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The Classification of Hadeeth

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Rijal al-Hadeeth (the study of the reporters of Hadeeth):

Mustalah al-Hadeeth is strongly associated with Rijal al-Hadeeth (the study of the reporters of Hadeeth). In scrutinising the reporters of a Hadeeth, authenticating or disparaging remarks have been made by recognized experts among the Salaf about the reporters of Hadeeth.

Reporters who have been unanimously declared by statements such as the first two may contribute to a saheeh (sound) isnad. An isnad 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 subject to statements such as the middle two will cause the isnad to be da’if, although several of them relating the same Hadeeth independantly will often raise the rank of the Hadeeth to the lever of hasan (good). If the remarks about a perticular reporter conflict, a careful verdict has to be arrived at, after in-depth analysis.

Among the earliest available works in this field are Tarikh of Ibn Ma’in (d. 233), Tabaqat of Khalifa b. Khayyat (d. 240), Tarikh of al-Bukhari (d. 256), Kitab al-Jarh wa ‘I-Ta‘dil of Ibn Abi Hatim (d. 327) and Tabaqat of Muhammad b. Sa’d (d. 320).

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