Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence by MH kamali

A continuous hadith is one which has a complete chain

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Unformatted text preview: chain of transmitters is broken and incomplete. The majority of ulema have divided the continuous Hadith into the two main varieties of Mutawatir and Ahad. To this the Hanafis have added an intermediate category, namely the 'well-known', or Mashhur. I. The Continuous Hadith 1. The Mutawatir Literally, Mutawatir means 'continuously recurrent'. In the present context, it means a report by an indefinite number of people related in such a way as to preclude the possibility of their agreement to perpetuate a lie. Such a possibility is inconceivable owing to their large number, diversity of residence, and reliability. [94 Shawkani, Irshad, p. 46; Abu Zahrah, Usul, p. 84; Mahmassani, Falsafah (Ziadeh's trans.), p. 74.] A report would not be called Mutawatir if its contents were believed on other grounds, such as the rationality of its content, or that it is deemed to be a matter of axiomatic knowledge. [95 Khudari, Usul, p. 214; Aghnides, Muhammedan Theories, p. 40.] A report is classified as Mutawatir only when it fulfills the following conditions: a. The number of reporters in every period or generation must be large enough to preclude their collusion in propagating falsehood. Should the number of reporters in any period fall short of a reliable multitude, their report does not establish positive knowledge and is therefore not Mutawatir. [96. Shawkani, Irshad, p. 47; Hitu, Wajiz, p. 294] Some ulema have attempted to specify a minimum, varying from as low as four to as many as twenty, forty and seventy up into the hundreds. All of these figures are based on analogies: the requirement of four is based on the similar number of witnesses which constitute legal proof; twenty is analogous to the Qur'anic ayah in sura alAnfal (8:65) which reads: 'If there are twenty steadfast men among you, they will overcome two hundred [fighters].' The next number, that is seventy, represents an analogy to another Qur'anic passage where we read that 'Moses chose seventy men among his people for an appointment with Us' (al-A'raf, 7:155). Some have drawn an analogy from the number of participants in the battle of Badr. However, al-Ghazali is representative of the majority opinion when he observes that all of these analogies are arbitrary and have no bearing on the point. For certainty is not necessarily a question of numbers; it is corroborative evidence, the knowledge and trustworthiness of reporters, that must be credited even in cases where the Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 69 actual number of reporters is not very large. [97. Ghazali, Mustasfa, I, 88; Shawkani, Irshad, p. 47; Hitu, Wajiz, p. 295.] Thus when a reasonable number of persons report something which is supported by other evidence, their report may amount to positive knowledge. [98. Ghazali (Mustasfa), I, 87-88) illustrates this as follows: supposing that five or six persons report the death of another, this does not amount to certainty, but when this is confirmed by seeing the father of the deceased coming out of the house while obviously grief-stricken and exhibiting signs of disturbance that are unusual for a man of his stature, then the two combined amount to positive knowledge. ] b. The reporters must base their report on sense perception. If, therefore, a large number of people report that the universe is created, their report would not be Mutawatir. The report must a...
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This note was uploaded on 04/13/2013 for the course ISLAM 101 taught by Professor Islam during the Spring '13 term at Harvey Mudd College.

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