Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
Ok but overall purpose not very clear
on 20 March 2015
I was quite looking forward to it, as I had no detailed knowledge about hadiths, except for a superficial understanding. Jonathan book provides some useful information but it certainly could have been better.
First of all, I am struggling to understand what is the purpose of the book. Is it an encyclopedia or just a chronological listing of all hadith scholars or just an overview of the hadith's history. We get dozens and dozens of names but it is very difficult to work what is relevant and what is not. I would have been very happy if the good Professor, after explaining all that history would have linked it to the present. So, it would very useful where is the authentic list of hadiths as per different sects, who is safeguarding them and whether there is any evolution still going on or not. Overall, I need to know what is important to understand (which needs greater focus in the book) and what are minor events in history, which can be an appendix for completeness purposes.
Another gripe is that Jon tries to be impartial in listing down the advocates and critics of hadith authenticity but he does not come out openly on the subject. He clearly considers them authentic as he subtly tries to make the argument again and again, but it is difficult to understand where his confidence comes from, considering the numerous issues he himself has documented. In the end, I think for him, it is a question of faith, just as it is for many hundreds of millions of Muslims.