted by people of only one particular area and if it differs from what others report then this type of Hadeeth is known as Shaaz. If it differs from what people of greater authority transmit or if its transmitter is not of sufficient reliability to have his unsupported tradition accepted, it is rejected.


1)      Muttasil (connected):

A Hadeeth with an unbroken chain traced back to the source. This has two kinds:

a)      Muttasil Marfoo:

Chain goes back to Sayyidina Muhammad.

b)      Muttasil Mauqooq (restricted):

Chain goes back to a Sahabi (companion).

2)      Maqtu’ (intersected):

A Hadeeth going back to a Tabi’ee (successor). Some experts have used it in the sense of Munqati (disconnected) which has been used for a Hadeeth that has a chain including unspecified people or one later then a Tabi’ee, who claims to have heard it from someone having defective hearing. It is also used for one later then a Tabi’ee quoting directly from a Sahabi (companion); but commonly this term is used when there is a break in the chain of authority at any stage later then a Tai’ee.

3)      Munfasil (separated):

It is applied to a Hadeeth with several breaks in the chain.

4)      Mu’allaq (suspended):

When one or more names are omitted at the beginning of the isnad or when the whole chain is omitted it is called Mu’allaq.

5)      Mursal (dropped):

A Hadeeth in which a Tabi’ee directly quotes from Sayyidina Muhammad, dropping the Sahabi (companion) from the chain.

6)      Mu’allal or Ma’lool:

A Hadeeth that has some fault in the chain of transmission (Al-Isnad) or the text (Al-Matn).


1)      Musalsal:

A Hadeeth where the transmitters in an isnad use the same words or are of the same type or come from the same place. This types has two kinds:

a)      Musalsal al-half:

If in the chain of transmitters every one swears an oath regarding the authenticity of the text (Al-Matn).

b)      Musalsal al-yad:

If in the chain of transmitters each of the transmitters gives his hand to whom he transmits the Hadeeth.

2)      Mudallas:

A Hadeeth having a concealed defect in the isnad due to different reasons. Different classification of this kind are as follows :

a)      Tadless-ul-Isnad:

This defect may be pretending to hear a Hadeeth from a contemporary while it may not be the case.

b)      Tadless-ul-Shuyukh:

The authority quoted bears an unfamiliar name instead of the original and known name.

c)      Tadlees-ul-Taswiyah:

To omit a weak transmitter between sound ones.

3)      Mubham (obscure):

When a transmitter is named vaguely such as rajul (man) or ibn fulan (son of so and so) particularly when a father is not well known.

4)      Maqbul (transposed):

A Hadeeth that is attributed to someone other then the real authority to make it acceptable Ghareeb Hadeeth.

5)      Mudhtarib (contradictory or confused):

It is used when two or more persons disagree with one another in their version of the Hadeeth; they being people of equal status in piety, learning etc. The difference may affect the chain of transmission (Al-Isnad) or the text (Al-Matn). This nature of defect makes a Hadeeth weak. When a man becomes knows as Mudhtarib-ul-Hadeeth, it means his traditions are confused.


1)      Ma’roof (acknowledged):

It is applied to a weak Hadeeth confirmed by another weak one, or it is a Hadeeth superior in the text (Al-Matn) or chain of transmission (Al-Isnad) to a Hadeeth known as Munkar (ignored). It is also applied to a Muhaddith (tradionist) who is reported by more then one transmitter, otherwise he is majhul i.e. unknown either as a person or his reliability.

2)      Maqbul (accepted):

It is Hadeeth that fulfils the requirements and it is either Sahih (sound) or Hasan (good).

3)      Mahfuz (protected):

It applies to a Hadeeth which, when compared to Shaaz is considered of a greater weight and value.


1)      Munkar (ignored):

A Hadeeth whose transmission is alone and differs from one who is reliable or is one who has not the standing to be accepted when alone.

2)      Mardud (rejected):

It is opposite of Maqbul. More particular, it is a Hadeeth from a single transmitter contradicting the authorities on the same material.

3)      Matruk (abandoned):

It is a Hadeeth reported by such a transmitter suspected of falsehood or is openly wicked in speech and action or is guilty of carelessness or frequent wrong notions.

4)      Mawdu’ (fictitious):

This is the worst type of all, as the entire contents of it are fabricated having no truth in it.

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