In this post, we shall look into the differences between the Qur’an and the Hadith. At the end of this lesson, you should be able to:
- define the Qur’an;
- define the Hadith; and
- tell the differences between the Qur’an and the Hadith.
What is Qur’an?
Al-Qur’an is the holy book revealed to Prophet Muhammad by Almighty Allah as a moral and religious compass for all Muslims. It contains the words and dictates of God to humanity.
The Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in piecemeal for the period of twenty-three years, beginning with his call to prophethood at the age of forty to the time of his death at the age of sixty-three years.
The first verses of the Holy Qur’an revealed to the Holy Prophet are the ones in Suratul Alaq where Allah commands him (Muhammad) to read despite his inability to read: “Iqra!”
The Qur’an has a total of one hundred and fourteen chapters (Surahs). It remains to this day in his unadulterated form, i.e. as revealed to Muhammad by the Allah through Angel Jubril.
Apart from the Qur’an, there are three other holy books every Muslim must believe in. They are Torah (revealed to Musa), Injil (revealed to Isa), and Saburah (revealed to Daud).
What is Hadith?
The Hadith are the sayings and deeds of Prophet Muhammad during his lifetime. They are eyewitness accounts of sayings or actions of the prophet or sometimes one of his companions not otherwise found in the Qur’an.
The hadith is usually applied on issues the Qur’an is silent on or in other circumstances, in the interpretation of the holy book. The strength of a hadith is usually tested on its chain of reporters; if anyone in the chain of narration is of unsound mind or is not reliable, then the hadith is considered a weak or da’if hadith and cannot be applied in critical issues.
Differences between the Qur’an and the Hadith
- The Qur’an is the words of Allah while the Hadith is the sayings and deeds of Prophet Muhammad.
- The Qur’an is compiled and standardised into a single booklet while the Hadith is not compiled neither is it in a single document.
- The Qur’an is solely revealed to Prophet Muhammad through Angel Jubril while the Hadith has many reporters or transmitters.
- While the Qur’an is a divine revelation, the Hadith is not; rather it is an observation and documentation of the deeds and sayings of the prophet.
- Qur’anic verses are imbued with poetic and musical richness, qualities which the Hadith lacks.