Al-Imām Al-Shāfiʿī’s Methodology in Dealing with the Contradictory Hadiths
AbstractThe contradictions between two words or between a word and an action of a person signify his inconsistency and untrustworthiness. If this occurs in a source that is counted among the foundations of a religion, it will be supportive to consider that religion untrue. Hadith, which is defined as the words, actions and agreements of the Prophet (PBUH), is the second foundation source of Islam; being the Noble Qur’an the first. It has been argued from the early centuries of Islam that there are many Hadiths which contradict either with other Hadiths, or the Noble Qur’an, or the consensus of the Muslim community (ijmāʿ). This argument has acted as a means to reject many Hadiths. Accordingly, the counter arguments also started, i.e., to rebut the allegation of contradiction and to affirm that there was no such contradictions between them. This paper attempts to make an analysis on the methodology of al-Shāfiʿī in dealing with the allegedly Contradictory Hadiths based on his Ikhtilāf al- Ḥadīth, a pioneer work in the field. Throughout Ikhtilāf al- Ḥadīth, al-Shāfiʿī employs three major methods to solve the apparent contradiction between those Hadiths, namely, Method of Reconciliation, Method of Abrogation and Method of giving Preponderance which are followed by minor methods coming under the three. The book mainly focuses on Jurisprudential issues and, thus, can be considered an important text in the Shāfiʿite Jurisprudence as well.
Keywords: al-Imām al- al-Shāfiʿī, contradictory Hadith, hermeneutics, fusion of text-author-reader