A question was asked about the timeline separating the hadeeth methodology of the earlier and later scholars of hadeeth.
In reply to this question I shared the following:
:باسم الله والحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله، أما بعد
May Allah reward you for this question.
A better manner of framing the methodologies of hadeeth scholars would be as follows:
1. The methodology of the scholars of Hadeeth with regards to the process of studying and determining the authority of Prophetic Narrations (Hadeeth) – (or the earlier methodology as per the text of the question).
2. The methodology of the Fuqahaa’ (Scholars of Fiqh) and the scholars of Usool (Jurisprudence methodology) with regards to the process of studying and determining the authority of (Hadeeth)- (or the later methodology as per the text of the question).
The reason for this being that a separation of the mentioned categories within the field of hadeeth study are actually based on differences in methodology as opposed to actual time frames.
In light of this; the first category would entail the methodology of the most senior scholars of Hadeeth such as: Shu’bah bin alHajjaaj, and his students, -Ibn Mahdi & Yahya bin Sa’eed alQattaan etc, and their students- Imam Ahmed, Ali bin alMadeeni & Yahya bin alMa’een etc, and their students- Imam alBukhari, Imam Muslim & Imam Abu Dawood etc, and their students- Imam atTirmithi, Imam anNasaai and others after them such as Imam adDaaraqutni, and those who follow their principles irrespective of the differences in time frames between them and those listed above.
A brief overview of their methodology in studying and grading hadeeth concludes them having similar theoretical policies, with the implementation of those policies yielding similar results, albeit with some differences in terms of conclusions not considered to be largely noticeable in number.
As for the second category; then they differ in terms of their grading methodology in comparison to that of the first category, and thus would entail scholars from the earlier centuries of Islam being part of this category, as based on their chosen methodology, despite their time-bound proximity to the scholars cited as part of the first category.
Perhaps the best example to further explain this would be in the form of the Hadeeth Methodology of the great Imam Muhammed Ibn Jareer atTabari (310 AH) as can be deduced from his book (Tahtheeb alAathaar). Even though he passed away decades before Imam adDaaraqutni (385 AH); scholars of the sciences of Hadeeth consider him, as based on his writings, to be part of the second category listed above and not the first.
It is for this reason why I suggested a different frame to your question, and I pray the above does shed some light on the topic.
As for the particular strategic differences between the scholars of the two listed categories; then discussing these is beyond the scope of this post, and perhaps I can write out a detailed summary in the near future addressing this InShaAllah.
And Allah knows best.
Dr. Sajid Umar
17/11/1441 – 08/07/2020