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Joel Blecher
I am proud to announce the publication of the first encyclopedia article in English or any European language on "Hadith Commentary" in Encyclopedia of Islam, THREE. May this article be updated in EI4 by a scholar other than myself! THREAD (1/18)
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Joel Blecher 6 Jun 18
Replying to @joelxblecher
Scholars of the manuscript tradition have catalogued 232 extant works of classical and post-classical commentary, just on collections that were rst compiled before 430/1039. This includes about 72 on Bukhari, 31 on the Shama'il, and 27 each on Muslim and Muwatta. (2/18)
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Joel Blecher 6 Jun 18
Replying to @joelxblecher
The number of commentaries is exponentially higher if you include commentaries on post-classical collections, 40 hadith works, Shi'i collections, lost or inaccessible works, print, audio, and video formats, and commentaries composed in Urdu, Persian, Indonesian, & English (3/18)
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Joel Blecher 6 Jun 18
Replying to @joelxblecher
(For example, when lists of commentaries take at least some of these other categories into account, the number of works produced on al-Bukhārī leaps from 72 to approximately 390) (4/18)
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Joel Blecher 6 Jun 18
Replying to @joelxblecher
Before the 4th/10th cent, early interpreters chose to comment sporadically on popular hadith that contained arcane language or unknown transmitters or had an ambiguous legal or theological meaning that required clarification rather than systematic line-by-line works... (5/18)
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Joel Blecher 6 Jun 18
Replying to @joelxblecher
By the 5th/11th century, networks of Maliki judges in southern Spain and North Africa used hadith collections for devotional study and recitation, legal instruction, and reference. Commentary on Malik’s Muwatta flourished in particular. (6/18)
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Joel Blecher 6 Jun 18
Replying to @joelxblecher
A comprehensive and systematic line-by-line tradition developed in the 7th/13th century, largely through the work of Shafi'i hadith scholars living in Egypt and Syria, who earned the generous patronage of the Mamluk ruling elite... (7/18)
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Joel Blecher 6 Jun 18
Replying to @joelxblecher
These works often took a lifetime to complete and were embedded in a competitive culture of live performance, in which patronage, prestige, and legal and theological commitments were at stake. (8/18)
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Joel Blecher 6 Jun 18
Replying to @joelxblecher
Under Ottoman patronage, larger works of hadith commentary on important Sunni collections continued to be delivered orally in study sessions and circulated in written form. (9/18)
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Joel Blecher 6 Jun 18
Replying to @joelxblecher
Across the Indian Ocean, the practice of hadith commentary on Sunni collections also found a robust after-life, particularly under the patronage of of Gujarati sultans who attracted scholars from Mamluk-era Egypt to travel to India along trade and pilgrimage routes... (10/18)
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Joel Blecher 6 Jun 18
Replying to @joelxblecher
In exchange for court appointments and land revenues, Gujarati patrons acquired distinguished Mamluk-era written commentaries on hadith for their libraries, and earned laudatory dedications from Egyptian-trained hadith scholars. (11/18)
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Joel Blecher 6 Jun 18
Replying to @joelxblecher
In Persia, the production of large multi-volume commentaries on Shi'i collections flourished under the direct patronage of the Safavids. In the 11th/17th century alone, some 15 Shi'i scholars are known to have written commentaries on al-Kafi. (12/18)
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Joel Blecher 6 Jun 18
Replying to @joelxblecher
In the 19th century, figures in the Salafi reform movement also turned to the practice of commentary on Mamluk-era collections. The modern period also witnessed the proliferation of commentary on Sunni collections in South Asia, esp amongst the Deobandi reform movement... (13/18)
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Joel Blecher 6 Jun 18
Replying to @joelxblecher
This group not only emulated their Mamluk predecessors but also addressed modern concerns in the context of British colonialism and often defended the Hanafis school from secular ideologies, competing religious movements outside and inside Islam... (14/18)
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Joel Blecher 6 Jun 18
Replying to @joelxblecher
In the contemporary Islamic world, similar trends in marshaling the medium of hadith commentary for social criticism are evident, especially in the Southeast Asian context... (15/18)
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Joel Blecher 6 Jun 18
Replying to @joelxblecher
Female religious authorities among contemporary women’s piety movements in the Middle East and elsewhere have also begun to hold live commentaries on hadith that engage the classical tradition while opening up new areas of discussion (16/18)
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Joel Blecher 6 Jun 18
Replying to @joelxblecher
Read the full article with bibliography here in EI3 here: Blecher, Joel, “Ḥadīth commentary”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, Edited by: Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Everett Rowson. pp. 61-68 (17/18)
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Joel Blecher 6 Jun 18
Replying to @joelxblecher
For further reading, check out my recent book: *Said the Prophet of God: Hadith Commentary across a Millennium* (University of California Press, 2018) (18/18)
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