Accueil > Introduction to Muslim Thinking: The World of Hadîth

CCIV 1795A - Introduction to Muslim Thinking: The World of Hadîth

Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

The aim of this course is to familiarize the students with a major way of thinking in Islam, summed up by the word ḥadīth (talk). The course is not historical nor heavily philosophical, and considers the thinking of individual scholars. For each one of them, it raises questions such as “What does he want to achieve?”, “How does he do that?”, “What does he expect from his audience?”. The course follows the traditional division of ḥadīth into specific sciences. The last session, however, is devoted to a Shī‘ī instance, which complements the predominantly Sunnī illustrations provided by the course. After a brief introduction by the lecturer, the students are confronted with a text. They read it, and try to make sense of it. The texts will be read, depending on the linguistic proficiency of the students, in Arabic or in English translation. In the last case, the lecturer will provide the basic Arabic lexicon used by the authors. As a result of the exercise just described, the students should be able to connect the name of an author read in class with a specific way of thinking. They will also be able to identify the adaptation, or suppression, of this way of thinking in a contemporary context.


LEITES, Adrien (Maître de conférences)

Pedagogical format

Session 1: Ḥadīth proper (Prophetic tradition) Text: Bukhārī on the “best of works” Session 2: ‘Ilm al-rijāl (biography of transmitters) Text: Ibn Ḥajar al-‘Asqalānī on Shu‘ba b. al-Ḥajjāj Session 3: Tafsīr (exegesis) Text: Ṭabarī on “If You give us a complete one, we will be among the grateful” (Koran 7:189) Session 4: Sīra (biography of the Prophet) Text: Ibn Isḥāq on the woman who tried to seduce the Prophet's father Session 5: Tārīkh (history) Text: Ṭabarī on the “first jizya from Iraq” Session 6: Shī‘ī instance Text: Al-Shaykh al-Mufīd on useless work

Course validation

Requirements and grading: to be confirmed - 5 to 10-page paper (50% of course mark); class participation (10% of course mark); oral presentation or other exercise (40% of course mark)

Required reading

  • Goldziher, I., Muslim Studies, ed. S. M. Stern, trans. C. R. Barber and S. M. Stern, vol. 2, Chicago, Aldine-Atherton, 1971, Chap. 8: “The Ḥadīth Literature”
  • Goldziher, I., Schools of Koranic Commentators, ed. and trans. W. H. Behn, Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz, 2006, Chap. 3: “The Traditional Interpretation of the Koran”
  • Encyclopedia of Islam articles : “Ḥadīth”, “Al-Bukhārī”, “ ‘Ilm al-ridjāl”, “Ibn Ḥadjar al-‘Asqalānī”, “Tafsīr”, “Al-Ṭabarī”, “Sīra”, “Ibn Isḥāq”, “Tārīkh”, “Al-Mufīd”
  • Kister, M. J., “The Sīrah Literature”, in Arabic Literature to the End of the Umayyad Period, ed. A. F. L. Beeston, T. M. Johnstone, R. B. Serjeant and G. R. Smith, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1983.
  • Khalidi, T., Arabic Historical Thought in the Classical Period, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1994, Chap. 2: “History and Hadith”.

Additional required reading

Kohlberg, E., “Shī‘ī Ḥadīth”, in Arabic Literature to the End of the Umayyad Period.