اللّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِلْمُسْلِمِيْنَ وَالمُسْلِمَاتِ وَالمُؤْمِنِيْنَ وَالمُؤْمِنَاتِ

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Rabu, 16 September 2009

HISTO

HISTORIOGRAPHY ISLAM
Thinking of Historiography
?
 What is ….
 How …
 When …
 Who introduce….
 Where to find ….
Meaning
 Historiography studies the processes by which historical knowledge is obtained and transmitted.
 Broadly speaking, historiography examines the writing of history and the use of historical methods,
drawing upon such elements such as authorship, sourcing, interpretation, style, bias, and audience.
 The word historiography can also refer to a body of historical work.
 As the tools of historical investigation have changed over time and space, the term itself bears multiple meanings and is not readily associated with a single allencompassing definition.
Approaches
 Historiography is often broken down
topically, based on Religon, etc.. such as
"Historiography of Islam" or India,
Egypt, China.

 There are many approaches of history,
such as oral history and social history.
Beginning in the 19th century with the
rise of academic historians sets of
literature related to historiography has
come into existence.
Oral History

 Oral history can be defined as the
recording, preservation and
interpretation of historical information,
based on the personal experiences
and opinions of the speaker.
 It often takes the form of eye-witness
evidence about past events, but can
include folklore, myths, songs and
stories passed down over the years by
word of mouth.
Social History

 Social history is an area of historical
study considered by some to be a
social science that attempts to view
historical evidence from the point of
view of developing social trends.

 In this view, it may include areas of
economic history, legal history and the
analysis of other aspects of civil
society that show the evolution of
social norms, behaviors and more.

 The example of social history may be
found within the domain of Translation
Studies, an area of research in which
some scholars focus on translation
history.

 They study the different types of
translations of a given source text that
were produced over time, and try to
posit explanations for the differing
translation strategies, uses of language,
and so on, which are observed.
Issues Covered

 According to Breisach, 1994, there
are two basic issues involved in
historiography.

 First, the study of the development
of history as an academic discipline
over time, as well as its
development in different cultures
and epochs.

 Second, the study of the academic
tools, methods and approaches that
have been and are being used,
including the historical method.
Extended Meaning

 The term "historiography" can also
be used to refer to a specific body
of historical writing that was written
during a specific time concerning a
specific issue.

 For instance, a statement about
"medieval historiography" would
refer to some issue in the academic
discipline of Medieval History.

 According to Conal, historiography
is:

 the study of the way history has
been and is written — the history of
historical writing... When you study
'historiography' you do not study
the events of the past directly, but
the changing interpretations of
those events in the works of
individual historians."
Historiography Related

 Reliability of the sources used, in
terms of authorship, credibility of
the author, and the authenticity or
corruption of the text.

 Historiographical tradition or
framework… some of which are
Marxist

 Moral issues, guilt assignment, and
praise assignment
 Revisionism versus orthodox
interpretations
You Should Think

 What constitutes a historical
"event"?
 In what modes does a historian
write and produce statements of
"truth" and "fact"?
 How does the medium (kitab, novel,

textbook, film, theatre, comic)
through which historical information
is conveyed influence its meaning?

