The Origin of Isnad in Orientalist Perspective: Critical Study of Michael Cook’s Thought


This article review Michael Cook’s thoughts on the early history of the use of isnad. Michael Cook disagrees with the opinions of the hadith scholars who said that the system of isnad only exists in Islam and is not found in other religions. Michael Cook believes that Islam is not the only sole owner of the isnad system. Long before Islam came the system of isnad had been used by previous religions, that is, it had been used by Jews in transmitting Mishnah. Even Michael Cook concluded that Islam had plagiarized the Jewish isnad system. The Islamic isnad system is very closely related to the Jewish isnad system which both have similarities and similarities in many ways. Therefore, Michael Cook believes that the Islamic isnad is a plagiarism of the Jewish isnad system. In this paper, the author explores Cook’s idea which generates two problems, namely what and how are the fundamental ideas (main points) of Michael Cook related to the initial use of isnad? And the second, how is the methodological foundation of Jews in carrying out criticism of isnad? In this study, the authors used a type of qualitative research, or what is known as library research. By using two data sources, namely primary data and secondary data.