Hadith as Scripture by prof. Aisha Y. Musa
"Hadith as Scripture is the only book that covers both the earliest and most recent discussions on the authority of the Hadith. The authority of Hadith is a concern to Muslims in their daily lives, as well as a question of academic interest. Hadith as Scripture contains the first-ever Western language translation of the earliest extant text on the subject. This work explores the earliest extant discussions on the authority of the Hadith in Islam and compares them with contemporary debates."
I just received the book today and have almost finished it. It is written superbly. Without a doubt Prof. Musa shows that the proponents of Hadith as divine authority were the new kids on the block around 800CE as their writings show they were trying to convince the majority of Muslims to accept Hadith as divine. The famous Kitab Jima al-Ilm (The book of the amalgamation of Knowledge) and other works by Imam Shafi are written as a response to other writings which professed the Qur'an alone as divine source and authority. And thus show Qur'an alone was not only present in early Islam, but also dominant among Muslims. It is amazing also to know that no scrap of writing has remained of these Qur'an "alone" scholars. Which in my eyes not only show political influence in the debate (the rulers clearly wanted no traces remained), but also that the arguments supporting Hadith were not as strong as the majority believes. The following of Hadith became dominant as there was no literature remaining that attacked this view.
This book is important for everyone to read, to widen their knowledge and to know:
"The role they (the Hadith) have played has been so influential for so long that both Muslims and non-Muslims alike generally assume they have always uncontested authority. However, a survey of Islamic history shows that the Hadith did not always enjoy such widespread acceptance and authority.[...] Ignorance of these early disputes has contributed to the common misconception that opposition to the Hadith as an authoritve scriptural source of law and guidance is a modern-day, Western, Orientalist-influenced heresy," [Introduction to the book]