Rafed English

Outlines of the Development of the Science of Hadith

Outlines of the Development of the Science of Hadith

by Dr. Mustafa Awliya'i

The word hadith, according to the dictionary, has several meanings such as "new," "novel," "recent," "modern," and "speech", "report," "account," and "narrative." However, in Islamic context, the term hadith means "Prophetic tradition" or "narrative relating deeds and utterances of the Prophet (S)." According to some, even the account of a dream linked with the Holy Prophet (S) is also included in the category of hadith.

In most cases, the words sunnah and hadith are used as interchangeable synonyms by the scholars of the science of hadith. The author of the book Talwih says: "Sunnah is a more general term than hadith, and includes everything related to the Prophet (S) except the Qur'an: his speech - which is hadith - and his behaviour and character."1 According to another opinion, since the majority of Sunni Muslims believe in Qur'an's being sempiternal (qadim), everything else except the Qur'an from the Prophet (S) came to be called hadith, a word closely related with hadith meaning "incidental" as opposed to "eternal". 2 Some are of the opinion that the sayings of the Sahabah (the Companions of the Prophet) and the Tabi'un (the second generation after the Holy Prophet (S)) can also be included under the term hadith. 3 On the other hand, for the Shi'ah authorities on hadith, the term can properly include only the narratives relating the speech, biographical details and deeds of the Prophet (S) and the Imams (A). 4

Here, we consider it necessary first to explain certain terms related to our discussion.

Sunnah: The term in general means "habitual practice" or "customary procedure," and in particular applies to the sayings and doings of the religious leaders who are ma'sum 5 (i.e. the Prophet and the Imams, who are considered as being free of sin and error). Accordingly, the term is employed by the side of the Book (Qur'an). Sunnah is used in a sense that is wider than that of hadith, although in some of the Sunni texts of tradition, such as of Ibn Maja, al-Bayhaqi and others, the term signifies hadith. The authorities of hadith differ as to meanings covered by hadith and khabar (report). While some consider the terms as being synonymous, others are of the opinion that khabar is a term which is more general than hadith. According to them, khabar applies to every narrative regarding the Prophet (S), while hadith is taken to mean a narration quoting the Prophet (S) himself. 6 Some, as pointed out above, apply the term hadith to the sayings of the Sahabah and Tabi'un in addition. Accordingly, every hadith is also a khabar, though every khabar is not a hadith; though some regard the terms as being inter-changeable synonyms. 7

Riwayah: This term is synonymous with hadith. According to the author of Majma' al-bahrayn, "Riwayah is a khabar that is traceable through a series of narrators to a ma'sum." 8

Athar: Shaykh Baha'i in his Nihayat al-dirayah considers athar as being identical with hadith. Others impute to it a wider meaning. Still others confine its meaning to narrations that go back to the Sahabah. 9

Hadith-i Qudsi: Hadith-i qudsi is defined as the Divine communication whose revelation is not the part of the Qur'anic miracle. Sayyid Sharif Jurjani says: " [Hadith-i qudsi] is from God, the Most Exalted, from the point of view of meaning, and from the Prophet (S) from the viewpoint of actual wording. It constitutes what God has communicated to the Prophet through revelation or in dreams. The Prophet - upon whom be peace - informed others of its meaning in his own words. Accordingly, the Qur'an is superior to the hadith-i qudsi, because it is the actual Word of God."

There are six points of differences between the Qur'an and the hadith-i qudsi: Firstly, the Qur'an is a Divine miracle; this does not necessarily apply to the hadith-i qudsi. Secondly, salat (prayer) is not valid without recitation of parts of the Qur'an; this is not so in the case of the hadith-i qudsi. Thirdly, one who rejects the Qur'an is regarded as a kafir (an unbeliever); this does not hold true in the case of the hadith-i qudsi. Fourthly, whole of the Qur'an was communicated to the Prophet (S) through the agency of the Angel Gabriel; this does not apply to hadith-i qudsi. Fifthly, every word of the Qur'an is the Word of God, but the wordings of the hadith-i qudsi may be ascribed to the Prophet (S). Sixthly, the Qur'an cannot be touched without taharah (the condition of bodily purity as prescribed by the Shari'ah) and this condition does not apply to the hadith-i qudsi. 10

The Holy Prophet of Islam (S), for a period of 23 years from the beginning of his prophetic mission to the moment of his death, was directly involved in the process of guidance and leadership of the people. The multifarious kinds of questions that arose for the Muslims in relation with their needs converged upon the Holy Prophet. The Prophet responded to their questions through explanations and discussions whose variety increased with the progress of Islam to the extent of enveloping all aspects of the moral, social and civic affairs of Muslims. The new society that emerged during this period was significant and important from every aspect. The Muslims who were the contemporaries of the Prophet had the advantage of personal recourse to him and chance of putting to him various questions regarding their social life. However, as long as the Prophet lived, and the source of Divine Revelation was in the midst of the Muslims, the great importance of recording his words was not fully realized. Nevertheless, soon after the Prophet's death, the Muslims realized the imminent need of recording the hadith so as to avoid the problems that would arise in the future generations. Accordingly, from the time of the first caliph, the need for recording of hadith was distinctly felt by the Muslim society. It should not remain unsaid that 'Ali (A), the first Imam of the Shi'ah Muslims, had with characteristic foresight, pioneered the task of recording the Prophet's sayings during the Prophet's lifetime itself. Word for word, he wrote down what he had heard from the Prophet (S). The author of Ta'sis al-shi'ah writes:

... Know that the Shi'ah were the first to embark on collecting the records of the acts and sayings of the Prophet (S) during the era of the caliphs. They followed in the footsteps of their Imam 'Ali, Amir al-Mu'minin (A), for, he had recorded and categorized the hadith during the times of the Holy Prophet. Al-Shaykh Abu al-Abbas al-Najashi, in the translation of Muhammad Ibn 'Adhafar, said: "I was with Hakam ibn 'Ayyinah by the side of Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn 'Ali al-Baqir (A). Hakam started asking questions with Abu Ja'far reluctantly answering them. There was a disagreement between them about one thing. Then Abu Ja'far said: "Son, get up and bring 'Ali's book." He brought a big voluminous book and opened it. He looked closely in it for a while until he found the problem (which was under debate). Abu Ja'far (A) said: "This is the handwriting of 'Ali and the dictation of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be God's peace and benedictions." 11

This tradition is in agreement with what I found in Najashi's Rijal. In addition, two other sources confirm the contents of the abovementioned hadith. 12

Another narration that confirms the attention devoted by the Shi'ah to recording of hadith is that of an incident from the life of Fatimah al-Zahra'(A). One day Fatimah (A) could not find a manuscript in which hadith was recorded. She reportedly urged her housemaid to search for it, saying, "Look for it. It is as precious to me as my sons Hasan and Husayn." 13

Among the Ahl al-Sunnah, the recording of hadith started after the Holy Prophet's death, and that too after prolonged controversies between groups who favoured and opposed it. 14 In this connection, 'A'ishah reports: "My father Abu Bakr had collected five-hundred hadith of the Messenger of Allah and one day he burnt them all." 15

There are several narrations regarding the second caliph which indicate that he stopped people from relating the Holy Prophet's traditions. 16

The recording of hadith among the Sunnis started from the early second century when the Umayyad caliph 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz ordered their collection and compilation. 17 As is widely accepted, Ibn Jurayj was the first person to record and compile hadith among the Sunnis. 18

Here it is worth mentioning that apart from the Household of the Prophet (S), their Shi'ah followers preceded the Sunnis in their effort to record the hadith. Abu Rafi' was the first man to begin the task along with the members of the Prophet's Household (A). 19 However, there were also several others who took up this task at the time of Abu Rafi', or after him. Among them were: 'Ubayd Allah ibn Abi Rafi', 'Ali ibn Abi Rafi', Salman al-Farisi, Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, Asbagh ibn Nubatah and others. 20

The Shi'ah recorders of hadith can be divided into four groups:

In the first group, besides 'Ali ibn Abi-Talib (A) and Fatimah al-Zahra' (A), were Abu Rafi', Salman al-Farisi, Maytham al-Tammar, Asbagh ibn Nubatah, Mujashi'i al-Kufi, 'Ubayd Allah ibn Abi Rafi', Harth ibn 'Abd Allah al-A'war al-Hamdani, Rabi'ah ibn Sami', Salim ibn Qays, 'Ali ibn Abi Rafi', 'Abd Allah ibn Hurr, Muhammad ibn Qays al-Bajali, Ya'la ibn Murrah, Jabir ibn 'Abd Allah al-Ansari.

In the second group were Imam 'Ali ibn al-Husayn Zayn al-'Abidin (A), Ja'far ibn Yazid al-Ju'fi, Zayd ibn 'Ali, Husayn ibn Thawr, Ziyad ibn al-Mundhir.

In the third group can be said to belong Yahya ibn Qasim, 'Abd al-Mu'min, Zurarah ibn A'yun, Muhammad ibn Muslim, Bassim al-Sayrafi, Abu 'Ubaydah al-Hadhdha', Zakariyya ibn 'Abd Allah, Thawrab ibn Qamamah, Majd ibn Mughirah, Muhammad ibn Za'idah al-Khadrami, Mu'awiyah ibn 'Amarah, Matlab al-Zahri, 'Abd Allah ibn Maymun.

This group of recorders of the hadith comprised of more than four-thousand of the people of Iraq, Hijaz, Khurasan and Sham (Syria), who related traditions from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (A) or Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (A). 21

The pioneers in recording of the hadith among the Sunnis were Ibn Jurayj in Mecca; Ibn Ishaq and Malik in Medina; Rabi' ibn Sabih, Sa'id ibn Abi 'Urubah, Hammad ibn Salamah in Basra; Sufyan ibn Thawri in Kufa; al-Awza'i in Syria, Haytham in Wasit; Mu'ammar in Yemen, Jarir ibn 'Abd al-Hamid in Rey, and Ibn Mubarak in Harran. 22 However, there is a disagreement among the Sunni scholars about who first started recording hadith. According to Ibn Hajr, Rabi' ibn Sabih (died 160/777) and Sa'id ibn Abi 'Urubah (died 156/773) were pioneers in this field; they were followed by Malik in Medina and 'Abd al-Malik ibn Jurayj in Mecca, who pursued the task of recording hadith. 23 But according to Haji Khalifah, 'Abd al-Malik ibn Jurayj and Malik ibn Anas were the first ones to do so, and the first man to classify them and divide them into chapters was Rabi' ibn Sabih. 24 In any case, regardless of who it was to first record hadith among the Ahl al-Sunnah, whether Rabi' ibn Sabih or Malik or Sa'id ibn Abi 'Urubah, all of them belong to the second century of Hijra, and lived one hundred years after the Shi'ah had already started this work.

As we mentioned above, the Muslims recognized the need to record the words of the Prophet (S) right after his demise; because they knew that it was the only way to safeguard the future generations against various problems. The realization of the significance of this work grew gradually. After the Prophet (S) his close companions formed the primary source of hadith. During their lifetimes, the solution of various problems that arose could still be found and the narrations of the Sahabah served as the guiding torch for the generation that followed them, the Tabi'un. It was during the generation of the Tabi'un that the Sahabah were questioned about various issues and their narrations were committed to writing. This was the beginning of the science of hadith. Hadith served as the key to the understanding of the Qur'an, and became an addendum to the Book for the Muslims. However, as pointed out earlier, the Shi'ah had felt this need earlier during the lifetime of the Prophet himself.

From the time that Muslims began to realize the need for collection and recording of ahadith, they took great pains in this regard. A man like Jabir ibn 'Abd Allah al-Ansari would cover months on camel-back to hear a hadith. 25

The number of the Companions of the Prophet from whom traditions have been related is put somewhere near 114 in some books. 26 The most important of them were: 'Ali ibn Abi-Talib (A), 'Abd Allah ibn Mas'ud, Salman al-Farisi, Ubayy ibn Ka'ab, 'Ammar ibn Yasir, Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman, 'Abd al-Rahman ibn 'Awf, Anas ibn Malik, Abu Musa al-Ash'ari, 'A'ishah, 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, Abu Hurayrah, 'Abd Allah ibn al-'Abbas, 'Ubadah ibn Samit, Jabir ibn 'Abd Allah al-Ansari, Abu Sa'id al-Khudri.

Among the Tabi'un, there were such as Sha'bi, Ibn Musayyab, Ibn Sirin, and others. 27

The author of Tadrib al-rawi puts the number of traditions narrated from each of the Companions in the diminishing order as follows:

Abu Hurayrah: 5,374 hadith.

'Abd Allah ibn 'Umar: 2,630 hadith.

'A'ishah: 2,208 hadith.

'Abd Allah ibn al-'Abbas: 1,660 hadith.

Jabir ibn 'Abd Allah al-Ansari: 1,540 hadith.

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri: 1,170 hadith. 28

There is none among the rest of companions to be accredited with narration of more than one thousand traditions. Evidently, the political conditions prevalent during the Umayyad rule did not permit narration of ahadith from 'Ali (A) and his followers. It is worth mentioning that not all of the first narrators of hadith were equally reliable. This issue will be discussed later in the chapter on dirayat al-hadith (critical examination of hadith). But before we enter the discussion on dirayat al-hadith, its origin and development, it is necessary to study the course of development of the science of hadith among the Shi'ah and the Ahl al-Sunnah from the point of view of style of compilation of the texts during various periods.

Hadith Among the Shi'ah: The Four-hundred Usul

As said above, the work of compilation of hadith among the Shi'ah started during the life of the Prophet (S). The texts which were compiled by the early Shi'ah scholars were called "Usul." It should however be admitted that these texts were not without defect from the point of view of the art of writing and compilation; for, most of the authors of these texts were those who had heard the ahadith from one of the Imams, in particular, from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir and Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (A), writing them down in notebooks. These notebooks composed by the Shi'ah scholars, containing the traditions heard from one of the Imams, or heard from someone who had heard the Imam, came to be called "Usul." Out of these texts compiled from the era of 'Ali (A) to the time of Imam Hasan al-'Askari, the eleventh Imam, the popular ones were four-hundred in number by different authors. Each of them contained a number of ahadith written without any attention being paid to the sequence or classification according to the subject. Most of these traditions exist in the al-Mahasin al-Barqi, al-Kafi, Man la Yahduruhu al-faqih. Some of them are found in Tahdhib. It appears that most of these notebooks existed in the Shahpur Karkh Library of Baghdad and were lost when Tughrul the Turk burnt the city on conquering it in the year 448/1056. Others which escaped this calamity, and other disasters, were preserved until the time of Ibn Idris and Ibn Ta'wus and were available to them. Some, more than two-hundred of them, have survived to our own times. 29 These notebooks usually go with the prefix "kitab" and often "nawadir". Thirteen of them exist in the library of the Tehran University in the manuscript file number 962. Twelve of them are "kitab" and one is "nawadir". These are:

Kitab Zayd al-Zad;

Kitab Ghasfari;

Kitab ibn Hamid al-Hannat;

Kitab Zayd al-Nirsi;

Kitab Ja'far al-Hadrami;

Kitab Muhammad al-Hadrami;

Kitab 'Abd al-Malik ibn Hakim;

Kitab Muthanna ibn Walid al-Hannat;

Kitab Haddad al-Sindi;

Kitab Husayn ibn 'Uthman;

Kitab Kahili;

Kitab Salam Khurasani;

Nawadir Abi al-Hasan 'Ali ibn Asbat ibn Salim. 30

The Four Books:

The later Shi'ah scholars of hadith compiled four great collections from the aforementioned notebooks or Usul which became the most important texts of hadith in the Shi'ah world receiving hitherto unprecedented popularity. These four books were the following:

Al-Kafi: It was compiled by Shaykh Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni al-Razi (died 329/940) which contains 16,099 musnad (documented) hadith narrated from the Ahl al-Bayt (the Household of the Prophet). 31

Man la yahduruhu al-faqih: It was compiled by Shaykh Saduq Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn 'Ali ibn Babwayhi al-Qummi (died 381/991) who is known as "Shaykh-i Ajal" or "Saduq al-Ta'ifah". This book contains 9,044 hadith. 32

Al-Tahdhib: It was compiled by Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Tusi (died 460/1068) also known as "Shaykh al-Ta'ifah" (The chief of the sect). This book contains 13,590 hadith. 33

Al-Istibsar: This book was also compiled by Shaykh Tusi, and contains 5,511 hadith. The book is divided into four parts. 34

It is necessary to mention here that the four hundred "Usul" were widely quoted and narrated by the Shi'ah muhaddithin (scholars of hadith) until a comprehensive compilation called al-Mahasin was done by Shaykh Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid al-Barqi, who died in the second half of the third century of Hijra. His book contained a large number of ahadith arranged in numerous chapters. The al-Mahasin set an example which opened a new era in the history of the science of Shi'ah hadith; 35 because it was after him that others took up the task of collection, compilation and classification of ahadith, which were until then scattered in hundreds of Usul. This trend led to the emergence of the four authoritative compilations of hadith during the fourth and fifth centuries. Since then, they have been considered the greatest sources of hadith for the Shi'ah and served as the primary sources for the later day writers.

After the compilation of the four great texts of hadith, the next stage was that of exposition. During this period, the attention of most of the scholars was devoted to writing of commentaries and exposition of these texts. A large number of commentaries were written on each of these texts. In spite of the fact that most of these commentaries have, in the course of time, been forgotten and lie buried in libraries, more than 120 of these commentaries and exegeses have come down to our times. 36

However, this phase of exposition should be regarded as a period of langour in the history of development of the science of hadith; because, instead of a gradual growth, it marked a stage when most of the discussions went round and round in a definite circle without any progress or breakthrough. This situation lasted until the time of Safavid rule. With the formal recognition of the Shi'ah faith as the state religion from the early times of the Safavis, the study of hadith commenced growth once again.

Great scholars of hadith appeared in the Shi'ah world during the period of Safavid rule. These men restored the leading role of the Shi'ah in this field, with the result that after ages of neglect and stagnation, the study of hadith entered its golden age. At the close of the eleventh century and the beginning of the twelveth, for once again, the study of hadith received the attention of great scholars. The most prominent among them were Muhammad ibn Murtada Mulla Muhsin Fayd al-Kashani (died 1091/1680), Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Hurr al-'Amili (died 1104/1692-93) and Mulla Muhammad Baqir ibn Muhammad Taqi al-Majlisi (died 1111/1699-1700). Each of them has left behind a precious scholarly work. These works are the following:

Kitab al-jami' al-Wafi: It is the work of Mulla Muhsin Fayd al-Kashani. This book comprises of the four aforementioned classical texts of hadith. In this book, which is a very precious work from every aspect, the repetitive ahadith have been deleted and expositions have been written on the difficult ones. 37 Wasa'il al-Shi'ah: Its author is Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Hurr al-'Amili. This book, like the above one, combines the four classical texts of hadith and draws upon other sources also.

Bihar al-Anwar: It is what can be called an encyclopedia of Shi'ah hadith. It is the work of 'Allamah Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi and is the greatest work of hadith compiled either among the Sunnis or the Shi'ah. In this work, in addition to the Shi'ah sources, there are plenty of ahadith drawn from the Sunni sources. In spite of the great amount of labour and pain borne by al-'Allamah al-Majlisi, it should be admitted that the book is an unfinished masterpiece; since, he could not succeed in eliminating many weak traditions from his great work. Had al-Majlisi lived for another decade, he might have been successful in producing a true "ocean of light" full of precious pearls and corals and mines of pure gold. The task of extracting its precious pearls and gold from this unfathomable ocean and clearing its treasures of their adhering mud and fungus remains for us to accomplish.

The Age of Further Research:

After the age of al-Majlisi, another age followed in which the study of hadith made valuable progress. The scholars of this period did not abandon the pursuits of such men as Fayd al-Kashani, al-Hurr al-'Amili, and al-'Allamah al-Majlisi; rather they adhered to this path with greater care and attention to the new sophisticated criteria of authorship. Among those who have left worthy books in the field of the science of hadith can be named 'Allamah Muhammad Husayn ibn 'Allamah al-Taqi, and Muhammad Nuri al-Mazandarani al-Tabarsi, the latter of whom wrote the Kitab mustadrak al-wasa'il wa mustanbat al-masa'il, which was finished in 1319/1901, adding several chapters to the Kitab al-wasa'il al-shi'ah. This book is the greatest compilation of the ahadith of the Shi'ah faith. 'Allamah Nuri died in the year 1320/1902 in the city of Najaf. 38 In this brilliant period there lived such great men as the late Ayatullah Haj Aqa Husayn Burujardi, whose work changed the status of several thousand hadith. It is hoped that the Shi'ite and Sunni scholars of our times, working together, may be able to make greater achievements in this field.

According to Kashf al-Zunun, when the Companions of the Prophet (S) began to die one after another, the need to record the hadith became evident. It is also maintained that the first person to compose a book in Islam was Ibn Jurayj. 39 The next to be compiled was the al-Muwatta' of Imam Malik (died 179/795), and Rabi' ibn Sabih of Basra was the first man to compile a book with different chapters.

Al-Sihah al-Sittah or the 'Six Authentic Texts'

The work of compilation of hadith continued until the time of Imam al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim, who were followed by al-Tirmidhi, Abu Da'ud al-Sijistani, al-Nasa'i and others. 40 Imam Malik, who lived in Mecca in his al-Muwatta' compiled the ahadith with a sequence based on the principles of jurisprudence. 41 Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, in his Musnad classified the ahadith in various chapters each devoted to a separate Companion of the Prophet (S) from whom the narration was quoted. 42 After them Imam al-Bukhari classified the traditions according to region: he devoted separate sections to ahadith narrated by people of Hijaz, Iraq and Syria. Imam Muslim deleted the repetitive ahadith and put them in various chapters corresponding with various aspects of fiqh and other chapters dealing with biographical details. After them, Abu Da'ud, al-Tirmidhi and al-Nasa'i extended the scope of the work devoting greater attention to classification of the material. 43

The period of the first compilers of hadith was followed by those who compiled their own collections from al-Sihah al-Sittah, summarizing and rearranging the ahadith such as 'Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Hamid ibn Abu Bakr, Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Raqani and Abu Mas'ud Ibrahim ibn Muhammad al-Dimashqi who combined the books of al-Bukhari and Muslim.

After them, Abu al-Hasan Zarin ibn Mu'awiyah combined the books of al-Muwatta' and al-Jami' of al-Tirmidhi and the Sunan of Abu Da'ud and al-Nasa'i and the works of Muslim and Bukhari. After him Ibn Athir combined the six classical texts (al-sihah al-sittah) and the book of Zarin, producing a work more organized than that of Zarin. After that al-Suyuti combined al-sihah al-sittah and the ten masanid (plural of musnad) and called his book Jam' al-Jawami', which however retains several weak ahadith. 44


To sum up, it may be said that the primary purpose of the first compilers of hadith was to record the narrations without any attention to the principles and techniques of compilation and bookwriting. It may even be said that in the beginning the purpose was not even that of composing a book; rather the aim was to record and preserve the ahadith in individual notebooks.

During the second stage, though there was a conscious purpose of composing books, the works had many defects; for the ahadith lacked order and classification forcing the reader to go through the whole book while searching for a certain hadith.

The third phase was that of classification of the ahadith in which every author divided them into chapters in his own way: one would classify them on the basis of fiqhi issues and another preferred classification according to the land of origin of the narrators.

During the fourth phase, the compilers deleted the repetitive ahadith making the job of the reader a bit easier.

In the fifth phase, the experts of hadith began to examine the traditions from various angles, such as studying them from the point of view of various jurists and for discovery of new points - a matter which we shall discuss in greater detail in a proper chapter. During this stage the whole bulk of hadith came under critical study and endeavour was made to collect them in a single work. 45
1. 'Ilm al-hadith, Al-Sunnah qabl al-tadwin, p. 16. See also Dehkhuda, Loghatnameh, vol. V, p.398; Tadrib al-rawi, pp.4-5.

2. Tadrib al-rawi.

3. Ibid, p.6; see also Kashf al-zunun and Dehkhuda, Loghatnameh, vol. V, p. 398.

4. 'Ilm al-hadith, p.9.

5. Nihayat al-dirayah, p.7; Al-Sunnah qabl al-tadwin, p. 16; Dehkhuda, Loghatnameh vol. V.p. 399.

6. Tadrib al-rawi, p.6.

7. Ibid; see also Dehkhuda, Loghatnameh, vol. V, 399; see also Tadrib al-rawi, p.6.

8. 'Ilm al-hadith, p. 4.

