It has been described by one hadith specialist, Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, hadith in english pdf free download the science of the principles by which the conditions of both the sanad, the chain of narration, and the matn, the text of the hadith, are known. This science is concerned with the sanad and the matn with its objective being distinguishing the sahih, authentic, from other than it.
Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani said the preferred definition is: knowledge of the principles by which the condition of the narrator and the narrated are determined. A common historical method in Islam, hadith studies consist of a careful examination of the isnad, or chain of transmission accompanying each hadith.
The stature of hadith studies reflects the centrality of hadith to other religious disciplines. Uthman ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Shahrazuri, commonly known as Ibn al-Salah, in the introduction to his widely influential Introduction to the Science of Hadith. It is the science most pervasive in respect to the other sciences in their various branches, in particular to jurisprudence being the most important of them. Quranic exegesis, hadith, and jurisprudence.
As for Quranic exegesis, then the preferred manner of explaining the speech of Allah is by means of what has been accepted as a statement of His Prophet. The one looking to this is in need of distinguishing the acceptable from the unacceptable.
Regarding jurisprudence, then the jurist is in need of citing as an evidence the acceptable to the exception of the later, something only possible utilizing the science of hadith. According to the 8th century Imam, Sheikh Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi`i, a muhaddith is someone who has memorised at least 400,000 narrations along with the chain of narrators for each narration. The female equivalent is a muhadditha.