(Tawthiq of Narrators on Account of Appearing in Specific Works)
1.1 Tawthiq of a narrator on account of him being one of the teachers of al Najjashi in his work Rijal al Najjashi
1.2 Tawthiq of a narrator on account of him being a part of the asanid of ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim al Qummi’s Tafsir
1.3 Tawthiq of a narrator on account of him being a part of the asanid of the book Kamil al Ziyarat
1.4 Tawthiq of a narrator on account of Ibn al Walid not excluding him from the book Nawadir al Hikmah
I mentioned in section two of the introductory chapter that for many narrators of the Imamiyyah, no mention is made of them in what is known as the “primary sources” of narrator evaluation. Consequently, the latter-day scholars of the Imamiyyah set out to create a number of general principles of tawthiq in order that a varying number of narrators be included thereunder. In doing so, it makes it possible for them to judge every narrator that falls under these principles as reliable, thereby drastically decreasing the number of majhul narrators that teem the asanid of their relied-upon works.
If one hundred narrators were inserted into every one of these principles, there would be one thousand narrators for every ten principles. This would be the easiest way for the scholars of the Imamiyyah to make tawthiq of the greatest number of majhul (unknown) narrators. And every time the (number of) principles increase, so too do the reliable narrators. Draw an analogy based on this! Every single scholar has his own principles which others will differ with.
In defining the general principles of tawhiq, Muslim al Dawari states:
إحدى الطرق المهمة لإثبات وثاقة كثير من الرواة من خلال اندراجهم تحت عنوان عام شامل ينطبق على الأفراد من دون تعيين لأشخاصهم، وذلك ما يُعرف بالتوثيقات العامة.
One of the important ways to establish the reliability of many narrators is through their inclusion under a comprehensive general heading that applies to individuals without specifying their actual (individual) character. This is known as general (forms of) tawthiq.
Jafar al Subhani states:
توثيق جماعة تحت ضابطة خاصة وعنوان معين
The tawthiq of a group (of narrators) under a specific yardstick and title.
Shortly, I will refer to the most important general principles of tawthiq and critique them in the following manner:
A number of scholars of the Imamiyyah have considered that the mere fact of a person being the teacher of al Najjashi constitutes a reason for tawthiq. In fact, it (i.e. being one of al Najjashi’s teachers) also constitutes a sublime and high-ranking status, as is the opinion of Jafar al Subhani. They have made it a general principle for everyone that is proven to be a teacher of al Najjashi. ‘Abdul Hadi al Fadli states:
تعرف غير واحد من علمائنا منهج النجاشي في الرواية الرجالية من خلال قراءاتهم ومراجعاتهم المتكررة لكتابه الرجالي، ومن تصريحاته وما يظهر من كلامه في تراجم بعض من ضمهم فهرسه الرجالي في أنه لا يروي عن الضعفاء، فاستنتجوا من هذا وثاقة جميع شيوخه في الإجازة حتى من لم يصرح بوثاقته.
ويمكننا أن نصوغ هذا بشكل قاعدة فنقول: (كل من يروي عنه النجاشي مباشرة فهو ثقة) أو (كل شيخ من شيوخ النجاشي في الرواية هو ثقة) اهـ.
Several of our scholars have come to know the methodology of al Najjashi regarding reports with narrators through their reading and frequent reviewing of his work on narrators. What he clearly expresses and what is apparent from his words regarding several biographies which his index on narrators includes is that he does not narrate from du’afa’ (i.e., weak narrators). From this, they deduce that all of his teachers in/via ijazah are reliable, including those who he did not explicitly make tawthiq of.
We can formulate this into a general principle and say that “everyone who al Najjashi directly narrates from is reliable,” or “every teacher, from the teachers of al Najjashi in riwayah (narrating) is reliable.”
Based on this, they deduce the following:
Al Najjashi states under the biography of Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ubaidullah al Jawhari:
ورأيتُ هذا الشيخ، وكان صديقا لوالدي، وسمعتُ منه شيئا كثيرًا، ورأيتُ شيوخنا يضعفونه، فلم أرو عنه شيئا وتجنبته.