 How do historians establish their
own objectivity or come to terms
with their own subjectivity?
 What is the relationship between
historical theory and historical
practice?
 What is the "goal" of history?
 What does history teach us?
Franz Rosenthal wrote in the History of
Muslim Historiography:
 "Muslim historiography has at all times been united by
the closest ties with the general development of
scholarship in Islam, and the position of historical
knowledge in Muslim education has exercised a
decisive influence upon the intellectual level of
historical writing....The Muslims achieved a definite
advance beyond previous historical writing in the
sociological understanding of history and the
systematisation of historiography. The development of
modern historical writing seems to have gained
considerably in speed and substance through the
utilization of a Muslim Literature which enabled
western historians, from the seventeenth century on,
to see a large section of the world through foreign
eyes. The Muslim historiography helped indirectly and
modestly to shape present day historical thinking."
Philosophy of Islamic
History and Lessons
from Historical Story
in the Quran
Background
 The history of Islam and Muslim began in
Jazirah Arab with the first revelation of the
Qur'an upon Prophet Muhammad SAW in
7th century. Islam's historical development
has affected political, economic, and
military trends both inside and outside the
Islamic world.
 HOW?
 the concept of an Islamic world is useful in
looking at different periods of human
history;
 similarly useful is an understanding of the
identification with a quasi-political
community of believers.
Philosophy of Islamic History
 Philosophy of history (historiosophy) is
an area of philosophy concerning the
eventual significance, if any, of human
history.
 asks at least three basic questions:
 What is the proper unit for the study of the
human past — the people? The area or
sovereign territory? The civilization or culture? Or
the whole of the human species?
 Are there any broad patterns that we can discern
through the study of the human past? Are there,
for example, patterns of progress? Or cycles? Or
are there no patterns or cycles, and is human
history therefore random and devoid of any
meaning?
 If history can indeed be said to progress, what is
its ultimate direction? Is it a positive or negative
direction? And what (if any) is the driving force of
that progress?
Quranic Historical Story
 the Qur'anic concept of the norms of history
has been mentioned in a large number of
its verses and the fact of their existence
has been emphasized in many ways.
 Story of Prophets, Past Generation, War,
Prediction for the future
 Economics, sociology etc etc
Orientalist and Quran: Challenge to
Muslim
 The say of contradiction:
 Who Was the First Muslim?
 Muhammad [6:14, 163], Moses [7:143],
 some Egyptians [26:51], or Abraham [2:127-133,
3:67] or Adam, the first man who also received
inspiration from Allah [2:37]?
 According to several passages in the
Quran, Muhammad was the first Muslim:
 Say: Shall I choose for a protecting friend other
than Allah, the Originator of the heavens and the
earth, Who feedeth and is never fed? Say: I am
ordered to be the first to surrender [aslama] (unto
Him). And be not thou (O Muhammad) of the
idolaters. S. 6:14
 Contradict to:
 And when Ibrahim and Ismail raised the
foundations of the House: Our Lord! accept from
us; surely Thou art the Hearing, the Knowing: Our
Lord! and make us both submissive (muslimayni)
to Thee and (raise) from our offspring a nation
submitting (ommatan muslimatan) to Thee, and
show us our ways of devotion and turn to us
(mercifully), surely Thou art the Oft-returning (to
mercy), the Merciful. 2:127
 Ibrahim was not a Jew nor a Christian but he was
(an) upright (man), a Muslim (musliman), and he
was not one of the polytheists. S. 3:67
 Would that not qualify them as being Muslims
and believers even before Muhammad?
Certainly, this would make Adam the first
believer, the first Muslim, wouldn’t it?
 Contradiction to the Science?
 Solomon listening to ants? In Sura 27:18-19
Solomon overhears a "conversation of ants".
 Is this possible based on our knowledge about
the mode and complexity of ant communication?
 The Qur'an itself expresses that it is the book of
guidance. Therefore it rarely offers detailed
accounts of historical events; the text instead
typically placing emphasis on the moral
significance of an event rather than its narrative
sequence.
 It does not describe natural facts in a scientific
manner but teaches that natural and supernatural
events are signs of God.
Quran
 9th century
 11th
 13th /1400

Lessons from Quranic Historical Story
 The Qur’an's teachings on matters of war and
peace have become topics of heated discussion in
recent years. On the one hand, some critics
interpret that certain verses of the Qur’an sanction
military action against unbelievers as a whole both
during the lifetime of Muhammad and after.
 On the other hand, other scholars argue that such
verses of the Qur’an are interpreted out of context,
and argue that when the verses are read in context
it clearly appears that the Qur’an prohibits
aggression, and allows fighting only in self defense.
Philosophy of Western
History from Classical to
Modern Era
Western Eventual Declining
 A civilization rises and falls along with its originating
population: this is the great lesson of history which
applies equally to any race in any country. Once the
racial composition of a society changes, than that
society itself changes.
 The socio-demographic factors listed above are the
most obvious indicators that the very nature of the
White West is busy changing: it is becoming more
violent; it is becoming poorer; and it is becoming
more anti-White; it is becoming darker
 This is directly linked to the decline of the White
people who originally made up that society, and
their replacement by non-White newcomers foreign
to the culture and civilization.
 There are four ways through which a nation's
population can vanish:
 Through obliteration in war;
 Through their lands being swamped by labor-driven
immigration;
 Through physical mixing with newcomers; and
 The second and third factors above combined with a
decreasing birth rate amongst the original population.
 Ancient Rome vanished because of the last three
factors: now exactly the same scenario is being
played out in Western Europe, North America and
Australia.
 Unless checked, the demographic trends show
conclusively that Whites will be a minority in all three
of these continents by the year 2100. After that, it is
only then a question of time and Whites as a racial
group will vanish completely.

