Ahadith are classified into different groups
and classes based on various criteria. A Hadith could simultaneously
carry more than one name representing various level and classes
(A) All Ahadith are classified
into two broad categories:
1. Hadith al-Qudsi : A statement where the
Messenger attributed his saying to Almighty Allah. For instance,
'Allah says : I am with my servant when he remembers Me and
his lips move in My remembrance (Bukhari). The difference
between the Quran and Hadith al-Qudsi is that the former contains
the actual words of Allah and the latter is Allah's massage
through the words of the Holy Messenger.
2. Hadith Nabvi : A. saying or action of
the Holy Messenger or his approval of some ones else action.
(B) Ahadith can also be
classified according to their Isnad :
1. Mutawatir (Continuous)
: A Hadith reported by a number of narrators in every age,
making it virtually impossible for any falsehood to have crept
into it. It should have at least four different narrators
in each of the first three generations after the Holy Messenger.
This is considered to be one of the most reliable Hadith.
2. Ahad (individual)
: A Hadith narrated by less than four narrators in the first
three generations after the Holy Messenger or one that has
a brother chain of narrators.
3. Ghareeb (Rare) : A Hadith
narrated by a single person during a particular period. It
was narrated by a person known for his piety and integrity
it was accepted as authentic and reliable.
(C) Ahadith can also be
classified according to their level of reliability.
1. Sahih (Correct) : A
Hadith narrated by persons well known for their integrity
of character, learning and memory and which also has a continuous
chain of reliable Hadith. A Hadith reported by both Sahih
Bukhari and Sahih Muslim is called agreed
and is considered to be the most reliable Hadith.
2. Hasan (Approved) : A
Hadith similar to a Sahih Hadith, but narrated by persons
who are less reputed for their integrity of character, learning
or memory. It is also a reliable Hadith, but occupies a position
next to that of Sahih.
3. Dhaief (Weak) : A Hadith
narrated by persons whose character is not well known or a
Hadith which has some defects in its Isnad. In its class its
occupies a position next to Hasan. Moreover, if a weak Hadith
is reported by two different chains of narrators then it is
granted the position of a Hasan Hadith. There are other minor
classifications of Ahadith based on the chain of narrators.
Most of these are considered as sub-classes of weak Hadith.