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Ḥadīth - (حديث)
Hadith terminology (Arabic: muṣṭalaḥ al-ḥadīth; مُصْطَلَحُ الحَدِيْث) is the body of terminology which specify the acceptability of the narrations, hadith, attributed to the Islamic Prophet, Muhammad, as well as other early figures of religious significance. Individual terms distinguish between those hadith considered rightfully attributed to their source or detail the faults of those of dubious provenance. Formally, it has been defined by Ahmad ibn 'Ali Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, a renowned hadith specialist, as: "knowledge of the principles by which the condition of the narrator and the narrated are determined." This page comprises the primary terminology used within hadith studies.
The individual terms are numerous, with Ibn al-Salah including sixty-five in his Introduction to the Science of Hadith and then commenting, "This is the end of them, but not the end of what is possible, as this is subject to further particularization to an innumerable extent." Al-Bulqini commented on this by saying, "We have added five more categories, making it seventy." Ibn al-Mulaqqin counted the various types as being "more than eighty" and al-Suyuti included ninety-three in Tadrib al-Rawi. Muḥammad al-Ḥāzimī acknowledged the numerous terms, reaching almost 100 by his own count, saying: "Be aware that the science of hadith consists of numerous types reaching almost 100. Each type is an independent discipline in and of itself and were a student to devote his life to them he would not reach their end."
Ibn al-Salah said, "A hadith, according to its specialists, is divided into ṣaḥīḥ, ḥasan and ḍaʻīf." While the individual terms of hadith terminology are many, many more than these three terms, the final outcome is essentially determining whether a particular hadith is ṣaḥīḥ and, therefore, actionable, or ḍaʻīf and not actionable. This is evidenced by al-Bulqini's commentary on Ibn al-Salah's statement. Al-Bulqini commented that "the terminology of the hadith specialists is more than this, while, at the same time, is only ṣaḥīḥ and its opposite. Perhaps what has been intended by the latter categorization (i.e., into two categories) relates to standards of religious authority, or lack of it, in general, and what will be mentioned afterwards (i.e., the sixty-five categories) is a specification of that generality."
Ṣaḥīḥ, (صَحِيْح), is best translated as authentic. Ibn Hajar defines a hadith that is ṣaḥīḥ lithatihi, ṣaḥīḥ in and of itself, as a singular narration (ahaad – see below) conveyed by a trustworthy, completely competent person, either in his ability to memorize or to preserve what he wrote, with a muttaṣil (connected) isnād (chain of narration) that contains neither a serious concealed flaw (ʻillah) nor irregularity (shādhdh). He then defines a hadith that is ṣaḥīḥ ligharihi, ṣaḥīḥ due to external factors, as a hadith "with something, such as numerous chains of narration, strengthening it."
This definition of Ibn Hajar illustrates that there are five conditions to be met for a particular hadith to be considered ṣaḥīḥ.
A number of books were authored in which the author stipulated the inclusion of only ṣaḥīḥ hadith. According to Ahl al-Sunna, only the first two are considered to have achieved this. They are presented here arranged in descending order according to authenticity:
Ḥasan, (حَسَن), linguistically means good and there exist somewhat convergent technical definitions, however, in general, it expresses the categorization of a hadith's authenticity as acceptable for use as a religious evidence, however, not established to the extent of ṣaḥīḥ.
Ibn Hajar defines a hadith that is ḥasan lithatihi, ḥasan in and of itself, with the same definition a ṣaḥīḥ hadith except that the competence of one of its narrators is less than complete, while a hadith that is ḥasan ligharihi, ḥasan due to external factors, is determined to be ḥasan due to corroborating factors, such as numerous chains of narration. He then states that it is comparable to a ṣaḥīḥ hadith in its religious authority. A ḥasan hadith may rise to the level of being ṣaḥīḥ, in spite of its own minor deficiency, due to the support of having numerous chains of narration; in this case that hadith would be ḥasan lithatihi, ḥasan in and of itself, but when coupled with other supporting chains is ṣaḥīḥ ligharihi, ṣaḥīḥ due to external factors.
A musnad hadith should not be confused with the type of hadith collection similarly termed musnad, which is arranged according to the name of the companion narrating each hadith. For example, a musnad might begin by listing a number of the hadith, complete with their respective sanads, of Abu Bakr, and then listing a number of hadith from Umar, and then Uthman ibn Affan and so on. Individual compilers of this type of collection may vary in their method of arranging those Companions whose hadith they were collecting. An example of this type of book is the Musnad of Ahmad.
Muttaṣil, (مُتَّصِل), refers to a continuous chain of narration in which each narrator has heard that narration from his teacher.
Ḍaʻīf, (ضَعِيْف), is the categorization of a hadith as weak. Ibn Hajar described the cause of a hadith being classified as weak as "either due to discontinuity in the chain of narrators or due to some criticism of a narrator." This discontinuity refers to the omission of a narrator occurring at different positions within the isnād and is referred to using specific terminology accordingly as discussed below.
Discontinuity in the beginning of the isnād, from the end of the collector of that hadith, is referred to as muʻallaq, (مُعَلَّق), literally, 'suspended'. Muʻallaq refers to the omission of one or more narrators. It also refers to the omission of the entire isnād, for example, (an author) saying only: "The Prophet said..." In addition, this includes the omission of the isnād except for the companion, or the companion and successor together.
Mursal, (مُرْسَل), literally means 'hurried'. If the narrator between the Successor and Muhammad is omitted from a given isnād, the hadith is mursal, e.g., when a Successor says, “The Prophet said ...” Since Sunnis believe in the uprightness of all Sahaba, they do not view it as a necessary problem if a Successor does not mention what Sahaba he received the hadith from. This means that if a hadith has an acceptable chain all the way to a Successor, and the successor attributes it to an unspecified companion, the isnād is considered acceptable. However, there are different views in some cases: If the Successor is a young one and it is probable that he omitted an elder Successor who in turn reported form a Sahaba. The opinion held by Imam Malik and all Maliki jurists is that the mursal of a trustworthy person is valid, just like a musnad hadith. This view has been developed to such an extreme that to some of them, the mursal is even better than the musnad, based on the following reasoning: "The one who reports a musnad hadith leaves you with the names of the reporters for further investigation and scrutiny, whereas the one who narrates by way of irsal (the absence of the link between the successor and the Prophet), being a knowledgeable and trustworthy person himself, has already done so and found the hadith to be sound. In fact, he saves you from further research." Others reject the mursal of younger Successor.
A munqaṭiʻ, (مُنْقَطِع), hadith, literally 'broken', is one in which the isnād of people reporting the hadith is disconnected at any point. The isnād of a hadith that appears to be muttaṣil, but one of the reporters is known to have never heard hadith from his immediate authority, even though they lived at the same time, is munqaṭiʻ. It is also applied when someone says "a man told me".
Munkar, (مُنْكَر), literally means 'denounced'. According to Ibn Hajar, if a narration which goes against another authentic hadith is reported by a weak narrator, it is known as munkar. Traditionists as late as Ahmad used to simply label any hadith of a weak reporter as munkar.
Shādhdh, (شاذّ), literally means 'anomalous'. According to al-Shafi'i, a shādhdh hadith is one which is reported by a trustworthy person who contradicts the narration of a person more reliable than he is. It does not include a hadith which is unique in its matn and is not narrated by someone else.
Muḍṭarib, (مُضْطَرِب), literally means 'shaky'. According to Ibn Kathir, if reporters disagree about a particular shaikh, or about some other points in the isnād or the matn, in such a way that none of the opinions can be preferred over the others, and thus there is irreconcilable uncertainty, such a hadith is called muḍṭarib.
An example is the following hadith attributed to Abu Bakr:
The hadith scholar Al-Daraqutni commented: "This is an example of a muḍṭarib hadith. It is reported through Abu Ishaq, but as many as ten different opinions are held regarding this isnād. Some report it as mursal, others as muttasil; some take it as a narration of Abu Bakr, others as one of Sa'd or `A'ishah." Since all these reports are comparable in weight, it is difficult to prefer one above another. Hence, the hadith is termed as muḍṭarib.
A hadith that is mawḍūʻ, (مَوْضُوْع), is one determined to be fabricated and cannot be attributed to its origin. Al-Dhahabi defines mawḍūʻ as a hadith the text of which contradicts established norms of the Prophet's sayings, or its reporters include a liar,
There are several factors which may motivate an individual to fabricate a narration, from them:
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A number of hadith specialists[who?] have collected fabricated hadith separately in order to distinguish them from other hadith. From these books are:
In hadith terminology, a hadith is divided into two categories based, essentially, upon the number of narrators mentioned at each level in a particular isnād. Consideration is given to the least number of narrators at any level of the chain of narration; thus if ten narrators convey a hadith from two others who have conveyed it from ten, it is considered `aziz, not mashhur.
The first category is mutawatir, (مُتَواتِر), or a 'successive' narration. A successive narration is one conveyed by narrators so numerous that it is not conceivable that they have agreed upon an untruth thus being accepted as unquestionable in its veracity. The number of narrators is unspecified. A hadith is said to be mutawatir if it was reported by a significant, though unspecified, number of narrators at each level in the chain of narration, thus reaching the succeeding generation through multiple chains of narration leading back to its source. This provides confirmation that the hadith is authentically attributed to its source at a level above reasonable doubt. This is due to its being beyond historical possibility that narrators could have conspired to forge a narration. In contrast, an ahaad hadith is a narration the chain of which has not reached a number sufficient to qualify as mutawatir.
Hadiths can be mutawatir in both actual text and meaning:
1. Mutawatir in wording: It is a hadith whose words are narrated by such a large number as is required for a mutawatir, in a manner that all the narrators are unanimous in reporting it with the same words without any substantial discrepancy.
2. Mutwatir in meaning: It is a mutawatir hadith, which is not reported by the narrators in the same words. The words of the narrators are different. Sometimes even the reported events are not the same. But all the narrators are unanimous in reporting a basic concept, which is common in all reports. This common concept is also ranked as a mutawatir concept.
The second category, ahaad, (آحاد), or singular narration, refers to any hadith not classified as mutawatir. Linguistically, hadith ahad refers to a hadith narrated by only one narrator. In hadith terminology, it refers to a hadith not fulfilling all of the conditions necessary to be deemed mutawatir.
Hadith ahad consists of three sub-classifications also relating to the number of narrators in the chain or chains of narration.
The first category is mashhur, (مَشْهُوْر), and refers to a hadith conveyed by three or more narrators but is not considered mutawatir.
`Aziz, (عَزِيْز), is any hadith conveyed by two narrators in any given level of a hadith's isnād.
A gharib, (غَرِيْب), hadith is one conveyed by only one narrator. Al-Tirmidhi's understanding of a gharib hadith, concurs to a certain extent with that of the other traditionists. According to him a hadith may be classified as gharib for one of the following three reasons:
There are differing views as to the level of knowledge achieved by each of the two primary categories, mutawatir and ahaad. One view, expressed by Ibn Hajar and others, is that a hadith mutawatir achieves certain knowledge while ahad, unless otherwise corroborated, yields speculative knowledge upon which action is mandated. A second view, held by Dawud al-Thahiri, ibn Hazm and others, and reportedly the position of Malik ibn Anas, is that a hadith ahad achieves certain knowledge as well. Ibn Hazm stated, “The narration conveyed by a single, upright narrator conveying from another of a similar description until reaching the Prophet mandates both knowledge and action.” 
Different terms are used for the origin of a narration. These terms specify whether a narration is attributed to the Prophet, a companion, a successor or a latter historical figure.
Ibn al-Salah said: "Marfo`, (مَرْفُوْع), refers to a narration attributed to the Prophet specifically. This term does not refer to other than him unless otherwise specified. The category of marfu` is inclusive of narrations attributed to the Prophet regardless of their being muttasil, munqati` or mursal among other categories."
According to Ibn al-Salah: "Mawquf, (مَوْقُوْف), refers to a narration attributed to a Companion, whether a statement of that companion, an action or otherwise."
Ibn al-Salah defined maqtu`, (مَقْطُوْع), as a narration attributed to a Tabi‘un (Successor of Prophet's Companion), whether a statement of that successor, an action or otherwise. In spite of the linguistic similarity, it is distinct from munqati`.
As in any Islamic discipline, there is a rich history of literature describing the principles and fine points of hadith studies. Ibn Hajar provides a summation of this development with the following: “Works authored in the terminology of the people of hadith have become plentiful from the Imams both old and contemporary:
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