9. Nihayat ai-dirayah.

10. Dehkhudi, Loghatnameh, vol V, 398; see also The Encyclopedia of Islam, p.28.

11. Ta'sis al-Shi'ah, p. 279. See also Husayn ibn Muhammad Taqi Nuri al-Tabarsi, Fasl al-khitab, pp.5-7; 1298.

12. A'yan al-shi'ah, vol. I, p.274; Da'irat al-ma'arif al-Imamiyyah, p.70; 'Ilm al-hadith; Dhahabi, Tadhkirat al-huffaz, p.10.

13. There is no doubt that the "Four-hundred Usul", which will be mentioned later in our discussion, were based on the traditions conveyed by the Ahl al-Bayt.

14. Tadrib al-rawi, p.285.

15. Dhahabi, Tadhkirat al-Huffaz, p.5.

16. Ibid. p.7. See also Fajr al-Islam, p.265, Parto-e Islam, 245.

17. Da'irat al-ma'arif al-Imamiyyah, p.69. Tadrib al-rawi. Kashf al-zunun, p. 637.

18. Kashf al-zunun, p.637. Ta'ssi al-shi'ah, pp.278-279. Dehkhuda, Loghatnameh, p.298. Taqrib al-tahdhib , p. 333. Wafayat al-a'yan, p.338. Fjr al-Islam, p. 265.

19. Ta'sis al-shi'ah, p.280. Najashi, kitab al-Rijal, pp.23, Da'irat al ma'arif al-Imamiyyah, pp.69-70. Dehkhuda, Loghatnameh, vol.1, p.298. Al-Dhari'ah, vol.1, p. 14.

20. A'yan al-shi'ah, vol. I, p.274. Da'irat al-ma'arif al-Imamiyyah, p.69. Ibn Sa'd, Tabaqat, vol. IV, pp.73-74.

21. Da'irat al-ma'arif al-Imamiyyah, p. 70. Ta'sis al-shi'ah, pp.280-287. See also Tadrib al-rawi and Kashf al-zunun, p. 637-638.

22. Fajr al-Islam, pp.265-267. Ta'sis al-shi'ah, p.278. See also Tadrib al-rawi, Kashf al-zunun, pp.637-638.

23. Ibid, pp.266-268.

24. Kashf al-zunun, p.637.

25. 'Ilm al-hadith, p.13. Maktab-e Tashayyu', Ordibehesht 1339, pp.58-61.

26. Ibid. See also Fajr al-Islam, p.265 and Parto-e Islam, p.264.

27. Tadrib al-rawi, "Introduction", 'Ilm al-hadith.

28. Ibid. See also Fajr al-Islam, p.262 and 'Ilm al-hadith.

29. Al-Dhari'ah, vol.11, pp 125-135 The Catalogue of the Library of the University of Tehran, p.1088 See also Nihayat al dirayah p 12.

30. The catalogue of the Library of University of Tehran, pp. 1089-1095 See also Al-Dhari'ah which mentions 117 Usul.

31. Da'irat al-ma'arif al-Imamiyyah, p. 70; Ta'sis al-shi'ah, p. 288. 'Ilm al-hadith.

32. Ibid. See 'Ilm al-hadith, p. 56.

33. Ta'sis al-shi'ah, p.288. Tusi, al-Fihrist, 'Ilm al-hadith, p. 57.

34. Da'irat al-ma'arif al-Imamiyyah, p. 70. Ta'sis al-shi'ah, p. 289; 'Ilm al-hadith, p.57.

35. 'Ilm al-hadith, p.52. See also Da'irat al-ma'arif al-Imamiyyah.

36. Al-Dhari'ah, vol.11, pp.17-19. See also the Catalogue of the University of Tehran pp.82-100-154-1277. Also refer to Ta'sis al-shi'ah. p.290.

37. The catalogue of the Library of the University of Tehran, p.1628.

38. Ta'sis al-shi'ah, p.289.

39. This is a Sunni viewpoint not accepted by the Shi'ah as being historically correct. Nevertheless, Ibn Jurayj and/or Rabi' ibn Sabih are considered pioneers among the Ahl al-Sunnah by themselves. According to the Shi'ah, Abu Rafi', after the Household of the Prophet, was the first man to record and compile ahadith. See Ta'sis al-shi'ah, p.280, Najashi, Rijal, pp. 2-3; Da'irat al-ma'arif al-Imamiyyah, pp. 69-70; Al-Dhari'ah, vol. I, p.14; Dehkhuda, Loghatnameh, vol.1. p.298.

40. Kashf al-zunun, p.637.

41. Ibn Khaldun, Tariq, p.798.

42. Kashf al-zunun, p.637.

43. Ibn Khaldun, Tariq, p. 798.

44. Kashf al-zunun, p.639.

45. Ibid, p. 637-639.

Reasons Behind Emergence of 'Ilm Dirayat al-Hadith

Unfortunately on account of various reasons, some of which we shall mention shortly, the hadith did not remain immune from forgery and other problems. A great number of incorrect traditions found way into collections of prophetic sayings. The task of separating genuine traditions from apocryphal material was as necessary as that of removing weeds from a flower bed; as in case of weeds, their identification and removal was not an easy task, nor could they be left to flourish untouched, threatening the genuine material itself. This was the reason why religious scholars, in their capacity as vigilant gardeners of the Faith, began to look for ways of separating forged material from genuine hadith. They needed new tools for this task, which was not an easy one, as is evident from the fact that despite centuries of scholarly efforts the remnants of these dangerous and destructive weeds have continued to survive.

As to how these weeds found their way into the flower beds of prophetic tradition, here are some of the important reasons:

There were some who wilfully sprinkled the seeds of such weeds, and dedicatedly looked after their growth and survival. Amongst them were supporters of Banu Umayyah and other opponents of Islam who dissembled adherence to it. 1

Emergence of various sects in Islam led to forgeries by followers of different sects who wished to produce documentary evidence in favour of their own sect and to detriment of their opponents. 2

Fabrications made by the devout about virtues of piety and abstinence from evil, who imagined that by this means they would be better equipped to guide others. 3

Inclusion of Jewish myths, a process which was stimulated by the popular sense of curiosity and the people's interest in the lives and times of former prophets. Such imaginative accounts are replete in narrations regarding the lives and deeds of prophets - such as the account related by al-Tabari on the authority of Ibn Munabbih. According to this account, the serpent, formerly, had hands and legs; but since it allowed the Devil to enter its belly, God had made its limbs to sink into its stomach! 4

Tribal and regional prejudices and rivalries, which incited some to forge traditions to be produced as evidence of their superiority over others - as is evident from traditions related to some cities.

Personal ambition was another stimulant which prompted some to be included among the scholars of hadith through forgery.

Fabrication of hadith as a means of procurement of personal gain or of earning goodwill of the caliph in power. 5

Controversies and differences among jurists (fuqaha') prompted some scholars to fabricate traditions to be invoked in support of their own legal positions. Story-tellers and reciters of fables, admittedly, were not averse to letting their imagination wander into the domain of hadith. 6

Due to the above-mentioned and other reasons besides, a critical examination of hadith was necessary. As a result of the efforts made by Muslim scholars in this regard, a new branch was created in the science of hadith; it came to be called "dirayat al-hadith". 7

The Nihayat al-dirayah defines dirayat al-hadith in these words: "It is a science which investigates the isnad, contents, subject and the mode of transmission of ahadith, so that acceptable traditions can be separated from unacceptable ones."

The emergence of 'ilm dirayat al-hadith was followed by its division into numerous branches. Certain rules and guidelines were evolved for distinguishing reliable from unreliable ahadith. The body of such rules came to be called "mustalah al-hadith", which together with 'ilm al-rijal (lit. science of men), formed the means of scrutinizing hadith material. However, for this purpose, knowledge of other preliminaries such as Arabic grammar and syntax, familiarity with literary style and form, knowledge of abrogated (mansukh) and the abrogating (nasikh) verses of the Qur'an, knowledge of the history of Islam and that of various Islamic sects and their beliefs, and other details regarding hadith, is necessary.

Haji Khalifah, in his Kashf al-zunun defines 'ilm al-dirayah in this manner: "'Ilm dirayat al-hadith, which discusses the content and meaning of the words of hadith on the basis of Arabic grammar and syntax, and shar'i criteria, and examines their correspondence with the circumstances of the Messenger of Allah (S), linguistic standards of Arabic sciences and reports about the Messenger (S), consists of 'ilm al-rijal, (the science of narrators, their names, genealogical lineages, lifetimes, their dates of death, their characters and circumstances of reception and transmission of hadith, as well as its topic or subject) and aims to distinguish acceptable from unacceptable traditions. It entails classification of various modes of transmission, linguistic background of narrators, their remarks and criticism about what they have narrated, their connection with the prior source from whom they have received, knowledge of possession of permission (ijazah) 8 by a narrator, and knowledge of various classifications of hadith, such as sahih, hasan, da'if, etc." 9

'Ilm al-Rijal

The following verse of the Qur'an made it incumbent upon al-muhaddithin (scholars of hadith) to make a thorough enquiry into details of narrators of ahadith:

O believers, if an ungodly man comes to you with a report, investigate, lest you afflict a people unwittingly and then repent of what you have done. (49:6)

As to who were pioneers in this field, it must be admitted that the Shi'ah had taken a lead in this field. The first writer to compile a book on this subject was Abu Muhammad 'Abd Allah ibn Jibillah ibn Hayyan al-Kanani (died 219/834). 10 But according to Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti in his Kitab al-'awa'il, the first writer on 'ilm al-rijal was Shu'bah (died 260/87374). 11 However, it is clear that the statement of Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti does not correspond with historical fact, for 'Abd Allah ibn Jibillah died forty years before Shu'bah.

Another important point that should be noted here is that writing of chronicles of persons or biographical accounts was current amongst the Shi'ah from the very early days of Islam. If this is taken into account, Abu Rafi' and his desendents took a lead before all others. 12

Some books on 'ilm al-rijal give biographical accounts of narrators without giving the dates of their death, such as Ta'rikh of Ibn Jarir, Muruj al-dhahab of al-Mas'udi, aI-Kamjl fi al-ta'rikh of Ibn al-Athir. Some give dates of death without biographical accounts. Others, being more comprehensive, give almost all essential details, such as the works of Abu al-Faraj Jawzi and al-Dhahabi. 13

The most important books compiled by Shi'ah scholars on 'ilm al-rijal are five. They are:

Kitab al-rijal by Abi al-'Abbas Ahmad ibn 'Ali al-Najashi (died 450/1058), which later became known merely as "al-Najash", gives accounts of lives of narrators who have compiled books, giving little attention to others. Though the biographical accounts are given in an alphabetical order, the compilation is not very orderly. However, later, through the efforts of Kazim al-Ansari (died 1006/1597-8), Mulla 'Inayat Allah Quhpa'i (died 1016/1607- 8) - the author of Majma' al-rijal - and Shaykh Dawud ibn al-Hasan al-Bahrayni (died 1104/1692-3), these defects have been removed.

Kitab al-fihrist, by Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Tusi, known as "Shaykh al-Ta'ifah" (died 460/1067-8). This book gives the biographical accounts in an alphabetical order. Moreover, several others have worked upon it.

Kitab al-rijal, also by al-Tusi, in which he gives the names of the contemporaries of every Imam (A) in the order of their succession.

Ma'rifat akhbar al-rijal, by 'Umar ibn Muhammad al-Kashshi.

Al-Du'afa' by Ibn al-Ghada'iri, Ahmad ibn al-Husayn ibn 'Abd Allah, a scholar of the fifth century Hijrah.

Important Books Composed by Scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah

The most important books compiled in the field of 'ilm al-rijal by scholars of the Ahl al-Sunnah are four:

Kitab Ibn Mandah, Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Yahya (died 301/913-14).

Hilyat al-'awliya' by Abi Nu'aym al-'Isfahani (died 430/1038-9).

Kitab Abi Musa, Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr al-'Isfahani (died 581/1185-6), which is a continuation of the work of Ibn Mandah.

Al-'Isti'ab by Ibn 'Abd al-Birr.

After the above four works, other writings on 'ilm al-rijal by Sunni scholars were primarily based on them. 'Ali ibn Muhammad ibn al-Athir al-Jazari (died 630/1132-3) brought them together in his Usd al-ghabah. AI-Dhahabi produced a summarized version of Usd al-ghabah in his Tajrid Asma' al-Sahabah, adding some new entries. Badr al-Din Muhammad al-Qudsi and Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Kashghari, too, produced their own condensed versions of the Usd al-ghabah. 14

A point worthy of notice here is that Shi'ah scholars of 'ilm al-rijal, in the fifth and sixth centuries, named such books as were exclusively related to Shi'ite narrators of hadith as "rijal", calling accounts of others, including both Shi'ah and Sunni narrators, as "ta'rikh". 15 Another notable point is that, in the past, there existed a mutual, inseparable link between the three disciplines of dirayat al-hadith, 'ilm rijal al-hadith and bibliography. Works dealing with one of the topics, invariably discussed issues connected with the other disciplines.

The most important authors who have compiled works on 'ilm al-rijal are following: 16

