Share via Whatsapp
  • The literal meaning of hadith is news, statement, report, stories or narrations.
  • Technically, the term hadith refers to the prophetic sayings, reports, statement which came forth from the prophet’s gems or mouth.
  • It also includes the prophet’s action and deeds.
  • The term hadith is sometimes used to refer to Sunnah although there is a difference between the two as follows:

Differences between Hadith and Sunna

Hadith  Sunnah 
 This is what the prophet said or what he taught  This refers to what he did or his actions
 Is what the prophet kept quiet about or approved  Is the way in which he conducted the affairs of the Ummah.
 It is the prophet’s interpretation of the Quran  It is his actual reading of the Quran
 Is the prophet’s treaties and declaration  Is the implementation of those treaties and declarations
 Is the prophet’s guidance on how to behave towards others  Is how he related to other people
 This is the prophet’s instruction on how to worship  Refers to the demonstrations and how he conducted the religious acts.

Evolution of Hadith

  • The term evolution has been used to refer to the origin, beginning or emergence.
  • Therefore, evolution of Hadith traces the origin and gradual development of hadith
  • It can best be looked into by studying the drivers of evolution.
  • These are the factors that made the Prophet to come up with the volumes of hadith and sunnah Muslims today rely on as a significant code of reference after the Quran.
  • There are four ways in which contributed to the evolution of hadith:
    1. Through the prophets own initiative
    2. As a response asked by his companions
    3. As a demand of circumstances
    4. As an interpretation of the Quran

The Prophet’s Initiative

  • The prophet was devoted to teaching the Muslim Umma about the right way.
  • He would come up with an issue of which he felt that there was need for the Muslims to know about.
  • In this case he would talk to the Muslims to address it.
  • One instance is illustrated by the hadith below:

    Abu Hureira (RAA) narrates that the Prophet (P.B.U.H) used to say (in supplication), “O Allah! Set right for me my religion, which is the safeguard of my affairs. And set right for me the affairs of the world wherein is my living. Decree the hereafter to be good for me. And make this life, for me, (a source of) abundance for every good and make my death (a source of) comfort to me and protection against every evil.”(Muslim)
    This is an example in which the prophet took an initiative to teach the Muslims the dua they need to recite.

  • Whoever speaks in the Jum’a while the Imam is delivering the khutba is like a donkey who is carrying books, and for he who tells him to be quiet, there will be no (reward for his) Jum’a prayer. “Related by Ahmad)

    The objective of this hadith is to teach about the importance of keeping quiet and attentively listening to the Friday khutba when it is on.

  • The third instance is when Al Mughira bin Shu’ba said:
    I was with the prophet (during an expedition). He started to perform ablution and I was about to remove his socks (khuff), when he said, “Leave them, for I put them on while I was in a state of purity,” and he wiped over them. (Bukahari and Muslim)

As a Response to Questions asked by his Companions

  • The prophet was the leader and sole authority in all matters concerning the Muslims.
  • People would approach him with questions on religion, social, political and any other issues affecting them.
  • He was the resource of reference in addressing people’s issues.
  • Therefore, his suggested solutions became part of hadith.
  • Aisha (R.A) narrated: “I asked the prophet about turning here and there in prayer. He replied: “It is a kind of theft by which Satan takes away (a portion of) the person’s prayer.”(Al- Bukhari and At-Tirmidhi). The latter’s wordings are,“Avoid turning while you are engaged in prayer for it leads to the destruction of your religion. If you have to do it, then do it in the voluntary prayer.”
    The hadith is an example that evolved through a question that the prophet had to respond to a question that Aisha, his wife, asked on matters concerning turning during prayers.
  • The other hadith below shows another hadith that was as a result to questions asked.
    Abu Huraira narrated that the prophet was asked:
    Which kind of sadaqa was better?’ He replied, “That which is given by one who does not have much property. And begin by giving your dependents.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawoud. In Khuzaima, Ibn Hibban) Al Hakim graded it as sahih.
    This hadith is another evidence of evolution of hadith as a respond to questions from the companions.
  • Ibn Abbas narrated that a woman from the tribe of Juhainah came to the prophet and said, “My mother vowed to perform Hajj but she died before fulfilling her vow. Should I perform Hajj on her behalf?’ The prophet said, “Yes, perform Hajj on her behalf. Had there been a debt on your mother, would you have paid it or not? So pay off her debt to Allah, for He is most deserving of settlement of His debt.”(Al- Bukhari.)

