Descriptions of the history of the first century of Islam are based mainly on reports that were transmitted as traditions (called khabar, plural akhbâr). These reports are short texts (called matn, pl. mutûn) which are usually accompanied each with a chain of authorities (called isnâd, pl. asânîd). The chain of authorities is the list of the people who purportedly handed down or narrated the text in succession until it reached the last reporter.
A subclass of such reports are those which describe the sayings and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad. These are called Prophetic hadiths, or hadiths for short. The label hadith is also sometimes applied to the purported sayings of the earliest authorities on legal and doctrinal issues. These include mainly the Prophet's associates, the lawyers and Qur'anic commentators in the generation that succeeded the Prophet, and the Shi'i Imams.
Hadiths are fundamentally important for studying the genesis of Islam, the biography of the Prophet Muhammad, the historical context of the Qur'an, and the development of Islamic doctrine and law. Knowledge of the nature and development of hadith literature sheds light on early Muslim historical tradition in general, and vice versa.
There is no one standard collection of hadiths. Thousands of people were involved in the transmission and study of hadiths and numerous compilations were made. Depending on the criterion of selection and the method of arrangement, the compilations of hadiths were given different names. These terms will be seen as the titles of some the primary sources listed here. They include sahîfa, musannaf, musnad, sunan, sahîh, jâmi', and usûl. Although the raison d'etre of these works is the preservation of hadiths, they are certainly not our only source. Other important repositories of hadith include legal texts, biographies of the Prophet (sîra or maghâzî literature ), Qur'anic exegesis (tafsîr literature and works on asbâb al-nuzûl and naskh), books on history (târîkh), and biographical dictionaries (tabaqât or rijâl literature).
The extant primary sources of information about the first century of Islam were composed often one to three centuries after the events they describe. These works drew on earlier texts that have been lost. Thus, an important object of inquiry is to what extent and how these sources can be used to obtain information about the first century. The bibliography is meant to emphasize this problem.
A good introductory article for somebody who has never been exposed to the field is the one by R. Marston Speight (1995) in the Oxford encyclopedia of the modern Islamic world. The best introductory books are the ones by by Ignaz Goldziher, Muhammad M. Azami, and Muhammad Zubayr Siddiqi. James Robson's articles provide an introduction to the classical discipline of Hadith that is richer in detail than most other secondary works. The Encyclopedia of Islam contains many relevant articles.
A comphrensive list of articles on Islam is given in Index Islamicus. See Anees, et al. (Guide, 1986) for additional non-Arabic sources, and Juynboll (Muslim Tradition, 1984) for both Arabic and non-Arabic ones. Schacht (Intro. Islamic Law, 1964) provides an extensive bibliography in 80 pages on Muslim law. For primary sources on Shiite Muslim law, the best source is Modarressi (a.k.a. Tabataba'i, Introduction, 1984). Tarif Khalidi (Arabic hist. thought, 1994) includes a bibliography of Arabic sources for early Muslim historiography. R.S. Humphreys' Islamic History, (1991) is a bibliographic essay that must be consulted for the study of any aspect of Muslim civilization during 600-1500 A.D.
The first version of the bibliography was compiled August 1995. As of March 1, 1996, it became joint project with Andreas Goerke, graduate student at the University of Hamburg (email@example.com). The bibliography is modified frequently. It is far from comprehensive or consistent and is rather selective. The selection is not made according to any well-defined or objective criterion. However, the intention is to keep improving it. Please tell us about any errors you find here or any relevant publications you learn about.
Thanks to everybody who contributed to this bibliography.
A star (*) precedes some, definitely not all, of the more significant secondary works which deal with the origins of Hadith literature.
*I signifies a work that is significant in terms of providing a general Introduction, either to hadith studies or to the modern literature on the dating of hadiths. A reader who wishes to get introduced to the field may begin with some of these works. *R signifies a work that is of significant Research value. *F signifies a work that is essentially a Reference source.
Usage of the above notation will not be precise or consistent. The purpose is only to give the reader a rough idea of what to expect.
|n.d.||no date given|
|n.a.||author as yet unknown|
|n.e.||editor as yet unknown|
|n.p.||publisher yet not known|
|---||"same author as the last citation"|
|AG||Annotation by Andreas Goerke|
|AH||After the Hegira in lunar, Arabian years|
|AHS||After the Hegira in Solar years|
|BS||Annotation by Behnam Sadeghi|
|BSOAS||Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies|
|CUP||Cambridge University Press|
|EI||Encyclopaedia of Islam, Original Edition.|
|EI2||Encyclopaedia of Islam: New Edition.|
|IJMES||International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies|
|JAOS||Journal of the American Oriental Society|
|ZDMG||Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft (Lepzig, since 1945, Wiesbaden, since 1858).|
A - B - C - D - EF - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - OPQ - R - S - T - UVW - XYZ