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President Şentürk Held A Seminar On Hadith Transmission Chain In U.S.

President of Ibn Haldun University, Professor Recep Şentürk, explained the concept of hadith transmission during a seminar held by the Diyanet Center of America, located in Washington D.C.

Professor Şentürk met with scholars and students at the Diyanet Center of America, and underlined the fact that there is no other social transmission network in the history of mankind that is longer than the Hadith Transmission Network. “There is no comparable recorded network in the world today,” he said.  

In his presentation, Professor Şentürk stated that Usul-al Hadith and Isnad are the necessary and distinct methods for the preservation of knowledge, and  that Fiqh and Usul al-Fiqh are necessary and distinct methods for the interpretation of knowledge in the context of Islamic civilization. He further explained that Isnad systematizes knowledge transmission and verifies this knowledge with Ijazah. “Usul-Hadith supports critical thinking about each part of this knowledge,” he added.

Professor Şentürk observed, “The structure of Isnad is dynamic, it is fluid, it changes structure over time, and it is also continuous in the transmission and interpretation systems.”

Critique of Isnad

Professor Şentürk underlined the ways in which to consider and understand the value of a hadith transmission chain.

“The lesser the number of ties in a chain, the better the chain is. In this sense,  ‘Ali Isnad’ is more reliable and ‘Nazil Isnad’ is less reliable, because the number of ties in Ali Isnad is less than Nazil Isnad. The second principle is: the more chains a hadith has, the better the hadith is. So, if a hadith has more than seven chains, it is called ‘Mutewatır,’ and it is the most reliable. The third principle is: the more continuous the ties in a chain, the better the chain is. The next concern is the prominence of narrators in the chain. The more prominent the narrators in a chain, the better the chain is. In this context, the most reliable one is ‘Ma’ruf’, meaning renowned. And the rest is as follows: the more adequate the methods of narration, the better the chain is, the more competent the narrators are, the more reliable the chain is, and, finally, the higher the character of narrators, the more reliable the chain is.” he explained.  

Professor Şentürk also noted how hadith, as a collection of brief narratives concerning the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), is transmitted across generations by a chain of narrators and how this chain represents the longest recorded social transmission network presently known to sociologists and historians.

He concluded that these narrative networks are constantly at work in the world, and that “even if we are not aware of it, we are always part of them.”