Civilization……..
 Physical only?
 What about spiritual?
Western History
 Can be divided into:
 Hellenistic / Hellenic 1st to 5th century BC
 Roman Empire 510 BC – 470 AD
 Christian schism 4th century AD – Constantinople
 Colonial West
 Cold War
 Modern time

Schism
 In the early 4th century, the Roman Emperor
Constantine the Great established the city of
Constantinople as the capital of the Eastern Roman
Empire. The Eastern Empire included lands east of
the Adriatic Sea and bordering on the Eastern
Mediterranean and parts of the Black Sea.
 These two divisions of the Eastern and Western
Empires were reflected in the administration of the
Christian Church, with Rome and Constantinople
debating and arguing over whether either city was
the capital of Christianity.
Colonial
 The Reformation and consequent dissolution of
Western Christendom as even a theoretical unitary
political body, resulted in the Thirty Years War,
ending in the Peace of Westphalia, which enshrined
the concept of the nation-state and the principle of
absolute national sovereignty in international law.
 These concepts of a world of nation-states, coupled
with the ideologies of the Enlightenment, the coming
of modernity, and the Industrial Revolution,
produced powerful political and economic
institutions that have come to influence (or been
imposed upon) most nations of the world today.

Peace of westphalia
 refers to the two peace treaties of Osnabrück and
Münster, signed on May 15 and October 24 of 1648,
which ended both the Thirty Years' War in Germany and the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the
Netherlands.
 The treaties involved the Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand III (Habsburg), the Kingdoms of Spain,
France and Sweden, the Dutch Republic and their respective allies among the princes of the Holy
Roman Empire.
World Map after cold war
During the Cold War, a new definition emerged. The Earth was divided into three "worlds".
the West, Eastern bloc & unaligned with either
Huntington’s
Huntington's map of major civilizations, which did not attempt to identify "lone
countries“ and certain exceptional cases, such as for instance Haiti. What constitutes
Western civilization in his view is coloured dark blue.
Modern Days
 The exact scope of the Western world is subjective
in nature, depending on whether cultural, economic
or political criteria are used.
 In general however these definitions always include
the following countries: the countries of Western
Europe (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain etc), the
United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
 It has other connotation when it’s associated with:
 Cultural
 Political
 economic

