'Hadith Qudsi'

Qur’an, Hadith and Hadith Qudsi

In general, the Arabic word Hadith (plural ahaådith) means “news” or “report”.

As a technical term within Islam, a Hadith signifies a report of things said by the Prophet Muhammad, or a report of things which he did, or which he saw others do and tacitly accepted. Such Hadith are referred to as Hadith Nabawi (or sometimes Hadith Sharif, translated as Prophetic Hadith), reported by one of his close Companions.

In contrast, Hadith Qudsi (or Hadith Ilåhi or Rabbåni, translated as Divine or Sacred Sayings) are a special kind of Hadith, reporting a communication spoken by God Himself to the Prophet Muhammad, who thus assumed the role of the transmitter. On occasion, such Hadith are addressed by God to another prophet, such as Abraham, Moses, or David, or to the angels, and reported by Muhammad. There are also several which God specifically addresses directly to the “children of Adam” (or “Son of Man”) or people in the next world.

Although both Qur’an and Hadith Qudsi convey the word of God Himself, there are important distinctions to be made between them. For example, the Qur’an was revealed through the medium of Gabriel, and is inimitable; a Hadith Qudsi does not necessarily come through Gabriel but may be revealed through inspiration or a dream. While a Muslim must recite portions of the Qur’an during the prescribed prayers, it is not permitted to include Hadith Qudsi. An important difference also arises in the way each has been preserved and transmitted. The Holy Book, the Qur’an, was revealed to Muhammad (born AD|570) from his fortieth year. Parts of the Qur’an were discussed by Muhammad at different times during the course of twenty-three years, and on his instruction, these were recorded by being committed to memory by many people, and by being written down. While some Hadith were memorized and indeed may have been written down during the life of Muhammad, this process was less systematic and organized than in the case of the Quranic revelation.

The record of the Prophet’s example conveyed by Hadith, which is called the Sunnah, is fundamental to the life of Islam, as the natural complement to the Qur’an, and Muslims are encouraged to seek guidance from it in an effort to emulate Muhammad. The Hadith corpus was reported by the Companions, those who had enjoyed the privilege of having lived in the Prophet’s company. It is upon their reliability and integrity that the trustworthiness of the huge number of Hadith collected by later generations of Muslim scholars rests. Of these Companions, only a small number took it upon themselves to report Hadith: the vast majority of the traditions which have come down to us are related by fewer than 300 Companions. A mere eleven are responsible for handing down more than 500 Hadith each. Seven of these Companions, each of whom reported more than 1,000 traditions, are known as the mukathiru’n, the narrators of many traditions; all of them enjoyed a long association with the Prophet, had a tremendous interest in recording Hadith accurately and could speak with great authority about what he had said and done. They all outlived the Prophet and thus were able to pass on their knowledge to succeeding generations.


The divine scriptures are God’s beacons to the world. Surely God offered His trust to the heavens and the earth, and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man undertook it.
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