Chapter Five – The Principles of al Jarh wa al Ta’dil Between al Hilli and al Khu’i – 5.1 The principles of al jarh wa al ta’dil according to al Khu’i and al Hilli related to the tenants of Shia faith

4.4 A comparative analysis between the position of the Imamiyyah on the Sahabah and their own reliable narrators from the Imamiyyah
March 17, 2022
5.2 The positions of al Hilli and al Khu’i concerning the statements of al jarh wa al ta’dil that come from the infallible Imams—according to the Imami Shia
April 5, 2022

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Chapter Five

The Principles of al Jarh wa al Ta’dil Between al Hilli and al Khu’i

5.1 The principles of al jarh wa al ta’dil according to al Khu’i and al Hilli related to the tenants of Shia faith

5.2 The positions of al Hilli and al Khu’i concerning the statements of al jarh wa al ta’dil that come from the infallible Imams—according to the Imami Shia

5.3 The relationship that connects the Imam with the narrator

5.4 The positions of al Hilli and al Khu’i concerning riwayah and its sciences

5.5 Miscellaneous principles in al jarh wa al ta’dil

5.6 Beneficial points in al jarh wa al ta’dil touched upon by al Khu’i

 

 

5.1 The principles of al jarh wa al ta’dil according to al Khu’i and al Hilli related to the tenants of Shia faith

In this chapter, I will be mentioning the principles inherent to the relationship between the narrator and the infallible imam in the view of the Imamiyyah, as well as the effect the narrator’s belief has on his narration, according to both al Hilli and al Khu’i.

 

5.1.1 The narrator’s unyielding commitment to Shi’ism

In general, Imami scholars regard a narrator’s inexorable commitment to his faith as something praiseworthy. This is because it proves his adherence and devotion to the Shia school. However, al Khu’i does not regard such a commitment from a narrator as having an impact on the acceptance or rejection of a narration. Regarding a narration in which a narrator’s unyielding commitment to his faith is understood as praiseworthy, al Khu’i comments:

 

التصلب في التشيع لا يلازم الوثاقة فضلا عن العدالة

The unyielding faith and commitment to Shi’ism is not indicative of (a narrator’s) reliability, let alone his ‘adalah.[1]

 

Al Khu’i mentions this opinion under the biography of Sulaiman ibn Sufyan al Mustariq. Whereas, when al Hilli wrote his biography[2], he did not mention the issue of a narrator’s commitment to the faith. I also did not find anything in which al Hilli explains his opinion in this regard.

 

5.1.2 The narrator’s open proclamation of Raj’ah

Open proclamation of the doctrine of Raj’ah (Return)[3] does not simply mean belief therein; rather, it also means disseminating this belief and completely complying thereto. We know the attention given by al Hilli to the belief of a narrator which, based on it, a narrator’s report is accepted or rejected. Therefore, al Hilli states under the biography of Maisarah ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz:

 

اثنى عليه آل محمد عليهم السلام، وهو ممن يجاهر في الرجعة

The Family of Muhammad ‘alayh al Salam praised him. He is from those who openly proclaimed (the doctrine of) Raj’ah.[4]

 

He places him in the first section with the acceptable narrators, according to him. What emphasizes the fact that al Hilli accepts a narration merely on account of his open proclamation of Raj’ah is what he mentioned under the biography of Najm ibn A’yan; he did not mention anything about his condition (as a narrator) except that “he openly proclaimed Raj’ah.”[5] On the other hand, we find in the methodology of al Khu’i that he does not include creedal issues in determining the tawthiq or tad’if of narrators. Consequently, when al Khu’i came to the biography of Najm ibn A’yan, we find him restricting his words to:

 

قال العلامة في الخلاصة …روى العقيقي عن أبيه عن عمران بن أبان عن عبد الله بن بكير عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام أنه يجاهد في الرجعة وقال ابن داود من القسم الأول نجم بن أعين كان مجاهدا في الرجعة

Al ‘Allamah states in al Khulasah, “…Al ‘Aqiqi narrates from his father — from ‘Imran ibn Aban — from ‘Abdullah ibn Bukayr — from Abi ‘Abdullah ‘alayh al Salam that he used to fight for the sake of Raj’ah. Ibn Dawood states from the first section, ‘Najm ibn A’yan was a mujahid[6] in Raj’ah.’[7]

 

Al Khu’i restricted himself to what he transmitted from al Hilli and Ibn Dawood and he did not comment further. This emphasizes the fact that he did not regard the open proclamation of Raj’ah—let alone belief therein—as being a proof of the tawthiq of a narrator. Accordingly, Bisam Murtada summarized al Khu’i’s opinion of Najm ibn A’yan by saying he is “majhul.”[8]

 

5.1.3 The narrator’s recognition of the truth (Shi’ism) and belief therein

This opinion is similar to the open proclamation of Raj’ah in that they both share in stating the truth and fully complying thereto. What can be said of open proclamation can be said here. Under the biography of al Hassan ibn al Qasim, al Hilli states:

 

