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The standard of acting upon Hadith

Author : Abd al-Karim Bi-Azar Shirazi
Subject : Acting upon Hadith
Translator : Ahmad Rezwani
Editor : Mahdi Baqi

09 Oct 2010
Hadith Sciences 2


This article discusses the characteristics by which hadith may serve as the basis employed by jurisprudents and traditionalists. Following a definition of hadith, sunna, the hadith transmitted by several transmitters (khabar mutawatir), and the hadith with a single transmitter (khabar wahid), the author proceeds to discuss Shi´a hadith transmitters and their employment of the hadiths transmitted bySunni transmitters. Finally, he concludes that the standard for acting upon hadith is not the transmitters’ belief in Shi´a or the Sunni schools, but their veracity.

Key Words

acting upon hadith, Shia transmitters, Sunni transmitters, the Shia viewpoint, the Sunni viewpoint, affinity among religions and denominations


By definition, ḥadīth is the opposite of qadīm (i.e, eternal) meaning anything novel[1], whether it is a deed or a saying; and "Science of Ḥadīth" is a discipline dealing with the saying, deed, or statements (taqrīr) of the Ma‘ṣūm (Infallible) which are also called khabar, Sunna, riwāya (referred to in English as tradition or narration). According to Shaykh Bahā'ī (ra), in view of the Shī‘a it is permissible to apply the term ḥadīth to what is transmitted by a non-ma‘ṣūm, too.[2]

In view of the Sunnis, ḥadīth and Sunna, which mean the same, are ascribed to the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.)'s sayings, quotations, statements, or attributes.

Some have regarded a new meaning concerning ḥadīth, and have taken it as opposite to qadīm. From qadīm, they intend the Book of Allah, and from ḥadīth, what is ascribed to the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.).[3]

And Sunna, in principle and after its literal meaning, is referred to as the holy life style (sīra) of the Prophet (S.A.W.). From this viewpoint, if the ḥadīth is general and includes the Prophet (S.A.W.)'s sayings and deeds, the Sunna is specific to the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.).

Sometimes we obtain the Prophet (S.A.W.)'s assent from the Qur'an, consensus, and intellect; and sometimes we enjoy the assent (statement), or sayings and deeds of the Prophet (S.A.W.) with certitude through transmission and traditions.

We bring up this issue merely to explain the basis of acting on the ḥadīth through transmission and traditions, so as to survey the conditions that ought to exist from the Shī‘a viewpoint in the sayings implying those traditions.

Reasons for Proving a Ḥadīth

Sunna and ḥadīth are proved only through two entities: mutawātir (widely transmitted) tradition and wāḥid (single) tradition. "Mutawātir tradition" is called a tradition that numerically is improbable to be untrue, accidental, or plotted; provided that this tradition has been consistent in all periods, the tawātur (frequency) having been true in the first period when transmitted immediately from the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) as well as in the second period, third period and so forth.

As scholars unanimously maintain, in mutawātir tradition the impartiality of the transmitters is not a precondition, nor is their number confined to a specific limit[4]; rather, it is important to make sure that no plotting is made to spread a lie and that it may naturally impart some knowledge, so as when a moderate person is informed of it he would make sure of the existing of the Sunna and ḥadīth.

"Single tradition" in the terminology of religious scholars is that which has not reached the point of tawātur, whether the transmitter is one person or more; and what is meant by single (wāḥid) is the lack of tawātur, rather than not being numerous. In other words, mutawātir is conditioned by something, i.e., the condition of the tawātur; whereas wāḥid is negatively conditioned, i.e., on the condition of non-tawātur; and khabar (tradition) includes both and is unconditioned, i.e., neither tawātur nor non-tawātur is a condition attached to it. That is why it is said:

The "mustafīḍ" (diffused) and the "mashhūr" (well-known) traditions are each a type of "single tradition".[5]

Shaykh Bahā'ī said in his Al-Wajīza:

"In case the chain of transmission in each category reaches the extent that safeguards the ḥadīth from falsehood, that ḥadīth is mutiwātir and the khabar is collective, which in itself conveys certitude, otherwise the khabar is regarded as āḥād (single), which is only expressive of suspicion. If in each step more than three persons have transmitted the khabar, it is mustafīḍ, and if fewer than three persons have transmitted it, it is called gharīb (uncommon)".[6]

Mashhūr is a ḥadīth that is celebrated and well-known in books, even though its transmitter is a single person.

