Is Patricia Crone’s following criticism of hadith justified :
One of the biggest problems with the method of authentication by isnads is early traditionists were still developing the conventions of the isnad. They either gave no isnads, or gave isnads that were sketchy or deficient by later standards. Scholars who adhered strictly to the latest standards might find themselves rejecting or deprecating what was in fact the very earliest historical material, while accepting later, fabricated traditions that clothed themselves with impeccable isnads“.
-[Roman, provincial and Islamic Law, Patricia Crone, pp. 23–34 of the paperback edition. As quoted here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadith_studies#cite_note-23 ]
Early scholars who sat in mudhakara (rehearsal sessions) intended to refresh their memories not narrate formally, and went through hadiths at lightning speed from `Isha to Fajr non-stop, hence they abbreviated isnads tremendously and, if they were sufficiently familiar with them, did not need to mention them; or, if they were formally narrating, they had those isnads in front of them in their written records and did not mention them except when specific isnad-related questions needed addressing. There are many other related contexts of which generally speaking Orientalist crooks and cronies have no idea, but they constantly search for academic book-market avenues to recycle the old Schachtian fib that hadiths are mostly forged, mostly “late”, and mostly “mounted with fake isnads.” I have not seen any who remotely qualify on the history of hadith transmission except Gregor Schoeler and maybe Harald Motzki. Allahu a`lam.
Hajj Gibril Haddad