Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Makers of the Muslim World) by Christopher Melchert

By Christopher Melchert

Christopher Melchert examines the forefather of the fourth of the 4 crucial Sunni faculties of jurisprudence, the Hanbali. Upholding the view that the Qur'an was once uncreated and the direct notice of God, Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780-855) notion that the holy textual content can be learn actually, rejecting any danger for metaphorical or revisionist interpretation. Melchert assesses the significance of ibn Hanbal's teachings and analyses their relevance in glossy Sunni Islam.

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Indd 44 05/06/2006 11:32:48 HADITH 45 1 ‘Abd Allah < his father < Sufyan < al-Zuhrî < Sa‘id ibn alMusayyab < Abu Hurayrah < the Messenger of God: If only you knew what I know, you would laugh little and weep much. (Itraf 7:274) 2 ‘Abd Allah < his father < ‘Abd al-Razzaq < Ma‘mar < al-Zuhri < Sa‘id ibn al-Musayyab < Abu Hurayrah < the Messenger of God: If only you knew what I know, you would laugh little and weep much. (Itraf 7:274) 3 ‘Abd Allah < his father < Hajjaj < Layth < ‘Uqayl < Ibn Shihab < Sa‘id ibn al-Musayyab < Abu Hurayrah < the Messenger of God: If only you knew what I know, you would laugh little and weep much.

Indd 19 05/06/2006 11:32:45 20 AHMAD IBN HANBAL (support) is the chain of authorities by which it has reached the collector. The isnad is proof that the report was not made up somewhere along the way and historically projected onto a venerable authority of the past. (Hadith reports were once called “traditions,” by analogy with pre-literary oral reports of what Jesus said. ) Later writers distinguish between hadith, which went back to the Prophet, and athar, which went back to other early Muslims, but Ahmad uses the terms interchangeably.

This is not what the medieval tradition maintained. In the face of so much contrary evidence, it seems to have only polemical convenience to recommend it. ” But then how do we explain the attachment of this saying to the warning about praying properly, since the Prophet can see behind him as well as before? This warning crops up in numerous other hadith reports (for example, Muslim offers four in a row under the heading of “praying well”), with no mention of laughing and weeping. The drift of phrases in and out of different hadith reports is a fairly common phenomenon.

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