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121 Authority of the Sunnah

 

Syllabus

Textbook information: The Authority of Sunnah by M. T. Usmani (this book is no longer used for this class)

Supplementary Materials information

Audiotapes information

Student feedback

Other resources

 


Syllabus from Spring 2001

[Some information omitted like the professor's email, phone number, etc…]

Legal Authority of the Sunnah - EBA 121

Spring Semester 2001 1/15/01 - 4/15/01

Course Outline

The course will cover the definitions of the Sunnah, generally and with respect to other branches of Shari'ah, the sunnah as a revelation and an independent source of legislation; the preservation of the Sunnah and the evolution of its recording and writing, clarification of the significance of the ahaad Hadeeth; as well as refutation of the Orientalists' and Modernists' views of the Sunnah.

Course Objectives:

This course will:

Introduce the subject of the Sunnah and discuss its legal authority.

Explain the position of the Sunnah in Islam, provide evidence for it and refute doubts - past and present - about it.

Discuss the history of the Sunnah and the mehodology of the muhadditheen (scholars of Hadeeth) in reference to narrating, writing, and classifying it.

Course Material:

The Authority of Sunnah, by M. T. Usmani

Articles reprinted from Al-Basheer magazine.

6 audiotapes by Jamal Zarabozo (total of 12 lectures).

The student is responsible for all of the above material. You are required to listen to the taped lectures, read the textbook and the articles, and comprehend the subjects discussed. The use of the suggested readings listed below and/or any additional scholarly material on the topics of this course is encouraged.

Suggested Additional Readings:

Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature by M. M. Azami

Studies in Early Hadith Literature by M. M. Azami

Sirat al-Nabi (saaws) And The Orientalists (2 vol.) by Muhammad Mohar Ali.

Al-Shafii's "Risala" Translated by Majid Khadduri

The Authority of the Sunnah and Its Importance by J. Zarabozo

Explanation of the Creed (translation of Sharh-us-Sunnah), by Al-Barbahaaree, Al-Hasan ibn Alee, Birmingham, UK: Al-Haneef Publications, 1995.

The Status of the Sunnah in Islam, by M. Nasiruddin al-Albani (rahimahullah) (click here)

Methodology of the Sunnah: Adhering to the Sunnah, not Defying it. (click here)

 

Exam Schedule:

EXAM

STUDENTS RECEIVE

DUE TO INSTRUCTORS

MATERIAL COVERED

% OF GRADES

Exam 1

February 21, 2001

February 26, 2001

Unit One

30%

Exam 2

March 28, 2001

April 2, 2001

Unit Two

30%

Term Paper

 

March 27, 2001

 

20%

Oral Exam

 

April 5-15

 

25 %

 

Written tests are open book, yet you will not find cut and paste questions. Questions may be of the multiple-choice type but mostly of the short essay type. The oral test will be comprehensive; I may discuss your written test as part of the oral test, which will last from 15 to 20 minutes. Weekend hours may be arranged.

Syllabus Content:

  1. Unit One (Test One)
  1. Definitions
  2. Importance of the Sunnah and its relationship to the Qur'an.
  3. History of the Sunnah up to the time of the Companions and their Followers.
  4. Recording of the Sunnah.
  5. Isnad and related issues.
    1. Read my supplemented readings
    2. Listen to lectures 1 - 7
    3. From al-Basheer articles: Read pages 6-26 (Mar-Apr 1988)

Read pages 8-19 (Sep-Oct. 1994)

Read pages 10-19 (Nov-Dec 1994)

Read pages 14-20 (Jan-Feb 1995)

  1. Unit Two (Test Two)
  1. Preservation of the Sunnah.
  2. Types of the Hadeeth.
  3. Mutawatir and ahad Hadeeth.
  4. Authority of the Sunnah
  5. Refutation of doubts about the Sunnah.
    1. Listen to lectures 8-12
    2. From al-Basheer articles:
    3. Read pages 4 to last page of articles (Sep-Oct 1989)

Note: In both units, read about each of topics discussed in the M. T. Usmani's book. Search and find these topics in the book and read them. Do not ignore this book for it is part of the material you are responsible for in this course. The written and oral tests will have questions from this book.

Term Paper:

If you are writing about a topic other than those suggested below, choose a topic that is related to the issues discussed in the course.

Length of the paper should be approximately 3000 words.

Before actually writing the paper, I would like to see an outline of any topic you choose which is not listed below.

Your paper should have at least four references. You may use the course material and any scholarly material you find on the Internet. But be careful not to copy material from any source. If you do, you get a zero grade for the term paper.

Give exact reference to all quotes, and separate them from your own words. Pay extra attention to the Qur'anic verses and the ahadeeth.

Procrastination is not good. Start as early as possible. If you have any difficulty, please contact me.

Paper must be typed and double-spaced.

