Reporters who have been unanimously described by statements
the first two may contribute to a sahih ("sound", see later) isnad. An
containing a reporter who is described by the last two statements is
likely to be da'if
jiddan (very weak) or maudu' (fabricated). Reporters who are the
subject of statements
such as the middle two above will cause the isnad to be da'if (weak),
although several of
them relating the same hadith independently will often increase the
rank of the hadith to
the level of hasan (good). If the remarks about a particular reporter
conflict, a careful
verdict has to be arrived at after in-depth analysis of e.g. the reason
given for any
disparagement, the weight of each type of criticism, the relative
strictness or leniency
of each critic, etc.
The earliest remarks cited in the books of Rijal go back to a
of Successors, followed by those after them until the period of the six
traditionists, a period covering the first three centuries of Islam. A
list of such names
is provided by the author in his thesis, Criticism of Hadith among
Muslims with reference
to Sunan Ibn Majah, at the end of chapters IV, V and VI.
Among the earliest available works in this field are Tarikh of
Ma'in (d. 233), Tabaqat of Khalifa b. Khayyat (d. 240), Tarikh of al-
Bukhari (d. 256),
Kitab al-Jarh wa 'l-Ta'dil of Ibn Abi Hatim (d. 327) and Tabaqat of
Muhammad b. Sa'd (d.
A number of traditionists made efforts specifically for the
gathering of information about the reporters of the five famous
collections of hadith,
those of al-Bukhari (d. 256), Muslim (d. 261), Abu Dawud (d. 275), al-
Tirmidhi (d. 279)
and al-Nasa'i (d. 303), giving authenticating and disparaging remarks
in detail. The first
major such work to include also the reporters of Ibn Majah (d. 273) is
collection of al-Hafiz 'Abd al-Ghani al-Maqdisi (d. 600), known as
Al-Kamal fi Asma'
al-Rijal. Later, Jamal al-Din Abu 'l-Hajjaj Yusuf b. 'Abd al-Rahman
al-Mizzi (d. 742)
prepared an edited and abridged version of this work, punctuated by
places and countries
of origin of the reporters; he named it Tahdhib al- Kamal fi Asma'
al-Rijal and produced
it in twelve volumes. Further, one of al-Mizzi's gifted pupils, Shams
al-Din Abu 'Abdullah
Muhammad b. Ahmad b. 'Uthman b. Qa'imaz al- Dhahabi (d. 748),
summarised his shaikh's work
and produced two abridgements: a longer one called Tadhhib al-Tahdhib
and a shorter one
called Al-Kashif fi Asma' Rijal al-Kutub al- Sittah.
A similar effort with the work of al-Mizzi was made by Ibn
852), who prepared a lengthy but abridged version, with about one-
third of the original
omitted, entitled Tahdhib al-Tahdhib in twelve shorter volumes. Later,
he abridged this
further to a relatively-humble two- volume work called Taqrib
The work of al-Dhahabi was not left unedited; al- Khazraji
al-Din Ahmad b. 'Abdullah, d. after 923) summarised it and also made
producing his Khulasah.
A number of similar works deal with either trustworthy
only, e.g. Kitab al-Thiqat by al-'Ijli (d. 261) and Tadhkirah al-Huffaz
by al-Dhahabi, or
with disparaged authorities only, e.g. Kitab al-Du'afa' wa al-Matrukin
by al- Nasa'i and
Kitab al-Majruhin by Muhammad b. Hibban al-Busti (d. 354).
Two more works in this field which include a large number of
reporters, both authenticated and disparaged, are Mizan al-I'tidal of
al- Dhahabi and
Lisan al-Mizan of Ibn Hajar.