Week 4: Hadith Transmission

Filed under: Uncategorized — fatimashahbaz at 1:30 am on Wednesday, October 23, 2019


In Week 4, we learned about the role of the Prophet in Islam and Islam as a religion of models. One of the greatest roles of the Prophet was his role as a “walking Quran”, with his lifestyle and teachings being codified in Sunnah and Hadith. I found the mechanism in which Hadith, or the sayings and lessons of the Prophet that expanded upon the Quran, to be one of the most interesting parts of the course so far—because it’s been a concept I’ve struggled with independently for a few years.  For how could we be sure it was the truth, especially when considering the fallibility of man?

The chain of verification, and the secondary re-verification, reassured me that Hadiths were far more valid than child me had previously known. The three classifications of hadith as strong, medium, and weak, also particularly interested me, because why would someone insist on believing in a hadith that is known to be weak? Learning more about the isnads and the chains of transmission, I realized that it was considered a literal tree of communication—with some branches being stronger than others. That’s why I decided to draw a tree, to also reference the motif of nature as knowledge, and the ability to being able to “grow” and “tend” to your spiritual knowledge.

I specifically chose this pencil and paper method of art because I thought it spoke most to the theme of knowledge and learning, which I feel ties directly to Hadith and Sunnah, because they’re both meant to be mechanisms of knowledge and learning. I imagined that, at some point, a companion sat to write down the actions or sayings of the Prophet, so I felt it would only be appropriate if it was in this format. Some branches are longer than others to also indicate discrepancy in how many people were involved in the train of transmission, with the assumption that the fewer the people, the more trustworthy they had to be—which is why those branches are thicker.  Finally, I decorated the “leaves” of the tree with common Sunnah, to showcase how they were spread and encouraged throughout all of the Muslim world.

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