Qawa'id Fi Ulum al-Hadith (Underlying Principles of the Sciences of Hadith) - also known as Muqaddima I'la as-Sunan by the critical Hadith scholar Mawlana Zafar Ahmad al-Uthmani.
The importance of hadith as the basis of Islamic law,
theology and ethics cannot be underestimated. Alongside the Quran it
constitutes the second source for Islamic shariah and ones practice. While no
Muslim will challenge the authority of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and
grant him peace) as many have differing views with regards to ascertaining
exactly what the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said and
did. This difference is a consequence of the diverse methodologies employed in
establishing the normative practices of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and
grant him peace). The spectrum of ideas and opinions encompass the entire scope
of thought from outright rejection of hadith to a highly literal reading of it.
This translation provides yet another approach to understanding hadith. The
translated text is the introduction to a large multi-volume work in Arabic
called I'la as-Sunan. The original work was a response to the ahle hadith
allegation that the school of Imam Abu Hanifah is deprived of hadith.
In this introduction, the author pens his methodology for
writing the I'la as-Sunan. The author endeavours to deconstruct the false
understanding that hadith science is absolute and fixed. He argues that since
the science of hadith is not prescriptive in the shariah, no one group can lay
claim to it or claim a universal understanding of it. This book will be of
interest to students who have a penchant for abstract theories and methods and
to the advanced students of hadith and Islamic thoughts.
About the Author
Mawlana Zafar Ahmad al-Uthmani, the illustrious
nephew of Hakim al-Ummah Mawlana Ashraf Ali at-Thanawi was born on 13 Rabi al-Awwal 1310/1892. Allah bestowed him with a remarkable memory and at a tender
age he memorised the Holy Quran. From the age of seven he was studying
mathematics, Persian and Urdu with Mawlana Yasin, the father of Mufti Shafi. He
studied the Islamic sciences under various teachers including his maternal
uncle Hakim al-Ummah in both Thana Bhawan as well as Kanpur. After receiving
license in the sacred and rational sciences, he went to the Islamic seminary Mazahir Ulum and became a student of the hadith master and Gnostic Mawlana Khalil Ahmad
Saharanpuri. He received his license to teach hadith at the young age of 18. He
then became a professor of Islamic sciences in various institutions including
his alma mater Mazahir Ulum and Imdad al-Ulum in Thana Bhawan. He is the author
of many books on the sacred sciences of which the I'la as-Sunan
is his magnum opus.
English translation by Abdussamad Clarke and Aisha Bewley