I saw this sheikh, he was a friend of my father. I heard much from him. I saw our shuyukh (teachers) declaring him to be a weak narrator. I did not narrate anything from him and I avoided him.
Al Khu’i comes along and clarifies this principle. In commenting on the words of al Najjashi, he states:
يريد النجاشي بما ذكره من توقفه عن الرواية عنه إلا بواسطة بينه وبينه، أنه لا يروي عنه طريقه إلى كتاب بمثل حدثني، أو أخبرني، وأما النقل عنه بمثل قال فقد وقع منه … ومما يؤكد ما ذكرناه تفكيك النجاشي بالتعبير، حيث قال: أخبرنا أبو العباس أحمد بن علي، ثم قال: وقال محمد بن عبد الله بن مفضل، وقال في المورد الثاني: قال أبو المفضل الشيباني: حدثنا أبو بكر بن أبي الثلج، وأخبرنا ابن نوح. وعند الاختلاف في التعبير في الموردين دلالة واضحة على ما ذكرنا.
Al Najjashi intends with what he mentioned regarding his tawaqquf (non-commitment) in narrating from him except through an intermediary between him and that narrator is that he does not narrate a book via him with the words haddathani (he narrated to me), or akhbarani (he informed me). As for actually narrating from him with, for example, qala (he said), this has taken place… What further emphasizes what we have mentioned is al Najjashi’s disjointed manner of expression (narrations). He says (for example): Abu al ‘Abbas Ahmed ibn ‘Ali informed us. Then he says: and Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Mufaddal. And in the second instance, he says: Abu al Mufaddal al Shaybani said: Abu Bakr ibn Abi al Thalj narrated to us, and Ibn Nuh informed us.
The differences in expression in the two instances is a clear indication of what we have mentioned.
With this, it becomes clear to us those who are included among the teachers of al Najjashi and those excluded.
After this, the scholars of the Imamiyyah differ about the number of al Najjashi’s teachers on account of their difference in considering the aforementioned words of al Khu’i. Al Mamaqani states:
إن العلامة الطباطبائي قد بذل جهده في جمع مشايخ النجاشي من كتابه وأنهاهم إلى ثلاثين
Indeed, al ‘Allamah al Tabataba’i expended his energy in collecting the teachers of al Najjashi in his work and he concluded (they were) thirty.
Al Nuri al Tabarsi held the view that they were thirty-one, as al Fadli narrated from him.
Jafar al Subhani narrated from him that they were thirty-two. Al Khu’i came and said that “they are more than forty men,” based on his independent judgement. Bahr al ‘Ulum has a lengthy discussion in his description of al Najjashi’s teachers. Duryab put them at twenty-eight.
The issue of tawthiq of al Najjashi’s teachers is regarded by al Khu’i as an accepted principle. However, we do not find any trace of it in the words of Ibn al Mutahhar al Hilli! This is proof of the fact that this principle is from the principles of the latter-day scholars and it was unmentioned in al Hilli’s time. However, Mahmud Duryab al Najafi believed that the idea of tawthiq regarding al Najjashi’s teachers existed in the time of al Hilli. He states, “I think the discussion of the tawthiq of al Najjashi’s teachers occurred in the time of al ‘Allamah (al Hilli) because he narrated the words of al Najjashi about his teacher, Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn al Jundi (biography number 207), when he said, ‘Our teacher (may Allah have mercy on him) connected us to the (other) teachers in his time.’ He commented on this saying: ‘This is not textual proof (nass) of his ta’dil.’ It is as though he is refuting, in this statement of his, whoever concluded the tawthiq of (Ibn Abi Jayyid) this from the sentence, ‘Our teacher (may Allah have mercy on him) connected us to the (other) teachers in his time.’”