The Basis of Acting on the Ḥadīth

Any type of khabar or ḥadīth that is ascertained through external or internal evidences is no doubt a reliable proof to be acted on. This reliability is not for famousness, diffusion (istifāḍa), tawātur, or any other reason, but for certainty of its issuance. That is because this certainty is by itself a proof without being authorized by someone.[7]

Thus, it becomes clear that each of the mutawātir and "rather evidenced" khabar is expressive of certitude and all scholars are unanimous to accept and trust it. However, the khabar that has not reached tawātur and we are not sure of its issuance, is in many aspects debatable. The most important of these aspects is disputation on the origin of the issuance of the ḥadīth and the condition of the sanad, by which it can be ascribed to its issuer, i.e., the Prophet or the Imam; since isnād is the foundation of the construction of Sunna and ḥadīth.

In this respect (isnād), Shaykh Bahā'ī divides a ḥadīth into six categories:





ṣaḥīḥ (sound)

A ḥadīth whose chain of transmission is Imāmī and praised by ta‘dīl (moderation)[8].


ḥasan (acceptable)

A ḥadīth, one of whose transmitters is shādhdh (uncommon), and the rest are entirely or partly considered as moderate.


Qawī (definite)

A ḥadīth whose transmitters are neither praised nor blamed.


Muwaththaq (reliable)

A ḥadīth whose transmitters are entirely or partly Imamī, and generally considered as moderate.


ḍa'īf (weak)

A ḥadīth other than the above four instances.


Maqbūl (fair)

A ḥadīth which is other than the above four instances, but acting on its content is popular.[9]

Sunnītransmitters from shī‘a viewpoint

Among the Shī‘a scholars, some have laid down the condition that the transmitter should Imāmī; however, as we noticed in Shaykh Bahā'ī's classification as well as in view of other Shī‘ī scholars, acting on a ḥadīth is based on trust in and certainty of truthfulness of the transmitter, whether he is Imāmī or not.

For instance, it is asserted by ‘Allāma Ḥillī in his Al-Khulāṣa and by Qummī in the first section of his Qawānīn al-'Uṣūl:

"The aḥādīth from reliable non-Shī‘a transmitters are acceptable, since the proving of a ḥadīth is achieved through examining the state of the transmitter in his khabar. When the [reliability of the] transmitter is proved and it becomes evident that he does not lie, the ḥadīth is certainly proved [to be true]."[10]

It is related in Tanqīḥ al-Maqāl:

"It is explicitly reported from the Imam that we should accept the ḥadīth from the person who is our opponent; and wherever he comments on his own, we should reject him. Thus we are required to act on the tradition of such a reliable person who is called a non-Imāmī thaqa in the scholars' terminology."[11]

Shaykh Anṣārī has stated in his Raṣā'il:

Imam al-Ṣādiq (A.S.) has said: "Accept what they transmit, and reject what they comment."

He further said:

"We have received mutawāter traditions [enjoining us] to accept the ḥadīth that is reliable and trustworthy."[12]

Sayyid Muḥammad Taqī Ḥakīm has stated in his book, Al-'Uṣūl al-‘Āmma:

"The Shī‘as regard the traditions of those who are not similar in opinion with them, as authoritative and creditable provided that they prove to be reliable and trustworthy. They call the traditions of such people as muwaththaqāt (the reliable traditions). Such traditions, like other traditions, are authoritative and the Shī‘a books are replete with these aḥādīth."[13]

Imam Khomeini (ra) has taken further steps ahead in this respect and preferred even the reliability of those Sunnī transmitters who do not enjoy any specific authentication, (such as al-Sukūtī and al-Nawfilī who were among the companions of Imam al-Ṣādiq – A. S.), by comparing instances of traditions and assessing views expressed towards them.[14]

Some academic instances of frequent employing of reliable traditions of the Sunnīs by great Shī'ī scholars are such volumes as al-Fayḍ al-Kāshānī's tafsīr "Al-Ṣāfī" and "al-Maḥajjat al-Bayḍā' "; Narāqī's "Jāmi‘ al-Sa‘ādāt"; Al-Shahīd al-Thānī's "Sharḥ al-Lum‘a", "Munyat al-Munīr", and "Musakkin al-Fu'ād"[15]; ‘Allāma Sayyid Ja‘far Murtaḍā 'Āmilī's "al-Sūq fī al-Dawla al-Islāmiya"; Abū al-Futūḥ al-Rāzī's Tafsīr; and the tafsīrs "Majma‘ al-Bayān" and "Manhaj al-Ṣādiqīn".

