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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ARAB3120 The Hadith: History, Criticism and Canonisation

20 creditsClass Size: 25

Module manager: Dr Tajul Islam

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is approved as a discovery module

This module is approved as a skills discovery module

Module summary

The Hadith is believed by many Muslims to be the words of Prophet Muhammad which is part of revelation yet not the Qur'an. It is with this in mind that the module surveys the Hadith as a literary genre; explores the historical context of its development as a scriptural source; highlights the debates surrounding the nature of hadith and historicism of the hadith corpus; examines the debates surrounding the genesis amongst Muslim (Traditionalist, Modernist and Feminism) and Western scholarship.


This module will equip students with an ability to navigate through the Hadith sciences and text criticism in Islamic studies. It will equip students with a broad acquaintance with Hadith literature, the second authoritative source in Islam, and its significant interplay with Islamic theology, law and mysticism. Students will gain specialized understanding of Hadith science through the exploration of methods of interpretation and assessment of the literature. They will engage with the views of Western scholarship on the issue in addition to modern Muslim Hadith sceptics.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should have acquired a solid grounding in the literature on the Hadith as a corpus, and have an in-depth understanding of the historical genesis of this scriptural source and critically reflect upon the development of the Hadith as literary genre.
In addition to the discipline knowledge, by the end of the course students should have acquired various transferrable skills, including communication, essay writing, time management and presentation skills.


The topics covered in the module include:

Theme I: Epistemology
- Knowing the Prophet's words
- Historical Method (source criticism)

Theme II: Documentation
- Oral tradition
- Written tradition
- Transmission

Theme III: Hadith Criticism
- Classification
- Hadith lore
- Hadith in non-Sunni Islam

Theme IV: Canonisation
- Canonical works

Theme V: Developments
- Western scholarship and Hadith studies
- Feminism and Hadith
- Hadith and rationalism

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours168.00
Total Contact hours32.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

200 hours including the contact hours and also hours spent on student preparation for one essay, seminar presentations, and lectures.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored using the following methods:
- Written / oral assignments
- Designated feedback sessions (one per semester)
- Student questionnaires
- Personal tutee appointments
- Tutor office hours

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3000 word essay60.00
Oral PresentationFormative assessment0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)60.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment48 hr 40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)40.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 03/02/2023


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