Ayyam al-Arab and Nasab as
Sources of
Historiography Islam
Background
• ...peculiar to soothsayers, which developed into
an important form of ornate prose writing in
every Islāmic country.
• Tales about the adventures and battle days of
the various tribes (ayyām al-Arab, or “The Days
of the Arabs”) were told and handed down from
generation to generation, usually interspersed
with pieces of poetry.
• Proverbs and proverbial...
• From pre-Islāmic times the Arabs had
recounted tales of the ayyām al-Arab
(“Days of the Arabs”), which were stories
of their tribal wars, and had dwelt upon
tales of the heroic deeds of certain of their
brave warriors, such as Antarah.
• Modern research, however, suggests that
his story in its present setting belongs to
the period of the Crusades.
Antarah ibn Shaddād (Arab poet)
• deeds recounted in ayyām al-Arab Islamic arts
...ayyām al-Arab (“Days of the Arabs”), which
were stories of their tribal wars, and had dwelt
upon tales of the heroic deeds of certain of their
brave warriors, such as 􀀀Antarah. Modern
research, however, suggests that his story in its
present setting belongs to the period of the
Crusades. The Egyptian queen, Shajar ad-Durr
(died 1250), and the first brave...
Nasab
• The nasab indicates the person's heritage by the
word ابن ibn (sometimes bin) which means "son",
and bint, "daughter". Thus ابن خلدون Ibn Khaldun
means "son of Khaldun" (Khaldun is the father's
ism, or proper name).
• Several nasab can follow in a chain, to trace a
person's ancestry backwards in time. This was
important in the tribally based society of the
ancient Arabs, both for purposes of identification
and for social and political interaction.
Ansab al-Arab
• Important .. Relate to Asabiyah of the Arab
society
• Translated as solidarity
• Family first .. Others second
Meaning Asabiyah
• asabiyah refers to social solidarity with an
emphasis on unity, group consciousness, and
social cohesion, originally in a context of
"tribalism" and "clanism", but sometimes used
for modern nationalism too.
• It was a familiar term in the pre-Islamic era, but
became popularized in Ibn Khaldun's
Muqaddimah where it is described as the
fundamental bond of human society and the
basic motive force of history.
• `Asabiya is neither necessarily nomadic
nor based on blood relations. In the
modern period, the term is generally
analogous to solidarity.
• However, the term is often negatively
associated because it can sometimes
suggest loyalty to one's group regardless
of circumstances, or partisanship.
• Ibn Khaldun argues, effectively, that each
dynasty (or civilization) has within itself the
seeds of its own downfall.
• He explains that ruling houses tend to emerge
on the peripheries of great empires and use the
much stronger `asabiyya present in those areas
to their advantage, in order to bring about a
change in leadership.
• This implies that the new rulers are at first
considered "barbarians" by comparison to the
old ones.
• As they establish themselves at the center of
their empire, they become increasingly lax, less
coordinated, disciplined and watchful, and more
concerned with maintaining their new power and
lifestyle at the centre of the empire -- i.e, their
internal cohesion and ties to the original
peripheral group, the `asabiyya, dissolves into
factionalism and individualism, diminishing their
capacity as a political unit.
• Thus, conditions are created wherein a
new dynasty can emerge at the periphery
of their control, grow strong, and effect a
change in leadership, beginning the cycle
anew.
Historiography Islam in the 1st
Century
The writing of History and
Maghazi
• Muslim historical traditions first began
developing earlier from the 7th century
with the reconstruction of Muhammad's life
in the centuries following his death.
• Due to numerous conflicting narratives
regarding Muhammad and his companions
from various sources, it was necessary to
verify which sources were more reliable.
• In order to evaluate these sources, various
methodologies were developed, such as
the "science of biography", "science of
hadith" and "Isnad" (chain of
transmission).
• These methodologies were later applied to
other historical figures in the Muslim world.
• Ilm ar-Rijal (Arabic) is the "science of
biography" especially as practiced in
Islam, where it was first applied to the sira,
the life of the prophet of Islam,
Muhammad, and then the lives of the four
Rightly Guided Caliphs who expanded
Islamic dominance rapidly.
• Since validating the sayings of
Muhammad is a major study ("Isnad"),
accurate biography has always been of
great interest to Muslim biographers, who
accordingly became experts at sorting out
facts from accusations, bias from
evidence, etc., and were renowned
throughout the known world for their
honesty in recording history.
• Modern practices of scientific citation and
historical method owe a great deal to the
rigor of the Isnad tradition of early
Muslims. The earliest surviving Islamic
biography is Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah,
written in the 8th century.
• The "science of hadith" is the process that
Muslim scholars use to evaluate hadith.
• The classification of Hadith into Sahih
(sound), Hasan (good) and Da'if (weak)
was firmly established by Ali ibn al-Madini
(161-234 AH).
• Later, al-Madini's student Muhammad al-
Bukhari (810-870) authored a collection
that he believed contained only Sahih
hadith, which is now known as the Sahih
Bukhari.
• Al-Bukhari's historical methods of testing
hadiths and isnads is seen as the
beginning of the method of citation and a
precursor to the scientific method which
was developed by later Muslim scientists.
• I. A. Ahmad writes:
• "The vagueness of ancient historians about their
sources stands in stark contrast to the insistence
that scholars such as Bukhari and Muslim
manifested in knowing every member in a chain
of transmission and examining their reliability.
They published their findings, which were then
subjected to additional scrutiny by future
scholars for consistency with each other and the
Qur'an."
• Other famous Muslim historians who
studied the science of biography or
science of hadith included Urwah ibn
Zubayr (d. 712), Wahb ibn Munabbih (d.
728), Ibn Ishaq (d. 761), al-Waqidi (745-
822), Ibn Hisham (d. 834), al-Maqrizi
(1364–1442), and Ibn Hajar Asqalani
(1372-1449), among others
• Maghāzī, which literally means
"campaigns", is typically used within
Islamic literature to signify the military
campaigns conducted by Muhammed
during the post-Hijrah phase of his career.
• The record of these campaigns,
constitutes its own genre of prophetic
biography within Islamic literature distinct
from the sirah. A famous example of the
genre is the Maghāzī of al-Waqidi.
Aban Bin Usman
• The first to formulate books on maghazi
and seerah was Aban bin Usman who was
the son of the third Caliph Usman bin
Affan. He was popular as the scholar of
hadith, fiqh, and maghazi.
• Being the son of Usman RA he had the
facility to know about he prophet’s life with
authentication. So it is told that he
composed the first book of maghazi, which
was narrated by Mughaira bin Abdul
Rahman.
Urwah bin Alzubair
• Urwah bin Alzubair (23-97A.H) was also a major
scholar of maghazi and hadith. No part of the book of
Abaan bin Usman’s maghazi reached us but some
segments of the maghazi written by Urwah bin
Alzubair can be found in the books of seerah. His own
book “Almaghazi” can not be found anymore.
• Muhammad Ibn Ishaq, Waqadi, Tabari and Ibn Sayad
Alnaar copied contents from the maghazi written by
Urwah bin Alzubair in there own books. These are the
narration that has reached us about the prophet
Muhammad SAW. Urwah bin Zubair has also included
some improtant events of prophet’s life along with the
details of ghazwat, e.g. the situation at the time of
revelation and migration to habshah.
Sources for the Early History of Islam
Islamic History: the First 150 Years

