During the era of the dissemination of hadeeth and their compilation in the first three centuries, a variety of methods of learning and teaching evolved. These methods were later categorized and technical terminology developed to describe them within the field of hadeeth science. The following eight methods were identified, the first two of which were the most common and accurate.
Soma': Reading By The Teacher
This method of transmission of hadeeth had four different formats:
I. Recitation from memory by the teacher: Wide use of this practice began to decline by the middle of the second century, though it persisted to a much lesser extent for a long time after that. Student remained with their teachers for a long time until they became authorities.
2. Reading from books: This method could either involve the teacher reading from his own books, which was preferred, or the reading of the teacher from his student's book, which was either a copy or a selection from his own work.
3. Question and answer: Students would read to their teacher a part of the hadeeth and he would complete the narration.
4. Dictation: The Companion, Wa'thilah ibn Asqa' was the first to hold classes for dictation of hadeeth. It was not a favoured method initially due to the ease with which students could gather knowledge. However, az-Zuhri departed from this attitude and followed this method throughout his life. later on, some scholars refused to dictate if their students did not write the hadeeth down.
Dictation was either from memory or from books. A fast writer was often chosen to record all the hadeeths while others watched him write to catch his mistakes. Later they borrowed the books and made their own copies. These' were revised among the students or with the teacher himself.
Ard: Reading by the students ·
1n this method, the student would read the teacher's book to him while other students compared the hadeeths with their own books or they listened attentively. From the beginning of the second century, this became the popular method. Often the teachers would provide their own copies as many of them had their own scribes. Otherwise the students would read from copies made earlier from the original in which they would put a circle at the end of every hadeeth and when they read it back to the teacher they would put a mark in circle to indicate each reading. Even if a student knew hadeeths through. books, he was not entitled to transmit them or use them in his own collections until they had been read back to the teacher and approved. If he did otherwise, he was labeled a hadeeth thief. This was equivalent to modern copyright laws which permits a person to buy as many copies of a book he or she wishes, but prohibit them from making even a single copy
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited