Hawza Subjects - 'Ulum al-Hadith
'Ilm al-Hadith (The Study of Traditions)
'Ilm al-Hadith (or the Science of Hadith) is not about the narrations or traditions themselves; rather it discusses the history of traditions, their compilation and classification, their collection and preservation, and so forth. A useful work in English is the Introduction to Hadith by Abd al-Hadi al-Fadli including the Dirayat al-Hadith of Al-Shahid al-Thani translated by Nazmina Virjee.
Needless to say, familiarity with the traditions (ahadith) themselves is indispensable just as familiarity with the Qur'an's verses is indispensable for one studying 'Ulum al-Qur'an or Tafsir. A student therefore needs to read works of hadith all the time and gain familiarity with the multitude of ahadith available.
The verses of the Qur'an and the hadith texts are the building blocks and the most fundamental material on which all Islamic sciences rest. Without them, there would nothing to study.
The four most important Shi'ah hadith works that are referred to by jurists are:
1. Al-Kafi of Shaykh al-Kulayni (d. 328/9 AH)
2. Man La Yahdhuruh al-Faqih of Shaykh al-Saduq Ibn Babwayh (d. 381 AH)
3. Tahdhib al-Ahkam of Shaykh al-Tusi (d. 460 AH)
4. Al-Istibsar of Shaykh al-Tusi (d. 460 AH)
In addition to the above, there are other invaluable classic works of hadith that a student will come to use as references such as Wasail al-Shi'ah, Mustadrak al-Wasail, Bihar al-Anwar, Tuhuf al-Uqool, etc.
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