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Book Review of Modern Hadith Studies Continued Debates and New Approaches

Title                  : Modern Hadith Studies Continued Debates and New Approaches
Author              : Belal Abu Alabbas, Michael Dann
Publisher          : Edinburgh University Press Ltd
Pages                : 242 
Published Year : 2020
ISBN          : 97814744 41827

    Western studies of early Islamic history have evolved into different approaches. One of the approaches used in analyzing Islamic literature is the revisionist approach that uses source-critical methods. The study of hadith, which is included in the study of early Islamic history, has become the concern of modernists, especially orientalists such as Joseph Schacht, Juynboll who doesnt simply believe in a hadith and question its origin.
    This book is a collection of papers written by various scholars on various methods and trends in hadith studies around the world. The book consists of 9 chapters with an introduction by Christopher Melchert. This book brings together the views of Western and Middle Eastern scholars to explore medieval and modern approaches and methodologies in hadith studies by analyzing them and evaluating them. It presents case studies that focus on questions related to specific issues in hadith. It also provides an explanation of the global scope and approach of recent methods in the field of hadith. Thus, this book makes a major contribution to the understanding of hadith discourse by providing an adequate understanding as it brings together contributions of thoughts from various scholarly communities on hadith studies.
    Pavel Pavlovitch provides an explanation of the kunna nakrah al-kitab by analyzing the semantic structure of the matn of the hadith. Kunna nakrah al-kitab points out the necessity of using isnad cum matn analysis in hadith studies.  Pavel focuses on the evolution of concepts from vagueness to clarity of expression.
    In the history of the adhan, Maroussia Bednarkiewicz reconstructs the general structure underlying all texts which she calls "proto-narrative" She concludes that narrators used proto-narrative to construct different narratives, which variously interweave historical facts with oneiric traditions in which there are religious claims.
    Christopher Melchert reviewed Ibnu al-Mubarak's work in the Arabic monograph. He observed that Arabic books are full of quotations but do not provide in-depth analysis. According to him, Islamic scholarship is centered on normative truth rather than historical accuracy.
    Jeremy Farrell in Early traditionalist Sufi's uses the hypothesis of separate reconciliation. Where he explores the relationship between Sufis and traditionists. He claims that the model of the diachronic development of the relationship between traditionists and Sufis as a hypothesis of split reconciliation has taken many forms and few have articulated its elements with knowledge.
    Ali Aghaei highlights the common link theory initiated by Joseph Schacht. In the mid-20th century, Joseph Schacht first used the “common link” theory in hadith studies. He was interested in hadith dating and discovered a strange phenomenon in hadith isnads. The common link is a theory that assumes that the oldest narrator in the isnad network is the one from whom the existing transmission lines spread and that this narrator is not a first-century Hijri figure. This theory has elicited a variety of reactions, ranging from total rejection to total acceptance as an ideal approach to understanding the narrative formation of the Prophet. In this section, the origins and development of the common link theory are traced mainly by Western scholars such as Joseph Schacht, who is considered a major figure in the study of Islamic law.
    Mutaz al-Khatib explains hadith criticism between traditionalists and jurists. Al-Khatib addresses the negative assumptions surrounding hadith criticism. There was an assumption that the classical scholars focused their hadith criticism only on the sanad and ignored the matn. He explains that the criticism of the hadith's matn is prioritized by the jurists because it is in their interest to establish a law. Al-Khatib focuses his study on the criticism of the matn of traditions in the usul fiqh literature by highlighting the acceptance of ahad traditions.
    Ahmad Snober discusses the stagnant development of hadith in Syria. Historically, he explains that from the medieval times to modern times the study of hadith in Syria has been stagnant. From a sociological perspective, he explains that hadith scholarship in Syria began to revive because of Albani's role and contribution.
    Fatma Kizil discusses the history of Western critical hadith studies reception in Turkey. Fatma explains that the introduction of Western critical hadith studies was the result of widespread Westernization in Turkey. The education system can be described as a channel of Westernization in the late Ottoman era. In this era, it gave way to the adoption of a thoroughly secularized Western culture and worldview. Western hadith studies have also come under the spotlight between traditionalist and modernist scholars. The debate between the two continues to fuel academic debate in the field of Islamic studies in Turkey. The modernists devoted their attention to collecting materials/literature that would support their assessment of the traditions that were accepted and considered authentic. Traditionalists, on the other hand, did not only dedicate part of their time to answering and examining the questions and criticisms voiced by modernists but also rejected the justified criticisms of other groups. The Western influence on modern hadith debates in Turkey provided a major change in worldview as Westernization in Turkey took place in the second constitutional period of Turkey.
    Michael Dann in the final chapter of the book discusses Shi'a narrators who fall within a broad spectrum of theological and political orientations, but collectively embody the high degree of sectarian ambiguity that characterized the early centuries of Islam. Some of them played an important role in the development of the nascent Shi'a sectarian identity, others were notable for their support of Shi'a-inspired revolts against the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties, and still others were at the forefront of proto-Sunni neighborhoods in the Iraqi garrison city of Kufa.
    This book provides an extensive explanation of the approach and methodology of hadith studies from both the sanad and matan aspects of hadith by providing an explanation of the various struggles of hadith in the Modern era. It provides an understanding by bringing together the thoughts of modernists on the existence of hadith. This book contributes to bringing together the views of modernists from various contemporary issues who are critical in interpreting hadith. So what comes from the Prophet is not always interpreted as a doctrine that must or must be implemented as part of religious teachings.
    This book is quite comprehensive in discussing issues that are debated in hadith studies so that it adds to the understanding of the approaches and methods of modern hadith studies that must be read, especially the approach in understanding the matan of hadith which is not only seen textually but also must be contextualized by using various disciplines in studying it. This book uses content analysis that seeks to reveal the historical facts of hadith that have become problematic and debated in the modern era.

Shofiatul Jannah
Shofiatul Jannah Akademisi & Kader Ulama Perempuan Indonesia (KUPI)

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