Motzki On Muslim Ḥadịth Literature: An Analytical Study

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Dr. Aayesha Rafiq , Dr. Nazia Zaman


The trend of Western scholarship has changed over a passage of time from direct criticism of Muslim hadith literature to counter-criticism by Western scholars of previous Western scholarship. This change seems to go hand in hand with the changing political agendas of the West. Harald Motzki introduced a new and badly needed approach to the study of early Islamic intellectual history. Motzki challenged the reigning conclusions of Joseph Schacht by demonstrating convincingly that his study of early hadịth used only a small and selective body of sources, and that it was based on skeptical assumptions and that his argument e silentio” was a flawed argument. Firstly a brief overview of criticism of Hadith by Western scholars of  20th and 21st century is given followed by views of two  skeptics of hadith, Goldziher and Schacht are discussed briefly. Harald Motzki’s most recent and extensive scholarship on Muslim hadith literature with respect to characteristics of modern western scholarship on hadith is discussed in detail.  Finally, an analysis of the entire discussion concludes this research.

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