Hadith is understood here in its broader meaning as the bulk of the texts which contain information on the prophet Muhammad and his Companions, having the form of transmissions from them. The reliability of this material as a source for early Islam is still a highly debated issue. This selection of articles presents the different points of view in this debate and the varying methodological approaches with which scholars trained in modern secular sciences have tried to find a solution to the problem.
Contents: General editor's preface; Introduction; Origin, Transmission and Establishment of the Hadith: The role of traditionalism in Islam, J. Fueck; A revaluation of Islamic traditions, Joseph Schacht; Notes towards a fresh perspective on the Islamic Sunna, John Burton; Disputes over the status of Hadith in Islam, Ignaz Goldziher; Oral Torah and Hadith: transmission, prohibition of writing, redaction, Gregor Schoeler; Al-Usul al-arba'umi'a, Etan Kohlberg. Origin and Reliability of the Isnad: The antiquity and origin of the Isnad, Josef Horovitz; Further on the origin of the Isnad, Josef Horovitz; The Isnad in Muslim tradition, James Robson; Some Isnad-analytical methods illustrated on the basis of several women-demeaning sayings from Hadith literature, G.H.A. Juynboll; Eschatology and the dating of traditions, Michael Cook. Methods of analysing and dating Hadiths: A tradition of Manichean tendency ('the she-eater of grass'), J.H. Kramers; The will of Sa'd b. a. Waqqas: the growth of a tradition, R. Marston Speight; Pare your nails: a study of an early tradition, M.J. Kister; The Musannaf of 'Abd al-Razzaq al-San'ani as a source of authentic Ahadith of the first century A.H., Harald Motzki; Common features of Muslim and Western Hadith criticism: Ibn al-Jawzi's categories of Hadith forgers, Albrecht Noth; The martyrdom of passionate lovers: holy war as a sacred wedding, Maher Jarrar; Index.