Wednesday, 25. January 2023, 19:00-21:00
The Journey of Umm Salama's narration of Hadith al-kisa over ten centuries
Live streaming link: https://maxweberstiftung-oi-beirut.webex.com/maxweberstiftung-oi-beirut/j.php?MTID=m951edbf5499a8eefaab0f7c7f9a02eaf
Ḥadīth compilations went through a complex evolution from ṣaḥīfa, juz‘,risāla, sunan, musannaf, jāmiʿ, musnad, muʿjam, mustadrak and mustakhraj, each reflecting choices and different methodologies of their compilers/collectors. To illustrate this evolution, this study looks at the journey of one particular ḥadīth, narrated by Umm Salama, Mother of the Believers, tracing its 135 different versions found in Sunnī collections and the 185 versions found in the Shi’ite collections. The oldest Sunni one was collected by Affān b. Muslim (d. 219AH/834AD) and the last one was collected by al-Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (d. 852AH/1449AD) covering almost six centuries. The oldest Shi’ite version was collected by Salīm b. Qays (d. 80/699) and the last one was collected by Allāma al-Majlisi (d. 1111/1627) covering almost ten centuries. The different versions of the narration reveal seven distinct story lines or plots. Though the variations differ considerably in details, certain characteristics remain, namely a fairly constant frame story and a relatively variable enclosed content, with the main characters staying the same and some new characters being added. Furthermore, there are some noticeable common themes regarding the additions or omissions from the main body of the narration. This study attempts to answer several question: why are there so many different versions of a narration by one person? Do these differences reflect the choices of the compilers/editors as well as their interference with the material? What do these differences reflect? Was the ḥadīth manipulated to reflect sectarian ideologies, political developments, and theological frameworks or are the differences merely dramatic tools used for the benefit of the different audiences or both? Do compilers/editors of hadith collections have certain personal agendas?
Yasmin Amin works at the Orient-Institut Beirut as Representative of the Orient-Instituts Beirut (Max-Weber-Stiftung) in Cairo. She is an Egyptian-German who holds a BA in Business Administration, a PGD and an MA in Islamic Studies, all three from the American University in Cairo. She received her PhD in Islamic Studies from Exeter University’s Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies researching ‘Humour and Laughter in the Ḥadīth’. Her research covers various aspects of gender issues, early Muslim society and culture as well as the original texts of Islamic history, law and Hadith.