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By Christopher Melchert

ISBN-10: 1851684077

ISBN-13: 9781851684076

Christopher Melchert examines the forefather of the fourth of the 4 relevant Sunni colleges of jurisprudence, the Hanbali. Upholding the view that the Qur'an used to be uncreated and the direct observe of God, Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780-855) idea that the holy textual content may be learn actually, rejecting any threat for metaphorical or revisionist interpretation. Melchert assesses the significance of ibn Hanbal's teachings and analyses their relevance in smooth Sunni Islam.

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Extra resources for Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Makers of the Muslim World)

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For example, the Musnad includes these two hadith reports: Waki‘ < Hisham < his father < ‘A’ishah, ‘The Prophet used to lower his head to me while he was mujawir, meaning mu‘takif [living in withdrawal in the mosque], while I was in my chamber. I would wash and comb it even though I was menstruating’. (Musnad 6:204 42:455) Waki‘ < Hisham ibn ‘Urwah < his father < ‘A’ishah that she used to comb the Prophet’s hair even though she was menstruating. (Musnad 6:208 42:480) The first example directly quotes ‘A’ishah, the Prophet’s youngest and favorite wife; the second is presumably Ahmad’s formulation of the essential point of law that ‘A’ishah’s statement establishes.

But then how do we explain the attachment of this saying to the warning about praying properly, since the Prophet can see behind him as well as before? This warning crops up in numerous other hadith reports (for example, Muslim offers four in a row under the heading of “praying well”), with no mention of laughing and weeping. The drift of phrases in and out of different hadith reports is a fairly common phenomenon. Marston Speight has studied various readings in different hadith collections and concludes that they reflect oral performance, especially the concern “to clothe the prophetic dicta in effective rhetorical dress to enhance their religious significance” (Speight, 175).

The isnad is proof that the report was not made up somewhere along the way and historically projected onto a venerable authority of the past. (Hadith reports were once called “traditions,” by analogy with pre-literary oral reports of what Jesus said. ) Later writers distinguish between hadith, which went back to the Prophet, and athar, which went back to other early Muslims, but Ahmad uses the terms interchangeably. An example of a hadith report going back to the Prophet is below. This example is from Ahmad’s book al-Zuhd and is not in the Musnad; however, the Musnad has other similar hadith about Yahya: There related to us ‘Abd Allah: there related to me my father [that is, Ahmad]: there related to us Ibn ‘Uyaynah from ‘Amr from Yahya ibn Ja‘dah from the Prophet: he said,Yahya ibn Zakariya [John the Baptist] never had a sinful thought, nor did a woman ever disturb his breast.

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Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Makers of the Muslim World) by Christopher Melchert


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