Analysing Schacht’s theory and two of his critiques; Azami and Motzki



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Zeeshan Chaudri Module: Quran and Sunnah

Analysing Schacht’s theory and two of his critiques; Azami and Motzki
Western studies in Ĥadīth have been a point of great debate in the last century. Various theories and ideas have been produced to explain this phenomena of large canons of narrations written centuries after the demise of the Prophet all, bringing Isnāds (chains of narrators) to the attributed statement. Traditional Ĥadīth experts had invented their own criteria to discover which narrations were authentically attributed to the Prophet from those that were not. This was largely based on the analysis of the Isnād; which would require scrutinizing the reliability of each narrator and their relationship to whom they were narrating from. Western scholars perceived that grading Ĥadīth because of the content (Matn) was a rarity in early Ĥadīth scholars and gradually increased in later centuries due to various factors. As Joseph Schacht states ‘The criticism of traditions as practiced by Muhammadan scholars was almost invariably restricted to a purely formal criticism of isnāds on these lines.’1 This view has been challenged in recent years.2 Either way, the traditional method helped sieve out a huge body of Ĥadīth which were considered inauthentic or even forged and left a relatively large body of Ĥadīth which were considered ‘authentic’. In this essay we will set out to analyse the views of the most famous Western Ĥadīth critique, Joseph Schacht, who left a great impact on the field with his various articles and works, the most famous being his Magnus opusThe Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence’. This will be followed up with the analysis of Mustafa Al-Azami’s and Harald Motzki’s critique of Schacht’s ideas. Finally, the methodology of the critique of the two authors will be compared.
Pre-Schachtian view of Ĥadīth
The questioning of reliability of the Ĥadīth corpus from amongst the Western scholars began in the middle of the 19th century with the likes of Von Kremer and Aloys Sprenger3, an Austrian Orientalist who is famous for his biography of the Prophet Muhammad. He was followed by D.S. Margoliouth, Henri Lammens and Leon Caetani.4 Motzki states that all Western study or critique of early Islamic Jurisprudence (before Ignaz Goldziher) was based on the Usūl method as mapped out by traditional Islamic scholars. This meant that they accepted that from the 1st century of Islam there was an importance of the Quran, followed by the Sunnah.5 Although many of these Western scholars claimed large parts of the Ĥadīth material was forged, they lacked a clear method of evaluation and differentiation.6
One of the first major blows to the traditional understanding of Ĥadīth was landed by Ignaz Goldziher,7 whose theory was the basis for the later Schachtian critique. Goldziher, unlike Schacht, believed in an original canon of Ĥadīth which had come from the Prophet, although dearth in number.8 But due to mass fabrication in the Umayyad and the early Abbasid period that were attempting to justify their political and theological views, it had become very difficult to decipher what was ‘authentic’. He further ruled out the existence of Ĥadīth collections under the Umayyad period but rather that this period witnessed only Fiqh texts.9 This meant that the real formation of Ĥadīth began in the middle of the 2nd century, which naturally placed great doubt on Ĥadīth in general and this view became common in Western Ĥadīth scholarship.
Goldziher’s claim that many traditions were fabricated for various motivations (later expanded on by Western scholars) was not something indigenous to Western scholars. After the 4th Islamic century, various traditionalists took to compiling books of apocryphal traditions known as ‘Kutub al-Mawdhū’āt’. Many of the traditions were exposed as being agenda driven fabrications despite many supporting ‘orthodoxy’,10 although they were more restrictive and cautious in simply classifying something as a fabrication.
As for some of the methods and conclusions set out by Goldziher, then they are highly dubious. For example, he states that the Umayyad Caliph, ‘Abd al-Malik (d.86/705), wanted to stop pilgrims to go to Mecca lest they end up being influenced by his rival, ‘Abdullah Ibn Zubayr (d.72/692). He supposedly decreed that the circumambulation (Țawāf) can be done in Jerusalem around the dome of the rock. To get the support of the people, he instructed the ‘pious’ al-Zuhrī (d.124/741)11 to fabricate the famous Ĥadīth which states ‘there are three mosques to which people may make pilgrimages’.12 But on examination of the Ĥadīth there is no indication that this journey to Jerusalem would somehow excuse the Muslim from performing Hajj or ‘Umrah in Mecca. Furthermore, why is it implausible that the Prophet himself may have said this, considering that the virtue of Jerusalem is attested to in the Quran (17:1)?13
To further the image of the Umayyad’s apparent hatred for the two holy sanctuaries, he claims that Yazīd I (d.63/683) and the Umayyads in general called Madinah ‘al-Khabītha’ (the dirty one) and ‘al-Natna’ (the bad smelling one).14 He cites al-‘Iqd of Taqī al-Dīn al-Fāsī (an author living in Mecca in the 9th century15) and al-Mas’ūdi’s (d.345/956) ‘al-Tārīkh’ (a scholar known for his Shia leanings and dislike for the Umayyads)16. Based on Goldziher’s own principles, then these should be classified as political motivated fabrications invented by opponents, but cites them here to paint a picture to justify his previous claims of mass fabrication of Ĥadīth by the pro and anti-Umayyad camps. Many other examples can be shown17 which tell us that although Goldziher provided some interesting insights and theories, his overall critique was situated on assumptions which meant that every Ĥadīth had to be seen as some agenda motivated fabrication, regardless of how farfetched the agenda may have been.
Goldziher’s ideas had great influence on Western scholars but Schacht lamented the fact that no scholar (although many agreed with Goldziher) consistently applied his theories when discussing history. He blames the fact that historians enjoy reaching ‘positive conclusions’.18 This is natural when one perceives the Islamic traditions to be ‘a mass of contradictory views formulated at uncertain times by unknown persons’,19 as it leaves the historian in utter despair. But the historian can now apply Schacht’s ideas and start to unravel the origins of Islamic history in a much more consistent and scientific manner.20