'Ubayd Allah ibn Abi Rafi'.
Muhammad ibn Ishaq (died 151/768), grandson of Yasar. His work is called Madrak al-'Isti'ab.
Al-Tabari, Abu Ja'far (died 210/825-6). His work, too, is called Madrak al-'Isti'ab.
'Abd Allah ibn Jibillah ibn Hannan (died 219/834). He compiled a book on 'ilm al-rijal. 17
Al-Yaqtini, Muhammad ibn 'Isa ibn 'Ubayd ibn Yaqtin. He is an author of a book on 'ilm al-rijal. 18
Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Nu'aym, son of Shadhan Nishaburi. He is the author of al-Tarajim.
Al-Hasan ibn Mahbub (died 224/838-9). His works are al-Mashikhah 19 and Ma'rifat ruwat al-akhbar. 20
Ahmad ibn al-Husayn ibn 'Abd al-Malik al-'Azudi. He rearranged al-Mashikhah in an alphabetical order.
Al-Muharibi, Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad ibn al-Hasan. He is the author of a work on 'ilm al-rijal.
Al-Jazawini, 'Ali ibn al-'Abbas is the author of al-Mamduhun wa al-madhmumun.
Al-Hasan ibn 'Ali ibn Faddal al-Fatahi (died 224/838-9). He is the author of a work on 'ilm al-rijal.
Muhammad ibn Sa'd, al-Azhari al-Basri al-Waqidi (died 230/844-5). His fifteen-volume Kitab al-tabaqat al-kubra has been reprinted. Al-Suyuti (died 911/1505-6) has compiled a condensed version of it.
Al-Waqidi, Muhammad ibn 'Umar, teacher of Muhammad ibn Sa'd al-Waqidi, has a work on al-rijal called Madrak al-'Isti'ab.
'Ali ibn al-Madyani (died 234/848-9). He compiled a chronicle extending over ten volumes.
'Ali ibn al-Hasan ibn 'Ali, son of Faddal al-Fatahi, compiled a work on 'ilm al-rijal.
Khalifah ibn al-Khayyat (died 240/854-5) is the author of Madrak al-'Isti'ab.
Al-Bukhari, Muhammad ibn Isma'il ibn Mughirah (died 256/870), is an author of three books.
Muslim ibn Hajjaj (died 261/874-5). His work, too, is called al-Tabaqat.
Al-Barqi, Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid (died 274/887-8). He is the author of Tabaqat al-rijal.
Al-'Ayyashi al-Samarqandi, Muhammad ibn Mas'ud, is the author of Ma'rifat al-naqilin. 21
Al-Rawajini, 'Abbad ibn Ya'qub, is the author of al-Ma'rifah fi ma'riifat al-sahabah. 22
Al-Narmashiri, Yahya ibn Zakariyya, is the author of Manazil al-sahabah. 23
Abu al-Faraj al-Qanani, son of Muhammad ibn Ya'qub, is the author of Mu'jam rijal Abi Mufaddal. 24
Al-Dabili, Muhammad ibn Wahban, author of Man rawa 'an Amir al-Mu'minin. 25
Abu al-Qasim al-Balkhi, author of Ma'rifat al-naqilin and Firaq al-Shi'ah. 26
Ahmad ibn 'Abd al-Wahid, author of Fihrist al-rijal. 27
Ibn Abi Khuthaymah, Ahmad ibn Zuhayr (died 279/892-3), author of Madrak al-'Isti'ab.
Al-Haqiqi, Ahmad ibn 'Ali (died 280/893-4), authored Ta'rikh al-rijal. 28
Mutayyin, Muhammad ibn 'Abd Allah ibn Sulayman al-Hadrami (died 297/909-10), authored Madarak al-'isabah.
Ibn Hazm al-Harawi (died 301/913-14).
Ibn Mandah, Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Yahya (died 301/913-14).
Hamid Naynawa'i Dihqan (died 310/922-923).
Al-Dulabi (died 310/922-23).
'Abd al-'Aziz ibn Ishaq.
Al-Kulayni, Muhammad ibn Ya'qub (died 329/940-41), the author of al-Kafi, has also compiled a work on al-rijal. 29
Al-Jalludi (died 332/943-44).
Al-Mas'udi, 'Ali ibn al-Husayn (died 333/944-45).
'Isa ibn Mihran. 30
Ibn Battah, Muhammad ibn Ja'far Mu'addab al-Qummi.
Muhammad ibn 'Abd Allah.
Ibn 'Uqdah al-Hamadani (died 333/944-45). He compiled biographical accounts of 4000 figures. Reportedly, parts of his work still exist in the royal library in Yemen. 31
Abu Sulayman, Muhammad ibn 'Abd Allah (died 338/949-50).
Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Ash'ari.
Sa'd ibn 'Abd Allah al-Ash'ari. 32
Al-Tabarani (died 340/951-52).
Ibn Walid al-Qummi (died 343/95455) 33
Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn 'Ammar al-Kufi (died 346/957-58).
'Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Zubayr al-Qurashi (died 348/959-60).
Ibn Sakan, Sa'id ibn 'Uthman (died 353/963).
Ibn Habban (died 354/965).
Qadi al-Ja'abi, Muhammad ibn 'Umar (died 355/965-66).
Al-Kashshi, Abu 'Amr, Muhammad ibn 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz, authored Ma'rifat al-naqilin, which al-Shaykh al-Tusi (died 460/1067-68) condensed under the title al-Rijal.
Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Dawud al-Qummi (died 368/978-79).
Abu Ghalib al-Zurari, Ahmad ibn Ahmad (died 368/978-79).
Al-Shaykh al-Saduq (died 381/991-92), compiled al-Masabih. 34 and al-Tabaqat of Ibn Sa'd.
Ibn Shahin (died 385/995).
Ibn al-Nadim, Muhammad ibn Ishaq (died 390/1000), compiled Kitab al-fihrist.
Ibn Hashir, Ibn 'Abdun (died 423/1023).
Abu Nu'aym al-'Isfahani (died 430/1038-39).
Muhammad ibn Abi Qurrah, teacher of al-Najashi, (died 450/1058), compiled Mu'jam rijal Abi Mufaddal. 35
Abu al-'Abbas, al-Sirafi Ahmad, teacher of al-Najashi, authored al-Masabih. 36
Ibn al-Ghada'iri, Ahmad ibn al-Husayn, compiled al-Rijal al-du'afa'.
Abu Ya'la al-Khalili (died 442/1054-55).
Al-Najashi, Abu al-'Abbas Ahmad ibn 'Ali (died 450/1058), the author of Ma'rifat al-rijal.
Al-Tusi, Muhammad ibn al-Hasan (died 460/1067-68).
Al-Kitani (died 466/1073-74).
'Abd ibn Jarud.
Ibn Abi Hatim.
Ibn 'Abd al-Birr (died 463/1070-71).
Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Ahmad ibn 'Ali (died 463/1070-71).
Ibn Fathun, Abu Bakr.
Shihab al-Din, Ahmad ibn Yusuf.
Al-'Akfani, Hibat Allah ibn Ahmad (died 466/1073-74).
Al-Sam'ani, 'Abd al-Karim (died 562/1166-67).
Abu Musa, Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr (died 581/1185-86).
Muntajab al-Din, 'Ali ibn 'Ubayd Allah Babawayh (died after 585/1189). He wrote Kitab al-fihrist, and a history of the Shi'ah scholars. Al-Majlisi included it at the end of vol. XXV of his Bihar al-anwar.
Ibn Shahr Ashub, Muhammad ibn 'Ali (died 588/1192). He made additions at the end of al-Tusi's Fihrist.
Abu al-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi, 'Abd al-Rahman ibn 'Ali (died 597/1200-1)
Al-Muqaddasi, 'Ali ibn Mufaddal (died 611/1214-15).
Ibn Bitriq, Yahya ibn al-Hasan (died 600/1203-4). He wrote Kitab rijal al-Shi'ah. 37
Ibn al-Athir, 'Ali ibn Muhammad al-Jazari (died 630/1232-33) wrote Usd al-ghabah.
Ibn Abi Tayy, Yahya ibn Hamid al-Halabi (died 630/1232-33), wrote al-'Isti'ab.
Quraysh ibn al-Sabi' (died 664/1265-66) summarized al-'Isti'ab and al-Tabaqat of Ibn Sa'd.
'Abd al-Azim ibn 'Abd al-Qawi al-Mundhiri (died 656/1285).
Ibn Tawus, Ahmad ibn Musa ibn Ja'far al-Hilli (died 673/1274-75) wrote Hall al-'ishkal in the year A.H. 644, and brought together in it all biographical accounts of the five major works on 'ilm al-rijal: al-Kashshi, al-Najashi, al-Tusi's Rijal and Fihrist, and Ibn al-Ghada'iri's al-Du'afa'. 38
Izz al-Din, Ahmad ibn Muhammad (died 656/1258).
Al-Muhaqqiq al-Hilli, Ja'far ibn al-Hasan (died 676/1277-78), condensed al-Tusi's Fihrist.
Ibn Tawus, 'Abd al-Karim ibn Ahmad ibn Musa ibn Ja'far (died 693/1293-4).
Ibn Dawud, al-Hasan ibn 'Ali ibn Dawud (born 647/1249-50).
Al-'Allamah al-Hilli, al-Hasam ibn Yusuf (died 726/1325-26) wrote Khulasat al-'aqwat, Idah al-'Ishtibah and Kashf al-'ishtibah.
Al-Birzali, al-Qasim ibn Muhammad al-Dimashqi (died 738/1337-38).
Al-Dhahabi, Shams al-Din, Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn 'Uthman (died 748/1347-48) summarized Usd al-ghabah.
Ahmad ibn Aybak al-Dimyati.
Ibn Rafi', Taqi al-Din, made additions at the end of al-Birzali's work.
Ibn Kathir al-Dimashqi (died 774/1372-73) wrote several works on 'ilm al-rijal.
Ibn Mu'ayyah al-Dibaji, Muhammad ibn al-Qasim ibn al-Husayn ibn al-Qasim al-Hilli (died 776/1374-75).
Ibn al-Mulaqqin, 'Umar (died 804/1401-2) wrote Tabaqat al- muhaddithin.
Zayn al-Din al-'Iraqi, 'Abd al-Rahim (died 806/1403-4) made additions at the end of Ibn Aybak al-Dimyati's work.
Baha' al-Din, 'Ali Nili al-Hilli ibn 'Abd al-Karim (died 841/1437-38), wrote Kitab al-rijal.
Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, Ahmad ibn 'A1i (died 852/1448) wrote Kitab al-'Isabah.
Al-Suyuti, Jalal al-Din (died 911/1505-6) summarized al-'Isabah calling it 'Ayn al-isabah.
Al-Hasan ibn Zayn al-Din al-Shahid al-Thani (martyred 1011/1602-3) is the author of al-Ma'alim, Tahrir Tawusi, Tartib mashikhat man la yahduruh al-faqih.
Mulla Mustafa, translated the al-'Isti'ab upto the letter "ha"' by the orders of the 'Uthmani king, Sultan Ahmad.
Tash Kubra-Zadeh, Kamal al-Din Muhammad (died 962/1554-55) continued the unfinished work of Mulla Mustafa to the letter "ra".
Yusuf ibn Muhammad al-Husayni al-'Amili (died 982/1574-75) compiled Jami' al-'aqwal and edited the Rijal of al-Kashshi.
'Abd al-Latif ibn 'Ali ibn Shaykh Ahmad al-'Amili, pupil of the author of al-Ma'alim, (died 1011/1602-3) and Shaykh al-Baha'i (died 1031/1621-22) compiled a fihrist of narrators of the four hooks: Al-Kafi, Man la yahduruh al-faqih, al-Tahdhib and al-'Istibsar.
Mulla 'Inayat Allah Quhpa'i, 'Ali ibn Sharaf al-Din, (died 1016/ 1607-8), also like Ibn Tawus compiled a collection of the books of al-Kashshi, al-Najashi, Ibn al-Ghada'iri, al-Rijal and al-Fihrist, putting the biographical accounts in an alphabetical order. His work is called Majma' al-rijal.
Qadi Nur Allah al-Shushtari (martyred 1019/1610-11) wrote Majalis al-mu'minin.
Mulla 'Abd Allah al-Shushtari (died 1021/1612) extracted the al-Du'afa' of Ibn al-Ghada'iri, which had been included in Hall al-'ishkal of Ibn Tawus.
Mulla 'Abd al-Nabi al-Jaza'iri, ibn Sa'd (died 1021/1612) wrote Hawi al-'aqwal.
Mirza Muhammad al-'Astarabadi (died 1021/1612) wrote three books, of which the most important is Manhaj al-maqal.
Khudawardi, 'Afshar (died 1021/1612).
Mirza Fayd Allah Tafrishi (died 1025/1616).
Mir Mustafa Tafrishi (died 1031/1621-22).
Nizam al-Din al-Qurashi (died 1031/1621-22).
Shaykh Muhammad al-Najafi (died 1085/1674-75).
Qutb al-Din al-'Ashkawari (died 1040/1630-31).
Mir Damad, Muhammad Baqir ibn Muhammad al-'Astarabadi al-Husayni al-'Isfahani (died 1040/1630-31).
Muhammad Taqi al-Majlisi al-Awwal, ibn Maqsud 'Ali (died 1070/1659-60) wrote Mashikhat kitab man la yahduruh al-faqih.
Al-Turayhi (died 1085/1674-75).
Muhammad Amin al-Kazimi (died 1085/1674-75).
Aqa Radi al-Qazwini (died 1096/1684-85).
Kamal al-Din al-Husayni, Shaykh Hasan ibn 'Ali al-'Amili.
Shaykh Hurr al-'Amili, Muhammad ibn al-Hasan (died 1104/1692-93) wrote 'Amal al-'amal and Tadhkirat al-'ulama' al-muta'akhkhirin.
Mulla Faraj Allah al-Huwayzi.
Mulla Haydar 'Ali al-Qummi.
Muhaddith al-Tawbali (died 1107/1695-96).
Muhammad Salih Khatunabadi al-'Isfahani (died 1116/1704-5), was the nephew of al-Majlisi II.
Sayyid 'Ali Khan Madani (died 1120/1708-9).
Mulla 'Abd Allah Afandi (died 1131/1718 19).
Mulla Muhammad al-Ardabili (died 1111/1699-1700).
Shaykh Sulayman al-Makhuri (died 1121/1709-10).
Mulla Muhammad Ja'far al-Khurasani (born 1080/1669-70).
Aqa Husayn al-Khwansari (died 1128/1715-16).
'Ali ibn 'Abd Allah al-Bahrayni (died 1127/1714-15).
Mirza Muhammad al-Akhbari (died 1132/1719-20).
'Abd Allah al-Samahiji (died 1135/1722-23).
Shaykh Yasin al-Bahrayni (died 1145/1732 33).
Mir Muhammad Ibrahim, son of Mir Ma'sum al-Qazwini, (died 1145/1732-33).
Radi al-Din, ibn Sayyid Muhammad al-'Amili al-Musawi, (died 1168/1754-55), in a work called 'Ithaf dkawi al-'albab, has arranged the entries according to surnames ending with the letter "ya", and modelling it on Ibn al-Athir's work and al-Lubab of al-Suyuti.
Muhammad ibn 'Ali al-Biladi (died 1186/1772-73).
Shaykh Yusuf (1186/1772-73) has compiled Lu'lu'at al-bahrayn.
Sayyid Husayn al-Qazwini (died 1208/1793-94).
'Abd al-Nabi ibn Muhammad (died 1191/1777).
Sayyid Mahdi Bahr al-'ulum al-Burujerdi al-Najafi (died 1212/1797-98).
Abu 'Ali, Muhammad ibn Isma'il (died 1215/1800-1).
Sayyid Ahmad al-Kazimi.
Dawud ibn al-Hasan al-Jaza'iri, worked on Ikhtiyar al-rijal of al-Kashshi, and al-Rijal of al-Najashi.
Muhammad Tahir ibn Muhammad Talib al-Husayni al-'Ardabili.
Shaykh Yahya, who was a mufti of Bahrayn.
Mulla Darwish 'Ali al-Ha'iri.
Sayyid Muhsin al-'A'raji al-Kazimayni (died 1227/1812).
Sayyid 'Abd Allah Shubbar ibn Muhammad Rida (died 1242/1826-27).
Muhammad 'Ali ibn al-Qasim Al Shakur al-Ha'iri (died 1245/1829-30).
Sayyid Muhammad Baqir, Hujjat al-Islam Shafti (died 1260/1844).
Shaykh 'Abd al-Nabi al-Kazimi (died 1256/1840).
Mulla 'Ali Kani al-Tehrani (died 1306/1888-89).
Shaykh Murtada al-'Ansari (died 1281/1864-65).
Ibrahim ibn Husayn ibn 'Ali.
Haji Nuri, Husayn ibn Muhammad Taqi.
Muhammad Taha Najaf (died 1323/1905), son of Mahdi, son of Muhammad Rida al-Tabrizi al-Najafi, compiled Itqan al-maqal. In this book, he divided narrators of hadith into three categories: truthful, righteous and weak.
Al-Mamaqani, Shaykh 'Abd Allah ibn Shaykh Hasan (died 1350/1931-32).
Sayyid Muhsin al-'Amili (died 1370/1950-51) wrote 'A'yan al-Shi'ah, of which thirty-four volumes have been printed in Syria.
Aqa Buzurg, Muhammad Muhsin al-Tehrani, wrote al-Dhari'ah 'ila tasanif al-shi'ah, in which he devoted each volume to figures of every century starting from the fourth century Hijrah. He also compiled a work on history of 'ilm al-rijal with the title Musaffa al-maqal. In this book he has given biographical accounts of six-hundred narrators.
1. See Muhaqqiq's introduction to al-Suyuti's Tadrib al-rawi; al-Madinah 1379/1959. One instance of this case is the "hadith" which was forged regarding the following verse of the Holy Qur'an on the orders of Mu'awiyah:

And among men is he who sells himself in exchange for God's good pleasure ... . (2:207)

Through this forgery, an attempt was made to relate this verse to Ibn Muljam, the assassin of Imam 'Ali (A); whereas, in reality, this verse is related to 'Ali (A) himself, who exposed himself to the danger of death by lying in the Prophet's (S) bed on the night of his hijrah to al-Madinah. See also Kazim Mudir Shanehchi, 'IIm al-hadith, p. 66; Mashhad University 1964-65

2. See Muhaqqiq's introduction to al-Suyuti's Tadrib al rawi al Madinah 1379/1959. See also Ahmad Amin Fajral Islam, p. 255; Egypt 1347/1928.

Ahmad ibn Nasr says: "The Prophet in reply [to a question that he had put] said, 'Hold on to al-Shafi'i for he is from me and God is with him and his followers."' See Kazim Mudir Shanehchi 'IIm al hadith, p. 69, Mashhad University 1964-65.

3. The Encyclopedia of Islam, pp. 24, 25. Ahmad Amin, Fajr al Islam, p.256; Egypt 1347/1928. See also Parto e Islam vol I p. 258. An instance of this is the case of Abi 'Ismah Nuh ibn Abi Maryam whose practice was to forge a tradition in relation to every surah of the Qur'an. Once when asked about the source of his narrations, he said, "Since people started turning towards the fiqh of Abi Hanifah and the chronicles of Muhammad ibn Ishaq they have been neglecting to memorize the Qur'an by heart. I have fabricated these traditions only for the sake of God's good pleasure." See Parto e Islam p. 258 and Fajral Islam p. 256.