روى الكشي عن حمدويه عن الحسن بن موسى قال بعد أن حكى قصة ذكرناها في الكتاب الكبير إن الحسن بن القاسم يعرف الحق بعد ذلك ويقول به

Al Kashshi narrated from Hamdawayh — from al Hassan ibn Musa. After narrating an incident that we mentioned in al Kitab al Kabir, he states, “Al Hassan ibn al Qasim recognized the truth after that and stated it.”[9]

 

Al Hilli placed him in the first section in consideration of his recognition of the truth, that is, Shi’ism, and his support of it. And like this, other such biographies.[10]

When al Khu’i came with his biography of the same narrator, he commented on al Hilli’s insertion of him into the first section:

 

وكأنه مبني على أصالة العدالة

It is as if it is based on asalat al ‘adalah, or the presumption of (the narrator’s) ‘adalah.[11]

 

This proves that al Khu’i does not regard stating the truth as from the reasons of determining a narrator’s tawthiq because, had that been the case, he would not have said that al Hilli based his tawthiq on the presumption of the narrator’s ‘adalah. And for this reason, he regarded him (i.e., al Hassan ibn al Qasim) in summarizing the book of al Khu’i as “majhul.”[12] This is because both of them considered the fact that al Khu’i did not regard the (narrator’s) recognition of the truth and belief therein from among the reasons of tawthiq.

 

5.1.4  The narrator’s disproportionate defense of the Prophet’s Family and disputing and quarrelling with his opposition

Al Hilli regards a narrator’s disputing against his opposition about the Prophet’s family salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as of the reasons to accept his narration. This is because such a person does not merely believe in the truth; rather, he is willing to argue for the sake of it. This is greater than merely believing in the truth—which al Hilli accepts the narrator for. Therefore, al Hilli includes Hamzah ibn Muhammad al Tayyar in the first section[13] because of the fact that Jafar al Sadiq asked (Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala) to have mercy on him, supplicated for his radiance and happiness, and was staunch in defending the Ahlul Bayt.

When al Khu’i offered Hamzah ibn Muhammad al Tayyar’s biography, he stated, after mentioning two narrations:

 

إن الكشي ذكر روايتين قويتين تدلان على حسن ابن الطيار وجلالته…عن هشام بن الحكم قال قال لي أبو عبد الله عليه السلام ما فعل ابن الطيار قال قلت مات قال رحمه الله ولقاه نضرة وسرورا فقد كان شديد الخصومة عنا أهل البيت…[و] عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام فقال ما فعل ابن الطيار فقلت توفي فقال رحمه الله أدخل الله عليه الرحمة ونضره فإنه كان يخاصم عنا أهل البيت…[و] عن الطيار قال قلت لأبي عبد الله عليه السلام بلغني أنك كرهت مناظرة الناس وكرهت الخصومة فقال عليه السلام أما كلام مثلك للناس فلا نكرهه من إذا طار أحسن أن يقع وإن وقع يحسن أن يطير فمن كان هكذا فلا نكره كلامه [عقّب الخوئي فقال] ثم إن هذه الروايات راجعة إلى محمد بن الطيار والد حمزة لا إلى حمزة نفسه كما توهمه جماعة وذلك فإن الطيار المذكور في هذه الروايات كان من الاعلام والمناظرين وقد مات في حياة الصادق عليه السلام على ما نطقت به الروايتان المادحتان وقد مر أن حمزة بن الطيار

Al Kashshi mentioned two strong narrations which prove the reliability and greatness of Ibn al  Tayyar… From Hisham ibn al Hakam who said:

Abu ‘Abdullah said to me, “What did Ibn al Tayyar do?”

I said, “He died.’

He said, “May Allah have mercy on him and give him radiance and happiness. He was staunch in our, the Ahlul Bayt’s, defense.”

… And from Abu ‘Abdullah ‘alayh al Salam who said, “What did Ibn al  Tayyar do?”

I said, “He passed away.”

And so, he said, “May Allah have mercy on him. May Allah show him mercy and radiance for, verily, he used to staunchly defend us, the Ahlul Bayt.”

… And from al Tayyar who said, “I said to Abu ‘Abdullah ‘alayh al Salam, ‘It has reached me that you dislike debating the people and dislike argumentation.’

So, he ‘alayh al Salam said, ‘As for words such as yours to the people, we do not dislike it. When it flies, it is better for it to fall, and when it falls, it is better for it to fly. Whoever is like this, we do not detest their words.’

(Al Khu’i commented saying:) Furthermore, these narrations go back to Muhammad ibn al Tayyar, the father of Hamzah, not to, as a number of people suspected, Hamzah himself. That is because the aforementioned al Tayyar in these narrations was from among the notables and the debaters. He died in the life of al Sadiq ‘alayh al Salam, according to what was stated by the two narrations in praise of him. It has already been mentioned that Hamzah ibn al Tayyar narrated from Abu al Hassan ‘alayh al Salam and Muhammad ibn Sinan—who did not meet al Sadiq—narrated from him. So, how then can the narrations that praise apply to Hamzah? Rather, they are definitely in reference to his father.[14]

 

If we were to critically analyze al Khu’i’s words—regardless of whether al Tayyar was the father or son—we can conclude the following. Al Khu’i stated:

 

إن الكشي ذكر روايتين قويتين تدلان على حسن ابن الطيار وجلالته

Al Kashshi mentioned two strong narrations proving the reliability and greatness of Ibn al Tayyar.

