2 thoughts on “Analysing Schacht’s Theory and Two of His Critiques; Azami and Motzki – by Zeeshan Chaudri

  1. Hadeeth studies seems to be circular. Let’s suppose we have a hadeeth ( “1”) with the isnad ‘a’ from ‘b’ from prophet. Now to make sure the “1” is authentic we have to investigate the isnad. So we find
    a narration from ‘c’ from ‘d’ from ‘e’ that ‘a’ is a reliable
    narrator. Again in order for the last narration to be authentic ‘c’ ,
    ‘d’ and ‘e’ have to be reliable narrators. So we find another
    narration from ‘f’ from ‘g’ that ‘c’ is reliable. But in order for
    this narration to be authentic we need to know whether ‘f’ and ‘g’ are
    reliable. In in’ this way it will either go on ad infinitum ( which is not possible since narrators are finite) or it will terminate in an isnad like ‘h’ from ‘c’ that f and g are reliable ( remember that it
    is our task to prove the reliability of ‘c’ to prove the hadeeth “1”
    ). Can you see the circularity here?The acceptance of a Hadith as saheeh depends mainly on the criticism of its narrators. Suppose we have a certain narrator “a” of a certain Hadith. Now this narrator lived from 10 to 70 AH and he is a Tabe’e. How do we know he is reliable? We look into biographical dictionaries compiled by Ibn Saad or Bukhari or Ibn Hajar who are neither contemporary of “a” nor did they meet him ever. The question is this – how does a Hadith Master like Bukhari or Ibn Hajar know the biography of narrators whom Bukhari or Ibn Hajar never met personally? They write in their book information about narrators whom it is impossible for them to know personally. What is their SOURCE of information?

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