‘Allāma Muḥammad Ḥusayn Ṭabāṭabā'ī has said [the following] concerning the ḥadīth of the companions:

"As for the ḥadīth that is related from the companions (ṣaḥāba), if it implies the words or deeds of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) and does not contradict the ḥadīth of the Ahl al-Bayt, it will be acceptable; but if it implies the viewpoints of the companion himself, it does not have any authority and the decision of a companion is the same as the decision of any [ordinary] Muslim, since the companions themselves would treat a companion like they treated a Muslim person.[16]

Shī'ī transmitters from Sunnī viewpoint

Some of the dogmatic Sunnīs have made it a condition that the transmitter must not have even scented Shī'ism.[17] However, most of the true Sunnī scholars enjoy the same opinion towards the Shī‘ī transmitters as the great Shī‘ī scholars have towards the Sunnī transmitters. For instance, Fakhr al-Rāzī said:

"Is the transmission of a Muslim who has a contrary opinion, like those who personify Allah or others whom we have excommunicated, acceptable or not? The truth is that if his sect allows lying, his tradition is not acceptable; but if his school does not allow lying, we accept his tradition and this is what Abū al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī has stated."[18]

Ṭūfī al-Ḥanbalī says:

"If a muḥaddith (traditionist) is a discerning critic in his expertise, he can transmit ḥadīth from the host of the innovators who commit iniquity with their innovation, such as ‘Abbād b. ‘Uthmān who was a zealot in his Shī'ism, and Ḥurayz b. ‘Uthmān who had the nickname "‘Alī" - raḍī Allahu ‘anh."[19]

The Uṣūlīs, as well as Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal and Shāfi'ī, maintain in this respect that the praising and blaming [criticizing] of the transmitter is acceptable in case the reason is not stated; and praising is not conditional on stating the reason according to the principle of continuance (istiṣḥāb) of justice, and that is because the state of a Muslim is assumed to maintain Islamic justice.[20]

The school of Abū Ḥanīfa holds that a Muslim of unknown identity is considered to be just and his transmission with respect to justice is acceptable. He [Abū Ḥanīfa] has adduced to the fact that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) accepted as true the words of a nomad Arab testifying to the sighting of the lunar crescent, whereas he did not know anything of him except his being a Muslim:

‘Akrama related from Ibn ‘Abbās that a nomad Arab came near the Prophet (S.A.W.) and said: "I sighted the crescent [the lunar month] of Ramadan. The Prophet asked, "Do you bear witness to the Oneness of Allah?" That man replied, "Yes."

Abū Dāwūd and others have also related this ḥadīth; and the same has been related by way of mursal from ‘Akrama who said, "Then he [the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.)] ordered Bilāl to declare to the people to start fasting and wake up at nights. And it is related in Nasā'ī's ḥadīth that he said, "O Bilāl! Call to people to [begin to] fast tomorrow."[21]

As for jarḥ (disparaging), it is conditional on expressing its cause; and among those who believe in this point are Shāfi‘ī and Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal. The latter, in one of the two sayings related from him, regards people's disagreement in the cause of jarḥ, with some believing in what is not qualified to be its cause, as the reason for the necessity of stating the cause of jarḥ and says: "Thus, it befits to state the cause for jarḥ in order to safeguard prevention of error and exaggeration."

