On the whole, these are the principles related to al jarh wa al ta’dil. They do not fall under one particular topic. I am bringing them together here in one place so as to complete the discussion.
The scholars of the Imamiyyah were of the view that to describe a narrator with the word “wajh (prominent),” or “from the prominent associates of the companions,” is indicative of his praise. Among those who gathered the statements of the Imami scholars in this regard is Muhammad Rida Jadidi in his book Mujam Mustalahat al Rijal wa al Dirayah.
Al Hilli, as it appears from his methodology is dealing with this description in his book, al Khulasah, considered this description among the reasons of praise. Similarly, the words “wajhan bi Qum (he was prominent in Qum),” or “prominent among our companions,” since he included such terms in the first section of his book. However, what is problematic from the above is al Hilli’s statement under the biography of Ahmed ibn Abi Zahir:
كان وجها بقم وحديثه ليس بذاك النقي
He was prominent in Qum. His hadith are not so clean.
For this reason, al Hilli included him in the second section.
In response to the above, a distinction should be made regarding the following issues. Firstly, when al Hilli mentions that the person is a ‘wajh,’ or “a wajh among our companions,” or “a wajh in Qum,” it fundamentally implies praise and reliance on him, as already mentioned.
Secondly, the statement of al Hilli, “a wajh among our companions,” and then following it up with, “His hadith are not so clean,” proves that the principle, according to al Hilli, suggests a reliance on the narrator about whom it is said ‘wajh,’ unless it is accompanied by an expression that diminishes his status, such as, “His hadith are not so clean.” This sentence clearly criticizes his narrations. For this reason, al Hilli went against the original position and included him in the second section of his book, despite the fact that he is a ‘wajh’ in Qum (a place which the Imamiyyah hold in high regard—a place like no other!).
Thirdly, after it is clear that the primary meaning of the word ‘wajh’ denotes praise and reliance on the narrator, according to al Hilli—if the narrator is an Imami—conversely, the same word is a form of criticism against the narrator if he is a non-Imami since, in addition to holding a false belief (in the view of al Hilli), the narrator is also a prominent person among the adversaries. According to al Hilli, this is an amplified form of criticism, as is the case under the biography of ‘Ali ibn al Hussain al Tatari:
كان فقيها ثقة في حديثه…واقفي المذهب من وجوه الواقفية
He was a jurist (and) reliable in hadith… A Waqifi in belief. He was from the prominent members of the Waqifiyyah.
After al Hilli described him with possessing juristic abilities and being reliable in hadith, he placed him in the second section of his book because he was a Waqifi. Actually, he was from their more prominent members!
Al Khu’i elaborated on this issue as follows:
Firstly, when it is said about a narrator that he is a “prominent person from and among our companions,” Al Khu’i states:
هو وإن لم يدل على وثاقته فلا أقل من دلالته على الحسن
Even though it does not prove his reliability, it is nothing less than an indication of his uprightness.
Secondly, when it is only said about a narrator that he is a “prominent person,” al Khu’i explains:
أن توصيف شخص بأنه كان وجها لا يدل على حسنه فضلا عن وثاقته نعم إذا وصف بأنه كان وجها في أصحابنا كانت فيه دلالة على الحسن لا محالة والفرق بين الأمرين ظاهر
Describing a person as a ‘prominent person’ does not indicate his uprightness (as a narrator), let alone indicating his reliability. Yes, if he is described as being a “prominent person among our companions,” it is, most certainly, indicative of his uprightness. The difference between the two is clear.
The distinction made by al Khu’i between the two statements is clear from this.
Sacrificing one’s life in the path of Allah is an apparent indication of the martyr’s truthfulness of faith. And since the Imamiyyah did not give any real attention to the issue of a narrator’s precision, they rather rely on a narrator based on his belief or positions. Accordingly, they should also have an opinion on a person who dies in the path of Allah as a martyr. What concerns us is the opinion of al Hilli and al Khu’i since, by way of them, we are able to know the difference of opinion of the Shia on this and other such issues in this regard.