Suggested Topics:

  1. The Sunnah: Its Meanings and Role in Islamic Legislation and Authority.
  2. Refuting the Orientalists' Accusations about the recording of the Sunnah.
  3. Refuting the Modernists' Views on the Authority of the Sunnah.
  4. Isnad: Its Meanings, Importance and Role in Preserving the Sunnah.
  5. The Recording of the Sunnah in the first three centuries of the Hijrah.

General Instructions and Suggestions:

Read these instructions carefully.

Call and introduce yourself after receiving the material.

Since this is a three credits course, you should spend at least three hours a week studying it so that you cover all the materials in 12 weeks. But work as many hours as are needed to understand and command the subject. You are not just trying to get a college degree. You are a "student of knowledge," and are on the Path of Allah. Imam Muslim narrated, in the introduction of his Sahih, that Muhammad ibn Syreen said, "Ilm or knowledge cannot be gained without exhausting one's body."

Listen to all tapes first, then listen to each lecture separately and take notes and write down any questions you may have.

Make use of the office hours.

Ask questions.

Write your name on all pages of tests and term papers.

Keep a copy of all tests and paper.

To get your tests and papers back, send a self-stamped and addressed envelope.

Seeking knowledge is a worship of Allah and a great deed. Therefore, one should have the correct intention and be keen to do as perfect a job as possible. May Allah accept from all of you.


Supplementary materials information

 There are articles reprinted from Al-Basheer magazine which are used as the supplementary materials for this class. Major topics include:

The importance of the Sunnah and Hadith in Islam, as seen in the Quran and hadith itself. The prophet's companions' views of the sunnah. Scholarly opinion regarding the sunnah. The roles of the Messenger peace be upon him. Allah's preservation of the sunnah. The ruling about the one who rejects the sunnah.

Recording of hadith from the early years. During the time of the Prophet peace be upon him. Knowledge of writing and the illiterate people. What about the hadith concerning the prohibition of recording hadith? There are hadith permitting recording. Conclusions about this issue. Early recordings of hadith (Sahifah of Ali)

Recordings of hadith from the early years part 2. (As-Sahifah al-Sadiqah, Sahifah of Hammam ibn Munabbih). Recording of hadith in early years and a little bit later. Isnad, its use and its importance.

Recordings of hadith from the early years part 3. Use of Isnad. Traveling in search of hadith. Examples of travelling and its benefits.

Sahih hadith: Definition and discussion.

Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, and other books of sahih. Grading a hadith as sahih today.

Mutawatir and Ahaad. Definitions, discussions. Requirements to be mutawatir.


 

Audiotapes information

There are six audiotapes by Br. Jamal Zarabozo.

Major topics covered:

Linguistic definitions of sunnah, Islamic definitions. Categories of Sunnah. The sunnah in the lifetime of the Prophet peace be upon him. Status of the scholars. How the Prophet peace be upon him conveyed knowledge and the benefits of seeking knowledge. The sahabas' attitude towards knowledge. How the Sahaba dealt with the hadith and passed it on. Means of transmitting the Sunnah during the time of the Sahaba and Tabieen. Recording of the hadeeth. History of Hadeeth recording. Different types of recordings: Jaami': Bukhari, Muslim. Detailed discussion of Bukhari and Muslim. Sunan: Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi, Al-Nisai, Ibn Maja. Musannaf, Mustadrak, Mustakhrijaat, Muwatta, Musnad, Zawait, Mu'jim, Takhreej, Juz. Fabrication of Hadeeth: why some did it, how it was spotted, etc. Authority of Sunnah: 3 ways sunnah relates to Quran. Sunnah is independent source of Sharia. Quotes from the scholars about the Sunnah. Issue of ahaad hadith. Discussion of mutawatir, ahaad, and subgroups. Different groups' misconceptions about sunnah: Shia, Khawarij, Mu'tazila, Orientalists, Quraniyoon.


 Student Feedback

 There are a few classes that I consider "Cornerstone" classes at the AOU; i.e., they describe in detail certain issues which are so important and pertinent to us today that I think these classes should be given priority. The Aqeedah I and II classes, Quranic Sciences, and Authority of Sunnah are among these "Cornerstones".


 

Other Resources

The Status of the Sunnah in Islam, by M. Nasiruddin al-Albani (rahimahullah) (click here)

Methodology of the Sunnah: Adhering to the Sunnah, not Defying it. (click here)

 

Books

 Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature by M. M. Azami

Studies in Early Hadith Literature by M. M. Azami

Sirat al-Nabi (saaws) And The Orientalists (2 vol.) by Muhammad Mohar Ali.

Al-Shafii's "Risala" Translated by Majid Khadduri

The Authority of the Sunnah and Its Importance by J. Zarabozo

Explanation of the Creed (translation of Sharh-us-Sunnah), by Al-Barbahaaree, Al-Hasan ibn Alee, Birmingham, UK: Al-Haneef Publications, 1995.

 

Audio

 

 


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