(Kitab Ma’rifat anwa’ ‘ilm al-hadith)
After the Qur'an itself, the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad form the most important foundation of Islamic thought. The hadith were accounts -- usually brief -- of the words and actions of the Prophet. As such, they were subjected to intense scrutiny by generations of Muslim scholars.
Better know as the Muqaddima, Ibn al-Salah (1181–1245) composed this work while serving as the head of the Dar al-Hadith al-Ashrafiya in Damascus, one of the most prestigious institutions for the study of hadith in the Islamic world. He provides a complete overview of the science devoted to the study of the words and actions of the Prophet Muhammad, and also a guide to the terminology and techniques of the scholars of hadith as it summarizes most of the previous work on the subject and forms the basis of almost all later activity in the field.
The book enjoyed immense popularity and influenced most subsequent writing on the subject.
An Introduction to the Science of the Hadith is part of the Great Books of Islamic Civilization series, produced in collaboration with the Center for Muslim Contribution to Society in Qatar.
The translator Eerik Dickinson has degrees from the universities of Michigan and Yale. He has taught Arabic and Islam at Yale and Hunter College in New York City. In addition to publishing articles on hadith and the Arabic biographical tradition in learned journals, he has contributed to the Encyclopedia of Islam, the Encyclopedia of the Qur'an and Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia. His first book, The Development of early Sunnite Hadith Criticism, appeared in 2001.
Author: Ibn al-Salah al-Shahrazuri, translated by Dr Eerik Dickinson
Publisher: Garnet Publishing (April 2006)