Jawwad al Qayyumi, the editor of al Hilli’s Khulasat al Aqwal states:
ذكر المؤلف في القسم الأول بعض الرواة اعتمد عليهم لأنهم شهدوا غزوات النبي (صلى الله عليه وآله) أو أمير المؤمنين (عليه السلام) أو قتلوا معهم (عليهم السلام) فإن كان الوجه في الاعتماد حضورهم مشاهدهم أو شهادتهم معهم (عليهم السلام) ففيه ما لا يخفى وإن كان الوجه أصالة العدالة ففيه مضافا إلى منع المبنى كما مر سابقا إن حضورهم مشاهدهم أو الشهادة معهم (عليهم السلام) لا تكشف عن الإيمان بالمعنى الأخص ليبنى على عدالة الشهيد من جهة الأصل
The author mentioned several narrators in the first section because they witnessed the battles of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, or Amir al Mu’minin ‘alayh al Salam, or because they were killed alongside them ‘alayhim al Salam. If the reason is because of their presence at such places, or their martyrdom alongside them ‘alayhim al Salam, then there is nothing hidden in this. And if the reason is because there is a presumption of the narrator’s ‘adalah, then this, in addition to not having a sound basis (as previously mentioned) means that their attending such places and attaining martyrdom alongside them does not reveal such a unique type of faith so as to build on the martyr’s presumed ‘adalah.
This clearly shows that the methodology of al Hilli considers the martyrdom of the narrator a reason for accepting his narration because he mentioned everyone who was killed alongside the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam or one of the Imams in the first section, as in the biographies of dozens of narrators.
Al Khu’i disagreed with the opinion of al Hilli. He states:
إنَّ الشهادة مع أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام لا تكشف عن الإيمان بالمعنى الأخص ليبنى على عدالة الشهيد من جهة الأصل
Martyrdom alongside Amir al Mu’’minin ‘alayh al Salam does not reveal such a unique type of faith so as to build on the martyr’s presumed ‘adalah.
Based on the statement of al Khu’i, it is possible for us to extrapolate and extend this to the other Imams and, before them, the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. If al Khu’i makes tawthiq of one of the narrators described as having been a martyr then, because of what he just stated, the reason goes back to something else, not martyrdom.
Since the position of the Imami scholars regarding narrators revolves mostly around their creedal or political positions, and not necessarily based on the narrator’s actual precision and accuracy of the narration, we see them questioning the affairs of those who became workers of the unjust khalifah (in their view), or were his scribes, or acted as a minister (for him). What concerns us in this regard are the opinions of al Hilli and al Khu’i.
Under the biography of Hudhayfah ibn Mansur, al Hilli states:
روى الكشي حديثا في مدحه أحد رواته محمد بن عيسى وفيه قول ووثقه شيخنا المفيد رحمه الله ومدحه وقال ابن الغضائري حذيفة بن منصور بن كثير بن سلمة الخزاعي، أبو محمد روى عن أبي عبد الله وأبي الحسن موسى (عليهما السلام) حديثه غير نقي يروي الصحيح والسقيم وأمره ملتبس ويخرج شاهدا والظاهر عندي التوقف فيه لما قاله هذا الشيخ ولما نقل عنه أنه كان واليا من قبل بني أمية ويبعد انفكاكه عن القبيح وقال النجاشي إنه ثقة
Al Kashshi narrated a hadith in his praise. One of the narrators (in the hadith) is Muhammad ibn ‘Isa; there is some contention regarding him. Our sheikh, al Mufid made tawthiq of him and praised him. Ibn al Ghada’iri stated, “Hudhayfah ibn Mansur ibn Kathir ibn Salamah al Khuza’i, Abu Muhammad. He narrated from Abu ‘Abdullah and Abu al Hassan ‘alayhim al Salam. His ahadith are not sound; he narrates authentic and problematic hadith. His situation is ambiguous. His ahadith can serve as witness reports. It seems to me that judgement regarding him should be suspended on account of what this scholar said, and because of what was transmitted from him in that he was a governor for the Banu Umayyah. It is far fetched to detach criticism from him (i.e., in this situation). Al Najjashi stated that he is a thiqah.
This is explicit from him: governorship for the “unjust” and “oppressive” regimes is a reason to reject the narrator’s hadith and to suspend judgement therein, as is apparent from the text.
After al Hilli expressed his opinion and did not explain how it is farfetched for a person undertaking a position of governorship—without exception—to detach criticism from a person, al Khu’i came along to explain and refute al Hilli stating:
وأما ولايته من قبل بني أمية فلم تثبت بل قول قيل ونقل عنه ولم يعرف الناقل وعلى تقدير صحة النقل فهي لا تنافي الوثاقة بل لا تنافي العدالة أيضا إذا كانت على طبق الميزان الشرعي
As for his role of governorship for the Banu Umayyah, it is not proven. In fact, it was merely an opinion that was expressed (and not necessarily validated). This has been narrated from him; however, the transmitter is not known. Assuming the narration is correct, it does not negate his reliability. In fact, when it is placed on the legal balance, it also does not negate his ‘adalah.
It is understood from the statement of al Khu’i that merely undertaking a position of governorship for the unjust does not negate the narrator’s ‘adalah and reliability, on condition that his governorship is in accordance with the legal balance—in his view. If we were to ask al Khu’i: What if the role of governorship does not conform to the legal balance? Will this result in him and his narrations being rejected? Based on the opinions of al Khu’i, we can extrapolate the fact that the governor, if he does not abide to the legal balance, he will be acceptable in narration. Not only that, it is possible for him to be a thiqah. This is because, according to al Khu’i, as already mentioned, an act of transgression using the limbs and holding a false belief are both not counted among the reasons for rejecting narrations.
According to the Imamiyyah, there is a lot of discussion in the books of narrator criticism regarding the issue of whether or not the report of a narrator who praises himself constitutes a tawthiq (of himself). Some are of the opinion that the narration of a narrator who praises himself, or gives off a sense of tawthiq is accepted. Others, as we will see, suspend judgement on the issue.
Al Hilli was confused when dealing with this issue. Under the biography of Kulayb ibn Muawiyah al Saydawi, we find him explicitly stating that judgement should be suspended regarding the person who narrates praise of himself. Al Kashshi narrates:
عن كليب بن معاوية الأسدي قال سمعت أبا عبدالله (ع) يقول و الله إنكم لعلى دين الله و دين ملائكته فأعينوني بورع واجتهاد فوالله ما يتقبل إلا منكم فاتقوا الله وكفوا ألسنتكم وصّلوا في مساجدهم فإذا تمّيز القوم فتميزّوا
On the authority of Kulayb ibn Muawiyah al Asadi: I heard Abu ‘Abdullah saying, “By Allah! Verily, you are all on the religion of Allah, and the religion of His angels. So, assist me with Allah-consciousness and hard work. For, by Allah, He does not accept except from you people. Thus, fear Allah, hold your tongues, and pray in your masajid. When the people separate, then you too separate.”
Commenting, al Hilli states:
شهادة لنفسه فنحن في تعديله من المتوقفين
A testimony in favour of himself. Thus, regarding his ta’dil, we suspend judgement.
Al Hilli suspended judgement regarding it because the narrator is the one who narrated a proof of his own tawthiq. Despite this, he included him in the first section!
Under the biography of ‘Abdullah ibn Maymun al Qaddah, al Hilli states:
روى الكشي عن حمدويه عن أيوب بن نوح عن صفوان بن يحيى عن أبي خالد القماط عن عبدالله بن ميمون عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام قال يا ابن ميمون كم أنتم بمكة قلت نحن أربعة قال إنكم نور الله في ظلمات الأرض [قال الحلِّي معقبا] وهذا لا يفيد العدالة لأنه شهادة منه لنفسه
Al Kashshi narrated from Hamdawayh — from Ayub ibn Nuh — from Safwan ibn Yahya — from Abu Khalid al Qammat — from ‘Abdullah ibn Maymun — from Abu Jafar ‘alayh al Salam who said, “O, Ibn Maymun! How many are you in Makkah?”
I said, “We are four.”
He said, “You are the nur (light) of Allah in the darkness of the earth.”
(Al Hilli comments saying:) This does not suggest (the narrator’s) ‘adalah because it is a testimony from him in favour of himself.
We find al Hilli in another place using as proof the narrator who narrates praise of himself, as in the biography of Humran ibn A’yan al Shaybani:
روى الكشي عن محمد بن الحسن عن أيوب بن نوح عن سعيد العطار عن حمران بن أعين عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام أنه قال له أنت من شيعتنا في الدنيا و الآخرة
Al Kashshi narrated from Muhammad ibn al Hassan, from Ayub ibn Nuh — from Sa’id al ‘Attar — from Humran ibn A’yan — from Abu Jafar ‘alayh al Salam who said to him, “You are from our shia in this world and the hereafter.”
And then he included him in the first section.
The narrator of the praise is the same Humran ibn A’yan. Despite that, al Hilli did not say that his statement is a testimony for himself, as has already been mentioned. This shows al Hilli’s confusion on the matter.
Al Khu’i acts contradictorily on this issue. Despite his explicit statement, reasoning, and mockery of those who infer from a narrator’s narration who praises himself in the narration, we find him also, in another place, inferring from a narrator’s report in which he (i.e., the narrator) praises himself. In explaining his reasoning as to why he rejects the narration of the one who praises himself, al Khu’i says:
وربما يستدل بعضهم على وثاقة الرجل أو حسنه برواية ضعيفة أو برواية نفس الرجل وهذا من الغرائب فإن الرواية الضعيفة غير قابلة للاعتماد عليها كما أن في إثبات وثاقة الرجل وحسنه بقول نفسه دورا ظاهرا
Some of them may infer the individual’s reliability and goodness by means of a weak narration, or by means of a narration of the individual himself. This is strange! A weak narration is unreliable. Also, in establishing the individual’s reliability and goodness by means of his own statement, there is (the logical fallacy of) an apparent cyclic reasoning.
Sarcastically, al Khu’i states:
الاستدلال على وثاقة شخص وعظم رتبته بقول نفسه من الغرائب بل من المضحكات
Inferring the reliability of a person and the greatness of his rank by means of his own statement is strange! In fact, it is rather funny.
Despite this, we find al Khu’i inferring the tawthiq of Zurarah ibn A’yan by means of several narrations, among them what Zurarah himself narrates from the Imams in praise of himself. In fact, he states that he is from the people of Jannat. Al Khu’i states in the beginning of the narration which he infers the tawthiq of Zurarah:
عن زرارة قال قال لي أبو عبد الله عليه السلام يا زرارة إن اسمك في أسامي أهل الجنة بغير ألف قلت نعم جعلت فداك اسمي عبد ربه ولكني لقبت بزرارة
Thus, despite Zurarah entering Jannat with this narration—which he narrates about himself—we find al Khu’i using it as proof. And he did not say it is “strange,” or “rather funny,” or it necessitates “cyclic reasoning,” as was repeated in several biographies! The only reason is the perceived benefit of making tawthiq of Zurarah, nothing else.
In summary, there is inconsistency from both al Hilli and al Khu’i regarding the narration of a narrator who praises himself!
 Muhammad Rida Jadidi: Mujam Mustalahat al Rijal wa al Dirayah, p. 189.
 As in the biography of Idris ibn ‘Abdullah; al Hilli mentioned that he is a ‘wajh’ (no. 63, p. 60). Similarly, the biography of Bistam ibn al Hussain; al Hilli mentioned that he is a “wajh among our companions” (no. 161, p. 81). Likewise, in the biography of Tha’labah ibn Maymun (no. 181, p. 86).
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 321, no. 1261.
 Hashim al Hassani, in his work Dirasat fi al Hadith wa al Muhaddithin, p. 193, states, “Ahmed ibn Abi Zahir, or Jafar al Ash’ari used to narrate from weak and unknown narrators. And he himself was not strong. For this reason, his hadith is not free from errors, as it comes in al Khulasah of al ‘Allamah al Hilli.”. Al Hilli did not mention anything disparaging concerning him except, “And his hadith are not that clean.” It is not how Hashim Ma’ruf narrated; unless, however, it is merely a commentary on al Hilli, and not his actual words that he is narrating.
 Al Khu’i states, “His hadith are not so clean. This need be understood that there are munkar (unacceptable) reports among his narrations. This does not negate his reliability. (al Mujam, 2/29) For more information, see: Iklil al Manhaj of al Karbasi (p. 101); al Rasa’il al Rijaliyyah of Abu al Ma’ali al Kalbasi (1/224, 3/139); Sama al Maqal of Abu al Huda al Kalbasi (2/268). See also the marginal notes of Muhammad al Jawahiri in his book Al Mufid min Mujam Rijal al Hadith (p. 20 under the biography of Ahmed ibn Abi Zahir). The best person to discuss the difference of opinion on the issue of describing him as “A wajh in Qum. And his hadith are not so clean” is Hussain al Sa’idi in his book, al Du’afa’ min Rijal al Hadith (1/167).
 Al Hilli: al Khulasah, p. 363, no. 1429.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 7/133, no. 3756, under the biography of Hussain ibn ‘Abdur Rahman.
 Ibid., 8/288, no. 4702 under the biography of Zakariyya ibn Idris. See, as well, biography no. 5440 of Sulaiman ibn Khalid al Aqta’, 9/261; biography no. 13291 of Hashim ibn Hayyanl 20/267; and the biography of Ibrahim ibn Sulaiman in al Mufid min Mujam Rijal al Hadith of al Jawahiri. p. 8.
 Al Hilli: al Khulasah, p. 29, under section ‘za’ entitled “i’tamada al mu’allif fi tawthiq al ruwat wa tad’ifihim ‘ala umur”.
 See: biography no. 125 of Ubayy ibn Qais (he was killed on the day of Siffin), biography no. 126 of Anas ibn al Harith (he was killed with al Hussain), biography no. 151 of Bashir ibn Abi Mas’ud (he was killed on the day of Harrah), biography no. 145 of al Bara’ ibn Malik (he was killed on the day of Tustar), biography no. 175 of Thabit ibn Qais ibn al Shimas (he was killed on the day of Yamamah, biography no. 309 of al Harith ibn Anas al Ashhal (he was killed on the day of Uhud), biography no. 420 of Zaid ibn Suhan (he was killed on the day of Jamal among the companions of ‘Ali.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 4/289, biography no. 1943.
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 131, no. 350, section one.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 5/224.
 He is the same Kulayb al Saydawi because al Kashshi mentioned the narration under the heading, “What has been narrated regarding Kulayb al Saydawi” (p. 339 no. 627). Al Najjashi states, “Kulayb ibn Muawiyah al Saydawi al Asadi” (p. 318 no. 871). Al Shaharudi mentioned him in Mustadrakat ‘Ilm al Rijal under the heading “Kulayb al Saydawi al Asadi” (6/311).
 Al Tusi: Ikhtiyar Ma’rifat al Rijal (Rijal al Kashshi), p. 339, no. 628.
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 232, no. 793.
 Al Nuri differed on this issue. In refuting the statement of al Hilli, he states, “It is not in its place. The apparent meaning of it is to submit to what it is indicating towards,” i.e., praise. (Khatimat al Mustadrak, 5/98).
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 197, no. 614. Al Hilli included him in the first section and made tawthiq of him for reasons other than his own testimony (in favour of himself).
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 134, no. 361.
 ‘Abdul Hadi al Fadli alludes to the reason why he rejects the narration of a person who praises himself saying, “It is clear that it necessitates cyclic reasoning. This is because the truthfulness of a narration depends on the truthfulness of the narrator. At the same time, establishing the truthfulness of the narrator from the truthfulness of the narration is required. The result of this is that truthfulness of the narrator is dependent on the narrator himself.” (Usul ‘Ilm al Rijal, p. 157).
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 1/39.
 Ibid., 1/280, no. 318.
 Ibid., 8/229, no. 4671; al Kashshi.