Abu Hurayra a narrator of Hadith revisited
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Abstract The task of preserving the Hadith was undertaken, according to the classical Muslim view, by the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad and, thereafter, the Tabicun (Successors), and then from generation to generation. Thus, we find this great amount of Hadith in front of us today. From amongst these Hadith we find as it is alleged a great proportion narrated by the Companion Abu Hurayra (d.57/58/59AH/681/682/683CE). He has narrated various kinds of narration, from those on creed to those on the ethics of Islam. However, his narrations have been looked upon with certain scepticism and criticism, as has his own personality, in both Classical Hadith scholarship and Modern Hadith scholarship. This research, entitled: ‘Abu Hurayra’ a Narrator of Hadith Revisited: An Examination into the Dichotomous Representations of an Important Figure in Hadith with special reference to Classical Islamic modes of Criticism, will discuss specifically Abu Hurayra the Companion of the Prophet Muhammad and his alleged status as a prolific narrator of the Hadith. The aim of this study is to highlight how Abu Hurayra is depicted and perceived by both Classical Hadith Scholarship and Modern Hadith Scholarship. Furthermore, the central argument of this thesis is that the charge of Abu Hurayra being a Mukthir (a prolifically active narrator who embellished his reports) is unfair for the simple reason that those traditions he uniquely transmits are rather small in number. Most of the other traditions with which his name is associated have concomitant and parallel isnads (Chains of Narration). This study therefore sets out to critically examine and analyse the life and narrations of Abu Hurayra in view of the academic debates on the wider issues of the authenticity of the sources and how they affect the arguments put forward by this research.
Doctor of Philosophy in Arab & Islamic Studies