Session Plan
1. The Early Development of Arabic/Islamic
Historiography
2. Understanding Pre-Islamic Arabia
3. The Advent of Islam: the Impact of the Quran
4. Islamic Historiography: Key Features
5. The Rise of Historical Writing
6. The Impact of Islam: the Prophetic Example
7. Quranic ‘History’
Early Islamic Historiography
• Explore origins of this picture
• Focus on origin, nature and development of
early Islamic historical writing
• Survey first 300 years or so
• Size of task means we will chart main
developments only
What is Historical Writing?
• What is Arabic/Islamic historiography?
• Subject too vast to discuss now
• Working definition…
Writing about the past from within the
Islamic tradition, very broadly defined
• Aim…
1. Brief survey of early Islamic historical
writing
2. Explore that tradition’s key features
The Past in Pre-Islamic Arabia
• Literacy?
• Overwhelmingly Oral Culture
• Oral ‘Literature’ or Poetry
• Al-Ya`qubi
‘For the Arabs, poetry took the place of philosophy
and most of the sciences…In fact, the Arabs had
nothing to refer to for their opinions and actions
except poetry. It was with poetry that they fought; it
was poetry they quoted; in it they vied in virtue,
through it they exchanged oaths and with it they
exerted themselves against each other; in it they
were praised or blamed’ (Tarikh 1.262)
The Past in Pre-Islamic Arabia
• A tribal society
• Kinship (real and imagined)
• Bani Hashim & Quraysh
• Stateless Environment
• Blood feuds
• The ‘Age of Ignorance’ (al-Jahiliyyah)
The Past in Pre-Islamic Arabia
• Loyalty to the tribe of paramount importance
• Abu Tamim Habib ibn Aus
‘I am of the Ghaziyya: if she be in error, then I will err;
and if Ghaziyya be guided right, I go right with her!’
‘Take for your brother whom you will in days of peace,
But know that when fighting comes, your kinsman alone
is near. Your true friend is your kinsman, who answers
your call for aid, With good will , when deeply drenched
in bloodshed are sword and spear. Oh never forsake
your kinsman even when he does you wrong, For what
he has marred he mends thereafter and makes sincere’
(Both quoted in Firestone, 1999, 31 & 145)
The Past in Pre-Islamic Arabia
• ‘Boasting’
• Hatim al-Ta’i
‘We are the noble ones, and no other clan is our
equal;
From our number kings [are raised], and among
us temples erected.
How many clans we have overpowered during
[our] raiding!
It is [only] a surfeit of might [such as ours] that
finds imitators…’
(Both quoted in Firestone, 1999, 31)
The Past in Pre-Islamic Arabia
• Concepts of Time…
Fate (al-Manaya)
‘I saw the Manaya strike blindly, whom they hit,
they slay, whom they miss lives on to weak old
age. He who dreads the ropes of Manaya, they
snare him, even were he to ascend the ropes of
heaven on a ladder. And he who does not
defend his fort with his weapons, his fort will be
destroyed; and he who does not oppress will
himself be oppressed. But when the arrows of
the Manaya are aimed at a man, neither
medicine nor magic avails him’
(quoted in Khalidi, 1994, 3)
The Past in Pre-Islamic Arabia
• Concepts of Time…
Sulmi ibn Rabi’a
‘Time (dahr) is change, Time’s fool is man,
Wealth or want, great store or small,
All is one since Death’s are all’
Hatim al-Ta’i
‘The young man runs, but his fated death (himam
al-mawt) reaches him.
Every day brings the fixed term nearer to him.
I know that my day will once reach me
And I shall not care for my world any more’
(Both quoted in Firestone, 1999, 29)
The Past in Pre-Islamic Arabia
Responses…
‘O my friends, a respected death
Is better than an illusory refuge;
Anxiety does not ward off the decree (qadar)
But endurance is a cause of victory.
Death (manaya) is better than vileness,
And having death before oneself is better than
having it behind.
Thus, courage! There is no escape from death ’
(Quoted in Firestone, 1999, 29)
The Past in Pre-Islamic Arabia
Living for the Moment…
‘Roast flesh, the glow of fiery wine, to speed
on camel fleet and sure, as thy soul lists to
urge her on through all the hollows breadth
