Hadith can be categorised into three types:
1. The chain explicitly or implicitly goes to the Messenger of Allah. This is called marfu’ – ‘the raised-chain’.2. The chain explicitly or implicitly goes to a Companion. This is called mawquf – the ‘halted-chain’.3. The chain explicitly or implicitly goes to a Successor. This is called maqtu’ – the ‘broken-chain’.
From the point of view of authenticity (proof of genuineness or otherwise) there are many kinds of aHadith, but we shall confine ourselves to mention and examine only three kinds of aHadith which are common among the masses, namely
(1) Hadith-e-Sahih or Accurate(2) Hadith-e-Hasan or good and reliable and(3) Hadith-e-Daeef or weak and of doubtful origin.
SAHIH is that which contains these four qualities
(a) The authenticity of which is assured by the contiuance of the chain of Reporters or Narrators (Ravis) is unbroken or uninterrupted from the Holy Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon Him) to the Compiler or Last Reporter (Ravi). This means that there should be no gap in the chain of reporters, one connected with the following or next reporter till the last reporter.
(b) Each reporter or narrator of the Hadith must be a person of righteous moral excellence in all his sayings and deeds in all walks of life. No transgressor (Fasiq) or one whose autecedents or past career is hidden and unknown cannot be accepted as an authentic or qualified Ravi or Reporter of the Hadith
(c) All the reporters must possess healthy retentive memory, without becoming weak on account of illness or senility
(d) The Hadith reported by him must not be rare or of an uncommon or peculiar nature. It must bear the mark of common or natural occurrence or in other words it must not be against well known Hadith called Hadith-e-Mash'hoorah.
HASAN: By this kind of Hadith is meant that its Narrator or reporter may ot possess the qualities required of a Ravi of Sahih Hadith; his righteousness (Taqva) or memory not be of the execllent level or which has been imparied on account of sickness, senility or some accident.
DAEEF: The Narrator of such a Hadith is not righteous or whose memory is not strong and healthy and reliable.
The Status of Hadith in Religion
It does not need us to explain that the first and foremost primary source of the Sacred Law (Shari’ah) is the Holy Qur’an – the Book of Allah. It is through the clear and explicit commands and teachings of the Holy Qur’an that we are obliged to follow the Messenger of Allah. This is because, without the Messenger of Allah it is merely impossible for anyone to understand the Qur’an; its explanations and meanings, and it is also impossible to learn the detailed rulings of each and every obligation in Islam.
Therefore, the Ahadith of the Messenger of Allah certainly form the second source for the Sacred Islamic Law - the Shari’ah, as these are the one and only means of gaining information as regards the Messenger of Allah; his commands; his sayings; his actions; his explanations and commentaries on the verses of the Holy Qur’an, all of which are necessary for us to know in order for us to understand the Holy Qur’an.
Now, we quote a few of the many verses from the Holy Qur’an, in which on innumerable occasions we have been commanded to follow in the footsteps of the Messenger of Allah. Thus, making it obligatory upon us to follow his teachings.
I. “O believers! Obey Allah and His Messenger and turn not away from him after hearing him…” [Surah:8 – al-Anfal, Verse:20]
II. “And obey Allah and His Messenger and dispute not with one another, otherwise you will show timidity…” [Surah:8 – al-Anfal, Verse:46]
III. “And We did not send any Messenger but that he should be obeyed by Allah’s will.” [Surah:4 – al-Nisa’, Verse:64]
IV. “O beloved! Say, ‘O people! If you love Allah, then follow me; Allah will love you…” [Surah:3 – Al-e-Imran, Verse:31]
V. “then, O beloved! By your Lord, they shall not be Muslims until they make you judge in all disputes among themselves…” [Surah:4 – al-Nisa, Verse:65]
VI. “O believers! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and those who have power of command amongst you, then again if there may arise any difference amongst you, refer it to Allah and His Messenger…” [Surah:4 – al-Nisa’, Verse:59]
VII. “O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and let not your deeds go waste.” [Surah:47, Muhammad, Verse:33]
VIII. “He who obeys the Messenger, then verily he has obeyed Allah…” [Surah:4 – al-Nisa’, Verse:80]
IX. “O beloved! Say: ‘Obey Allah and the Messenger.’ then, if they turn away, surely Allah loves not the infidels.” [Surah:3 – Al-e-Imran, Verse:32]
X. “And what the Messenger gives you, take it and what he forbids you, and abstain from it…” [Surah:59 – al-Hashr, Verse:7]
XI. “Surely you have an excellent example for your guidance in (the life of) the Messenger of Allah…”[Surah:33 – al-Ahzab, Verse:21]
It has been clearly established and proven from the above-quoted verses from the Holy Qur’an that it is incumbent upon each and every Muslim to follow the Messenger of Allah, and his teachings.
Therefore, all of the law and orders enforced by the Messenger of Allah are incumbent upon us to follow in the same way, as it is obligatory upon us to follow every Divine command that is transmitted to us by the Holy Qur’an, as the command of the Messenger of Allah is indirectly the command of Allah the Most Exalted.
One Fundamental Question:
After having understood all of what has just been explained, we should contemplate and ponder carefully upon a question that is posed: “Is this command of following the Messenger of Allah as reiterated by many verses of the Holy Qur’an (as mentioned above) only related to when the Messenger of Allah was physically alive in this mundane world, or does this apply till the Day of Judgement?”
If – Allah forbid! – this Divine command was specified only to the physical life of the Messenger of Allah, then this would quite simply, in other words, mean that acting upon the Qur’an, following the teachings of Islam is also limited and specified to the blessed era of the Messenger of Allah. This is because to follow the teachings and sayings of the Messenger of Allah were made incumbent upon every single Muslim, only for the fact that without this, it is impossible for anyone to follow the teachings of Islam and the Qur’an. Thus, when it has been commanded to follow Islam, Qur’an and its teachings till the Day of Judgement, then it has been proven that to follow the Messenger of Allah and showing obedience to him is also a command that shall not cease till the Day of Judgement.