4. Partoe Islam, vol.11, pp. 356, 385.

5. An instance of this is the case of Ghiyath ibn Ibrahim, who once on visiting the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur saw him playing with pigeons. On the spur of the moment, he fabricated a "hadith" for the caliph's good pleasure: The Prophet said, "No racing is better than that of hoofs and feathers." See Fajr al-'Islam, p. 255, and Partoe Islam, vol. I, p.258. Abu Hurayrah once fabricated a "hadith" about onions of Akka (seaport in Palestine). Asked by Mu'awiyah as to where the Prophet said such a thing, he answered, "there where he said, 'Mu'awiyah is the maternal uncle of the faithful (khal al-mu'minin)'."

6. Kazim Mudir Shanehchi, 'Ilm al-hadith, pp.74,75, Mashhad University, 1344 A.H. According to Ibn al-Jawzi, once Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Yahya ibn Ma'in were in the mosque of al-Rasifah (in Baghdad) for prayers. In the meanwhile, a storyteller gathered around himself some people and began to recite a tradition, citing as his sources Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Yahya ibn Ma'in, that the Prophet said, "whoever says, 'La ilaha illa Allah', God will reward him with a bird whose beak is of gold and feathers of coral." Then he proceeded to describe the bird and the reward of the recipient in such a detail as can not be contained even in twenty pages. On hearing him, Yahya and ibn Hanbal looked at each other while the "muhaddith" started collecting tips from the people. Yahya approached the man and asked him as to who had told him this tradition. "Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Yahya ibn Ma'in," was his reply. "I am Yahya and this is Ahmad ibn Hanbal", said Yahya pointing to Ibn Hanbal, "we ourselve have never heard of such a tradition." The storyteller replied, 'I had heard that Yahya ibn Ma'in is an idiot I didn't believe it. You talk as if you two are the only Yahya and Ibn Hanbal in the whole world! I have written traditions from seventeen Yahya ibn Ma'ins and Ahmad ibn Hanbal's." Then he promptly slipped out of the mosque. See Hafiz Nishaburi Hakim Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Abd Allah, Ma'rifat ulum al hadith, p. 289; Egypt 1937.

7. Shaykh al-Bahi'i, Nihayat al-dirayah p. 7; 'Imad al Islam Press, 1324. See also al-Suyuti's Tadrib al-rawi, pp. 4, 5; al Madinah 1379/1959.

8. During the earliest times the traditions were transmitted orally by teachers to students of hadith. One who had leant traditions in this way under the direction of a teacher could, in his turn, again communicate them to others. Ijazah (lit. permit) was the term for a teacher's sanction granted to those considered reliable by him for further transmission of traditions to others.

9. Haji Khalifah, Mustafa ibn 'Abd Allah, Kashf al-zunun 'an asami al-kutub wa al-funun, pp.635-636; 1360/1941.

10. Sayyid Hasan al-Sadr, Ta'sis al-Shi'ah, p.233; see also al-Najashi's Ma'rifat ahwal al-rijal, p.340; Bombay 1317.

11. Sayyid Hasan al-Sadr, Ta'sis al-Shi'ah.

12. Al-Najashi, Ma'rifat ahwal al-rijal. See Shaykh Aqa Buzurg al-Tehrani, Muhammad Muhsin, al-Dhari'ah ila tasanif al-Shi'ah, vol. III, p. 224. See also Sayyid Hasan al-Sadr, Ta'sis al-Shi'ah, p.232.

13. Haji Khalifah, Kashf al-zunun 'an asami al-kutub wa al-funun, p.834, 1360.

14. See the Catalogue of the Library of University of Tehran, p.503.

15. Shaykh Aqa Buzurg al-Tehrani, al-Dhari'ah ila tasanif al-Shi'ah, vol.111, p. 224.

16. The names in this list are of those who have worked on history or 'ilm al-rijal, regardless of whether they were merely chroniclers or those whose work was aimed at distinguishing reliable from unreliable narrators. The names in the list have been taken from the Catalogue of the Library of University of Tehran.

17. Al-Najashi, Ma'rifat ahwal al-rijal, p.235; Bombay 1317.

18. Ibid.

19. Al-Tusi, Kitab al-fihrist, p.47; Najaf 1359/1937.

20. Tawdih al-maqal, p.65.

21. Al-Najashi, Ma'rifat ahwal al-rijal, 248; Bombay 1317.

22. AI-Tusi, Kitab al-fihrist, p.119; Najaf 1359/1937.

23. Al-Najashi, Ma'rifat ahwal al-rijal, p.309; Bombay 1317.

24. Ibid., p.283.

25. Ibid., p. 282.

26. Ibid., p.302.

27. Tawdih al-maqal, p.65.

28. Al-Najashi, Ma'rifat ahwal al-rijal, p.59.

29. Ibid., p.267.

30. Al-Tusi, Kitab al-fihrist, p.116.

31. Ibid., p. 28; al-Najashi, Ma'rifat ahwal al-rijal, pp.68, 69; See also the Catalogue of the Library of Tehran University.

32. Al-Tusi, Kitab al-fihrist, 75; al-Najashi, Ma'rifat ahwal al-rijal, p. 126.

33. Al-Najashi, Ma'rifat ahwal al-rijal, p.23.

34. Ibid., pp. 276, 278.

35. Ibid., p.283.

36. Ibid., p.63; al-Tusi, Kitab al-fihrist, p.37.

37. Shaykh Aqa Buzurg al-Tehrani, al-Dhari'ah ila tasanif al-Shi'ah, vol.111, p. 222.

38. Ibid., vol. VII, p.64.

Disciplines of 'Ilm al-Hadith

At the time of its emergence, there was a difference of opinion among men of eminence among Muslims about the very necessity of hadith. The first two caliphs, for example, exhibited a complete lack of interest in it. 1 Nevertheless, after the death of the Prophet (S), its importance was gradually realized. This realization grew with time, to the extent that it became necessary for religious scholars to consider hadith as the second authoritative source after the Qur'an for solution of their canonical problems. The importance of hadith grew steadily with time, until it took the shape of a vast science with numerous disciplines.

Al-Suyuti, in introduction to his Tadrib al-rawi, writes that at the beginning of the second century of Hijrah, the sciences related to hadith consisted of three disciplines: 'ilm tadwin al-hadith, 'ilm al-hadith, and 'ilm usul al-hadith. However, during the third century, according to Ibn al-Mulaqqin, the science of hadith came to consist of more than two hundred disciplines. Abu Hatam, according to a more simple classification, has mentioned the existence of fifty separate disciplines. Ibn Hajar describes the various disciplines more simply in this fashion: 'ilm usul al-hadith, 'ulum al-hadith, 'ilm mustalah al-hadith, and 'ilm dirayat al-hadith (which also includes 'ilm al-rijal). 2

Ahmad Amin, in his Fajr al-Islam, says: "The study of hadith was followed by the birth of various disciplines, such as chronicles of history, wars, and merits of peoples and persons. This was followed by writing of biographies, such as the work of Ibn Hisham. According to Ibn Jarir, Ibn Ishaq and al-Baladhuri, their style and method was that of hadith narration. The anecdotes of the lives and times of former prophets, together with the hadith and the anecdotes mentioned in the Qur'an, helped to expand the literature dealing with the former prophets. The interest in hadith stimulated the study of Greek, Indian and Persian philosophy and ethics. 'Ilm al-hadith stimulated popular interest in all sciences, and itself became a religious and canonical source, and, above all, the source of civil and penal codes. All this, avoiding further elaboration, bears testimony to the role played by 'ilm al-hadith in expansion of the sciences." 3

According to al-Suyuti, al-Hazimi considered 'ilm al-hadith to consist of more than a hundred disciplines; Ibn Salah has mentioned 65 of these various disciplines. 4 Ibn Khaldun, in his work on history, mentions the following branches of 'ilm al-hadith: the study of the nasikh and mansukh verses of the Qur'an, 'ilm al-rijal, 'ilm istilahat al-hadith, study of the text of hadith and its peculiarities, study of the qualifications necessary for a narrator to transmit hadith, knowledge of veracity of transmitters, and 'ilm fiqh al-hadith. 5

However, Hakim Abi 'Abd Allah Muhammad ibn 'Abd Allah Hafiz al-Nishaburi, in his book Ma'rifat 'ulum al-hadith, mentions fifty-two disciplines in the science of hadith. In view of its importance, we mention them here:

Recognition of al-hadith al-'ali: On page 5 of his book, he says that recognition of the hadith 'ali al-'asnad (a tradition all of whose narrators are known and veracious) is a part of 'ilm al-hadith. He mentions further that besides

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