Quran and Hadith Qudsi: What's the Difference?

Question and answer details
As-Salamu Alaykum. I would like to know why weren’t all of the qudsi hadiths included in the Quran since they were words from Allah? How are we able to distinguish which is a hadith qudsi from a verse of the Quran? Thank you.
AAI Editorial Staff

Salam Dear Murad,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

Actually scholars of Hadith have differentiated between two distinct types of Hadith which are termed as al-hadith
an-nabawi and al-hadith al-qudsi. The former type is restricted to the sayings of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), while the latter pertains to the sayings of the Prophet through the medium of divine inspiration.

means holy or sacred. The sayings that are termed as al-qudsi are such that while the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was relating them to his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them), he mentioned that Allah, in effect, had communicated them to him. However, these communications do not form part of the Quran.

Such reports are included within the category of hadith
qudsi. An example of this type of hadith is one that has been reported by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) in which it is mentioned that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said that Allah said, “If My servant likes to meet Me, I will love to meet him.”

While the common factor between the hadith
qudsi and the Quran is that both contain words from Allah that were revealed to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), they are, nevertheless, distinct from each other as pointed out here:

The Quran contains the verbatim words of Allah, while a hadith qudsi contains the message of Allah conveyed to the people by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in the Prophet’s own words.

The Quran is inimitable and unique, but such is not the case with a hadith qudsi. This is so because the latter is not the verbatim word of Allah.

The Quran is recited in every Prayer but a hadith qudsi cannot be recited in any Prayer.

Elaborating on the differences between Hadith Qudsi and Hadith Nabawi and between Hadith Qudsi and the Quran, we’d like to cite for you the following:

We can also say that a hadith
qudsi (Arabic plural ahadith qudsiyyah) is a statement in which Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) reports a statement and he refers it directly to Allah.

The regular hadith or what is generally known as a hadith Nabawi is a hadith in which one of the Companions reports the Prophet’s statements, deeds, or things that happened in his presence and he approved of. There are more than one hundred qudsi hadiths. They are very beautiful and deal mostly with spiritual and ethical subjects.

To clarify more, we can explain that the scholars of Hadith have mentioned five main differences between the Quran and the hadith

The Quran was revealed to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) verbatim, that is, both its words and meanings are from Allah. The hadith qudsi was not a verbatim revelation; its words are from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

The Quran was revealed via Angel Jibreel while the hadith qudsi may have been inspired by other ways, such as in the form of a dream.

The words of the Quran are miraculous or inimitable (mu`jizah) while the words of the hadith qudsi are not of this nature.

The Quran is recited in formal Prayers (salah) but the hadith qudsi cannot be recited in Prayers.

5. One is not allowed to touch the Quran in the state of Janabah (post-sexual impurity), while there is no such prohibition for touching the books of Hadith Qudsi."

The above is excerpted, with slight modifications, from:
Differences Between Hadith Qudsi, Hadith Nabawi & the Quran

We hope this answer is helpful.

Thank you and please keep in touch.


Useful Links:

What is the Quran?

The Quran is the Accurately Preserved Word of Allah

How to Deal with Strange Hadiths

The Development of Hadith

Collecting the Hadith: Brief History