The “ḥadīṯ literature”: What is it and where is it?

in Arabica
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Abstract

This article seeks to explore what the ḥadīṯ literature is from a theoretical perspective. Developing ideas first formulated by Andrew Newman, it will be argued that the “ḥadīṯ literature” is an abstract concept, which, subsequently, raises a number of issues and questions. Using a comparison of two works on ǧihād as a case study—al-Biqāʿī’s (d. 885/1480) Ḏayl al-istišhād bi-āyāt al-ǧihād and al-Suyūṭī’s (d. 911/1505) Arbaʿūn ḥadīṯan fī faḍl al-ǧihād—questions around the “ḥadīṯ literature” and what it is will be raised. The discussion will focus on the way in which the ḥadīṯ found in ḥadīṯ collections are affected by a compiler’s own personal discourse and historical context. It will be argued that a paradox emerges in which ḥadīṯ are both part of an abstract, atemporal “ḥadīṯ literature,” but, at the same time, rooted in the theological and historical context of the compiler.

Arabica

Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies / Revue d'études arabes et islamiques

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