Analysing Muslim Traditions (Islamic History and Civilization)

  • Book Title:
 Analysing Muslim Traditions
  • Book Author:
Harald MotzkiNicolet Boekhoff-van der VoortSean W. Anthony
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  • Preface …. xi
  • Chapter One. The Jurisprudence of Ibn Shihāb al-Zuhrī.
  • A Source-Critical Study .. 1
  • Harald Motzki
  • The Problem … 1
  • Maʿmar as a Source for Zuhrī’s Teaching . 4
  • Ibn Jurayj as a Source for Zuhrī’s Teaching . 11
  • Mālik as a Source for Zuhrī’s Teaching . 18
  • V. The Three Sources Compared .. 24
  • VI. A Prophetic Ḥ adīth by Zuhrī .. 36
  • VII. Conclusions … 46
  • Chapter Two. Whither Ḥ adīth Studies? .. 47
  • Harald Motzki
  • Introduction: Juynboll on Nāfiʿ, the Mawlā of
  • Ibn ʿUmar … 47
  • Chain Analysis: Method and Concept . 50
  • The Common Link and its Single Strand . 50
  • Partial Common Links and Single Strands . 54
  • On Nāfiʿ’s Alleged Role in the Transmission of
  • Traditions … 61
  • Was Nāfiʿ a Historical Figure? .. 61
  • Juynboll’s Isnād Analysis of a Tradition of Nāfiʿ from
  • Ibn ʿUmar … 75
  • IV. Investigating the Mutūn of the Zakāt al-Fitr Tradition 90
  • Mālik ibn Anas … 91
  • Mūsā ibn ʿUqba … 98
  • ʿUbayd Allāh ibn ʿUmar .. 101
  • Ayyūb al-Sakhtiyānī .. 105
  • Layth ibn Saʿd … 107
  • Ayyūb ibn Mūsā … 109
  • Ibn Abī Laylā … 110
  • ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿUmar .. 111
  • Al-Ḍaḥḥāk … 113
  • vi contents
  • ʿUmar ibn Nāfiʿ … 114
  • Ibn Abī Rawwād … 115
  • The Results of the Textual Analysis of the Transmission Process … 117
  • V. Summary and Conclusions .. 122
  • Chapter Three. The Prophet and the Debtors. A Ḥ adīth
  • Analysis under Scrutiny .. 125
  • Harald Motzki
  • Sale of Children and Debt-Servitude. Studies on the
  • Early Period of the Islamic Law .. 125
  • The Methods of Ḥ adīth Analysis .. 129
  • Debt-Slavery in Early Islamic Jurisprudence . 139
  • Schneider’s Analysis of the Surraq Ḥ adīth . 139
  • The Transmission History of the Surraq Ḥ adīth . 146
  • Zanjī … 147
  • ʿAbd al-Ṣamad … 149
  • Interim Results and the Version of Zayd’s Sons . 151
  • Ibn Lahīʿa … 153
  • The Tradition P11 by Bayhaqī .. 156
  • Interim Review … 160
  • The Issue of Origin .. 162
  • The Issue of Surraq’s Historicity .. 165
  • A Further Surraq-Ḥ adīth .. 169
  • The Ḥ adīth P23 about the Sale of a Free Person . 172
  • The Pre-Islamic Law of Obligations in the Ḥijāz . 176
  • The Prophet’s Approach to Personal Execution . 187
  • “Surraq Once More” .. 193
  • Debt-Servitude in Early Islamic Jurisprudence . 194
  • IV. Summary and Results .. 205
  • Chapter Four. Al-Radd ʿAlā l-Radd: Concerning the Method of
  • Ḥ adīth Analysis … 209
  • Harald Motzki
  • Motzki’s Isnād-cum-Matn Analysis .. 210
  • Motzki’s Text Analysis .. 215
  • Schneider’s Excursus .. 219
  • The Authenticity of the Lower Part of the Isnād or of
  • the Whole Story … 220
  • .
  • contents vii
  • The Common Source .. 221
  • Was Surraq a Historical Personality? .. 223
  • Schneider’s Interim Results .. 224
  • Narrativity and Authenticity: The Story of the Wise
  • Prophet … 225
  • Chapter Five. The Origins of Muslim Exegesis. A Debate . 231