Schachtian theory
So Schacht sets out to apply Goldziher’s theories in a more organized and scientific approach in order to prove that the vast majority of legal traditions originated from the middle of the 2nd century. This, when proven, can also be applied to other genres of Hadīth likewise. There may be exemptions of certain opinions ascribed to the companions and also what he calls the ‘living tradition’, which can be dated a bit earlier.21 Schacht’s understanding is that pre-Shāfi’ī (d.204/819), the legal schools of thought would ascribe importance to the ‘living tradition’ rather than to fully connected traditions ascribed to the Prophet. This latter importance was ‘innovated’ by al-Shāfi’ī. This importance of the authority of the Prophet and ‘authentic’ Isnāds, post-Shāfi’ī, increased the fabrication and systemization of a previous ambiguous living tradition.22
This was based upon Schacht’s claim that the Prophet Muhammad was not a law maker and the early Muslim community did not perceive him in such a capacity. He states
‘Generally speaking, Muhammad had little reason to change the existing customary law. His aim as a Prophet was not to create a new system of law…’23

This view was common amongst other Western scholars such as J. N. D. Anderson, G. Snouck Hurgronge and to a lesser extent Fazlur Rahman.24 On the other hand, many Western scholars generally agreed with the traditional Islamic perspective of the Prophet Muhammad being a lawmaker as well as being perceived as one.25 Alfred Guillaume, writing before Schacht, states that after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, the Muslims found themselves ‘with a holy book and the living memory of a Prophet; from these two sources the ecclesiastical and temporal polity for all time built up’.26 Returning to Schacht, it is clear then that if the Prophet Muhammad was not focused on bringing a new law, all the Hadīth which discussed legal issues became doubtful.


To hold this view Schacht had to respond to the traditional concept of ‘Sunnah of the Prophet’, as it was a term used early in Islamic scholarly circles and suggested the importance of the practice of the Prophet Muhammad very early on. This fact would damage his theory, so Schacht counters with a detailed discussion of the term ‘Sunnah’ in the early Islamic schools, namely ‘The Medinese’, ‘The Iraqis’ and ‘The Syrians’ or better known as ‘The Mālikis’, ‘The Ĥanafis’ and the extinct school of al-Awzā’ī (d.157/774)27. His conclusion, after his studies of these three centres of learning, is that the term ‘Sunnah’ was vaguely used and was never something exclusive to the Prophet. Rather there was the Sunnah of the ‘rightly guided Caliphs’, the ‘consensus’, popular practice (‘Amal) and the orders of the early Umayyad rulers which are all aspects of the ‘living tradition’28. The ‘living tradition’ in these schools would actually supersede the Prophetic traditions. Just before the advent of al-Shāfi’ī there was an explosion of traditions attributed to the Prophet, which ‘outpaced’ the development of the ancient schools. The rule then laid down by Schacht was, whenever there was a conflict between a tradition and the ‘living tradition’, then the tradition was most likely fabricated29.
Another argument put forward by Schacht to support his theory for mass fabrication, was the argument e silentio. Schacht classifies this method as the ‘best way’ to determine if a tradition is fabricated and when it was fabricated. This argument e silentio basically means that if a tradition was not utilised in a certain time in a discussion where it would have been imperative to use, this meant that the tradition was a later invention30. This can include a whole tradition being a later invention or an ‘improved’ version of a previous tradition. The ‘improvement’ can be in the attribution of the tradition, so for example Abū Yūsuf refers to and follows a tradition from ‘Aţā’ which he hears from Ĥajjāj Ibn Arţāt. This same tradition is known to al-Shāfi’ī but ascribed to the mouth of the Prophet, hence the tradition was ‘improved’31. The ‘improvement’ can also be in terms of the Isnād, so a tradition was narrated by Mālik Ibn Anas to ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz without Isnād, but later scholars know of an Isnād back to the Prophet32. Like this, Schacht brings numerous examples to show later fabrications and improvements to traditions and also tries to give a rough date of when this must have happened.
Interestingly, the e silentio argument of Schacht was not unique to him. Some Ĥanafī jurists advocated a similar view but obviously not on the scale and style of Schacht. Their view was if the companions of the Prophet differed over an issue but none of them were known to have used a Ĥadīth (which has now come down to us and would have in fact squashed any differences) then that is evidence that this Ĥadīth is a fabrication (Mukhtari’). ‘Because if it (the Ĥadīth) was established, it would not be allowed for them (the companions) that they refrain from using it as evidence’.33 The first Ĥanafī to use this as an argument was al-Dabūsī34 (d.430/1038) and was followed by various Ĥanafīs35.
A further theory put forth by Schacht is known as ‘the common link theory’. This theory greatly influenced and was later developed by G. H. A Juynboll.36 The common link theory emerged when Schacht noticed that the majority of the traditions tended to have a single common link whom he called N.N. This common link would have his personal chain going back to the Prophet or some later authority. Later generations would many a time invent Isnāds and would change the common link to another narrator or some other changes so as to improve the tradition. N.N. would actually have been the person to have produced the tradition and made it famous.37 These common links generally appear during and before the time of Mālik Ibn Anas (d.178/795) and Abū Yūsuf (d.181/798), which would date the vast majority of the traditions to the beginning of the 2nd/8th century38.
To give an example of the common link in practice, we can look at the famous tradition of Mālik Ibn Sa’sa’ah on the night journey which comes in numerous Ĥadīth texts. The following texts were consulted: Jāmi’ al-Tirmiđī39, Musnad Aĥmad40, al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr41, Şaĥīĥ Muslim42, Şaĥīĥ al-Bukhārī43 and Sunan al-Nasā’ī44. What we find is that the Isnāds go back to six individuals namely Abū ‘Awānah, Shaibān, Sa’īd Ibn Abī ‘Arūbah, Hishām al-Dastawā’ī, Hammām Ibn Yaĥyā and al-Khalīl Ibn Marrah. All six are supposed to have heard the tradition from one person, Qatādah (d.118/736), who is the common link in this instance and responsible for the tradition. Likewise we can do the same for many other traditions.
This is a summary of the major arguments employed by Schacht, which we have narrowed down to three

