Content-wise Criticism of the Hadith

Jafar Subhani

The text is a transcription of a lecture delivered in the third gathering on hadith studies, held on 20 Esfand 1377 (10 March 1999.) First, the lecturer elaborated on the station of the hadith, maintaining that hadith is the same as the Quran, and based on the latter, it is an exegesis of the Quran. The Prophet encouraged people to disseminate the hadith, hence ordered them to be recorded down. The lecturer then points to some incentives behind banning the writing of hadiths in the time of the Orthodox caliphs, together with criticizing them. Introducing the hadith criticism period, he pointed to the methods Shiite ulema utilized to recognize the sound hadiths. He also criticized the Sunni views on the hadith, above all, their view on the infallibility of the traditions recorded in the Sahihan. Also criticized are their views on the companions of the Prophet. In view of his book Al-Hadith al-Nabawi bayn al-Riwaya wal-Diraya (Qum: Maktabat al-Imam al-Sadiq, 1419/1998), he explained, inter alia, about his background to writing the book, and the way he selected and studied forty of the Prophet’s companions, based on the five criteria, viz. the Quran, Sunna, intellect, history, and consensus. He supports his views with some examples. The final section of the text includes Ayatollah Subhani’s answers to some questions posed vis-vis his above- mentioned book.

Key Words: Hadith, Content-wise Criticism, Lecture, Orthodox caliphs, the Prophet’s Companions.

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