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Additional info for Ḥadīth As Scripture: Discussions on the Authority of Prophetic Traditions in Islam

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It is also part of Kitab al-Umm but has come to us as an independent book as well. Some parts of each work are in the form of debates between al-Shafi4i and unidentified interlocutors, while others are presented as al-Shafi4i’s own direct statements. Al- Shafi4i is believed to have written two versions of the Risala, the first while in Baghdad (194/810–198/814) and the second while in Egypt (198/814–204/820). Only the second Risala has survived. Kitab Jima4al-4Ilm is also believed to have been written while al-Shafi4i was in Egypt, but there is some question as to which work was written first.

The information al-Shafi4i presents in the rest of the work and the manner in which he presents it serve more as means of showcasing his views than as a report on the views of his opponents. In the first two sections, al-Shafi4i presents the examples in the form of debates between himself and an unidentified member of each group, rather than as a description of the doctrines of these groups. The debates highlight his own arguments for the necessity of accepting Prophetic reports as an authoritative source of law and guidance.

The next story that Ibn Sa4d recounts about the Commander of the Faithful and his attitude toward the Madith is found in volume five of the Tabaqat. It is related on the authority of al-Qasim ibn Mumammad ibn Abi Bakr al-Siddiq (d. 106 AH)—the grandson of Abu Bakr, another of Mumammad’s closest companions and the first of the rightly guided Caliphs who led the Muslim community after his death. When al-Qasim was asked by his student 4Abd Allah ibn al-4Ala’ (d. 164 AH) to dictate 24 Madith As Scripture Madith, he refused, saying, “the Madith multiplied during the time of 4Umar; then he called on the people to bring them to him, and when they brought them to him, he ordered them to be burned.

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