Inside Islam: A Guide for Catholics

(Jacob Rumans) #1

Hadith was inspired by Allah.

There are, however, a small number of Traditions
known as Hadith Qudsi (Sacred Hadith). These are Ahadith
of divine origin that are not included in the Koran. They
consist of Muhammad reporting words of Allah, and so are
more analogous to Catholic Sacred Tradition since they
have virtually the same standing for Muslims as the Koran
itself. The Hadith Qudsi are so named because, unlike most
of the Hadith, their authority is traced back not to
Muhammad, but to Allah Himself.

As we have said, the Hadith collections contain the
words and deeds of Muhammad, as well as his explanations
of the Koranic revelations and his thoughts on a wide
variety of doctrinal, ethical, legal, and historical matters.
Many of these traditions are tales and stories from
Muhammad’s life, from which Muslims extract guidance on
what to believe or how to behave in particular situations.
Because of the Koran’s command to imitate Muhammad,
the overwhelming majority of Muslims consider the Hadith
definitive and binding for all Muslims.

However, even though the Hadith is so highly regarded,
the historical veracity of much of it is in dispute. There are
many reasons for this. Although Muhammad lived in the
early part of the seventh century, the collection of his words
and deeds was not completed until the ninth and tenth
centuries. This is evident from certain Hadith that attribute
statements to Muhammad that actually reflect social and
economic conditions (as well as doctrinal disputes) of a

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