As a Demand of Circumstances

  • Circumstances and situations would arise and the companions would demand the prophet’s suggestions and solutions as their leader, hence their suggestions and solutions became Hadith.
  • Ibn Abbas(R.A) narrated that when the prophet sent Muadh bin Jabal to Yemen (as governor); he said to him:
    You are going to a people who are people of the scripture. Invite them to testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Messenger. If they obey you in this, then teach them that Allah, the Glorious One, has enjoined five prayers upon them in every day and night, and if they obey you in this, then tell them that Allah has made it obligatory for them to pay zakat upon their assets and it is to be taken from the wealthy among them and given to the poor among them.”(Al- Bukhari).
    This hadith shows a situation where the prophet had to give instructions to a potential leader on the duties he should carry out.

  • Another instance is explained in the hadith below:
    Jabir bin Abdullah(R.A) narrated that the prophet visited a sick person and found him praying while sitting on a cushion. The prophet pushed it aside and said to him:
    Pray while sitting on the ground if you can, and if you cannot, then pray by nodding your head, and make a lower nodding for prostration than that for bowing (rukuu).”(Al- Baihaqi).

  • The other hadith below shows another circumstance that the prophet had to give decisions:
    Anas narrated that the prophet narrated that the prophet passed by a fallen date in the street and said:
    Were it not for my doubt that this might have been given for charity, I would have eaten it.”(Bukhari and Muslim)

As an Interpretation of the Quran

  • The verses of the Qura’n were revealed to the prophet (P.B.U.H).
  • It was the duty of the prophet to explain the meaning and application of those verses to his companions.
  • Therefore his explanations and commentaries became Hadith.
  • This proves that prophet had a duty of giving further clarification whenever the need arose as Allah says in the Holy Qura’n:
    With clear signs and books (We sent the messengers). And we have also sent down to you (O Muhammad ) the Dhikr [reminder] that is Quran, that you may explain clearly to men what is sent to them that they may give thought.”[Q: 16:44]
    Following are examples of how the prophet interpreted the Quran using Hadith.

Interpretation on Jumaa prayer

O you, who believe, when the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday, hasten earnestly to the remembrance of Allah and leave off business: That is best for you but knew.”[Q: 62:9]

  • Prophet’s Hadith
    • Abdullah bin Umar and Abu Huraira (R.A) narrated that they heard the messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H) say while standing on his pulpit, “ Those who are not attending Friday prayer should stop doing so, otherwise Allah the Exalted will seal their hearts and they will be reckoned among the heedless”(Muslim)
    • Ibn Umar (R.A) narrated that the messenger of Allah said, “whoever catches only one rakat of the Jumaa prayer, or any other, he should then add to it another one, and his prayer will be complete” (AN-Nisai , Ibn-Maaja, Daraqutni)

Interpretation on Ribaa

Those who devour Ribaa will not stand except as stands one whom the Satan by his touch has driven to madness. That is because they say, “trade is like ribaa,” but Allah has permitted trade and forbidden ribaa. For who after receiving admonition from their Lord desist shall be pardoned for their past; their case is for Allah to judge; but those who repeat (the offence) are companions of the fire: they will abide therein (forever).” [Q: 2:275 -276]

  • Prophet’s Hadith
    • Abu Huraira (R.A) narrates that the messenger of Allah said: “whenever gold is exchanged with gold it should be equivalent in amount and quality, and whenever silver is exchanged for silver it should be equivalent in amount and quality. Whoever gives more or asks for more, this is considered ribaa.”(Muslim)

