In Islam, the Arabic word sunnah (sunnat) stands for the way Prophet Mohammad (saws) lived his life. The Sunnah (Sunnat ) is the second source of Islamic way of life, the first being Holy Quran. Both sources are very important; one cannot practice Islam without consulting both of them.
It should be understood that the guidelines given in the Quran had been practiced by the Prophet(saws) in his life and his companions had also strictly followed them.
It is very important for the current generation of Muslims to know and understand the holy Quran. It is also necessary to know, how its guidelines had been implemented by the Prophet (saws).
For instance, when we read instructions in the Quran to establish Salat (Namaz) or Pay Alms (Zakat), we should know how they were practiced by the Prophet (saws) to implement the same. There are many other guidelines in Quran which require guidance from the life of the Prophet (saws). Therefore it is evident from the above that Quran and Sunnah are the sources to practice Islam.
Hadis ( Hadiths)
Hadis (Hadiths) means the literature which consists of the sayings and actions of the Prophet.
Allah preserved the Ahadis ( Plural of Hadis ) by enabling the companions and those after them to memorize and pass on the statements of the Prophet (saws ) and the descriptions. In this way, practicing the Sunnah (Sunnat ) continued.
Most Authentic Books of Hadis
1. Saheeh Al-Bukhaari:
The word "Saheeh" means "authentic". Saheeh Al-Bukhaari was compiled by Imaam Mohammad Bin Ismaa'eel Bukhari, born in 194 AH in Bukhaara, central Asia. He travelled at an early age for seeking knowledge to Hijaaz (Mecca and Madinah), Syria, Iraq, Egypt etc. He devoted more than 16 years of his life to the actual compilation of this work. It is said that Imaam Al-Bukhaari collected over 600,000 Ahadis. He had removed most of the unreliable Ahadis. His book 'Saheeh Al-Bukhaari', is the most authentic book of Ahadis. Imaam Al-Bukhaari died in his hometown, Bukhaara in the territory of Khurasaan (West Turkistan), in the year 256 AH.
Before he recorded each Hadis, he would perform ablution and offer a two-Rakat prayer and supplicate to Allah. Many religious scholars of Islam unanimously agreed that the most authentic book after the Book of Allah is Saheeh Al-Bukhaari. His book contains 2230 non-repeated and 7275 repeated ones.
2. Saheeh Muslim:
Saheeh Muslim is the second most authentic book of Hadis after Saheeh Al-Bukhaari, compiled by Imaam Muslim Bin Hajaaj. He was Born in 202 AH in the city of Nishapur of Northeastern Iran, who died in 261 AH. He travelled to gather his collection of Ahadis to Iraq, Hijaaz, Syria, and Egypt. He learnt from Imaam Al-Bukhaari himself and became his most loyal student.
The book contains 4000 non-repeated Ahadis and 12000 repeated ones.
Saheeh Al-Bukhaari is preferred over Saheeh Muslim based on the authenticity of the Ahadis. Imaam Al-Bukhaari was more strict in selecting Ahadis than Imaam Muslim .
3. Malik's Muwatta
This was compliled by Imaam Maalik bin Anas. He was born in 93 AH and died in 179 AH. He lived most of his life in Madinah. He was a scholar of Islam, and is the originator of the Maliki judicial school of thought. He is reputed to have had over one thousand students. During Malik's lifetime, he steadily revised his Muwatta, so it reflects over forty years of his learning and knowledge. It contains a few thousand Ahadis.
This was compiled by Imaam Abu-Dawud Sulaiman bin Aash'ath was born in 202 AH in the Iranian city of Sistaan and died in 275 AH. He was one of the most widely travelled of the scholars of Ahadis, going to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Khurasaan, Egypt, Syria, Nishapur, Marv, and other places for the sole purpose of collecting Ahadis. From about 500,000 Ahadis, he chose 4,800, Each report in his collection was checked for compatibility with the Qur'an, his collection is recognized by the majority of the Muslim world, however it is also known to contain some weak Ahadis (some of which he pointed out). His famous book is Sunan Abu Dawood.
This was compiled by Imam "Mohammad Bin Isa Tirmizi ". He was born in the Iranian city of Tirmiz in 209 AH and died in 279 AH. He collected 300,000 ahaadith and selected 3,115. He was born during the reign of the Abbasid Khalifa Mamoon al Rasheed. Umar bin Abdul Aziz, initiated a movement for the compilation of the Ahadis of Nabi [saws]. This gigantic task was undertaken by six towering scholars of Islam. One of them was Imaam Mohammed bin Isa Tirmizi.
He obtained his basic knowledge at home and later travelled to other places. He studied Hadis under great personalities such as Imaam Bukhari, Imaam Muslim and Imaam Abu Dawood. Once Imaam Bukhari mentioned to him "I have benefited more from you than you have benefited from me."
6. Ibne Maaja
This was compiled by Imam Muhammad Bin Zayd Bin Maaja. He was from the Iranian city of Qazwin. He was born in 209 AH and died in 273 AH. He travelled to gather his collection of Ahadis to Kufa, Baghdad, Mecca, Syria and Egypt. He collected 400,000 ahaadith and selected only 4,000 for his book. His book is named as Sunan Ibn Maaja.
This was compiled by Imam Ahmad Bin Shoeb Nisayee. He was born in the village of Nisa in the province of Khurasaan in Iran in 215 AH and died in 303 AH. in Iran. He had traveled many countries for collection of Ahadis. He collected 200,000 Ahadis and selected 4,321 for his book.
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