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In the Name of God بسم الله

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As one looking to understand more about this religion before I join it, I was wondering what importance the hadeeths are to the Islamic world?  Are they like the parables in the Bible or more like a biography of Muhammed's life?  Written by one or many? Completely reliable or iffy in some places?  I know that some of these questions might be stupid, but I'm not sure which are, so please, feel free to inform me.  Thanks.

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hadith are the quotes and the sayings of the holy prophet (saw). there are two main types of hadith, hadith e qudsi and hadith e nabawi.  Al-Quds means holy or sacred. The sayings that are termed as al-Qudsi are such that while the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was relating them to his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them), he mentioned that Allah, in effect, had communicated them to him. However, these communications do not form part of the Qur’an or by another definition... A Hadith Qudsi (plural Ahadith Qudsiyyah) is a statement where Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) reports a statement and he refers it directly to Allah. The regular Hadith or what is generally known as a Hadith Nabawi is a Hadith where one of the Companions reports the Prophet’s statements. hadeeth are v important to us as they come right after the quran.hadeeth of the prophet are narrated by many, as he s.a.w himself said, “Preach what you hear me say. Also let those who see and hear me, take upon themselves to communicate my words to others and preach to their children, relatives and friends.” 

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41 minutes ago, CarolBell said:

As one looking to understand more about this religion before I join it, I was wondering what importance the hadeeths are to the Islamic world?  Are they like the parables in the Bible or more like a biography of Muhammed's life?  Written by one or many? Completely reliable or iffy in some places?  I know that some of these questions might be stupid, but I'm not sure which are, so please, feel free to inform me.  Thanks.

If a narration is proven to be said by the prophet, then it is authoritative and Muslims are obliged to follow the prophet's commands. It is in Quran, a verse, saying : Whatever the prophet ordered you to do then do it, what he prohibited you from doing then avoid it.

So here Quran gives authority to the prophet.

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Salaam, may God bless you. Welcome to ShiaChat. 

Your questions are not stupid. Please do not hesitate in asking any of your questions here. Insha'Allah the members here are polite and helpful.

The following two videos may help. The individual speaking is Dr. Jonathan AC Brown, a Muslim convert and Western academic and scholar of Islam who specialises in the study of Hadith.

 

 

 

 

Your questions are addressed in the above two videos. The first is very short, and the second is a nice introduction. Dr. Jonathan Brown has an excellent book Hadith: Muhammad's Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World, which, if interested, I'd recommend getting a hold of.

I am in a bit of a rush so I have not discussed your questions in any details but I hope the above two videos help.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to post them.

Ma'asalama

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Salam.

Hadiths are narrations which link back to the prophet (s) or, in the case of the Shi'a, also his Ahlul Bayt (a) (as we consider their word as his (s) word). Basically, hadiths contain information on different things- teachings, Islamic laws, historical events etc... The authentic ones are a source of guidance.

The prophet (s) said that he was leaving behind to weighty things - the Quran and the Ahlul Bayt (a) (Sunnah for Sunnis although, Ahlul Bayt equals Sunnah for us). So, alongside the Quran, there was another source of guidance - the Ahlul Bayt (a) whose teachings (which were those of the holy prophet (s)) have been transmitted through hadiths to us.

They are important because, whilst the Quran tells us about our duties, those are not always specifically defined. For example, the Quran tells us to pray - and the hadiths explain to us how exactly to pray, e.g. how many rakats, when and so on. There are many such cases.

How have they been transmitted? There has been a time shortly after the prophet (s) when writing down narrations had been forbidden and those who existed were destroyed hence, many of the hadiths that were written down during the time of the prophet (s) were lost. Through oral transmission they were carried forth, I believe.

A hadith can start like this: Abu X narrated from Y who narrated from Z who said: the prophet (s) said: "..." - this is called the chain of narrators. To determine how authentic a hadith is, this chain is examined by looking at the narrators and finding out how reliable these narrators were. But even before that - if the content contradicts the Quran, the hadith must have been a fabrication, no need to examine.

For Shi'a, the chain of narrators does not strictly have to go up to the prophet (s), himself, but can also go up to any of our Imams (a) (though, many times you find them saying "I heard from my father who heard from his father... who heard from the messenger of Allah (s)" or, "The messenger of Allah said...") - as I mentioned above, we consider their word to be that of the prophet (s). The majority of our narrations came from Imam Sadiq (a) and Baqir (a)- so, even when the hadiths of the prophet (s) were lost to many, the Ahlul Bayt (a), his family, had still been there to narrate and authentify narrations.

Though, of course, today we have to carefully examine hadiths since fabrications and distortions did take place throughout.

Ma'asalama.

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