An Explorative Journey Through Hadith Collections
Connecting Early Islamic Arabia with the World
The article offers insight into a fresh way to utilise hadith collections beyond criticising their material in terms of their authenticity or discussing their implications for Islamic law. It builds on a digital corpus of collections to represent the wealth of canonical Sunni, Shia and Ibadite traditions. In this first exploration of this corpus, the interconnectedness of early Islamic Arabia with other parts of world is highlighted through an analysis of travelling words, proper names, and concrete objects in a few case studies organised into five sections by geographical area. These include translation, a Wanderwort, and contact through commerce and trade. The methods applied to analyse the material are those of historical and comparative linguistics. The results indicate that exploring linguistic aspects of hadith collections—notwithstanding editorial revision and their canonisation—can inform studies of language change in Arabic and set the course to research the standardisation of Arabic.
Key words: Hadith Studies, historical linguistics, corpus linguistics, Middle Persian, Southern Arabia, Late Antiquity
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