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
- Knowledge of i'tibar ("consideration"),
mutaba'ah ("follow-up") and shawahid
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
- Afrad (singular narrations).
- The type of character required in an
- The way a hadith is heard, and the different
ways of acquiring ahadith.
- How a hadith is written, and punctuation
- 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
- Knowledge of contradictory ahadith.
- Knowledge of additions made to an isnad
(i.e. by an inserting the name of an additional
- Knowledge of a well-concealed type of
- Knowledge of the Companions.
- Knowledge of the Successors.
- Knowledge of elders reporting from younger
- Knowledge of reporters similar in age
reporting from each other.
- Knowledge of brothers and sisters among
- Knowledge of fathers reporting from their
- Knowledge of sons reporting from their
- 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
- 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
- Knowledge of names and by-names (kunyah).
- Knowledge of by-names for reporters known
by their names only.
- Knowledge of nicknames (alqab) of the
- 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.
- 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
- Knowledge of ambiguous reporters by finding
out their names.
- Knowledge of the dates of birth and death
- Knowledge of trustworthy and weak
- Knowledge of trustworthy reporters who
became confused in their old age.
- Knowledge of contemporaries in a certain
- Knowledge of free slaves (mawali) amongst the
- Knowledge of the homelands and home towns of
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