1) The ‘ancient schools’ gave more preference to the ‘living tradition’ than to Ĥadīth.

2) The argument e silentio.

3) The common link theory.


Different parts of his work have been a point of contention, with some agreeing with all that is in the work45, others sharing commonalities46 and some disagreeing with the bulk of it. From the last category comes Musţafā Azamī. He took Schacht to task on each of his arguments while accusing him of misunderstanding, misquoting and applying an unscientific approach to the evidences47. Before writing his critique on Schacht’s ‘Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence’, he wrote his PHD entitled ‘Studies in Early Ĥadīth Literature’48. Although the book is more generic dealing with various issues, he does dedicate a fair portion to Schacht’s findings49 but these points are brought again and in more detail in his separate critique of Schacht published seventeen years later50. Hence we will focus on the latter work.
Azami’s rejoinder
As mentioned above, Schacht’s major arguments can be summarized into three. Azami attempts to tackle all three in great detail, of which we will summarise here and offer our opinions of its strengths and weaknesses.
Azami’s first concern is Schacht’s dealing with the term Sunnah and the ‘living tradition’. As discussed above, Schacht claimed that the Sunnah was a vague term which was largely used (in the ‘formative period’) to explain the opinions and practices of individuals other than the Prophet. It was all part of the ‘living traditions’ which were the sources of the ‘ancient schools’. Azami responds by first clarifying the term ‘Sunnah’. He accepts that the term Sunnah had some vagueness in the early stages and could mean a number of things. Despite that, there is no evidence to suggest that Sunnahs other than those of the Prophet were somehow, according to the ‘ancient schools’, superior than traditions from the Prophet.
To prove this, Azami sieves through the evidences cited by Schacht of when the various schools had supposedly rejected traditions because they went against the ‘living tradition’. He tried to show that Schacht had either misquoted or misunderstood the passages he brought forth as evidence. For example Schacht states ‘Mālik quotes a decision of Zuhrī, ending with the terms ‘this is the sunna’; and Mālik adds this to be the doctrine of the people of Medina’51. What is understood from Schacht is that Zuhrī classified his own opinion as Sunnah and Mālik followed him in that by mentioning the practice (or ‘living tradition’) of Medina. Azamī counters Schacht by stating that he missed out the next line of Mālik where he ascribes the Practice to the Prophet. This shows that this was not because Zuhrī said so but rather it is established from the Prophet which made it Sunnah52.
To further his point, Azami quotes extensively from the same figures Schacht does, to show that traditions of the Prophet were of the upmost importance to them. The only time a tradition may be rejected for a practice, was when the practice was based on a tradition. For example he quotes Mālik Ibn Anas stating ‘the Sunnah (of the Prophet) is enough for us’53, Abū Yūsuf stating ‘the Caliphs are not allowed to divert it (the ruling of the Prophet) to something else’54 and Shaibānī (d.189/805) stating ‘that no one has any authority when placed alongside the Prophet’55.
Azami’s critique of the Sunnah/’living tradition’ as presented by Schacht is cogent, as Azami presents a fuller perspective of the views of the ‘ancient schools’ and demonstrates that Schacht’s arguments do not hold up when the original Arabic text is referred to. Motzki is not convinced with Azami’s accusation of misunderstanding and misquoting to Schacht and brings some examples of where he believes Azami was the one to misunderstand56. Motzki’s examples just show that in a few cases Azami may have misunderstood, but the cases are not significant enough to nullify Azami’s main arguments.
What is lacking from Azami is a thorough critique of the ‘living tradition’ advocated by Schacht. This is because on closer inspection the origins of the ‘living tradition’, according to Schacht, cannot be the Quran57 (as the Quran is inadequate in terms of forming comprehensive law) or the Prophet. What we understand is that the ‘living tradition’ began from the early Qādhīs under the Umayyad rule, exercising personal Ra’y. But what was the basis on which they performed Ra’y? Was it from foreign influence or from pre-Islamic customary law? Schacht struggles to answer these questions and when he does, which is rarely as pointed out by Maghen, the evidence does not stack up58.
The second argument of Schacht was e silentio. Azami classifies the e silentio method as ‘unscientific’ and mere ‘unwarranted assumptions’. This is because this method assumes some absurdities such as all the works of the early scholars are available in print and we are missing nothing, if an early scholar was ignorant about a certain tradition that is clear proof of the tradition being a forgery, one scholar’s knowledge of a tradition must be known to all scholars in that period and when a scholar discussed a topic, he used all evidences available to him59. He further lists numerous examples of early scholars not utilizing a tradition but we know that the scholar knew of the particular tradition as it is mentioned in another of his works. For example, Shaibānī omits a certain tradition in his recension of the Muwaţţa’ but mentions it in his work refuting the Medinese60.
The e silentio argument of Schacht is very weak considering the limited sources that were available to him (as will be shown below). This is not to say that the argument is completely void but should be used as indicative evidence which might create doubt on a certain tradition and only after extensive study of all of the material. Otherwise, as done by Schacht, it would be rejecting Ĥadīth on mere assumptions and conjecture.
The final point to address for Azami is the ‘common link theory’. Azami alludes to the point that the concept of a ‘common link’ was known and critically viewed by classic Ĥadīth scholars. Furthermore, to believe that the ‘common links’ were the fabricators of the traditions is untenable when a full study of the Isnāds is done. Azami takes the example of the Ĥadīth of Barīrah, whose ‘common link’ is Hishām. But applying Schacht’s rule then al-Zuhrī and Ibrāhīm al-Nakhā’i (both came before Hishām) could be ‘common links’. So who is responsible for the fabrication of this Ĥadīth?