For instance, Ṭūfī goes on to quote Ibn Ḥanbal as saying:

"I saw someone from among the Sunnīs who was beating on the back of his hand, pointing to a man, and saying: 'He is but a heretic. I wish I could do such and such to him.' I asked him, 'What did you see of him?' He replied, 'I saw him reciting the bism Allah (in the name of Allah) out loud in his prayer."[22]

Furthermore, in all the six schools, i.e., Imāmī Shī‘a, Zaydī Shī‘a, Mālikī, Ḥanafī, Shāfi‘ī, and Ḥanbalī, no one deems it permissible to ascribe a lie to the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.), all relating the tradition from the Prophet (S.A.W.) who said, "Anyone who ascribes a lie to me, will be stationed in the fire [of the Hell]." This is more strict in the Shī‘a school, where all the jurists regard ascribing lies to the Prophet and the Imams (A.S.) as invalidating one's fasting (ṣawm) and requiring it to be compensated and expiated."[23]

Al-Ghazālī relates from al-Shāfi‘ī in his Al-Mustaṣfā:

"Attestation of the fanciful (ahl al-hawā) would be accepted, except for the Khaṭābiya (heretical sect) of Rāfiḍī[24], for they allow perjury in favor of a person who confirms their school."

Ḥaḍramī has put it in his "Uṣūl al-Fiqh" as follows:

"Most of the Sunnī scholars contend that the transmission of those whose innovation is not tantamount to infidelity is acceptable; and this is compatible with reason as long as they are not habituated to lying. And I do not suppose that any of the Muslim offshoots have such a persuasion; although Khaṭābiya is attributed to have the conviction to allow perjury in favor of their followers and those who consent to them."[25]

The late Shaykh Muḥammad Muḥammad Madanī, the prior chairman of Faculty of Sharī‘a, Alazhar University, (one of whose letters translated and added as an appendix in the end of the present article) has stated:

"The difference of Islamic schools' with each other does not include difference in principles (uṣūl) which make up the border between Muslims and non-Muslims and denying one of them leads to apostasy. Therefore, the blaming (tajrīḥ) which originates from merely being a follower of any of the religious schools is better to be overlooked. And as the Shī‘a transmitters do not blame the transmitters of other Islamic schools for their difference of school, so also it is not permissible for the Sunnīs to blame the Imāmī or the Zaydī transmitters just because they are not of the same school with them; rather, the touchstone for acting on a ḥadīth ought to be the transmitter's being a liar or not."[26]

Another point which is of utmost importance both to the Shī‘as and Sunnīs is that the great Shī‘a and Sunnī scholars and traditionists have made falsehood and truthfulness as a basis for acting on a ḥadīth and even the great Shī‘a and Sunnī scholars have practically accepted most of the traditions accredited by the Sunnīs and have related them in their books; and in return, more than a hundred narrators from among the transmitters of the ṣaḥīḥ books of the Sunnīs have been Shī‘as. The late Ayatollah Sayyid ‘Abd al-Ḥusayn Sharaf al-Dīn has, in his Al-Murāji‘āt, extracted the names and specifications of these one hundred Shī‘a transmitters and published alphabetically under the title, "Mi‘ata min Asnād al-Shi‘a fī Isnād al-Sunna".[27] It suffices here only to mention their names as follows:

