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Stages of Changeability of Tadwin

From what has been said above, it can be concluded that the traditions of the Messenger of Allah were not written down neither during his lifetime nor in the era of Sahabah and their followers. And it is concluded also that tadwin only commenced in the 2nd Hijrah century in the last days of the reign of the Umayyads, adopting no one method but diversifying in various stages.

In the first stage tadwin was done by collecting from riwayah of narrators, according to what the memory kept of the traditions of the Messenger of Allah. These were inscribed in suhuf not contained in one comprehensive classified book, including beside the hadith something of fiqh, grammar (nahw), lughah (linguistics) and poetry, and alike things that were required for initial stage of tadwin. That was the first phase of tadwin of which nothing reached us through a special all-inclusive book. Then the second phase of tadwin started during the rule of the Abbasids. The ulama’ rectified — by what they obtained from the city of Fars — and arranged what these suhuf contained, adding to them the narrations of that age, compiling out of them books dedicated for the traditions and relevant sayings of the Sahabah and fatawa of the Tabi'un, with no literature or poetry. Many among the elderly used to consider the utterances of the Companions and Followers among the hadith. Tadwin followed this course as a consequence of the elevation of the level of compilation during the Abbasid era, with the sciences being distinguished of each other, and the correlated issues- of every ilm being collected separately. Thus compilation continued in this manner up to the end of the 2nd century, but none of the classified books of that stage reached us except Muwatta’ of Malik.

After the 2nd century tadwin followed another course leading it to the third phase, in which the ulama’ embarked on committing to writing all the traditions narrated orally during their time in independent books, after being blemished with the sayings of the Sahabah and others, as stated before. Many Masanid were compiled in this field, the most famous of which being Musnad Ahmad which is still extant today, to which a reference will be made when discussing the hadith books, with showing its degree of veracity and position among those books.

To compile a musnad is to write whatever narrated orally from every Companion, i.e. whatever is ascribed to him, in a bab (chapter) privately, whatever be the subject of the hadith, or its degree of veracity. That was due to the fact that up to that time it was unrealized yet how to discern the sahih from other than the sahih in time of compilation. And as said before, these masanid contained the sahih and fabricated traditions together, the method that was followed till the coming of al-Bukhari and his tabaqah (class), when tadwin shifted to the fourth phase. It was — as mentioned before — the phase of revision and selection. In this phase they compiled abridged books on hadith selecting for them those traditions they believed to be sahih according to their way of research, as done by al-Bukhari and Muslim and those who followed them. About these books more elaboration will be given when talking in respect of hadith books.

That was the last phase of compilation, as these books became reliable and dependable among Ahl al-Sunnah, while the Shi'ah have their own books of hadith upon which they depend and in which they trust alone, since every people have their own sunnah and leader.

That which can be gleamed from the above-mentioned is that the tadwin trusted by Ahl al-Sunnah was only made during about the middle of the 3rd century up to the 4th century.


493. Or rather the fabrication as will be manifested later on.

494. Ibn Hajar, Muqaddimat Fath al-Bari, p.4.

Adapted from: "Lights on the Muhammadan Sunnah" by: "Mahmud Ali Riyyah"

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