Overall Azami is successful in refuting Schacht’s core arguments, but fails apply to adequate proof for the reliability of the traditions. He extensively uses Ĥadīth and later biographical material to paint a picture of the state of transmission in the 1st generation61. These arguments would only convince those who already accept the authenticity of these materials.
Motzkian dialectic
Harald Motzki does not delve into many of the previous debates. He raises concerns of the methodological approaches of the two scholars, but on the finer details of the term Sunnah or the ‘living tradition’, he does not offer a clear view62. His focus is on dating the traditions and to apply a method which is more consistent and more scientific than, what Motzki considers, the over generalisations of Schacht and Azami. He does consider Azami to have taken the biographical material for granted without questioning its authenticity, but in terms of Azami’s critique of Schacht’s e silentio, he agrees with Azami.
Motzki’s devises two main methods to see how far back we can push the formation of Fiqh and with it the Ĥadīth. The first method is called ‘source reconstruction’63 in which a large number of narrations of one early scholar are studied and it is seen whether we can ascertain that the general content is genuine or not. The second method is known as Isnād-cum-Matn. This is when a tradition with various Isnāds is studied while taking into consideration subtle changes in the Matn, which help us to see if the supposed ‘common link forger’ was actually the originator of the tradition. The biographical material is used for supporting evidence when it coincides with the reality of the traditions. Other scholars like Gregor Schoeler have adopted a similar method64.
This would mean that each narrator must be analysed in terms of who he claims to narrate from. This would be done by looking at ‘different time spans spent with a particular teacher, the compilation of traditions into new units, their adaptation to the style of other traditions, restriction to essential statements, varying interest or disinterest in certain types of traditions, the selection of reports that are in agreement with the opinions or traditions of one’s own school, and editing’65. This becomes a difficult and lengthy task when considering the numerous transmitters of the three major schools discussed by Schacht. Motzki decides to apply this method to one of the schools not touched on in detail by Schacht, namely ‘the Meccan school’.
A recurring criticism levelled against Schacht is the limited number of sources he uses to reach his conclusions. This was not deliberate from Schacht but rather he worked with the material available to him. The two Muşannafs, of ‘Abd al-Razzāq al-Şan’ānī (d.211/826) and Ibn Abī Shaibah (d.235/849), are two early Ĥadīth works which we now have at our disposal. Motzki focuses on the earlier Muşannaf of al-Şan’ānī and aims to see if we can rely on the transmissions leading to the 1st century authorities in Mecca, ‘Aţā Ibn Abī Rabah (d.114/732) and ‘Amr Ibn Dīnār (d.126/743). Naturally Schacht considered the transmissions from the likes of ‘Aţā as forgeries, as he considered ascription to the Tābi’ūn as early 2nd/8th century forgeries by default.
Motzki analyses the narrations of Ibn Jurayj (d.149/767) from ‘Aţā. This is because Ibn Jurayj is the main student of ‘Aţā and narrates from him extensively. Out of all the narrations of Ibn Jurayj in the Muşannaf, 40% is from ‘Aţā. 38.5% are distributed amongst 20 well-known authorities while the remaining 21.5% are distributed amongst 86 less known narrators66. This alludes to the fact that Ibn Jurayj was not merely forging traditions; as if that was the case he would be opening himself up to the danger of being exposed. A more plausible explanation would be to consider that he had been honest in his attributions. Furthermore, on analysis of Ibn Jurayj’s narrations from Aţā there is compelling evidence to show Ibn Jurayj’s reliability. In one case Ibn Jurayj states that he had to ask someone to ask ‘Aţā a certain question because he himself could not be present. If Ibn Jurayj was forging traditions, he would hardly add an anonymous figure to the chain which in fact would weaken his transmission. Likewise at times he disagrees with ‘Aţā’s views, which raises the question of why a forger would narrate an opposing view anyway67. In this method Motzki studies the relationship between the two in detail and concludes that Ibn Jurayj is a genuine source for the Fiqh of ‘Aţā. Once Motzki has established ‘Aţā’s material as being generally reliable, he applies the same method between ‘Aţā and the companion Ibn ‘Abbās (d.68/687) and reached similar conclusions68.
This would disprove Schacht’s theory that we do not have anything from the Tābi’ūn which we can consider reliable, let alone the companions of the Prophet. So with Motzki’s method, we can date the Fiqh of the Meccan school to the 1st century, but does that mean we can say the same for the other schools discussed by Schacht? Motzki is again unsure as he would fall into the same generalizations as Schacht69. Certain points can be made, as we can now see that the Meccan scholars of the 1st century at least did refer back to the authority of the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet, contrary to Schacht’s theory that this was a later innovation by al-Shāfi’ī70. Also Ra’y based on traditions was an early phenomenon again contrary to Schacht’s assertions71.
As for the second approach, Isnād-cum-Matn, then this is when Motzki gathers all available chains of a tradition. The ‘common links’ are highlighted and the Matns of the various ‘common links’ are analysed. Many a time each Matn will have distinct features which will show that there are in fact different independent narrators of the Matn, not one actual ‘common link’ and other chains are being fabricated as advocated by Schacht (and Juynboll). An example is Motzki’s analysis of the assassination of the Jewish leader, Ibn Abī Huqayq. He shows that there are various independent ‘common links’ which mean that the origin of certain traditions is earlier than asserted by Schacht72.
Motzki is also critical of the view the ‘common link’ is viewed as a forger. He prefers to classify them as ‘collectors’ as it is not necessary that everyone that had heard a tradition must pass it on and also if they did, it is plausible that it just ‘died out’ due to a greater narrator sufficing73. Rather in response to Juynboll (which can be applied on Schacht) he states that works like the recension of Yaĥyā Ibn Yaĥyā al-Laythī of the Muwaţţa’, the Kitāb al-Umm of al-Shāfi’ī and the Musnad Aĥmad have actually been transmitted by ‘common links’ (meaning one person) but despite that, both use them as reliable material74.

