Since there are some incorrect Hadiths among Hadith collections, religious scholars, based on rational and religious criteria, have established two sciences of Rijal and Diraya for characterization of authentic and reliable Hadiths. In the field of Rijal, they consider the references of Hadith as well as individual narrators till evaluate the validity of the references of Hadiths; then they calcified Haiths as follows: Sahih, Muwaththaq, Hasan, Qawi, Da'if.
Definition and Constraints
A Sahih Hadith is a narration which its chain of references traced back to Imams through some Shi'a and authentic Hadith narrators. Some Hadith scholars add some more constraints to this definition:
- Sunnis and some of Shi'a scholars added the constraints of lack of Shuzuz or 'Illa (weakness) to the definition. What is meant by Shuzuz is the fact that the Hadith wouldn't be contradict with any Mashhur Hadith (generally transmitted Hadith); and what is meant by 'Illa is a hidden defect which entails to the weakness of the Hadith; for example it turns out that there is an omission in the chain of an apparently authentic Hadith.
- Some scholars such as al-Bukhari in his book, Sahih, have proposed another constraint as the narrator's meeting with whom is narrated form. But, other Sunnis' scholars such as Muslim b. Hajjaj and most Shi'a scholars have denied this term.
- Shafi'i and Sakhawi and some of his followers from Sunni school of thoughts have denied denominations ascription as a criterion for acceptance of a Hadith; they would accept the authentic narrators' Hadiths regardless of their denominations. Khatib al-Baghdadi narrates from 'Ali b. Madyani (one of Sunnis' leaders) that he would said: if we reject Hadiths Kufa people just for the sake of their being Shi'a, all the Hadith collections would be disappeared.
Early Scholars' View on Sahih Hadith
The definition of Sahih Hadith by early scholars is different with it by recent ones. From early scholars' point of view, a Sahih Hadith is a narration its being issued from Imams (a) would be proved from any possible way. They simply classified Hadith to acceptable and unacceptable. The new classification of Hadith to Sahih, Hasan, Muwaththaq and Da'if was proposed at the time of al-'Allama al-Hilli or his prophesier al-Sayyid b. Tawus. The first three kinds was counted as acceptable before early scholars.
Classification of Sahih Hadith from Shi'a Point of View
Sahih's degrees are as follows:
- A'la: all the narrations of the chain of Hadith are authentic weather we know the fact or we accept it from two impartial witnesses.
- Awsat: all the narrations or one of them are authentic just based on a report of one impartial witness.
- Adna: this authenticity is based on Ijtihad assumption.
Classification of Sahih Hadith from Sunni Point of View
- A Hadith which, besides the constraints of authenticity, are mentioned in both Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim and it is usually called as "Muttafiq 'Alayh" (agreed upon) Hadith or Sahih A'la.
- A Hadith which is just mentioned in Sahih al-Bukhari.
- A Hadith which is just mentioned in Sahih Muslim.
- A Hadith which has the constraints determined by Muslim and al-Bukhari but it is not mentioned in their books.
- The material for this article is mainly taken form حدیث صحیح in Farsi WikiShia.