Ottoman Hadith Commentaries

The period of the Ottoman Empire corresponds to what might be called the mature and the last term in the historical evolution of hadīth commentary. During the mature period the most important commentators of hadīth such as al-Nawawī, al-Kirmānī, Ibn Hajar and al-Aynī wrote their books. It was such a period that voluminous commentaries were written, and writing hadīth commentaries became a separate field and gained its definition. Although Syria, Egypt, and a majority of other Islamic lands were under Ottoman dominance by the tenth/sixteenth century, it seems plausible to depict an Ottoman style in hadīth commentary through the works put forth in Anatolia with special reference to their content and style. Hadīth commentaries focused on hadīth works studied in madrasas and dār al hadīths which become widespread after a certain period from the foundation of the Ottoman Empire, and to a some extent on some other works taught in the non-formal courses. In this essay, reflections of the Ottoman training style are studied through the comments of Molla Gurānī, al-Kamāhī and Birgivī which can be regarded as the representatives of Ottoman commentaries. Data of language, rhetoric and logic were used intensely in these commentaries. On the other hand, none of this three comments has reached the perfection which can be seen in some previous leading commentaries of the mature period of hadīth commentary such as an-Nawawī, Ibn Hajar and al Aynī, in the sense of elaborating on the different variants of a hadīth and the transmitters in them.


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