There are some shortcomings and restrictions to Motzki’s Isnād-cum-Matn method as pointed out by Andreas Gorke75. As the method would require various Isnāds for each tradition so that intra-Isnād and Matn analysis could be done. Unfortunately, most traditions do not have that number. Also it is a long and tedious task, which according to Gorke, mostly produces ‘meagre results’76. Similar can be said for his ‘source reconstruction’ method because that also needs a large amount of traditions to be available which go back to one early scholar. This will not be possible at times.


In terms of Motzki’s critique of Schacht, then he has shown that Schacht’s theories are over generalizations based upon a narrow source study. He further brings his own methods which are more scientific and nuanced than Schacht’s and uses it to disprove some of Schacht’s claims. Although each point may have not been disproved, the method of Schacht has been shown to be flawed which places great question marks on all his findings.
It is strange that the classic science of ‘Ilal of Ĥadīth (hidden defects) has not been given much attention, as it shows the critical method employed by the traditionalists and their awareness of anachronisms and later ‘improvements’ to Isnāds. Brown has recently listed some examples for the ‘Ilal works which show that much of Schacht’s ‘discoveries’ were to some degree known to early traditionalists77.
In conclusion we can state that Schacht’s ideas were ground-breaking amongst Western scholars and he was the first to manufacture a consistent method to approach Ĥadīth. Despite his efforts, later critiques have shown his methodology to be based on generalizations and at times a misuse of the texts. We have seen two different styles of critiques in Azami and Motzki. Azami tried to show that Schacht had misunderstood the majority of the texts he utilized as evidence and that his methods were unscientific. Azami failed to provide a convincing alternative to the sceptic reader due to him relying on sources not considered as proof to the interlocutor. Motzki shares similar concerns with Azami in regards to the methods employed by Schacht and offers an alternative. Although the alternatives are far more consistent and scientific, the conclusions we can reach are restricted and at times inapplicable.

