Many people have a query and some use the same to doubt the entire Hadith treasury as to how come a narration remains unchanged after passing through different narrators. This notion is a clear show of the ignorance of the amount of care taken and efforts put in by the people who were Masters of the Science of Hadith (Muhaddithin). Much argumentation can be done on this but nothing will be more relevant then a direct study and analysis of different Hadith collections of scholars of different times.
Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah in one of his lectures mentioned that if we find a Hadith in certain collection and the compiler gives the chain through which it reached him. Then if we find the same Hadith in the book of a person in the chain and see the startling similarity between them then we have no other option but to believe in the credibility of the compiler of the book we initially considered.
While I read this interesting idea of analysis I made my mind to make some study on these lines. I looked for the first few Ahadith of Sahifa Hammam bin Munabbah, the oldest extant manuscript of Hadith and sought to compare them with Ahadith in other Collections of later times.
Following table gives my findings:
First column gives the Hadith Number of Hammam’s manuscript who was the direct student of Abu Huraira (RA) and all the Ahadith he wrote are through Abu Huraira (RA) from the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
Second column gives the Hadith Number from Abdul Razzaq’s collection (Musannaf) and remarks about it compared to the narration in Hammam’s manuscript. Abdul Razzaq narrated these Ahadith through Ma’mar bin Rashid from Hammam.
While the third column gives the Hadith Number from the Musnad of Imam Ahmad and remarks about it vis-à-vis the narration in Hammam’s collection. Ahmad narrated these Ahadith from Abdul Razzaq through Ma’mar from Hammam. (Click on the image to enlarge)
Infact the least level of precaution taken in narrating the words of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stays above the highest level of precaution taken ever in presenting any historical happening.
This is just a test case. I am confident a more detailed research on these lines undertaken by a scholarly person can give a death blow to an oft-repeated argument about Authority of Hadith in general.
May Allah make it a source of learning for all of us!
INDEED ALLAH KNOWS THE BEST!