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The “ḥadīṯ literature”: What is it and where is it?

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This article seeks to explore what the ḥadīṯ literature is from a theoretical perspective. Developing ideas first formulated by Andrew Newman, it will be argued that the “ḥadīṯ literature” is an abstract concept, which, subsequently, raises a number of issues and questions. Using a comparison of two works on ǧihād as a case study—al-Biqāʿī’s (d. 885/1480) Ḏayl al-istišhād bi-āyāt al-ǧihād and al-Suyūṭī’s (d. 911/1505) Arbaʿūn ḥadīṯan fī faḍl al-ǧihād—questions around the “ḥadīṯ literature” and what it is will be raised. The discussion will focus on the way in which the ḥadīṯ found in ḥadīṯ collections are affected by a compiler’s own personal discourse and historical context. It will be argued that a paradox emerges in which ḥadīṯ are both part of an abstract, atemporal “ḥadīṯ literature,” but, at the same time, rooted in the theological and historical context of the compiler.Cet article cherche à explorer ce qu’est la littérature du ḥadīṯ d’une perspective théorique. En développant des idées formulées pour la première fois par Andrew Newman, il sera montré que la « littérature du ḥadīṯ » est un concept abstrait qui, par conséquent, soulève un certain nombre de problèmes et de questions. En comparant deux ouvrages sur le ǧihād comme étude de cas—le Ḏayl al-istišhād bi-āyāt al-ǧihād d’al-Biqāʿī (m. 885/1480) et Arbaʿūn ḥadīṯan fī faḍl al-ǧihād d’al-Suyūṭī (m. 911/1505)—, des questionnements sur la « littérature du ḥadīṯ » et ce qu’elle est seront soulevés. La discussion portera sur la manière dont les ḥadīṯ trouvés dans les collections ḥadīṯ sont affectés par le discours personnel et le contexte historique d’un compilateur. Nous soutiendrons qu’un paradoxe apparaît, dans lequel les ḥadīṯ font à la fois partie d’une « littérature du ḥadīṯ » abstraite et intemporelle, mais, en même temps, sont enracinés dans le contexte théologique et historique du compilateur.This article is in English.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Ismaili Studies


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