An Introduction to the Science of Hadith


  • bookcover

  • An Introduction to the Science of Hadith


  • SECTION C

    FURTHER BRANCHES OF MUSTALAH AND RIJAL AL-HADITH (classification of hadith and their reporters)

    The above-mentioned classification of ahadith plays a vital role in ascertaining the authenticity of a particular narration. Ibn al- Salah mentions sixty-five terms in his book, of which twenty-three have been discussed above. Two further types not included by Ibn al-Salah, mu'allaq and mutawatir, have been dealt with from other sources. The remaining forty-two types follow in brief, which help further distinguish between different types of narrations.  
    • Knowledge of i'tibar ("consideration"), mutaba'ah ("follow-up") and shawahid ("witnesses"). Traditionists are always in search of strengthening support for a hadith which is reported by one source only; such research is termed i'tibar. If a supporting narration is not found for a particular hadith, it is declared as fard mutlaq (absolutely singular) or gharib. For example, if a hadith is reported through the following isnad: Hammad b. Salamah - -- Ayyub --- Ibn Sirin --- Abu Hurairah --- the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), research would be done to ascertain whether another trustworthy reporter has narrated it from Ayyub; if so, it will be called mutaba'ah tammah (full follow-up); if not, a reporter other than Ayyub narrating from Ibn Sirin would be sought: if so, it will be called mutaba'ah qasirah (incomplete follow-up). Whereas mutaba'ah applies to the isnad, i.e. other narrations from the same reporters, a narration which supports the text (meaning) of the original hadith, although it may be through a completely different isnad, is called a shahid ("witness").
    • Afrad (singular narrations).
    • The type of character required in an acceptable reporter.
    • The way a hadith is heard, and the different ways of acquiring ahadith.
    • How a hadith is written, and punctuation marks used.
    • The way a hadith is reported.
    • The manners required in traditionists.
    • The manners required in students of Hadith.
    • Knowledge of a higher or lower isnad (i.e. one with less or more reporters respectively).
    • Knowledge of difficult words.
    • Knowledge of abrogated ahadith.
    • Knowledge of altered words in a text or isnad.
    • Knowledge of contradictory ahadith.
    • Knowledge of additions made to an isnad (i.e. by an inserting the name of an additional reporter).
    • Knowledge of a well-concealed type of mursal hadith.
    • Knowledge of the Companions.
    • Knowledge of the Successors.
    • Knowledge of elders reporting from younger reporters.
    • Knowledge of reporters similar in age reporting from each other.
    • Knowledge of brothers and sisters among reporters.
    • Knowledge of fathers reporting from their sons.
    • Knowledge of sons reporting from their fathers.
    • Knowledge of cases where e.g. two reporters report from the same authority, one in his early life and the other in his old age; in such cases the dates of death of the two reporters will be of significance.
    • Knowledge of such authorities from whom only one person reported.
    • Knowledge of such reporters who are known by a number of names and titles.
    • Knowledge of unique names amongst the Companions in particular and the reporters in general.
    • Knowledge of names and by-names (kunyah).
    • Knowledge of by-names for reporters known by their names only.
    • Knowledge of nicknames (alqab) of the traditionists.
    • Knowledge of mu'talif and mukhtalif (names written similarly but pronounced differently), e.g. Kuraiz and Kariz.
    • Knowledge of muttafiq and muftariq (similar names but different identities), e.g. "Hanafi": there are two reporters who are called by this name; one because of his tribe Banu Hanifah; the other because of his attribution to a particular Madhhab (school of thought in jurisprudence).
    • Names covering both the previous types.
    • Names looking similar but they differ because of the difference in their father's names, e.g. Yazid b. al-Aswad and al-Aswad b. Yazid.
    • Names attributed to other than their fathers, e.g. Isma'il b. Umayyah; in this case Umayyah is the mother's name.
    • Knowledge of such titles which have a meaning different from what they seem to be, e.g. Abu Mas'ud al-Badri, not because he witnessed the battle of Badr but because he came to live there; Mu'awiyah b. 'Abdul Karim al- Dall ("the one going astray"), not because of his beliefs but because he lost his way while travelling to Makkah; and 'Abdullah b. Muhammad al-Da'if ("the weak"), not because of his reliability in Hadith, but due to a weak physique.
    • Knowledge of ambiguous reporters by finding out their names.
    • Knowledge of the dates of birth and death of reporters.
    • Knowledge of trustworthy and weak reporters.
    • Knowledge of trustworthy reporters who became confused in their old age.
    • Knowledge of contemporaries in a certain period.
    • Knowledge of free slaves (mawali) amongst the reporters.
    • Knowledge of the homelands and home towns of reporters.
     
     
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