What he mentioned is possible; however, what is closer (i.e., to the truth) is to delay this after the time of al Hilli. The words of al Hilli are not indicative of any type of general principle. Perhaps he refuted the actual text of al Najjashi and the intent was not that he refuted a general principle. Duryab believed that the person who mentioned the general principle after al Hilli was Nizam al Din al Qurashi (1038 AH). Therefore, Nizam al Din is the first to allude to this general principle, according to my findings.
A number of contemporary Imami scholars attempted to let this principle pass as if it were to be taken for granted, even though there is an element of theatrics in actually deducing this principle (i.e., from al Najjashi’s statement). And in examining the issue we find that it is not based on a sound foundation. In fact, for the following reasons, the preponderant (opinion) is that it is not authentic:
This is a clear indication from him refuting the statement of whoever makes tawthiq of Ibn Abi Jayyid on the mere fact that he is of al Najjashi’s teachers.
This is a review of the issue; it is great insight on this subject-matter, and it is the correct opinion. Therefore, whatever al Hilli differs with the latter of the latter-day scholars—at the head of it al Khu’i—is correct. This is because the view that all the teachers of al Najjashi are reliable is speculative and falls flat when studying the opinions of the Imami scholars. The statement of al Nuri al Tabarsi—who is one of the leading proponents of adopting this rule—is sufficient in this regard. He states about the teachers of al Najjashi:
حسن هؤلاء المشايخ، وجلالة قدرهم، وعلو مرتبتهم، فضلا عن دخولهم في زمرة الثقات بالقرينة العامة التي تعمهم مع قطع النظر عن ملاحظة حال آحادهم
The goodness of these teachers, their greatness of rank, and high position—aside from their entry among the reliable narrators—is established by general terms (bi al qarinah al ‘ammah), with no due consideration to their individual states.
Therefore, al Nuri knows that by investigating the condition of their individual states, it will lead to the invalidation of this principle. This is because most of them are majhul and no mention of them is made in the works of narrator evaluation and hadith encyclopedias. The following are a few examples of this.
i. Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Harun, famously known as Ibn al Salt: He man was counted as reliable among the proponents of the tawthiq-theory, on account of him being from the teachers of al Najjashi. After examining his biography, I did not find a reason for his tawthiq except for the fact that he is from the teachers of al Najjashi. And this is the statement of the latter-day scholars, otherwise, there is not statement regarding him from the early scholars. Al Shaharudi said, “They did not mention him.” Therefore, there is no mention of jarh or tawthiq in the encyclopedias of narrator evaluation. Al Shaharudi goes on to justify his tawthiq, on the premise that he is from the teachers of al Najjashi.
ii. Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Imran ibn al Jundi: al Hilli followed up al Najjashi’s statement that he (i.e., Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Imran ibn al Jundi) is from the teachers of al Najjashi saying, “This is not textual evidence for his ta’dil.” Commenting on al Hilli’s words, ‘Abdul Nabi al Jaza’iri said, “And neither is it apparent as well.”
iii. ‘Uthman ibn Hatim al Muntab: al Nuri al Tabarsi, al Fadli, and Jafar al Subhani deemed him a thiqah because he is of the teachers of al Najjashi. Al Najjashi gave him the title “our teacher.” Al Khu’i remained silent and offered no opinion on his biography. Perhaps he built upon the principle that he does not narrate with the words “haddathana (he narrated to us)” or “akhbarana (he informed us)”. However, Muhammad al Jawahiri, the author of al Mufid, in which he summarised the statements of al Khu’i, regarded him as majhul.
iv. Al Hussain ibn Jafar al Makhzumi: Al Shaharudi said about him, “He is a thiqah because he is from the teachers of al Najjashi.” This proves the fact that it is the primary reason for his tawthiq. Had there been (a statement of) tawthiq from any of the earlier Imami scholars, they would have mentioned it.
v. ‘Abdul Salam ibn al Hussain ibn Muhammad al Basri ibn al Adib: Al Jawahiri in al Mufid said about him, “He is a thiqah because he is from the teachers of al Najjashi.” He did not find a reason for his tawthiq other than this.