1. Abān b. Taghlab, 2. Ibrāhīm b. Yazīd, 3. Aḥmad b. Mufaḍḍal, 4. Ismā‘īl b. Abān, 5. Ismā‘īl b. Khalīfa, 6. Ismā‘īl b. Zakariyyā, 7. Ismā‘īl b. ‘Abbād, 8. Ismā‘īl b. ‘Abd al-Raḥmān, 9. Ismā‘īl b. Mūsā, 10. Talīd b. Sulaymān, 11. Thābit b. Dīnār (Abī Ḥamza al-Thumālī), 12. Thuwayr b. Abī Fākhita (Abū al-Jahm al-Kūfī), 13. Jābir b. Yazīd b. al-Ḥārith b. al-Kūfī, 14. Jarīr b. ‘Abd al-Ḥamīd, 15. Ja‘far b. Ziyād, 16. Ja‘far b. Sulayman, 17. Jamī‘ b. ‘Umayra, 18. Al-Ḥārith b. Ḥaṣīra, 19. Al-Ḥārith b. ‘Abd Allāh, 20. Ḥabīb Allāh b. Abī Thābit, 21. Ḥasan b. Ḥayy, 22. al-Ḥakam b. ‘Utayba, 23. Ḥimād b. ‘Īsā al-Jahnī, 24. Ḥamrān b. A‘yan, 25. Khālid b. Mukhallad, 26. Dāwūd b. Abī ‘Awf, 27. Zubayd b. al-Ḥārith, 28. Zayd b. al-Ḥabbāb, 29. Sālim b. Abī Ḥafṣa, 31. Sa‘d b. Ṭarīf, 32. Sa‘īd b. Ashwa‘, 33. Sa‘īd b. khaytham, 34. Salma b. al-Faḍl, 35. Salma b. Kahīl, 36. Sulaymān b. Ṣard Khuzā’ī, 37. Sulaymān b. Ṭarkhān, 38. Sulaymān b. Qarm, 39. Sulaymān b. Mihrān, 40. Sharīk b. ‘Abd Allāh, 41. Shu‘ba b. al-Ḥajjāj, 42. Ṣa‘ṣa‘a b. Ṣūḥān, 43. Ṭāwūs b. Kaythān, 44. Ẓālim b. ‘Amr, 45. ‘Āmir b. Wā'ila, 46. ‘Abbād b. Ya‘qūb, 47. ‘Abd Allāh b. Dāwūd, 48. ‘Abd Allāh b. Shaddād, 49, ‘Abd Allāh b. ‘Umar, 50, ‘Abd Allāh b. Lahī'a, 51. ‘Abd Allāh b. Maymūn, 52. ‘Abd al-Raḥmān b. Ṣāliḥ b. al-Azdī, 53. .Abd al-Razzāq Hammām, 54. ‘Abd al-Malak b. A‘yun, 55. ‘Ubayd Allāh b. Mūsā, 56. ‘Uthmān b. ‘Umyar, 57. ‘Uday b. Thābit, 58. ‘Aṭiya b. Sa‘d, 59. Al-Alā’ b. Ṣāliḥ, 60. ‘Ulqa b. Qayth, 61. ‘Alī b. Baīma, 62. ‘Alī b. Qādim, 63. ‘Alī b. Zayd, 64. ‘Alī b. Ṣāliḥ, 65. ‘Alī b. Ghurāb, 66. ‘Alī b. Qādim, 67. ‘Alī b. undhar, 68. ‘Alī b. Hāshim, 69. ‘Amār b. Zarīq, 70. ‘Ammār b. Mu‘āwiya, 71. ‘Amr b. ‘Abd Allāh, 72. ‘Awf b. Abī Jamīla, 73. Faḍl b. Dakkīn, 74. Fuḍayl b. Marzūq, 75. Faṭr b. Khalīfa, 76. Mālik b. Ismā‘īl, 77. Muḥammad b. Khāzim, 78. Muḥammad b. ‘Abd Allāh, 79. Muḥammad b. ‘Ubayd Allāh, 80. Muḥammad b. Fuḍayl, 81. Muḥammad b. Muslim, 82. Muḥammad b. Mūsā, 83. Mu‘āwiya b. ‘Ammār, 84. Ma‘rūf b. Kharrabūdh, 85. Manṣūr b. Mu‘tamir, 86. Minhāl b. ‘Amr, 87. Mūsā b. Qays, 88. Nafī‘ b. Ḥārith, 89. Nūḥ b. Qays, 90. Hārūn b. Sa‘d, 91. Hāshim b. Barīd, 92. Hubayra b. Barīm, 93. Hishām b. Ziyād, 94. Hishām b. ‘Ammār, 95. Hashīm b. Bashīr, 96. Wakī‘ b. al-Jarrāḥ, 97. Yaḥyā b. al-Jazzār, 98. Yaḥyā b. Sa‘īd, 99. Yzīd b. Abī Ziyād, 100. Abū ‘Abd Allāh al-Jadalī.[28]

For instance, Dhahabī has stated about Abān b. Taghlab in his Al-Mīzān as follows:

"Abān b. Taghlab – confirmed by Muslim and the Sunan-i Arba‘a – is Kūfan and a staunch Shī‘a, but he is truthful; may his truthfulness be ours and his bid‘a (heresy) for himself. Abān has been authenticated by Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal, Ibn Mu‘ban, and Abū Ḥātam, etc. Muslim has reasoned through the traditions narrated by him; and the scholars of the four traditions (sunan al-arba‘a) – Abū Dāwūd, Tarmadhī, Nasā’ī, and Ibn Mājja have considered him as reliable and named their secret codes after him. In the ṣaḥīḥ of Muslim and sunan al-arba‘a, Abān's traditons have been narrated from Ḥakam, A‘mash, and Fuḍayl b. ‘Amr."[29]