  • Harald Motzki
  • The Problem … 231
  • Preliminary Notes … 234
  • The Exegetical Traditions of Qurʾān 15:90–91 . 236
  • The Traditions of Group One .. 238
  • The Traditions of Group Two .. 242
  • The Traditions of Group Three .. 245
  • The Traditions of Group Four .. 249
  • The Traditions of Group Five .. 254
  • The ʿIkrima and Qatāda Traditions . 255
  • Qatāda … 255
  • ʿIkrima … 257
  • Ibn Isḥāq’s Tradition .. 261
  • The Traditions of Group Six .. 268
  • Conclusions … 270
  • Early Commentaries .. 273
  • Muqātil … 274
  • Abū ʿUbayda, al-Farrāʾ, al-Akhfash al-Awsaṭ . 277
  • Muḥammad al-Kalbī .. 278
  • Zayd ibn ʿAlī … 281
  • Wansbrough’s View on the Development of Early
  • Exegesis – An Alternative? .. 285
  • The Epistemological Issue .. 285
  • The Asānīd … 288
  • Dating … 290
  • Summary … 296
  • Appendix … 299
  • Chapter Six. The Raid of the Hudhayl: Ibn Shihāb al-Zuhrī’s
  • Version of the Event … 305
  • Nicolet Boekhoff-van der Voort
  • Introduction … 305
  • .viii contents
  • Isnād Analysis … 308
  • Ibrāhīm ibn Ismāʿīl .. 309
  • Ibrāhīm ibn Saʿd … 309
  • Maʿmar ibn Rāshid .. 311
  • Shuʿayb ibn Abī Ḥamza .. 311
  • Conclusion Isnād Analysis .. 312
  • Matn Analysis per Student of al-Zuhrī . 313
  • Ibrāhīm ibn Ismāʿīl .. 313
  • Ibrāhīm ibn Saʿd … 317
  • Maʿmar ibn Rāshid .. 338
  • Shuʿayb ibn Abī Ḥamza .. 352
  • Matn Analysis between Students of al-Zuhrī . 358
  • Resemblance of the Traditions .. 358
  • Differences between the Traditions .. 361
  • Conclusion … 364
  • Comparison of the Zuhrī-Traditions to Other Versions . 368
  • Comparison with Ibn Isḥāq’s Version . 368
  • Conclusion … 375
  • Comparison with the Versions of Ibn Saʿd and Mūsā
  • ibn ʿUqba … 377
  • Conclusion … 381
  • Chapter Seven. Crime and Punishment in Early Medina:
  • The Origins of a Maghāzī-Tradition .. 385
  • Sean W. Anthony
  • Introduction … 385
  • Isnād Analysis … 390
  • The Anas ibn Mālik Tradition .. 391
  • The Abū Qilāba Cluster .. 395
  • The Ḥumayd al-Ṭawīl Cluster .. 403
  • The Qatāda Cluster .. 406
  • Remaining Traditions .. 407
  • The ʿUrwa/ʿĀʾisha and Ibn ʿUmar Traditions . 411
  • Matn Analysis … 417
  • The Anas ibn Mālik Tradition .. 417
  • The Abū Qilāba Traditions .. 418
  • The Ḥumayd al-Ṭawīl Traditions .. 432
  • .contents ix
  • The Qatāda Traditions .. 437
  • Unique Traditions from Anas .. 440
  • ʿUrwa/ʿĀʾisha and Ibn ʿUmar Traditions . 446
  • The Formation of the Sīra– and Maghāzī-Tradition . 449
  • Summary and Conclusions .. 463
  • Bibliography … 467
  • Index …. 479
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The studies collected in this volume have several characteristics in com-mon. First, they all deal with aḥādīth in a general sense, i.e., Muslim traditions that report a statement by or the behaviour of the Prophet Muḥammad, his Companions or the following generations of impor-tant tābiʿūn (Successors). Second, all these studies approach this genre of texts as potential sources for a reconstruction of early Islam, or of some aspects of religious, social and legal thought and practices during the first three centuries a.h.

