MULTIPLICITY OF HADITHS
Ahmed Emin draws the following chart to represent the garbling of traditions transmitted: “Were we to make an expository display of the hadiths, we would be confronted with a pyramid, the summit illustrating the period of God’s messenger. As we go down we observe the gradual expansion toward the base. Yet, the ideal should have been the reverse; for, the companions of the Prophet best knew what the Prophet uttered. As they were to pass away, the number of those who knew the words uttered by the Prophet would decrease and the pyramid would have changed its position and turned upside down. Yet, we observe that the number of hadiths is even greater under the Omayyads than during the lifetime of the Prophet” (Ahmed Emin, Duhaul Islam). According to some scholars there are over two million hadiths. Two of the most reliable books on hadiths are the one of Bukhari and the one of Muslim. The hadiths contained in the former are reported to have been selected from among 600,000 and in the latter this number is 300,000. The one of Davud contains hadiths selected from among 500,000, the one of Malik Muvatta, founder of a religious sect, contains hadiths selected from among 100,000 and the one of Musnad contains hadiths selected from among 750,000. Given the fact that the prophethood of the Prophet lasted for about 23 years, the number of days he would have acted as prophet would have been 23 x 365 = 8395. If two million is the number representing the totality of the hadiths, the number of hadiths per day would be 200. The result to be obtained after 200 years after the death of the Prophet would be inconceivably misleading. It is alleged that the authors of hadiths used to know them by heart and that they had selected from among them those that had appeared the most reliable to them. In order to declare the exact number of hadiths that someone had in store, he should have written them somewhere and counted; whereas no one can possibly assert that he has in his repertory 600,000 hadiths.