The difference of people's objectives concerning the classification of Hadith
I am still following and seeking the books of Hadith so that I would master this science and to know what I need from my religious rulings, so I found in them all I need. Moreover, I realized the honor and the high status of this science, and people in regard to their objectives and intentions for which they classified this science were different.
Some of them had medium vigor, so they cannot write down Hadiths rather than memorizing them or deducting rulings from them as was done by `Ubaydullah ibn Musa Al `Absy, Abu Dawud At-Tialisy, and others from the scholars of Hadith. Some people were like Ahmad ibn Hanbal and those who came after him who wrote down Hadiths in their full chain of transmissions classified by the narrators of Hadith. For example, they mentioned the narrations of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him) then they mentioned the Companions one by one.
Some people classified Hadiths according to their subjects, so they list all Hadiths speaking about a single topic one after another. For example, if the Hadith is speaking about Salah, they mention it under the topic of Salah, and if it speaks about Zakah, they mention it under the topic of Zakah as Malik ibn Anas did in his Muwatta' but because of the few Hadiths mentioned in the book, its chapters were few then people followed his footsteps.
When it was the time of Al Bukhari and Muslim and the Hadiths mentioned in their books were abundant, chapters and sections became abundant and people followed their footsteps thereafter.
This kind of classification is easier than the first for two reasons:
- The first is: A person can easily search for the Hadith even if he does not know its narrators or under which chain of transmission it is located, moreover he may not need to know its narrators. So, if a person wants a Hadiths speaking about Salah, he will seek it under the book of Salah even if he does not know that the narrator, for example, is Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him).
- The second is: If the Hadith is listed under the book of Salah, a beholder knows that the Hadith indicates one of the rulings of Salah, so he does not need to ponder over the Hadith to deduct the ruling unlike the first.
Some scholars classified Hadiths according to their linguistic usage and wrote books containing the texts of Hadiths, explained their linguistic words, grammar, and meanings without mentioning the rulings of the Shari`ah as Abu `Ubaydul-Qasim ibn Sallam, Abu Muhammad `Abdullah ibn Muslim ibn Qutaybah and others did.
Some scholars added jurisprudential rulings and views to this classifications such as Abu Sulayman Hammad ibn Muhammad Al Khattaby in Ma`alim As-Sunan and A`lam As-Sunan as other scholars did.
Some scholars intended to mention odd words without mentioning the text of the Hadith, so they extracted odd words and listed them in alphabetical order along with their explanations as Abu `Ubayd Ahmad ibn Muhammad Al Harawy and other scholars did.
Some scholars intended to extract some Hadiths that include exhortation and intimidation and Hadiths that contain religious rulings, so they listed them and extracted their texts alone as Abu Muhammad Al Husayn ibn Mas`ud did in his book Al Masabih. There are other scholars if we intend to mention their books and the difference of their purposes and objectives in their classifications, we will go lengthy without end.
So, the difference of objectives is the core for the difference of classifications.