A hadith (Arabic: حديث ḥadīth, plural: ahadith, أحاديث, ʼaḥādīth) is one of various reports describing the words, actions, or habits of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The term comes from Arabic meaning a "report", "account" or "narrative". Hadith are second only to the Quran in developing Islamic jurisprudence, and regarded as important tools for understanding the Quran and commentaries (tafsir) written on it. Some important elements of traditional Islam, such as the five salat prayers, are mentioned in Hadith.
The hadith literature is based on spoken reports that were in circulation in society after the death of Muhammad. Unlike the Qur'an the hadiths were not quickly and concisely compiled during and immediately after Muhammad's life. Hadith were evaluated and gathered into large collections during the 8th and 9th centuries, generations after the death of Muhammad, after the end of the era of the "rightful" Rashidun Caliphate, over 1,000 km (620 mi) from where Muhammad lived.
Each hadith consists of two parts, the isnad (Arabic: 'support'), or the chain of transmitters through which a scholar traced the matn, or text, of a hadith back to the Prophet. Individual hadith are classified by Muslim clerics and jurists as sahih ("authentic"), hasan ("good") or da'if ("weak"). However, there is no overall agreement: different groups and different individual scholars may classify a hadith differently.