vi. Al Hussain ibn Musa ibn Hadiyyah: Al Shaharudi said, “He is a thiqah because he is from the teachers of al Najjashi.” He did not find a reason for his tawthiq other than this.
vii. Ibrahim ibn Makhlad ibn Jafar: Al Shaharudi said, “They did not mention him except for al Khu’i, who said, ‘(He is) from the teachers of al Najjashi. He mentions him under the biography of Di’bil.’” And so, whoever adopts this principle, is making tawthiq of a narrator who is not mentioned in the books of narrator criticism.
viii. Muhammad ibn Harun ibn Musa al Talla’ukburi: al Nuri, al Subhani, and al Fadli mention him to be from the teachers of al Najjashi. However, al Khu’i omitted al Talla’ukburi because he did not fall under his principle of introducing the teachers of al Najjashi whom he restricted to those who narrated from him with the words “haddathana (he narrated to us)” or “akhbarana (he informed us).” Even al Jawahiri and Bisam Murtada (who both summarized al Khu’i’s book) described him as “majhul.”
Like this, they differ regarding who is part of, or excluded from this Mashyakhah. Using this principle, they make tawthiq of several narrators who are regarded as majhul in the science of narrator criticism. Furthermore, most of these narrators have no narrations except in the book of al Najjashi!
I checked the places that al Khu’i reviewed and found 136-137 of them with the words “Haddathani (He narrated to me),” and 496 with the words “Akhbarana (He informed us).”
The conclusion reached by al Khu’i is possible, but it is merely a probability that cannot be relied upon unless the copies (of the books) are verified. It is also possible that al Najjashi is among those who narrate from those he never met; this is a possibility as well. All of this calls for further rectifications of this principle, if only we investigated each of the narrators, one by one.
A. Ibn Tawus mentioned the following in the introduction to his book Falah al Sa’il, “Know well that the narrations I mention in this book are narrated from among the most select of our reliable companions. In some of these narrations, there may be between the reliable narrators who have been alluded to and between the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam or one of the Imams, an individual who has been criticized via solitary reports. Or, the criticism levelled against him is based on a narration that has been itself criticized by the scholars, thereby a possible valid excuse for the criticized narrator. That reason would be known, or at least be admissible according to the critics… (Then he cited a number of justifications for the tawthiq of narrators that have been criticized. Then he stated) … For there is amongst the kuffar (disbelievers) those who are reliable in what they narrate of reports, just as the scholars of Islam have relied on doctors of the Ahl al Dhimmah in their reports concerning that which is suitable for curing the sick.”
Thus, Ibn Tawus considers everyone who narrates from him to have “crossed the bridge (i.e., acceptable).” And after these words, he goes on to cite some six justifications for the sake of making tawthiq of narrators. Even more than that, he sought justification for those who had no excuse since it was narrated by their senior companions. Thus, he made tawthiq of the narrators and refuted all of the criticisms.
After the explicit statement that he makes tawthiq of the narrators of his book, the proponents of this theory did not adhere to this by making tawthiq of all the narrators! This is a contradiction whereby they seek to distinguish between various obscure matters.
B. Al Saduq (d. 381 AH) mentioned in his work al Muqni’: “I omitted the chains of transmission from him so that it (i.e., the book) does not become too burdensome, and does not become too difficult to memorize, and so the reader does not get disinterested. (I omitted the chains of transmission) because whatever I explained in this book is to be found in the primary works and evident to the trustworthy scholars and fuqaha’ (jurists), may Allah have mercy on them.”
Muslim al Dawari stated, “We gather from this that all of the narrations of the book are authentic, and that all of their narrators are reliable.”
Do the proponents of this theory make tawthiq of the narrators of al Muqni’, with al Saduq’s (statement of) tawthiq of its narrators?
C. The book Bisharat li Shi’at al Murtada. The author states, “I do not mention reports in this book except those that are musnad (with an unbroken chain and reliable) from the great teachers and choicest (and) reliable narrators.” This is another explicit statement. Despite this, the proponents of this theory do not adhere to his statements!
