Glossary of Technical Terms in Al-Faḍlī‟s “Introduction to Hadith”

adā’: „adālah:

„adl: āḥād or khabar al-wāḥid: Akhbārīs: „ālim (pl. „ulamā’): Āmālī: „Āmmah: Aḧḥāb al-ijmā’:

athar (pl. āthār):

ḍa’īf: ḍa’īf al-munjabar: Dirāyat al-Ḥadīth: fāsiq:

fatwā: fiqh: ghālī (pl. ghulāt): Ghalw:

ḥadīth (pl. aḥādīth):


conveyance, denoting a reporter‟s narration of the tradition to another reporter who takes if from him. veracity. See Introduction. veracious – lexically means just, equitable and reliable. In jurisprudence, this designates a person of irreproachable reputation and veracity whose testimony is valid. See Introduction and chapter on the veracity of the reporter for a detailed explanation. equitable. solitary report – refers to any report that is not mutawātir. Shī‟ī traditionists whose legal and ritual understanding was primarily based on the literal traditions of the Imams. a scholar well versed in the knowledge of the Qur‟an, the traditions, and Islamic jurisprudence. dictations. majority, or commoners, referring to the Ahl al-Sunnah. since ijmā’ in Arabic means unanimous agreement or consensus, the phrase means „the agreed-upon companions‟, denoting their unanimously agreed upon reliability. The phrase denotes eighteen reporters from among the companions of the Imams (pbut). report of a companion, though Shī‟ahs do not accept these as ḥadīth, so it is used synonymously with khabar. See chapter on ḥadīth terminology. weak – a tradition that does not fit into the categories of authentic, good or dependable. It is therefore a „weak‟ tradition. the reinforced weak report. critical and contextual study and criticism of traditions. corrupt – antithesis of „ādil, according to some scholars, or synonymous with kāfir (disbeliever) according to others. See chapter on veracity. juridical or legal verdict pronounced by a jurisconsult. science of jurisprudence. extremist sect, see ghalw below. extremism – refers to certain sects‟ exaggeration and overestimation of the vicegerent of Allah, or their extreme neglect in underestimating and degrading him below his decreed status. It also refers to reports that were narrated by Christian converts to pollute ḥadīth literature with messianic thought. tradition or report, specifically the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) and the infallible Imams (pbut), i.e. their sayings, actions and tacit approvals of others‟ actions, or the narrations of these. Throughout the course of this book, I have used the word „ḥadīth’ to refer to the bulk of tradition literature and the general concept, and the word „tradition‟ or „report‟ to refer to individual narrations. Ḥadīth as a concept is interchangeable with „Sunnah’. is a term that recurs throughout the book, usually prefixed or suffixed to someone‟s name. It literally means „memorizer‟ and is used as a title in ḥadīth terminology to describe a scholar who has an excellent memory and has memorized a great number of traditions. 1

ḥalāl: ḥarām: ḥasan:


ijāzab: ijmā’: ijtihād:


„Ilm al-Dirāyah:

„Ilm al-Rijāl: „Ilm Uḧūl al-Fiqh: imāmī: imlā: irsāl: „iḧābah:

isnād or sanad: Isrā’īliyyāt:


jarḥ wa ta’dīl: khabar (pl. akhbār): khabar al-wāḥid: khabar al-wāhid al-mqrūn:

