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A "period of intense canonical process": Imagination and the study of the Ṣaḥīḥayn in the long fourth/tenth century

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Chapter Summary

The study of the Ṣaḥῑḥayn fell to neither the uber-Sunnis who had ostracized al-Bukhari nor the historically hadith-wary Hanafis. This chapter examines this network of scholars and their accomplishments during what one might term the long fourth century, that period between the deaths of the Shaykhayn and the widespread acknowledgment of the canon in the mid-fifth/eleventh century. The long fourth century also proved a period in which important elements of the broader Muslim community began articulating the notion of a hadith collection acting as a locus of communal consensus. From the mid-fourth/tenth century to the mid- fifth/eleventh, the capital of the Abbasid caliphate hosted a knot of scholars who pioneered the study of the two works as complementary units. The extraordinary efforts of the Ṣaḥῑḥayn Network scholars to produce de nitive texts of al-Bukhari's collection and identify his methods and transmitters made the work an ideal candidate for canonization.

Keywords: Ṣaḥῑḥayn Network scholars; Abbasid caliphate; al-Bukhari; canonization; hadith collection; long fourth century; uber-Sunnis



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