Recommended Reading:

(Note: Please note that my illustration and its comments have no affiliation with the author and Islamic scholar cited below. My own views may and may not concur with the views of this cited scholar / author and remain fully committed to academic assessment and rigour. However, this article is recommended reading).

Criticism of the Proto-Hadith Canon: Al-Daraqutni’s Adjustment of the Sahihayn
by Jonathan A. C. Brown

Journal of Islamic Studies (2004) 15 (1): 1-37.

Abstract provided:


"Although in modern times the Sahih Hadith collections of Muhammad b. Ismail al-Bukhari (d. 256/870) and Muslim b. al-Hajjaj (d. 261/875) have achieved canonical status in the Islamic world, Muslims studying the Prophetic legacy have a long tradition of criticizing these authoritative compilations. The most salient and influential critique has been the Kitab al-ilzamat wa-l-tatabbu', ‘The Book of Suggested Additions and Revisions,’ of 'Ali b. 'Umar al-Daraqutni (d. 385/995). When Muslim scholars first pronounced the formula of the umma’s infallible consensus over the works of al-Bukhari and Muslim, the material al-Daraqutni objected to in this important critique was excluded.

This article investigates the possible methodological and ideological factors that could have driven al-Daraqutni’s critique. Far from being a polemicist, al-Daraqutni clearly esteemed the two Sahih collections and sought to correct any imperfections he found in them. He understood Hadith to be wholly the product of chains of transmission, and his approach thus revolved around questions of a narration’s form to the exclusion of its content. Consequently, his own opinions on legal, ritual, or theological questions played no discernible part in his criticism. Rather, al-Daraqutni’s objections to items in the Sahih collections stemmed from a methodological sternness in the criticism of Hadith that exceeded that of their authors as well as the majority of later Sunni scholars. This article thus also explores the debate over the central question of additions in Prophetic traditions (ziyadat al-thiqa) as it developed after al-Bukhari and Muslim’s deaths and how it informed al-Daraqutni’s assessment of their seminal Hadith compilations"