Another example is Thābit b. Dīnār, known as Abī Hamza al-Thumālī, whom Dhahabī has regarded a Shī‘a in his Mīzān and called him by the secret code of Tarmadhī; that is, Abī Ḥamza is among those from whom Tarmadhī has narrated traditions.[30]

Employment of Sunnī transmitters by shī‘a dignitaries

Shaykh al-Ṭūsī has narrated in his ‘Udda al-Uṣūl the following tradition from Imam al-Ṣādiq:

"Whenever a new problem arises for you whose precept you could not find in what has been narrated from us, look at what they [the Sunnīs] have related from Ali (A.S.) and act accordingly."[31]

Having related this tradition, Shaykh al-Ṭūsī goes on to write:

"For what we said, the Imāmī community has acted on what Ḥafṣ b. Ghiyāth, Ghiyāth b. Kalūb, Nūḥ b. Darrāj, Sakūnī and others from among the Sunnīs have narrated form our Imams (A.S.) and has not denied them."[32]

Similarly, if we refer to the books of "ijāzāt" (licenses; written authorizations) and the entire licenses, whether old or new, for transmission of ḥadīth by Shī‘a and Sunnī scholars and masters, we will see that the dignitaries among both Shī‘a and Sunnī scholars would have given each other licenses for transmission of ḥadīth. As, for instance, in the latter volumes of Biḥār al-Anwār, under the title of Al-Ijāzāt, there are examples of licenses given by Sunnī masters to some of the Shī‘a scholars for transmission of ḥadīth from the Ṣaḥīḥs of the Sunnīs.

Even at the present era, if we look at the late Ayatollah al-Uẓmā Mar‘ashī al-Najafī's licenses, we will notice that thirty of his licenses are from great Sunnīs figures or the former masters of Al-Azhar University formally authorizing him to transmit ḥadīth from the Ṣaḥīḥs of the Sunnīs. Likewise, many of the aforementioned scholars and masters have been authorized by him, in return, to transmit traditions from Shī‘a ḥadith books.[33]

In the same way, Shaykh al-Ṭūsī would teach Islamic jurisprudence in a collective [comparative] style, so that the Shāfi‘ī jurists would also attend his lectures; or, Shaykh Zain al-Dīn, known as Shahīd al-Thānī, whose Sharḥ-i Lum‘a is among major text in Shī‘a religious schools, has studied with both Shī‘a and Sunnī masters and has been selected as one of the greatest teachers of Nūriya School in Ba‘lbak where he taught the fiqh of the five Ja‘farī schools, as well as that of Ḥanafī, Shāfi‘ī, Mālikī, and Ḥanbalī.[34]

general conclusion

Contrary to what some may think, the basis of acting on a ḥadīth is not dependent on its transmitter being a Shī‘a or Sunni; rather, according to the dignitaries and the great Shī‘a and Sunnī traditionists, it is based on the transmitter being rightful. Thus, we see in Shī‘a books many aḥādīth related from the Sunnīs. Similarly, we find over a hundred Shī‘a transmitters quoted from the books belonging to the Sunnīs and their six reliable tradition collections (Ṣaḥāḥ-i Sitta). Therefore, the scholarly legist (mujtahid) should take into consideration all the Shī‘a and Sunnī ḥadīth books; as Imam Khomeini (ra), in his discussion on ijtahād and taqlīd (i.e., legal reasoning and imitation from a legal authority) has considered inquiring into the Sunnīs' fatāwā and traditions as one of the requirements of ijtahād (legal reasoning), and said this would greatly help a mujtahid understand religious rulings.[35]

As for the Sunnīs, the Egypt's General Commission of the Qur'an and Ḥadīth took steps in compiling reliable Shī‘a aḥādīth in order to gather in one place the aḥādīth related from the Ahl al-Bayt and the ones agreed upon by both Shī‘as and Sunnīs. On November 7, 1965, the commission convoked "Dār al-Taqrīb" (House Reconciliation between the Islamic Sects) to take the necessary measures to carry out this project.[36]

Fortunately, this task has been started in Iran and so far traditions agreed upon by both shī‘as and Sunnīs have been compiled and published in several sections.[37]