permissible. prohibited. good – a tradition where all the transmitters in its chain are imāmī and veracious, or some of them are imāmī and commendable and the rest are non-imāmī but commendable. declaration – one of the means of receiving traditions, where the teacher would declare and inform the student that this book or this tradition is his report or a result of his hearing a certain report from someone, without actually saying words to the effect of: „narrate on my authority‟ or „I permit you to narrate it‟. permission and authorization to narrate traditions on someone‟s authority. legal consensus of scholars. independent jurisprudential investigation when deducing legal rulings from sharī‟ah sources. Also refers to a scholar‟s personal judgment when investigating matters. literally means knowledge, but in this field refers to the legal knowledge of traditions and jurisprudence. Also refers to the „certitude „ attained about the report‟s origin. the science of critical study of the content of the ḥadīth, i.e. the scince of Islamic legal knowledge, which includes the narrators of a ḥadīth, its text, its chain of transmission, the manner of transmission, etc. This term is often interchargeable with our tile, „Uṣūl al-Ḥadīth‟ (principles of ḥadīth). biographical studies – the science of h reporters in which the circumstances of reporters are analyzed and classified. the science of the principles of jurisprudence. Shī‟a Ithna „Asharī or a follower of the twelve Imams, who adheres to the Ja‟fari school of jurisprudence. dictation of traditions. the act of „forwarding‟ traditions on the authority of the Ma’ḧūm, without mentioning the intermediary source(s) in between. in Shī‟ī sources there are frequent references to the consensus of al„iḧābah, which points to those of the Imam‟s companions who were invested with the authority of giving fatwā. „iḧābah „the body of scholars‟, by practicing the binding authority of ijmā’, determined the course and character of Shī‟ī sectarianism. This word is synonymous with the word ẓā’ifah. chain of transmission. traditions and legends narrated by Jewish converts to Islam, which infiltrated and perverted ḥadīth literature with concepts and ideas that were not originally present therein. These traditions are rife in Sunnī ḥadīth, and have penetrated into their most sacred ḥadīth collections, „the authentic (ḧaḥīḥ) canonical collections‟. comprehensive compilation of traditions encompassing traditions on all matters of religion from juristic matters to contracts and interpretation of the Qur‟an, as well as historical accounts. defamation and authentication of reporters. report. See chapter ḥadīth terminology. linked solitary report. See chapter on solitary reports. unlinked solitary report. See chapter on solitary reports.


kitābah ghayr al-maqrūn:

ma’ḧūm: makrūh: marfū’: marja’ al-taqlīd:


matn: mawḍū’: mu’allaq:


muḥaddith: mujtahid: mukallaf:




Musnad (pl. Masānīd): musnad: mustafīd: mustaḥab:

writing down – one of the means of receiving traditions, whereby the teacher would write down his tradition, either in his own hand or by ordering someone else to write it, then send it to the reporter who has requested it. infallible – referring specifically to the Prophet (pbuh) and the Imams (pbut). undesirable act. „traceable‟ – refers to any tradition that can be traced back to a Ma’ḧūm, regardless of the continuity in its chain of transmission. grand jurisconsult who is the most learned in the field of jurisprudence and extrapolation of legal rulings, and has the legal capacity to pronounce juristic verdicts (fatwa). famous. The word mustafīd implies extensiveness and abundance on all the levels, whereas mashhūr implies general fame and prevalence, not necessarily attained on all the levels. content or text of a tradition. fabricated, invented, forged. suspended – describes a chain of transmission in which the names of some or all of the reporters have been intentionally omitted by the author of a compilation for brevity, and subsequently appended at the back of the book. ambiguous – refers to a chain of transmission in which the name of the Ma’ḧūm is not mentions, but rather a personal pronoun referring to him, such as „he‟. We will refer to this type of chain as „ambiguous‟. Its opposite is muḧarraḥ („explicit‟), where the name of the Ma’ḧūm is mentioned frankly. This is also referred to as maqẓū’ (‟disconnected‟). traditionist; jurist who transmits traditions. a jurisconsult who attempts to deduce legal rulings from the sources according to a certain discipline. legally responsible person, i.e. one who has reached the Islamic legal age of maturity, and thus has become responsible for performing Islamic duties. handing over. This is when the teacher would hand over (give) his book of traditions to his student or to whoever wishes to narrate on his authority. hurried – a tradition whose complete chain of transmission is unknown, i.e. the names of one or more of its narrators are missing or unknown. The word „mursal’ literally means „forwarded on‟ because often the tradition is forwarded on by a Follower, missing out the name of the Companion who narrated it to him. explicit – refers to a chain of transmission in which the Ma’ḧūm is explicitly mentioned by name. This is also referred to as mawḧūl (‟connected‟). refers to works of ḥadīth categorized according to the first narrator in the chain after the Prophet (pbuh) (i.e. a Companion). supported – a tradition supported by a known chain of transmission that goes all the way back to the Prophet (pbuh). extensively narrated. legally recommended act.




naql: naḧḧ: qarīnah (pl. qarā’in): qawī:


qiyās: Rāfiḍah: rāwī (f. rāwiyah, pl. rāwūn): rāwiyyah: Rijāl works: riwāyah: Ḧaḥābī (pl. Ḧaḥābah):