Third, they all focus on the methods that have been or can be applied to date these traditions so that we know for which period of early Islam they can be used as sources. Fourth, the studies in this volume critically examine previous studies, asking whether their premises, methods and conclusions are sound. This revi-sionist approach is needed to stimulate reflection on and discussion about the applicability of our scholarly methods and the quality of our premises and conclusions.

 A situation in which different and even contradictory conclusions are accepted or tolerated by the scholarly community without causing any concern is undesirable. Fifth, these studies introduce and test several fresh ideas and methods for the his-torical analysis of aḥādīth. Sixth, with the exception of one study that is available on-line, these studies either have not been published yet or have not been published in English.

The first five studies in this volume have been written by Harald Motzki in the course of the last sixteen years and are ordered chrono-logically. They have been revised for the English edition with the aim of making their arguments as clear as possible. More recent literature has been added only when it seemed necessary.

The first study, “The Jurisprudence of Ibn Shihāb al-Zuhrī. A Source-Critical Study,” was originally published in Der Islam 68 (1991) under the title “Der Fiqh des -Zuhrī: die Quellenproblematik.” It deals with Joseph Schacht’s theory that most of the reports found in Muslim sources and ascribed to scholars of the Successor generations, like Ibn Shihāb al-Zuhrī, are fictitious. Methods are introduced that make it possible to reliably reconstruct the sources of the great early ḥadīth collections, i.e., large numbers of texts ascribed to the informants of the collectors.

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This makes it possible to compare and cross-check the material ascribed to Zuhrī by some of his most important pupils. This procedure means that we can establish what Zuhrī actually taught his pupils. Among these teachings are also traditions ascribed to earlier authorities such as the older Successors (his teachers) and via them the Companions of the Prophet and the Prophet himself. By comparing Zuhrī’s aḥādīth with variants transmitted by his peers, the origin of the aḥādīth in question can be more precisely defined.

In summer 2000 Professor Sergio Noja Noseda encouraged the translation of this article into English and published a first draft of it in the journal Taquino-Taqwim (Rivista del Centro Interdipartimen-tale di Scienze dell’ Islam “Re Abdulaziz” dell’ Università Bologna) 1 (2000), 59–116. This first translation, made by Miss Barbara Paoli, was later carefully revised by Mrs. Vivien Reid and in 2001 included among the online publications of the University of Nijmegen (

Transcription and style of the article have now been adapted to the standard of this volume. A Turkish translation of the German version has been published in Harald Motzki, Batı’da Hadis Çalışmalarının Tarihi Seyri, ed. by Bülent Uçar, Istanbul: Hadisevi 2006.

The second study of this volume, “Whither Ḥ adīth Studies?,” was published in Der Islam 73 (1996) under the title “Quo vadis Ḥ adīt̠-

Forschung? Eine kritische Untersuchung von G.H.A. Juynboll: ‘Nāfiʿ the mawlā of Ibn ʿUmar, and his position in Muslim ḥadīth literature’.” It reviews Juynboll’s ideas about Muslim traditions and his methods

of isnād analysis introduced in his article on Nāfiʿ. Crucial concepts of his methods are discussed, such as ‘genuine and seeming common link’, ‘single strand’ and ‘dive’, and other possibilites of interpretation

for these phenomena are proposed. The question as to whether Nāfiʿ was a historical figure is dealt with and Juynboll’s isnād analysis of a

ḥadīth of the Prophet allegedly transmitted by Nāfiʿ is examined in order to check whether the conclusions Juynboll draws from his analy-sis remain tenable if additional sources are invoked and new interpre-tations of his analytical concepts are taken into account. Finally, this

ḥadīth of Nāfiʿ is analysed with the isnād-cum-matn method and the functioning of this method is explained in detail.

In 1999 a first English translation of this study was made by Dr. Frank Griffel for a book prepared by Dr. Paul Hardy. The latter sub-stantially revised the first translation in 2002. Unfortunately Hardy’s book project was not realised and the English translation remained in the drawer although several people asked for it.

The discussion of the text with my students produced some additional corrections. A Turk-ish translation of the German version has been published by Bülent Uçar in the book mentioned above.