United Arab Republic No. 922

High Council of Islamic Affairs

General Commission of the Qur'an and Ḥadīth

In the Name of Allah the Compassionate the Merciful

Your Highness, Allama Muḥammad Taqī Qumī

You are kindly informed that the High Council of Islamic Affairs has decided, upon issuance and publication of seven parts of the book Al-Jāmi‘u li Aḥādīthi Rasūl Allāh Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi wa Ālihī wa Sallam on various topics, to compile the noble aḥādīth related through the guiding Imams and the household of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) the attribution of which to the Prophet (S.A.W.) is right, as well as the traditions reliable and trusted by the shī'a brothers and related through the Sunnīs.

Since your highness are among the leaders and the legal authorities of the sciences of Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) and one of the eminent scholars of our Shī‘a brothers, and since you are making sincere endeavors in implementing this task, and given the dialog and agreement between your highness and the late Shaykh Maḥmūd Shaltūt, the great master and former chairman of Alazhar University concerning this significant Islamic endeavor, we have decided to invite your Excellency to Cairo to make your contribution to preparing, implementing, and facilitating that [project].

We are quite assured that despite your being highly engaged in many tasks in Iran, you would accept our invitation and, with Allah's assistance, come to Cairo at your earliest convenience.

And Allah Grants Prosperity

Wassalāmu Alaykum wa Raḥmat Allah wa Barakātuh

The Chairman of General Commission of the Qur'an and Ḥadīth in High Council of Islamic Affairs,

Muḥammad Muḥammad Madanī

[1] Ibn Manẓūr, Lisān al-‘Arab, I, 582.

[2] Bahā al-Dīn al-‘Āmilī, Al-Wajīza, 1.

[3] Cf. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Ḥajar, Sharḥ al-Bukhārī; Al-Siyūṭī, Tadrīb al-Rāwī fī Sharḥ"taqrīb" al-Nadāwī, published in Egypt, 1307/1886; Al-Doctor Ṣubḥī Ṣāliḥ, ‘Ulūm al-Ḥadīth wa Muṣṭalaḥahū, 5.

[4] This is the view of the Shī‘a scholars and the majority of the Sunnis; however, some Sunni scholars have considered a specific number as creditable, as it is related from Qāḍī Abū Bakr the number should not be lower than five; it is related from Istakhrī that it should not be lower than ten; some say at least twelve (equal to the number of Banī Isrā'īl's chieftains [nuqabā]); others say at least twenty, still others believe it should be forty; some say seventy, and another group have mentioned the least tawḥtur as about 300 (as the number of those attended in the battle of Badr).

From the viewpoint of the Shahīd Thānī in his Al-Bidāya, all these sayings are false (quoted from Ḍiyā al-Dīn al-‘Allāma, Ḍiyā al-Dirāya, 18 and 19, Ḥikmat Publication, nd.; similarly, according to Ibn Ḥajar in Sharḥ al-Nukhba, determining a number for tawātur is quite meaningless. (Quoted from ‘Ulūm al-Ḥadīth wa Muṣṭalaḥahū by Ṣubḥī Ṣāliḥ, 147,148.)

[5] Quoted from the article "Al-‘Amal bi al-Ḥadīth wa Shurūṭahū ‘ind al-Imāmiya", by Shaykh Muḥammad Jawād Mughniya, in the Essay Collection, compiled by ‘Abd al-Karīm Bī Āzār Shīrāzī, 326, Al-A‘lamī Publication, Beirut.

[6] Shaykh Bahā'ī, Al-Wajīza, 2.

[7] The scholars have stated the ḥadīth, "Verily, actions are judged by intention and every man is what he intends", as an example for this issue

[8] I.e., by a just person through attributes such as thaqa (reliable), ḥujja (authoritative), ‘ayn (trustworthy).

[9] Shaykh Bah'ī, Al-Wajīza, 3.

[10] Qummī, Qawānīn al-'Uṣūl, I, 206.

[11] Al-Shaykh ‘Abd Allāh al-Māmqānī, Tanqīḥ al-Maqāl, I, 206.

[12] Shaykh al-Anṣārī, Al-Rasā'il, the chapter on "al-Khabar al-Wāḥid".