Forms of Hadith

  • Hadith have been classified into four forms determined by the way they were presented by the prophet.
  • These forms are:
    • Fiil (what he did)
    • Qaul (what he said)
    • Iqrar (what he silently approved)
    • Sifat(his attributes)


  • This form of Hadith refers to the virtuous deeds or actions done by the Prophet (P.B.U.H).
  • The following are examples of the prophets Hadith:
    • Aisha (R.A) relates,” I never saw the messenger of God laughing in a way that the inside of his mouth is apparent, he only used to smile.” (Al-Bukhari).
    • Narrated by Jaaber (God be pleased with him) relates that on the day of the Idd (feast), the prophet (peace be upon him) used to go to Idd prayer by one route and come back by another route. (Al-Bukhari).


  • This form of Hadith refers to sayings, reports or what came by word of mouth from the prophet (P.B.U.H).
  • An example of Qaul is the following:
    Abu-Huraira (God be pleased with him) relates that the messenger of God peace be upon him said, “A hypocrite has 3 signs by when he can be known: if he speaks he lies, if give a promise he never fulfill it, if he is entrusted with something he betrays the trust.”(Al-Bukhari and Muslim)




  • Iqrar is also referred to as Takrir.
  • It refers the deeds done by the Swahabas when the prophet kept quiet about them instead of disapproving them or rather he silently approved them.
  • His silent approval was like giving them a go ahead to continue with the deeds.
  • An example of this form of Hadith is as follows:
    Ibn Abbas (R.A) narrated, “We used to pray two rak’at after sunset (before the Maghrib prayer, and the prophet would see us, but he did not order us to do so, nor did he prohibit.” (Muslim)


  • This refers to general appearance and especially bodily characteristics and the physical tributes the prophet possessed.
  • It includes the qualities and attributes that the prophet displayed in his life.
  • The Swahabas were able to observe his general conduct and follow them.
  • The following are examples of hadith that emerged as a result of his Sifat:
    • Narrated by Abu-Huraira (R.A) relates that: Al- Hassan Ibn Ali (the prophet’s grandson (R.A) picked up a date from the dates set for charity and put it in his month. The messenger of God said, “Kikh Kikh” (dirt! Keep away!) Throw it out. Do you not know that we (the Prophet (P.B.U.H) and his household) do not eat from charity?” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
    • Narrated by Aisha (R.A) relates that the messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H) used to like using the right hand-side in all his affairs: his cleansing, combing his hair, putting on his footwear… (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Contributions of Hadith to Islamic Thought and Culture

  • The content of hadith provides an explanation of the verses of the Quran thus enhancing its understanding and application of its teachings. For example; the holy Quran gives a ruling that Muslims should pay Zakat without outlining the details of how much, on which items or when to give the Zakat. We learn all these details from the hadith.
  • The study of Hadith has made tremendous contributions to the growth and development of Islamic sharia. Muslim jurists like the four imams of the schools of thought studied the sciences of hadith and simplified its understanding and application.
  • Hadith have provided a clear guidance on the code of conduct expected from the Muslims. Muslims should adhere to specific mannerisms of walking, sleeping eating among others as taught by our prophet(P.B.U.H)
  • Hadith have summarised the prophets exemplary life which Muslims emulate to mould their character.
  • Hadith is the second source of sharia after the Quran. This was confirmed by the prophet in his farewell address confirmed when he said “Verily, I have left among you the book of Allah and the sunnah of his apostle which if you hold fast you shall never go astray.”
Join our whatsapp group for latest updates

Download HADITH - IRE FORM 1 Notes.

Tap Here to Download for 50/-

Why download?

  • ✔ To read offline at any time.
  • ✔ To Print at your convenience
  • ✔ Share Easily with Friends / Students

Get on WhatsApp Download as PDF
Subscribe now

access all the content at an affordable rate
Buy any individual paper or notes as a pdf via MPESA
and get it sent to you via WhatsApp


What does our community say about us?

Join our community on:

  • easyelimu app
  • Telegram
  • facebook page
  • twitter page
  • Pinterest