The third study collected in this volume, “The Prophet and the Debtors. A Ḥ adīth Analysis under Scrutiny,” was published in 2000 in Der Islam 77 entitled “Der Prophet und die Schuldner. Eine ḥadīt̠-Untersuchung auf dem Prüfstand.” It deals with a few traditions ascribed to the Prophet and early Muslim legal scholars, including the

Umayyad caliph ʿUmar ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, who are reported to have pronounced in favour of ‘personal execution’ in case of debt, a mea-sure rejected by the later consensus of the main Muslim legal schools. These traditions were analysed by Irene Schneider in her book Kinder-verkauf und Schuldknechtschaft.

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Untersuchungen zur frühen Phase des islamischen Rechts (1999). A review of this book grew into a critical examination of the author’s methods and a new study of the traditions in question. It finally led to conclusions opposed to Schneider’s as to the origin and development of these traditions and the issue of per-sonal execution in case of debt in pre- and early Islamic Arabia.

Schneider reacted to this revisionist study with an article published in the same issue of the journal Der Islam entitled “Narrativität und Authentizität: Die Geschichte vom weisen Propheten, dem dreisten Dieb und dem koranfesten Gläubiger.” Since the author defends her-self with arguments that distort my concepts and methods, a reply was neces sary to clear up the misunderstandings. This reply, called “Ar-radd ʿalā r-radd – Zur Methodik der ḥadīt̠-Analyse,” was pub-lished in Der Islam 78 (2001). An English translation, “Al-Radd ʿalā l-radd: Concerning the Method of Ḥ adīth Analysis,” is included in this volume as the fourth chapter, for the debate about the methods of analysing aḥādīth may also be illuminating for other students of early Islam. The third and fourth studies were translated by Mrs. Sonja Adrianovska and revised by Mrs.Vivien Reid.

The fifth study presented in this collection, “The Origins of Muslim Exegesis. A Debate,” was written in 2003 and has remained unpub-lished until now because it was too long for a journal article.

 It reviews an analysis of exegetical traditions presented by Herbert Berg in his  article “Competing Paradigms in the Study of Islamic Origins: Qurʾān 15:89-91 and the Value of Isnāds.” His study is aimed at scrutinising the efficacy of the isnād-cum-matn method of dating aḥādīth – a method combining the analysis of the lines of transmitters (asānīd, sg. isnād) with that of the texts (mutūn, sg. matn) – and contrasting it with the methods proposed by John Wansbrough for the analysis of exegetical texts.

 Since Berg’s application of the isnād-cum-matn method leaves much to be desired, a more sophisticated analysis of the early exegesis  of the qurʾānic verses in question is introduced in this study. It leads to a depiction of the origins and early development of Muslim exegesis  of the Qurʾān that differs from the mainstream wisdom of Western scholarship on this issue.

Finally Wansbrough’s approach to analysing and dating exegetical texts is critically examined.

The sixth study of this volume, “The Raid of the Hudhayl: Ibn Shihāb al-Zuhrī’s Version of the Event” written by Nicolet Boekhoff-van der Voort (Nij megen) is one of the results of her PhD research on

the biography of Muḥammad compiled by Ibn Shihāb al-Zuhrī. Her study analyses a complex of traditions belonging to the genre of sīra  and maghāzī, stories on the life and military actions of Muḥammad, by using the isnād-cum-matn method.

The aims are finding out whether the traditions ascribed to Zuhrī really go back to him, their original form, and whether he fabricated the story himself or really transmits a version circulating earlier.

The author of the seventh and last contribution, “Crime and Pun-ishment in Early Medina: The Origins of a Maghāzī Tradition,” is Sean W. Anthony (Chicago). His contribution also focuses on a complex of narratives relating an event that is said to have happened at Medina during Muḥammad’s life time. By analysing the lines of transmitters and the texts of the traditions, Anthony reconstructs their transmis-sion history, establishes and dates the earliest version of the story as well as the secondary embellishments that have been added during the transmission process.

By doing this he critically revises the opinions held by some Western scholars concerning the development of Islamic traditions in general and traditions ascribed to the Companion Anas ibn Mālik in particular…..

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