 

And when we review the narration, we find that it includes:

 

دعاء المعصوم وترحمه على الراوي

The infallible’s supplication and asking Allah to have mercy on him.

 

And:

 

أن الله لقاه نضرة وسرورا

that Allah will cause him to meet radiance and happiness.

 

And:

 

أنه شديد الخصومة عن آل البيت

That he used to staunchly defend the Ahlul Bayt.

 

Based on this, I say the following. Firstly, the infallible’s supplication and asking Allah to have mercy on him does not prove tawthiq of a narrator, according to al Khu’i. This will be seen later on.

Secondly, as for the narrator debating and arguing for the sake of the family of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, I do not consider this to be a valid form of his praise, according to al Khu’i. Debating and arguing contribute to the narrator’s defence of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam family. I have found an opinion of al Khu’i in which it is possible to build upon. Under the biography of ‘Abdul A’la, the mawla (client) of Salim’s children, al Kashshi narrated:

 

عن عبد الأعلى قال قلت لأبي عبدالله عليه السلام إن الناس يعتبون علي بالكلام و أنا أكلم الناس فقال أما مثلك من يقع ثم يطير فنعم و أما من يقع ثم لا يطير فلا

From ‘Abdul A’la who said: I said to Abu ‘Abdullah ‘alayh al Salam, “People reprimand me with words while I speak to people.”

He said, “As for someone like you who falls and then flies, yes. As for the person that falls and then does not fly, then no.”[15]

 

Al Khu’i comments on the opinion that states ‘Abdul A’la is sound in narration because the Imam was pleased with and approved of his debating:

 

أنه لا ملازمة بين أن يكون الرجل قويا في الجدل و المناظرة و أن يكون ثقة في أقواله و المطلوب في الرواي هو الثاني دون الأول

There is no correlation between the man being capable in debating and argumentation and being reliable in his statements. What is required in the narrator is the former, not the latter.[16]

 

I can extend the above statement and say that there is equally no correlation between the man being staunch in his arguing on behalf of the family of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and being reliable in his statements. What is required in the narrator is the latter, not the former. This is because it is consistent with the methodology of al Khu’i, which excludes the belief (and all its necessary correlations, such as actively calling towards it, or debating and arguing in favour of it) of a narrator as a reason for determining his tawthiq.

Thirdly, after it has become clear that al Khu’i does not regard argumentation or debate (in favour of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam family) among the reasons of determining a narrator’s tawthiq, nothing of the narrations remain for us except for the fact “that Allah will cause him to meet radiance and happiness.” Perhaps the statement of al Khu’i, “Then al Kashshi mentioned two strong narrations which prove the reliability and greatness of Ibn al Tayyar,” goes back to this text, not because he argues and debates about the family of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. From here, I say that al Hilli considers arguing in defense of the family among the reasons of tawthiq, contrary to the opinion of al Khu’i who does not consider it as having any impact on the status of a narrator.

If an objector were to say that al Khu’i mentioned a number of narrations under the biography of al Tayyar, among them those which include supplication, happiness, and receiving of radiance and happiness, as well as narrations that only include debating and arguing (in favour of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam family) and regarding this as indicative of the narrator’s reliability; thus, based on this, al Khu’i made a distinction between debating and argumentation.

I would say that this is possible. However, it conflicts with the general methodology of al Khu’i and his explicit statement that there is no necessary correlation between the person being capable in argumentation and debate, and him being reliable in his statements. It is very close to staunchly arguing.

And Allah knows best.

 

NEXT⇒ 5.2 The positions of al Hilli and al Khu’i concerning the statements of al jarh wa al ta’dil that come from the infallible Imams—according to the Imami Shia


[1] Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 9:276 (no. 5455).

[2] Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 154 (no. 447).

[3] Shia belief that the Imams as well as some of their supporters and enemies will return to this world after dying, before Qiyamah. [Translator’s note]

[4] Ibid., p. 279, no. 1022.

[5] Ibid., p. 286, no. 1053.

[6] It was written as “mujahidah.” Perhaps it was a mistake and written instead of “mujahirah (someone who openly proclaims).” And (all) knowledge is with Allah.

[7] Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 20/137, no. 13008.

[8] Bisam al Murtada: Zubdat al Maqal min Mujam al Rijal, 2/504.

[9] Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 103, no. 235.

[10] As in biographies 345, 517, and 543.

[11] Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 6/90, no. 3067.

[12] Bisam Murtada: Zubdat al Maqal min Mujam al Rijal, 1/317; Muhammad al Jawahiri: al Mufid min Mujam Rijal al Hadith, p. 151.

[13] Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 120, no. 305.

[14] Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 7:294 (no. 4071).

[15] Al Tusi: Ikhtiyar Ma’rifat al Rijal (Rijal al Kashshi), p. 319, no. 578.

[16] Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith: 10/279, no. 6240.

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