The Classification of Hadeeth
Da'if (Weak) – A Hadith which is weak has a defect either in the chain of transmission or in the correct understanding of the transmitter, or its contents are not in perfect agreement with Islamic belief and practices. It is in fact a tradition of weak or less reliable authority.
Ghareeb (Rare) – The Hadith in the chain of transmission for which the number of narrators is reduced to one at any stage is known as a Ghareeb Hadith. Imam Tirmithi used two special terms regarding both the Hasan and Gharib Ahadith expanding their categorization which are:
Hasan Sahih – A Hasan Sahih Hadith is one which has a higher degree of authenticity than that of Hasan, but at the same time its degree of authenticity is somewhat lesser than that of Sahih.
Hasan Sahih Gharib – A Hasan Sahih Hadith is at times qualified by the word Gharib when the link in transmission is joined to another at a certain point by one transmitter only. It is of course Hasan in respect to its soundness and Gharib only in regard to its chain of transmission.
Hasan (Good/Approved) – This is similar to Sahih tradition except for the fact that some of its narrators have been found to have a defective memory when compared to the narrators of Sahih Hadith.
Maktu' (Broken) – This is a Hadith with a chain of transmission that cannot be traced beyond one of the successors (Tabieen).
Marfu' (Traced Directly) – This is a Hadith which is not as strong as the one in the previous classification and is traced directly to the Holy Prophet (s), and has more characteristics.
Mashhur (Well Known) – This is a tradition which has been handed down by at least three different reliable authorities, or according to another definition, a tradition which, although widely spread later, was originally transmitted by one person in the first generation.
Maudu' (Forged) – This is a type of "Hadith" which a liar fabricates and then attributes it to the Holy Prophet (s).
Maukuf (Suspended) – Maukuf is a Hadith in which the companion does not make the fact explicitly clear that he is narrating the Hadith of the Holy Prophet (s). For example, the narrator says that Hadrat 'Umar Ibn Khatab said such and such.
Mudallas (Deceptive) – If the transmitter of the Hadith does not mention the name of his teacher and gives the name of one who is a degree higher than his teacher using the words "meaning from so and so", this type of Hadith is called Mudallas and the act of concealing the name of the teacher is called Tadlees (deception).
Munkar (Disapproved) – This is a Hadith in which a weak transmitter of Hadith opposes one who is reliable and a proven authentic transmitter of Hadith.
Munkati' (Disjointed) – This is a Hadith in which either a link in the chain of transmission is found to be missing or an unknown narrator is found to join the chain.
Mursal (Forwarded) – If a companion of the Holy Prophet (s), is found to be missing from the chain of transmission and one of the Tabieen (successors of the companions) transmits it, then the Hadith is called Mursal.
Mutawatir (Continuous) – This is a tradition reported by a large number of people at different times, so as to make it impossible for any corruption to permeate. (is considered as the highest degree of authenticity)
Muttasil or Mawsol (Joined) – This is a tradition which has successive narrators without any missing link, irrespective of the fact of whether it is traceable directly to the Holy Prophet (s), or to one of his companions, may Allah be pleased with them.
Qudsi (Divine) – The Prophetic Quotation receives its meaning from Allah but the words are from the Prophet salla lahu alayhi wa salaam. In a Hadith Qudsi however, both the meaning and the words are from Allah such as those of the Holy Books given to Abraham (as), etc.
Sahih (Sound) – This title is given to the utterly flawless transmitted Hadith. There is neither weakness in regard to the chain of transmission (Sanad) nor in the text (Matn), nor is there any contradiction in the established belief in the Holy Qur'an.
Shadh (Isolated) – This is a Hadith in which a comparatively less authentic narrator of Hadith opposes one whose account is more authentic than his.