Musanafaat and Musnads

1. The musanafaat did not focus on the isnaad, then how were the later scholars of hadeeth able to know of the proper isnaad of the ahadeeth?

2. Basically the musanafaat were not concerned with grading ahadeeth but they did list the isnad. Based on this, can we assume the musanafaat were the same as musnads, the only difference being that in the musnads the hadith were ordered by the narrators instead of fiqh topics?
If yes, then what was the need for a new set of books that were ordered by narrator? Would it not have been better to order by fiqh topics?

The musanafaat are the books that collected the ahadeeth of the Prophet (´Ě║); the sayings of the Sahaba and the Tabi'een and they are organized according to fiqh topics. They are original sources of reference which list the narrations using isnads. The most popular musanafaat are:

  1. Musanaf Waki'ee
  2. Musanaf Hamad ibn Salama
  3. Musanaf Abdur-Razak

Basically the musanafaat were not concerned with grading ahadeeth and saying this hadeeth is saheeh or weak and so on but they did list the isnad. So it is up to the reader to search about the isnad and get to know its state of strength or weakness.

A distinct feature of the musanafaat is that they recorded the sayings, the opinion and the fatwa of the Sahaba on various religious issues. In fact they are a primary source of reference for this. This was not the case with the musnads. Another issue is that even if they were following the same system of writing there could be some differences which would warrant the writing of new books. For examples we have the sahihs which record authentic narrations. We have Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. So why did Muslim write a Sahih after Al-Bukhari had already done so? Because Al-Bukhari did not record all the saheeh ahadith; and some ahadeeth not regarded as sahih by Al-Bukhari could have been regarded as sahih by Muslim and so on.

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