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Motzki, Harald (2002), ‘The Origins of Islamic Jurisprudence: Meccan Fiqh before the Classical Schools’, Leiden: Brill, Tr. Marion H. Katz
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Al-Sarakhsī, Muhammad Ibn Aĥmad (d.1993) ‘Usūl al-Sarakhsī’, Beirut: Dār al-Ma’rifah, Ed. Abū al-Wafā’ al-Afghānī, (2 vol)
Schacht, Joseph (1950), The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence, Oxford: Clarendon Press
Schacht, Joseph (1982), ‘An introduction to Islamic Law’, Oxford: Clarendon Press
al-Siba’i, Musţafā (2000) ‘al-Sunnah wa Makānatuha fī al-Tashrī’ al-Islāmī’, Dār al-Warrāq- al-Maktabatu al-Islamī
al-Țabarānī, Abū al-Qāsim (1994) ‘al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr’, Cairo: Maktabah Ibn Taymiyyah, Ed. Ĥamdī Ibn ‘Abd al-Mājid al-Salafī vol 25
al-Tirmiđi, Muhammad Ibn ‘īsa (1975) ‘Sunan al-Tirmiđi’, Egypt: Shirkatun Maktabtun wa Maktabat Musţafā al-Bābi Ed. Aĥmad Shākir (vol 1 and 2) Muhammad Fuād ‘Abd al-Bāqī (vol 3) and Ibrāhīm ‘Aţawa (vol 4 and 5)
Al-Turkmānī, ‘Abd al-Majīd (2012) ‘Dirāsāt fī Usūl al-Ĥadīth ‘alā Manhaj al-Ĥanafiyyah’, Damascus: Dār Ibn Kathīr
Articles
Brown, Jonathon A C (2008), How We Know Early Ḥadīth Critics Did Matn Criticism and Why It’s So Hard to Find, Islamic Law and Society 15, 143-18
Brown, Jonathon A C (2007) ‘Critical Rigor vs. Juridical Pragmatism: How Legel Theorists and Ĥadīth Scholars Approached the Backgrowth of Isnāds in the Genre of ‘Ilal al-Ĥadīth’, Islamic Law and Society, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 1-41
Gibb, H. A. R (1951) Review of ‘The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence’ by Joseph Schacht Journal of Comparative Legislation and International Law, Third Series, Vol. 33, No. 3/4, pp. 113-114
Halit Ozkan (2004) ‘The Common Link and Its Relation to the Madār’ Islamic Law and Society, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 42-77
Kizil, Fatma (2008) Fazlur Rahman'ın Sünnet/Hadis Analysis’ ın Yaklaşımıyla bir MukayeseJournal of Hadith Studies, Vol. 6 Issue 2, p31-46
Maghen, Ze’ev (2003) ‘Dead Tradition: Joseph Schacht and the Origins of Popular Practice’, Islamic Law and Society Vol. 10, No. 3, The Interaction Between Islamic Law and Non-Muslims: Lakum Dīnukum wa-lī Dīni, pp. 276-347
Motzki, Harald (1999) The Role of Non-Arab Converts in the Development of Early Islamic, Islamic Law and Society, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 293-317
Motzki, Harald (2012) Motzki’s Reliable Transmitter: A Short Answer to P. Gledhill, Islamic Law and Society 19, pp.194-199
Rahman, Fazlur (1988) Journal of Near Eastern Studies Vol. 47, No. 3, pp. 228-229
Schacht. Joseph (1949), ‘A Revaluation of Islamic Traditions’, The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Irelend No. 2, p.143-154
Schoeler, Gregor (2002) Character and Authenticity of the Muslim Tradition on the Life of Muḥammad, Arabica, T. 49, Fasc. 3 (Jul., 2002), pp. 360-366

1 Schacht, Joseph (1950) The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence, Oxford: Clarendon Press, p.3.

2 See Brown, A C Jonathon (2008), ‘How We Know Early Ḥadīth Critics Did Matn Criticism and Why It’s So Hard to Find, Islamic Law and Society 15, p.143-58. Brown challenges the view of the Western scholars and shows that Matn criticism was applied more often than perceived but it was concealed under the science of Isnād criticism.

3 Motzki, Harald, (2002) ‘The Origins of Islamic Jurisprudence: Meccan Fiqh before the Classical Schools’, Leiden: Brill, trans. Marion H. Katz, p.8-10.

4 Halit Ozkan (2004) ‘The Common Link and Its Relation to the Madār’ Islamic Law and Society, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 42-77, p.42.

5 Motzki, Harald, (2002) ‘The Origins of Islamic Jurisprudence’, p.10

6 Ibid, p.10

7 Other contemporaries of Goldziher, like William Muir (d.1905) dismissed large parts of the Hadīth corpus, in his ‘Life of Mohomet’. He argued that it was Muslims were trying to portray the Prophet Muhammad in all his glory. But it was Goldziher who provided the critique on a much larger scale, see Brown, A C Jonathon, (2009) ‘Hadīth: Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World’, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, p.205

8 Goldziher, Ignaz (1971) Muslim Studies, Chicago: Aldine Atherton, trans. S.M. Stern and C.R. Barber, 2:22, see also Motzki, Harald (2004) ‘Introduction’ in ‘Ĥadīth: Origins and Developments’, Formation of the Classical Islamic World vol 28, Great Britain: Ashgate Publishing Limited, Ed Harald Motzki, p.xviii, for Schacht’s view see Ibid, p.xxiii-xxiv

9 Motzki, Harald, (2002) ‘The Origins of Islamic Jurisprudence’, p.15. Motzki criticizes Goldziher for this assertion as Fiqh texts in early Islamic circles were Hadith arranged in Fiqhī chapters, a trend which continued known as the ‘Sunan’ genre, see Ibid, p.16

10 Haddād, Gibril Fouād (2013) ‘Encyclopaedia of Hadith Forgeries’, an English translation of Mullah ‘Alī al-Qārī’s ‘Al-Asrār al-Marfū'ah fī al-Akhbār al-Mawđū'ah’, Rochdale: Beacon Books, p.165-183.

11 Mustaphā al-Sibā’ī attack Goldziher vehemently on his accusing al-Zuhrī of fabricating and dedicates a separate chapter on showing the stature of al-Zuhrī, see al-Sibā’ī, Mustafā (2000) ‘al-Sunnah wa Makānatuhā fī al-Tashrī’ al-Islāmī’ Dār al-Warrāq- al-Maktabatu al-Islāmī, p.231-243.

12 Goldziher, Ignaz ‘Muslim Studies’, 2:45, for the Ĥadīth see Sahīh al-Bukhārī: Kitāb Fadhl al-Salāh fī Masjid Makkat wa al-Madīnah: Bāb Fadhl al-Salāh fī Masjid Makkat wa al-Madīnah.

13 Al-Sibā’ī mentions other problems with Goldziher’s assertion about this narration ‘al-Sunnah’ p.243-247. See p211-261 for his full critique of Goldziher.

14 Goldziher, Ignaz ‘Muslim Studies’, 2:46

15 Al-Sakhāwī, Shams al-Dīn (1992) ‘al-Dhaw’ al-Lāmi’ li Ahl al-Qarn al-Tāsi’’, Beirut: Dār al-Jīl, (12 vol) 7/18

16 See al-Asqalānī, Ibn Hajr (2002) ‘Lisān al-Mīzān’ Beirut: Dār al-Bashā’ir al-Islāmiyyah, Ed ‘Abd al-Fattāh Abū Ghuddah, 5:531-2. Ibn Hajr alongside calling him a Shi’ī, classifies him as a Mu’tazilī.

17 See for similar inconsistencies in Goldziher’s arguments Maghen, Ze’ev (2003) ‘Dead Tradition: Joseph Schacht and the Origins of Popular Practice’, Islamic Law and Society Vol. 10, No. 3, The Interaction Between Islamic Law and Non-Muslims: Lakum Dīnukum wa-lī Dīni, pp. 276-347, p.300

18 Schacht, ‘A Revaluation of Islamic Traditions’, The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland No. 2, p.143-154 (Oct, 1949), p.143

19 Ibid, p.144

20 Ibid, p.144

21 Schacht, Origins, p.5

22 Schacht, ‘Revaluation’, p.147

23 Schacht, Joseph ‘An introduction to Islamic Law’ (1982) Oxford: Clarendon Press, p.11

24 See for their quotes Al-‘Azami, M. Mustafā (1996) ‘On Schacht’s Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence’, Oxford: The Islamic Texts Society, p.16-17. Fazlur Rahman in his review of Azami’s book denies Azami’s accusation of being influenced by Schacht but re-affirms his view that he did not believe the Prophet to have dealt with the ‘minutiae of law’, Rahman, Fazlur Journal of Near Eastern Studies Vol. 47, No. 3 (Jul., 1988), pp. 228-229

25 Azami quotes from Fitzgerald, N. J. Coulson and S. D. Goitein supporting the traditional view, Azami, ‘On Schacht’, p.17-18.

26 Guillaume, Alfred ‘The traditions of Islam: an introduction to the study of the Hadīth literature’, (1924) Oxford:  Clarendon Press, p.9

27 Schacht, Origins, p.58-70

28 Ibid, p.81

29 Ibid, p.80

30 Ibid, p.140

31 Ibid, p.142

32 Ibid, p.147

33 Al-Dabūsī, Abū Zaid (2001) ‘Taqwīm al-Adillah fī Usūl al-Fiqh’, Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, Ed. Khalīl Muĥyī al-Dīn al-Mīs, p.199

34 Al-Turkmānī, ‘Abd al-Majīd (2012) ‘Dirāsāt fī Usūl al-Ĥadīth ‘alā Manhaj al-Ĥanafiyyah’, Damascus: Dār Ibn Kathīr, p.400.

35 Al-Sarakhsī, Muhammad Ibn Aĥmad (d.1993) ‘Usūl al-Sarakhsī’, Beirut: Dār al-Ma’rifah, Ed. Abū al-Wafā’ al-Afghānī, (2 vol) 1/369, Ibn Amīr al-Ĥāj, Abū ‘Abdillah (1983) ‘al-Taqrīr wa al-Taĥbīr’, Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, (3 vol) 2/267, Kailānī, Muhammad Khalīfah (2010) ‘Manhaj al-Ĥanafiyyah fī nqd al-Ĥadīth Baina al-Nadhariyyah wa al-Taţbīq’, Cairo: Dār al-Salām, p.232-233

36 Juynboll, G.H.A (2008) ‘Muslim Tradition: Studies in Chronology, Provenance and Authorship of early Ĥadīth’, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p.3, p.206-217

