Mining and Visualizing the Narration Tree of Hadiths (Prophetic Traditions)

Mining and Visualizing the Narration Tree of Hadiths (Prophetic Traditions)

Aqil Azmi (King Saud University, Saudi Arabia) and Nawaf Al Badia (General Organization for Social Insurance, Saudi Arabia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-741-8.ch029
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Hadiths are narrations originating from the words and deeds of Prophet Muhammad. Each hadith starts with a list of narrators involved in transmitting it. A hadith scholar judges a hadith based on the narration chain along with the individual narrators in the chain. In this chapter, we report on a method that automatically extracts the transmission chains from the hadith text and graphically displays it. Computationally, this is a challenging problem. Foremost each hadith has its own peculiar way of listing narrators; and the text of hadith is in Arabic, a language rich in morphology. Our proposed solution involves parsing and annotating the hadith text and recognizing the narrators’ names. We use shallow parsing along with a domain specific grammar to parse the hadith content. Experiments on sample hadiths show our approach to have a very good success rate.
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We will start by looking at what a hadith is. In the subsequent discussion we will be quoting Arabic text. For convenience it will be followed by transliteration and English translation as well. There are several Arabic text transliteration schemes; we for one will be using the Buckwalter Arabic transliteration (“Arabic Transliteration,” 2002). Even though the Buckwalter transliteration is not intuitive and lacks readability, it has been used in many publications in natural language processing and in resources developed at the Linguistic Data Consortium (Habash, Soudi, & Buckwalter, 2007). The main advantages of the Buckwalter transliteration are that it is a strict one-to-one transliteration and that it is written in ASCII characters. The English translation will be based on (Al-Qushairy & Siddiqi, 1972). Before proceeding further, we feel it is necessary to write a few lines about Arabic for those who are not familiar with the language. The Arabic used in hadith is known as Classical Arabic, the Arabic of the Qur’an and early Islamic literature (7th – 9th century CE). However, this classical Arabic can be easily read and understood by anyone familiar with Modern Standard Arabic (“Modern Standard Arabic,” n.d.).

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