[13] Sayyid Muḥammad Taqī Ḥakīm, Al-'Uṣūl al-‘Āmma, 219, 1st edition.

[14] Imam Khomeini (ra), Kitāb al-Ṭahāra, II, 16, Qum.

[15] Shaykh Zayin al-Dīn, known as Shahīd al-Thānī (b. 911/1505) had studied with both Sunnī and Shī'ī masters and taught the jurisprudence of the five religious schools for five years to the Shī‘ī and Sunnī students at Nūriya madrasa of Ba‘lbak. (Cf., the preface to Musakkin al-Fu'ād of Al-Shahīd al-Thānī, a research by Āl al-Bayt institude, 9-10, 1407/1987.)

[16] Ustād ‘Allāma Sayyid Muḥammad Ḥusayn Ṭabāṭabā'ī, Shī‘a Dar Islām, 46, Qum, 1389/1969.

[17] Cf., Fawātiḥ al-Raḥamūt, published along with Al-Mustaṣfā, II, 1407.

[18] Cf., the article by the late Shaykh Muḥammad Muḥammad Madanī, the ex-chairman of the Faculty of Sharī‘a, Al-Azhar University, in the Dār al-Taqrīb's collection of essays, "Al-Waḥdat al-Islāmiya", 362, compiled by the author.

[19] Ibid., quoted from Al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qādir Aḥmad b. Muṣṭafā Badrān, Nuzha al-Khāṭir, I, 281 ff.

[20] Ibid., 364.

[21] Ibid., 295.

[22] Ibid., 365.

[23] Cf., Ayatollah Sayyid ‘Abd al-Ḥusayn Sharaf al-Dīn, Al-Murāji‘āt, 75, 76, fifth edition.

[24] The sect attributed to Abī al-Khaṭṭāb Muḥammad b. Maqlāṣ who was contemporary to Imam Al-Ṣādiq and was disavowed and cursed by him. It is also related in the aḥādīth of the Ahl al-bayt that the al-Khaṭṭāba [people belonging to Khaṭābiya] would perjure in favor of each other. (Cf., Ḥāj ‘Abbās al-Qummī, Safīnat al-Biḥār, I, 401.)

[25] Quoted from Shaykh Muḥammad Mughniya in Al-Shī‘a wa al-Tashayyu‘ and the article Al-‘Amal bi al-Ḥadīth wa Shurūṭahū in the Dār al-Taqrīb's collection of articles Al-Waḥdat al-Islāmiya 330, compiled by the present author.

[26] Cf., the article Asbāb al-Ikhtilāf bayn al-A‘imma al-Islam, written by Shaykh Muḥammad Muḥammad Madanī, part two, published in the journal Risāla al-Islām and in the the Dār al-Taqrīb's collection of articles Al-Waḥdat al-Islāmiya, 365, compiled by the present author; see also the appendix to this article.

[27] Cf., Al-Murāji‘āt, 77-144, fifth edition.

[28] See details about these one hundred Shī‘a transmitters in Al-Murāji‘āt, 73-140.

[29] Al-Murāji‘ā, 77.

[30] Al-Murāji‘ā, 82.

[31] Shaykh al-Ṭūsī,‘Udda al-Uṣūl, I, 379; Kajūrī, Al-Fawā‘id al-Rijāliya, 72; Fayḍ al-Kāshānī, tafsīr "al-Ṣāfī", introduction.

[32] Shaykh al-Ṭūsī,‘Udda al-Uṣūl, I, 380.

[33] Cf., Ayatollah al-Uẓmā Mar‘ashī al-Najafī, Al-Ijāza al-Kabīra, 249-296, Qum, 1414/1993.

[34] The introduction to Maskan al-Fu’ād ‘ind faqd al-aḥabba wa al-Awlād, by Shaykh Zain al-Dīn al-Shahīd al-Thānī (911-965/1505-1558), researched and published by "Institute of Āl al-Bayt", Qum, 1407/1987.

[35] Imam Khomeini, Al-Rasā'il, II, 99.

[36] Cf., Hambastigī Madhāhib Islāmī (The Solidarity of Islamic Schools), 327-328, by the author.

[37] Cf., various issues of Al-Tawhid, A Quarterly Journal Published by Islamic Propation Organazation, Tehran.

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