37 Schacht, Origins, p.171-172

38 Ibid, p.176

39 al-Tirmiđi, Muhammad Ibn ‘īsa (1975) ‘Sunan al-Tirmiđi’, Egypt: Shirkatun Maktabtun wa Maktabat Musţafā al-Bābi Ed. Aĥmad Shākir (vol 1 and 2) Muhammad Fuād ‘Abd al-Bāqī (vol 3) and Ibrāhīm ‘Aţawa (vol 4 and 5), no.3346

40 Ibn Ĥanbal, Aĥmad (2001) ‘Musnad al-Imām Aĥmad Ibn Ĥanbal’ Beirut: Mu’assasatu al-Risalah, Ed. Shu’aib al-Arna’ūt and ‘Ᾱdil Murshid, no.17833

41 al-Țabarānī, Abū al-Qāsim (1994) ‘al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr’, Cairo: Maktabah Ibn Taymiyyah, Ed. Ĥamdī Ibn ‘Abd al-Mājid al-Salafī vol 25, no.599

42 Ibn al-Ĥajjāj, Muslim (1991) ‘Saĥīĥ Muslim’, Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, Ed. Muhammad Fuād ‘Abd al-Bāqī, no.264

43 Al-Asqalānī, Ibn Ĥajr, ‘Fatĥ al-Bārī’, no.3207

44 Al-Nasā’ī, Aĥmad Ibn Shu’aib (1986) ‘Sunan al-Nasa’ī’, Ĥalab: Maktab al-Matbu’āt al-Islāmiyyah , Ed. ‘Abd al-Fattāĥ Abū Ghuddah, 9vol, no.448

45 See Gibb, H. A. R (1951) Review of ‘The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence’ by Joseph SchachtJournal of Comparative Legislation and International Law, Third Series, Vol. 33, No. 3/4

(1951), pp. 113-114




46 For example Fazlur Rahman’s conception of Sunnah is very similar of that of Schacht although on certain details he diverges, see Kizil, Fatma (2008) Fazlur Rahman'ın Sünnet/Hadis Analysis’ ın Yaklaşımıyla bir MukayeseJournal of Hadith Studies. 2008, Vol. 6 Issue 2, p31-46.

47 Al-Azamī ‘On Schacht’s Origins’, p.3

48 Al-‘Azamī, M. Musţafā (1978) ‘Studies in Early Ĥadīth Literature’, Indiana: American Trust Publications

49 Ibid, p.212-267

50 Motzki, ‘The Origins of Islamic Jurisprudence’, p.39

51 Schacht, ‘Origins’, p.62

52 Al-Azamī ‘On Schacht’s Origins’, p.46

53 Ibid, p.69

54 Ibid, p.70

55 Ibid, p.72

56 Motzki, ‘The Origins of Islamic Jurisprudence’, p.40-44

57 Maghen, ‘Dead Tradition’, p.288

58 Ibid, p.297-347, Maghen analyses two cases in which Schacht tries to explain the origin of a certain ‘living tradition’. The first case is about the impurity of dogs and the second is about washing/wiping the feet in ablution. He shows after a thorough analysis that to claim both cases came from foreign societies/religions is farfetched.

59 Al-Azamī ‘On Schacht’s Origins’, p.118-119.

60 Ibid, p.121

61 See for example Ibid, p.109-115

62 For example we have seen that foreign influence was one of the possible origins of the ‘living tradition’. Motzki has argued that based on biographical works three quarters of the early Muslim scholars were of Arab decent which would lessen the chances of great impact from foreign influences. But he does not provide a clear view. See Motzki, Harald (1999) The Role of Non-Arab Converts in the Development of Early Islamic, Islamic Law and Society, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 293-317

63 Motzki, Harald (2013) ‘Analysing Muslim Traditions: Studies in Legal, Exegetical and Maghāzī Ĥadīth’, Leiden: Brill, p.211

64 Schoeler, Gregor (2002) Character and Authenticity of the Muslim Tradition on the Life of Muḥammad, Arabica, T. 49, Fasc. 3 (Jul., 2002), pp. 360-366

65 Motzki, Harald (2012) Motzki’s Reliable Transmitter: A Short Answer to P. Gledhill, Islamic Law and Society 19, pp.194-199, p.198

66 Motzki, ‘The Origins of Islamic Jurisprudence’, p.77-79

67 Ibid, p.81

68 Ibid, p.117-124. He is unsure if the same can be concluded for other companions ‘Aţā claims to narrate from.

69 Ibid, p.295

70 Ibid, p.296

71 Ibid, p.297

72 Brown, ‘Ĥadīth’, p.228

73 Motzki, ‘Analysing Muslim Traditions’, p.52-53

74Ibid, p.60-61

75 Gorke, Andreas (2011) ‘Prospects and Limits in the Study of the Historical Muhammad’, part of ‘The Transmission and Dynamics of the Textual Sources of Islam: Essays in Honour of Harald Motzki’, Leiden: Brill, Ed. Nicolet Boekhoff, Van Der Voort, Kees Versteegh and Joas Wagemakers, p. 142-143

76 Ibid, p.143

77 Brown, Jonathon A C (2007) ‘Critical Rigor vs. Juridical Pragmatism: How Legel Theorists and Ĥadīth Scholars Approached the Backgrowth of Isnāds in the Genre of ‘Ilal al-Ĥadīth’, Islamic Law and Society, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 1-41



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