and length; White women statue-like that trail
rich robes of price with golden hem, wealth,
easy lot, no dread of ill, to hear the lute’s
complaining string – these are Life’s joys.
For man is set the prey of Time [Dahr], and
Time is change’ (Quoted in Khalidi, 1994, 4)
The Past in Pre-Islamic Arabia
• Ayyam al-Arab Literature (‘Battle Days of
the Arabs’)
• Pre-Islamic poetry generally only survives
in Islamic sources
• Possible implications?
The Impact of the Quran
• A Cosmic Event
‘If We sent down this Quran upon a mountain,
you would see it humbled, shattered by the fear
of God’ (59:21)
• Use of dense, symbolic language
• Considered miraculous in itself (more later)
• Radically different from the Bible
• Not a New Testament-style ‘history’
• Considered to be the actual speech of God
(kalam Allah)
‘History’ in the Quran
• Creation ordered, purposeful and linear
• Definite beginning and definite ending
• Pre-Islamic ‘Fate’ and ‘Time’ rejected…
‘They say: there is nothing but our earthly life.
We die, we are born and only the Dahr destroys
us. But they have no knowledge of this for they
are only guessing…Say: It is God who gives you
life, then makes you die, then restores you to life
upon the Day of Resurrection, of which there is
no doubt. But most of mankind is ignorant’ (45:24-
26)
‘History’ in the Quran
• History marked by Prophets: i.e. 24:11
• Muhammad the final Prophet
• Exact role unclear
• Provided an orientation towards the past
• Moral significance of action
• Israiliyyat
The Prophet’s Example
• Muhammad’s ideas about God provoked heated
discussion amongst friend and foe
‘To his enemies, he was a revolutionary bent upon
destroying the whole fabric of their society, whose
activities had to be keenly watched if the progress of
his mission was to be suppressed…If his enemies
took a close interest in his statements and actions,
the interest of his followers was more intense still.
They had accepted him as their sole guide and
prophet…All his actions served them as an ideal, and
hence a precedent (sunna); every word which he
uttered was a law to them…’ (Siddiqui, 1993, 2-3)
The Prophet’s Example
• The Muslim desire to record Prophet’s
teaching and career another factor in rise
of ‘history’
• Prophetic Traditions (more later)
• Vast amount of material
• Highly disparate quality
A Brief Pause
• Turn to the person next to you and spend
a couple of minutes summarising the
lecture thus far.
• Questions?
The Rise of Historical Writing
• Urwa ibn al-Zubayr & al-Zuhri
• Ibn Ishaq & Ibn Hisham
• Al-Baladhuri
• Al-Tabari
Key Features
• Conversational framework
‘Narrated Ibn Abbas (May God be
pleased with him): Allah’s Messenger
(May God bless him and grant him
peace) was divinely inspired at the age
of forty. Then he stayed in Mecca for
thirteen years and was then ordered to
migrate and he migrated to Medina and
stayed there for ten years and then died’
(Bukhari no. 1580, 5:190)
Key Features: Isnad
• The ‘Chain of Narrators’ (Isnad)
‘Ismail ibn Abdullah told us that Malik ibn Anas told
him on the authority of Ishaq ibn Abdullah ibn Abi
Talha from Anas ibn Malik, may God be pleased with
him, who said…’ (Quoted by Rippin and Knappert, 1986, 73)
• Muhammad ibn Sirin
‘They did not ask about the isnad, but when civil war
…broke they said, ‘Name to us your men’; those who
belong to Ahl al-Sunnah, their traditions were
accepted and those who were innovators their
traditions were neglected’ (Quoted by A`zami, 2000, 213)
Key Features: Matn
• The Text itself (Matn)
• Great variation in length
• Often without wider context
• Known as Hadith, Khabar or Akhbar
• All mean, more or less, ‘news’ or ‘report’
• In other words, oral transmission
• The most socially privileged form
• Ibn Sa’d
Questions
• If Muslim sources late, can they be
trustworthy?
• Does the existence of partisan bias, etc
mean the sources are useless?
• Modern Approaches…
• Sceptical
• Historical ‘core’
• Sources Misunderstood
• Hagarism – Crone & Cook

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