Comparison of sunni & shia hadith science

Sunni Conditions
According to Ibn Hajar Asqalanee in his treatise called Nakhbat Al-Fikr. Here are the conditions of a Sahih hadeeth.
1 عدل
2 تام الضبط
3 متصل
4 معلل
5 و لا شاذ

  • ‘Adl – Good character of all its narrators, needs to be tawtheeq (reliability) of the narrators
  • Taam Al-DabT – Good memory and precision on the part of narrators with regard to what they are narrating.
  • MutaSil – Continuous isnaad from beginning to end, meaning that each narrator heard the hadeeth from the one before him.
  • Mu’allal – The hadeeth is free from any oddness in its isnaad or text. What this means is whatever is narrated doesn’t contradict a more Sahih narration.
  • wa laa shaadh – The hadeeth is free from faults in its isnaad and text.

There are couple of things Sunni’s do VERY well as comparatively to Shia’s:

1.) They focus on the DabT (accuracy & precision of memory) of the narrator. This is very important because what about the narrators of a long du’aa (eg: shia version of hadith-e-kisa) that is pages long or the narrators a hadeeth that is pages long? Shouldn’t we know about their memory and if it was excellent? Of course!

The memory of the people back in the day was MUCH greater back then than it is now no doubt, but people still were known to have relatively bad memories when compared to other people around them. Shia Imaams  said a statement usually once, and did a du’aa usually once, so that person who heard it first had to have a great memory, as well as everyone throughout the chain had to have a great memory in order to uphold the narration exactly.

Also, what about if a narrator in the beginning of his life had a great memory, but as he got older his memory weakened heavily (which is normal). How would we know whether the hadeeth he narrated that is pages long was narrated when he had a good memory or during the time in his life when his memory was bad? According to Sunnis, if you cannot distinguish, you must grade the hadeeth as Da’eef.

2.) Another thing they focus on is itisaal of the sanad, which is whether the narrators actually heard the hadeeth from the person they’ve claimed they heard the hadeeth from (linking of the chain of narrators). This is a HEAVY weak point within the Shee’ah grading system. We automatically think if two people lived “around” the same time that they’ve narrated from each other. Or if person A narrated from the 7th Imaam, and the person B narrated from the 7th Imaam, that person A and person B narrated from each other. Which is wrong!

One thing we must remember is that there were NO telephones, internet,  every hadeeth had to be narrated by the person meeting them face-to-face. And a lot of times Imaams  have moved around from city to city. So maybe one narrator lived in Kufa and is a Koofee and another narrator lived in BaSra and is a BaSree, how would we know that these guys met a one location and narrated this hadeeth to each other? Don’t you know people who were born and raised and lived all their lives in that one city? Yes, and that was the case back then as well.

–> For example: When Imaam RiDaa  moved all the way to the other side Iraan, do you think all of this companions moved with him? No. So in order for 2 companions of Imaam RiDaa  to narrate from each other they had to be together in one area at that certain time. Just because both were companions of Imaam RiDaa  doesn’t mean they were both companions of him at the specific time, and place where he was living, and that both people narrated from each other as well. Sometimes you don’t know all the companions of an Imaam.

Scenario #1:
Do you know all the companions of your local ‘aalim at your masjid? No way, you probably don’t even know all the companions of your local ‘aalim that live in your area, let alone if the ‘aalim has come from a different part of the country, city, or state. You wouldn’t know his companions of his previous location.

Scenario #2:
If I am telling you something and saying that person “A” told me, but If I never met person “A” at all. You could say, “Man, you have NEVER met person A, how can you tell me what he has said?”. Same thing when it comes to the world of hadeeth.

I know for some people they said this is a little too technical, but this is a MUST when it comes to grading hadeeth.

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Filed under Hadith science

One response to “Comparison of sunni & shia hadith science

  1. Pingback: Can hadith abrogate Quran? « EXPOSING & ANSWERING SHIITES

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