Ḧāḥib(pl. Aḧḥāb): ḧaḥīfah (pl. ḧuḥuf):

Ḧaḥīḥ (pl. Siḥāḥ): ḧaḥīḥ: samā’:

sanad or isnād: shādh: Sunan: ta’wīl: Tābi’ī (pl. Tābi’ūn):

a tradition from the Prophet (pbuh) or an infallible Imam, repeatedly and widely narrated in an uninterrupted sequence, through successive reliable narrators. In the absence of a single English word to express this very specific meaning, this has been left as mutawātir in the text. See Introduction. dependable – a tradition in which some or all of the transmitters in its chain are non-imāmī, but it has been established that they are dependable by our scholars standards. the act of transmission. textually explicit legal statement. external evidence linked to a report, which proves the soundness of its origin. strong. Classification of ḥadīth similar to muwaththaq; it refers to a tradition transmitted by an imāmī who has been neither commended nor criticized in the biographical dictionaries. reading – one of the means of receiving traditions, whereby the student would read out his teacher‟s tradition back to him, for verification. analogical reasoning. dissenters – a term used to describe certain extremist sects because of their desertion of the Imam and rejection of his statements. narrator, reporter. reporter of many traditions. biographical dictionaries of Muslim dignitaries and narrators of traditions. narration or transmission. „Companion‟ refers to the Companions of the Prophet (pbuh). In earlier times the term was restricted to his close friends who had close contact the believers who had seen him, even if only for a brief moment or at an early age. Companion – as a general term used to refer to Companions of Imams, of other people and of the Prophet. literally means journal or manuscript, and here refers to small personal ḥadīth collections of people who lived at the time of the Prophet (pbuh). refers to works of ḥadīth compiled to include only authentic traditions from the Prophet (pbuh). authentic – tradition in which all the transmitters in its chain are imāmī and veracious. This is the highest grade of ḥadīth. hearing – one of the means of receiving traditions, in which the reporter would hear the tradition and subsequently learn it, by heart or from a book. chain of transmission. unusual tradition. work of traditions that is mainly to do with matters of jurisprudence that a Muslim encounters in everyday live. allegorical interpretation of the Qur‟an. „Follower‟ or „Successor‟ – refers to the second generation of Muslims who came after the Companions, who did not know the Prophet (pbuh) but who knew his Companions.



taḥdīth: taqiyyah: taqlīd: tarjīḥ:

tawātur: thiqah: Uḧūl (sing. Asl):

uḧūl al-fiqh:

Uḧūlīs: wājib: waḧiyyah:



reception – refers to the reporter‟s receipt of the tradition from another reporter who related it to him, and the hearer‟s subsequent learning of it, whether by heart or by use of a book or written record. narration of traditions. dissimulation of one‟s faith when faced with a life threatening situation. the legal imitation or following of a mujtahid – a veracious legal authority in matters of jurisprudence. preponderance – a field of study within the science of ḥadīth in which contradictory reports are weighed up and evaluated in terms of their authenticity in order to determine which of them prevails over the rest. recurrent multiple successive transmission, i.e. the path of a mutawātir report. reliable. the Arabic term for books in which Shī‟ī ḥadīth scholars at the time of the Imams recorded the traditions directly received by them. There were four hundred such source collections, termed al-Uḧūl alArba’umi’a, in which uḧūl literally means „principles‟, „fundamentals‟ or „roots‟, to indicate that they are a primary source for scholars to refer to and rely upon. principles of interpreting Islamic law, namely: the Qur‟an, the Sunnah of the Prophet and the Ahl al-Bayt (pbut), reason („aql) and legal consensus. the rational segment of imāmī jurists who favored the incorporation of the semantic-exegetical methodology in jurisprudence. obligatory. will – one of the means of receiving traditions, whereby a reporter would instruct a person, before a journey or his death, to narrate his book of traditions or some other traditions on his authority. finding traditions – one of the means of receiving traditions. This has been defined in ḥadīth terminology as: obtaining knowledge from a manuscript, without having heard it (samā’) without having been given it munāwalah) and without permission to transmit it. valid conjecture or speculation of a jurist about the soundness of a report‟s origin, which does not entail more than a probability.


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