What is the Difference Between a Regular Hadith and a Hadith Qudsi?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalamualaikum,

I never understood the nature of Hadith Qudsi and how it was different from the “regular” hadiths. Also, the “regular” hadiths are ‘traditions’ and narrations of the Prophet (peace be upon him) doing, saying, and instructing us to do many things. How did the Prophet (peace be upon him) receive this information from Allah relative to Qur’anic revelation and the Hadith Qudsi?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I hope you are in the best of health and spirits, insha’Allah.

A Sacred Narration (al-Hadith al-Qudsi) is a narration (hadith) which, from the perspective of its meaning, is from Allah, the Exalted, and from the perspective of its wording, from the Messenger of God (Allah bless him and give him peace). [Jurjani, al-Ta`rifat]

The Difference between the Regular Narrations (Hadith) and the Sacred Narrations (al-Hadith al-Qudsi)

The Sacred Narration (al-Hadith al-Qudsi) is attributed to Allah, Most High, and related from Him. The Messenger of God (Allah bless him and give him peace) would receive the meaning from Allah, by way of inspiration or dream, and then he (Allah bless him and give him peace) would inform his community of this in his own words.

This is contrary to the remaining narrations (hadith) as the Messenger of God (Allah bless him and give him peace) would not attribute them to His Lord, nor relate them from Him.

The Difference between the Sacred Narrations (al-Hadith al-Qudsi) and the Qur’an

There are many differences between the Qur’an and the Sacred Narration (al-Hadith al-Qudsi). Of the most notable of them are the facts that the Qur’an is miraculous in its wording and was revealed by the intermediary of the Angel Gabriel. A Sacred Narration (al-Hadith al-Qudsi), on the other hand, has neither of these qualities.

Other unique qualities which the Qur’an, alone, possesses are:

[1] The mass transmission (mutawatir) in all of its words and letters;

[2] The impermissibility of touching the Qur’an for the one in a state of minor ritual impurity (and reciting it for the one in a state of major ritual impurity);

[3] The requirement, and specification, of its recital in the prayer;

[4] It is called the Qur’an;

[5] It is an act of worship to recite the Qur’an and one is rewarded for each letter;

The Qur’an’s words, and meanings, are from Allah through manifest revelation; contrary to the narrations (hadith).

[`Ayni, `Umdat al-Qari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari; Siraj al-Din, Sharh al-Mandhuma al-Bayquniyya; al-Sayyid Muhammad bin `Alawi, al-Manhal al-Latif fi Usul al-Hadith al-Sharif]

This is something of what can be said about the difference between the

Sacred Narration (al-Hadith al-Qudsi) and the Qur’an.

And Allah knows best.


Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani