The Classification Of Hadith: According To The Reference To A Particular Authority
The following principal types of hadith are
- Marfu' - "elevated": A narration from the
Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him
peace), e.g. a reporter (whether a Companion,
Successor or other) says, "The Messenger of
Allah said ..." For example, the very first
hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari is as follows: Al-
Bukhari === Al-Humaidi 'Abdullah b. al-Zubair
=== Sufyan === Yahya b. Sa'id al-Ansari ===
Muhammad b. Ibrahim al-Taymi === 'Alqamah b.
Waqqas al-Laithi, who said: I heard 'Umar b. al-
Khattab saying, while on the pulpit, "I heard
Allah's Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant
him peace) saying: The reward of deeds depends
on the intentions, and every person will get the
reward according to what he has intended; so
whoever emigrated for wordly benefits or for a
woman to marry, his emigration was for what he
- Mauquf - "stopped": A narration from a Companion
only, i.e. his own statement; e.g. al-Bukhari
reports in his Sahih, in Kitab al-Fara'id (Book
of the Laws of Inheritance), that Abu Bakr, Ibn
'Abbas and Ibn al-Zubair said, "The grandfather
is (treated like) a father."
It should be noted that certain expressions used
by a Companion generally render a hadith to be
considered as being effectively marfu' although
it is mauquf on the face of it, e.g. the
"We were commanded to ..."
"We were forbidden from ..."
"We used to do ..."
"We used to say/do ... while the Messenger of
Allah was amongst us."
"We did not use to mind such-and-such..."
"It used to be said ..."
"It is from the Sunnah to ..."
"It was revealed in the following
circumstances: ...", speaking about a verse of
- Maqtu'- "severed": A narration from a Successor,
e.g. Muslim reports in the Introduction to his
Sahih that Ibn Sirin (d. 110) said, "This
knowledge (i.e. Hadith) is the Religion, so be
careful from whom you take your religion."
The authenticity of each of the above three
types of hadith depends on other factors such as
the reliability of its reporters, the nature of
the linkage amongst them, etc. However, the
above classification is extremely useful, since
through it the sayings of the Prophet (may Allah
bless him and grant him peace) can be
distinguished at once from those of Companions
or Successors; this is especially helpful in
debate about matters of Fiqh.
Imam Malik's Al-Muwatta', one of the early
collections of hadith, contains a relatively
even ratio of these types of hadith, as well as
mursal ahadith (which are discussed later).
According to Abu Bakr al-Abhari (d. 375), Al-
Muwatta' contains the following:
- 600 marfu' ahadith,
- 613 mauquf ahadith,
- 285 maqtu' ahadith, and
- 228 mursal ahadith; a total of 1726
Among other collections, relatively more mauquf
and maqtu' ahadith are found in Al-Musannaf of
Ibn Abi Shaibah (d. 235), Al-Musannaf of 'Abd al-
Razzaq (d. 211) and the Tafsirs of Ibn Jarir (d.
310), Ibn Abi Hatim (d. 327) and Ibn al-Mundhir
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