Rafed English

The Method of Shi'ism in Following the Hadith

A hadith heard directly from the mouth of the Prophet or one of the Imams is accepted as is the Qur'an. As for hadiths received through intermediaries, the majority of Shiites act upon them if their chain of transmission is established at every step or if there exists definite proof concerning their truth, and, if they are concerned with principles of doctrine which require knowledge and certainty, according to the text of the Qur'an. Other than these two kinds of hadith, no other hadith has any validity concerning principles of doctrine, the invalid hadith being called "tradition with a single transmitter" (khabar wahid). 1 However, in establishing the injunctions of the Shari'ah, because of reasons that have been given, Shi ites act also on a tradition which is generally accepted as reliable. Therefore, it can be said that for Shi'ism a certain and definitely established hadith is absolutely binding and must be followed, while a hadith which is not absolutely established but which is generally considered as reliable is utilized only in the elaboration of the injunctions of the Shari' ah.
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1 See the discussion concerning "a single tradition" in works on the science of the principles of jurisprudence (usul).

Adapted from: "Shi'ah" by: "Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i"

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