A Comparative Study of Sunnite and Shiite Hadiths

Sayyid Murtada Askari

The text presented in this issue is an edited version of Ayatullah Murtada Askari’s address in the first gathering on hadith scholarship held in Qum on 5 Azar 1377/ 26 November 1998. He is the Dean of ’Usul al-Din College, Qum, and the author of numerous books, among them Aqa’id al-Islam min al-Qur’an, MaAlim al-Madrasatayn, and ’Ahadithu A’isha. He first explicated on the connection of the hadith with the Revelation, holding that all previous faiths were confined to their scriptures, not in the body of hadiths of their prophets. Also, those prophets had some successors who preserved their scriptures. He next divided the Revelation into the revelatory scripture and the explicational source. The Prophet’s hadiths are then revelation, but an explicational one, i.e. purported to elucidate the revelatory scripture, i.e. the Holy Quran. In the school of the first three Caliphs, there was a fierce struggle on not to record the Prophet’s hadiths, due mainly to their own interests. Other topics discussed were on the conduct of Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman with respect to collecting the Quran and the Prophet’s hadiths, in contrast to the way Imam Ali and the Ahl al-Bayt behaved.

Key Words: Sunnite Hadiths, Shiite Hadiths, Comparative Study.

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