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Book Review

Book: Usool Al Hadeeth - The Methodology of Hadith Evaluation Author: Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips Publisher: International Islamic Publishing House, Riyadh Year: 2007 Pages: 246 Price: 25 Riyals (Hardbound) Reviewed By: Yaqeen Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander Usool Al Hadeeth or the Methodology of Hadith Evaluation is a separate branch of Islamic theology which deals with the history, criticism, compilation, evaluation, methodology, research, interpretation and transmission of Hadith. Its development started right from the era of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and today this field of Islamic theology is so developed that it leaves a very little room for additional work. Usool Al Hadeeth is a part of Usool Ad Deen (Islamic Diciplines), taught as a subject in many Islamic universities especially the Islamic University of Medina. This book by Dr. Bilal Philips is one of the few such books available in English, as most of the literature on Hadeeth evaluation is in Arabic, rendering the study of this field difficult. By compiling this work Dr Bilal Philips has simplified this field of study. Besides being a part of the BAIS (Bachelor of Arts in Islamic Studies) program that Dr Bilal Philips set up in the U.A.E. and Qatar, this book is ideal for all the students of Islamic Studies as well as for keen learners of Hadith. The book is spread over thirteen chapters including the Appendix and Bibliography and can prove to be a solid foundation for learning of Usool Al Hadeeth. The book starts with the definitions of Hadeeth and their importance in Islamic theology and jurisprudence followed by detailed information about the compilation of Hadeeth right from the era of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) to later times thus clearing misconceptions simultaneously. The transmission of Hadeeth and related methods have been thoroughly discussed. The great care that the Companions and the Pious Predecessors took in the transmission of Hadeeth has been discussed based on the Hadeeth: Whoever lies about me deliberately should take his seat in the Hell-fire. Also the origination and pattern of Isnad, the science of biographical accounts of narrators and the preservation of chains of narration has been thoroughly discussed along with many examples. The largest chapter of the books which is spread upon 60 pages deals with the Classification of Hadeeth. The section of classification is the most important chapter of the book and the Sahih, Hasan, Daeef and Mawdu Hadeeth and their types have been thoroughly explained. Also many reasons for the fabrication of Hadeeth have also been quoted and various types of Daeef (Weak) Hadeeth like Muallaq, Mursal, Munqati, Muaddal, Mudallas, Munkar, Matrook, etc have explained in detail. The controversy about the acceptance of the Ahad Hadeeth has also been very well discussed by the author while quoting examples from Quran, Hadeeth and other significant texts.

Unlike other books in English like The Classification of Hadeeth by Dr Suhaib Hassan, this book also discusses about Ilm Al Jarh wa Tadeel - the science of validation of Hadeeth providing rules and criteria for Hadeeth to be valid or invalid.. The grades of narrators have also been explained with technical terminology like Thiqah, Majhool, Kadhaab etc. This book also discusses another significant topic Mukhtalaful Hadeeth - Conflict in Hadeeth for many a times there seems to be an apparent contradiction between some Hadeeth and the way to solve these by means of Jama, Tarjeeh, etc have been discussed. Another important dimension of this book is that the details and history of various books of Hadeeth and their types like Jami, Sunan, Musnad, etc has been thoroughly elaborated along with the biographies of the eminent scholars of Hadeeth including women scholars. Thus, being successful in covering all important aspects and dimensions of Hadeeth science, discussing Classification thoroughly, containing rare information apart from being easy to grasp through examples even for a Beginner, this book is a must for any person who wants to have sound knowledge in Hadeeth through self study or otherwise.

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