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What does Hadith mean in Islam?

Updated on December 31, 2010

What is Hadith?

The Arabic word Hadith means ‘statement' or ‘talk'. In the Shariah, the word Hadith means those things or action, which Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said or did. You will also come across the word ‘Sunnah' which is also used for Hadith, but usually ‘Sunnah' is used to report a deed, such as how the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) slept or ate etc, while Hadith is used for ‘talk'.

There are six well know Hadith books, which were compiled by great scholars of Islam:

• Sahih Bukhari
• Sahih Muslim
• Sunnah Abu Dawood
• Sunnah Nasai
• Sunnah Tirmidhi
• Sunnah ibn Majah

There are many others, but these are the most commonly used by Muslims to seek knowledge.

Some people nowadays incorrectly say that you don't need Hadith, and that the Quran is enough for guidance to the straight path.

The correct view and understanding is that many times the Quran gives us the general principal of an order; but to understand the order clearly, Hadith is required.

Basically without Hadith we won't have clear understanding on how to practice Islam properly, Islam is a way of life, which was taught to us by the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), which we know as the 'Sunnah' we should try to follow all the Sunnah's to gain great rewards in the hereafter.

An example of a Sunnah is the beard. Recently a non-Muslim asked me, why do you trim your mustache but keep a beard, the answer was it is a Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

Some Quran references on following the Sunnah/Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):

"Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allah, but whatever evil befalls you, is from yourself. And We have sent you (Muhammad) as a Messenger to humanity, and Allah is sufficient as a witness. He who obeys the Messenger, has indeed obeyed Allaah, but he who turns away, then We have not sent you as a watcher over them. (Surah An-Nisa Ayat # 79-80)

"Let those who oppose the Messenger’s order beware of a fitnah (trial) to befall them, or a painful torment to be inflicted upon them." (Sura # 24 ayah #63)

"O you who believe! Obey Allaah and obey the Messenger, and those of you who are in authority. If you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allaah and His Messenger if you believe in Allaah and the Last Day. This is better and more suitable for final determination." (Sura #4 ayah #59)

"Obey Allaah and His Messenger, and do not dispute (with each other), lest you fail and your strength depart; and be patient – surely, Allaah is with those who are patient." (Sura #8 ayah #46)

"Say (O Muhammad): ‘if you (truly) love Allah, follow me! Allah will then love you and forgive your sins.’ And Allah is All Forgiving, All Merciful."} (Sura Al Imraan ayah #31)



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