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Hadith Studies The Classification of Hadeeth
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Classification according to the manner in which the Hadeeth has been reported
such as by using the words: haddathana (he narrated to us), akhbarana (he informed us) or sami’tu (I heard) and ‘an (on the authority of), In this catagory fall the discussion about mudallas (concealed) and Musalsal (uniformly-linked) Hadeeth.
The first three ways of reporting, i.e. indicate that the reporter personally heard from his teacher, whereas the mode can denote either hearing in person or through another reporter.
1- Mudallas Hadeeth and Tadlis
A Mudallas (Concealed) Hadeeth is one, which is weak due to the uncertainty caused by Tadlis. Tadlis (concealing) refers to an isnad where a reporter has concealed the identity of his teacher. Ibn al-Salah describes two types of Tadlis:
a) Tadlis al-Isnad :
A person reports from a teacher (whom he met) but reported that which he did not hear from him, or a person reports from a contemporary of his whom he did not meet, in such a way as to create the impression that he heard the Hadeeth in person. A Mudallis (one who practices Tadlis) here usually uses the mode An (on the authority of) or (he said) to conceal the truth about the Sanad.
b) Tadlis al-Shuyukh.
The reporter does not mention his teacher by name, but uses a less well-known name, by-name, nick-name, etc., in order not to disclose his teacher’s identity. al-Iraqi, p.96
c) Tadlis al-Taswiyyah
Al-Iraqi (d.806) in his notes on Muqaddimad Ibn al-Salah, adds a this type of Tadlis. To explain it let us assume a Sanad which contains a trustworthy reporter reporting from a weak authority, who in turn reports from another trustworthy authority. Now the reporter of this Sanad omits the intermediate weak authority, leaving it apparently consisting of reliable authorities. He plainly shows that he heard from the trustworthy authority but uses the mode, “on the authority of”, to link his immidiate chain to the trustworthy one. To an average student, this Sand seems free of any doubt or discrepancy. This is known to have been practiced by Baqiyyah b. al-Walid, Walid b. Muslim, al-A’mash and al-Thauri.
Reliable Authority Reliable Authority
Ibn Hajar classifies those who practised Tadlis into five groups in his essay Tabaqat al-Mudallisin:
Tadlis especially of those in the last three categories, is so disliked that Shu’bah (d.170) said, “Tadlis is the brother of lying” and “To commit adultery is more favourable to me than to report by way of Tadlis.” [al-Iraqi, p.98].
- Those who are known to do it occationally, such as Yahya b. Sa’id al-Ansari
- Those who are accepted by the Muhaddithoon, either because of their good reputation and reletively few cases of Tadlis, eg. Sufyan ath-Thauri (d.161) or because they reported from authentic authorities only, eg. Sufyan Ibn Uyainah (d.198).
- Those who practised it a hgreat deal, and the Muhaddithoon have accepted such Hadeeth from them which were reported with a clear mention of hearing directly. Among these are Abul’ Zubair al-Makki, whose Hadeeth narrated from the Companion Jabir b. Abdullah have been collected in Saheeh al-Muslim. Opinions differ as to whether they are acceptable or not.
- Similar to the previous category, but the Muhaddithoon agree that their Hadeeth are to be rejected unless they clearly admit of their hearing, such as by saying, “I heard”; an example of this category is Baqiyyah b. al-Walid.
- Those who are disparaged due to other reasons apart from Tadlis, their Hadeeth are rejected, even thoughthey claim of hearing them directly. Exempted from them are reporters such as Ibn Lahi’ah, the famous Egyptian Judge, whose weakness is found to be of a lesser degree. Ibn Hajar gives the names of 152 such reporters Ibn Hajar, Tabaqat al-Mudallisin (Cairo - 1322), p.7f.
A Musalsal (uniformly -linked) Sanad is one in which all the reporters, as well as the Messenger of Allaah use the same mode of transmission such as ‘an, haddathana, etc., repeat any other additional statement or remark, or act in a particular manner while narrating the Hadeeth.
Al-Haakim gives eight examples of such Sanads, each having a different chracteristic repeated feature:
- use of the phrase sami’tu (I heard)
- the expression “stand and pour water for me so that I may illustrate the way my teacher performed ablution
- haddathanna (he narrated to us
- amarani (fe commanded me)
- holding one’s beard
- illustrating by counting on five fingers
- the expression, “I testify that ....”
- inerlocking of fingers.al-Haakim, p.30-34Knowledge of Musalsal helps in discounting the possibility of Tadlis
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