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Module Two; Unit 6:

Usul al-hadith



Studying the principles of hadith terminology and criticism is a major component of hadith studies (ulum al-hadith). The goal of the course is to help the student become acquainted with the most important terms in hadith criticism and gain a practical understanding of what these terms mean when applied practically in hadith analysis. 


Primary Text

Primary Text:

  • Turfat al-turaf by Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad al-‘Arabi bin Abi ’l-Mahasin al-Fasi (d.1052 AH)

About the Text:

The text, entitled Turfat al-turaf, but often known simply as Manzumat Alqab al-Hadith, is a fifty verse rhyme (nazm) by the great North African scholar Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad al-‘Arabi bin Abi ’l-Mahasin al-Fasi (d.1052 AH) which introduces the most important terminology in hadith sciences in a systematic and structured way. The text itself has been popular in North Africa for centuries, and is a superior introductory text than the more famous Sharqi text, al-Bayquniyya.

 About the Author

Muhammad al-Arabi bin Yusuf bin Muhammad al-Fasi came from a family of great scholars and ascetes which traced its origins to al-Andalus. Born in Fes, he began studying at the age of 4, and studied with his father as well as all the great scholars of Qarawiyin. He wrote numerous works on such diverse topics as grammar, usul, theology, hadith, genealogy, sira, adhkar, logic, history, Qur’anic recitations and poetry. He travelled widely in the rural areas to teach the people, and in one of those trips he fell ill, eventually dying in Tetouan in 1052/1642.

Teaching Method

Teaching Method

The teaching method will be based on a primary exposition of each category which will explain the meaning of the term, the historical development of the term in hadith criticism, and a practical example where it can be seen how the category works in practice. More important categories, such as sahih, tadlis, ziyadat al-thiqa or mu‘allal, will be discussed in class in the light of practical examples which will be presented visually.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • describe the difference between hadith and Sunnah
  • demonstrate an understanding of the different phases in the collating of hadith literature in the first three centuries of Islam
  • discuss critically the methods used to classify hadith
  • demonstrate an understanding of the hadith types and their definitions
  • differentiate the level of authenticity between hadith narrations


The module will cover the following topics:

  • Distinction between hadith and Sunnah
  • Introduction to ‘ulum al-hadith (the science of hadith studies)
  • Identification phase of hadith
  • Collection phase of hadith
  • Classification phase of hadith
  • Six canonical hadith collections
  • Refinement phase of hadith
  • Hadith types and their definitions
  • Content (matn) analysis of hadith
  • Critical analysis of chains of transmission (sanad)
  • Methods in transmission of hadith from master to student
  • Criteria for hadith critique and their narrators


This course will involve one short in-course essay and end-of-course written examination.

Teacher Profile

 Dr Abdul-Hakim Vazquez

 Dr Abdul-Hakim Vazquez has spent almost 20 years studying the classical Islamic sciences under a variety of traditionally-trained scholars and received ijazah in hadith from scholars including Shaykh Akram Nadwi,

Shaykh Muhammad Muti‘ al-Hafiz, al-Allama Muhammad Hasan al-Ahdal, al-Allama Muhammad ibn Isma'il al-Amrani, al-Allama Muhammad bin Ali al-Mansur, al-Allama Qasim bin Ibrahim al-Bahr, Shaykh Muhammad Amin Siraj, Shaykh Abd al-Rahman al-Kattani, Shaykh Abd al-Rahman walad al-Hajj al-Shinqiti and others. He has travelled to study with scholars in Mauritania, Syria, Yemen, Morocco and the UK. He completed his ‘alimiyyah degree at the ASI under the supervision of Shaykh Akram Nadwi.

In 2005 he completed his doctorate in History at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, with a thesis on the establishment of the Maliki legal school in Muslim Spain. In 1999 he completed his Masters in Middle Eastern Studies from SOAS. He has worked at SOAS as a lecturer, researcher and editor.


Fees & Registration

For details on Fees, Discounts, Financial Asisstance and Registration please visit our Registration Page


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