D. The book al Mizar by Muhammad ibn al Mashhadi (d. 610 AH). Describing the litanies (adhkar) of his work, he states in the introduction, “Whatever prayers have been resorted to for when performing the various tasks, I have received them in a contiguous manner (muttasil) from reliable narrators until the descendants of the Prophet (sadat).”
This is also an explicitly clear statement. Despite this, they say, morning and evening, that we do not have an authentic book! This is without mentioning their Four books. Muslim al Dawari gathered thirteen such books the authors of which claim their authenticity and tawthiq of their narrators.
If al Najjashi himself did not explicitly state the names of this group (of narrators), and neither did he attempt to mention them, then how do we judge the authenticity of chains of narration that are contain majhul narrators? This is nothing more than exercising a good opinion of al Najjashi. Good opinions about a person, guesswork, and sheer conjecture can never be considered an accepted principle for gauging the ralibility of a narration.
Finally, if someone was to say that we (i.e., the Shia) only make tawthiq of the teachers of al Najjashi when they do not have a contradictory statement of tad’if (against them). We would respond to them by saying: Why do you not say this for the authors of the other books that were previously mentioned? This is but a clear contradiction.
 Muslim al Dawari: Usul ‘Ilm al Rijal Bayna al Nazariyyah wa al Tatbiq, 2/13.
 Al Subhani: Durus Mujazah fi ‘Ilmay al Rijal wa al Dirayah, 2/13.
 I would like to point out that a number of these principles resemble those of al jarh wa al ta’dil. I will mention the remainder of them in the (sixth) chapter, which is dedicated to the principles that al Khu’i and al Hilli based their rulings of al jarh wa al ta’dil upon. The reason for this is because they are not usually mentioned among the general tawthiq.
 Al Subhani: Kulliyyat fi ‘Ilm al Rijal, p. 281.
 After describing his review of narration and his abstention from narrating from weak narrators (according to his claim), Bahr al ‘Ulum states, “Therefore, it is necessary that his teachers whom he narrates from are all reliable.” He has further details which can be reviewed in its related discussion. See: Rijal Bahr al ‘Ulum, 2/99.
 Al Fadli: Usul ‘Ilm al Rijal, p. 126.
 Al Najjashi: Rijal al Najjashi, p. 86, biography number 207.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 17/260-261.
 Mahmud Duryab states, “The most that can be gained from these proofs is the tawthiq of his teachers from whom he narrates with the words ‘Akhbarana (He informed us),’ or ‘Haddathana (He narrated to us),’ nobody else. This is because the common feature of these proofs are reports and chains. This is the amount that is definitive; everything beyond this is doubtful. Because the claim of general tawthiq of all al Najjashi’s teachers, including those he learnt the sciences of fiqh or ansab (genealogy), for example, or those from whom did not explicitly narrate from using ‘Akhbarana (He informed us),’ or ‘Haddathana (He narrated to us),’ is a claim broader than these proofs (he means the proofs for the tawthiq of al Najjashi’s teachers). Therefore, their tawthiq is not established via such a claim.” Mashyakhat al Najjashi, p. 95.
 ‘Abdullah al Mamaqani: Tanqih al Maqal, 3:90 (under al fa’idah al sadisah).
 Al Fadli: Usul ‘Ilm al Rijal, p. 126.
 Al Subhani: Kulliyyat fi ‘Ilm al Rijal, p. 288.
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 2/167.
 Bahr al ‘Ulum: Rijal Bahr al ‘Ulum (famously known as al Fawa’id al Rijaliyyah), 2/50. He mentions that they are thirty teachers. Bahr al ‘Ulum states, “They are thirty teachers, nine of whom have biographies in the book… He explicitly declared the first five reliable and praised and venerated the others. He did not mention for his other teachers an independent biography.” He mentioned this after listing them on p. 83. It is possible that Bahr al ‘Ulum elaborated the most on the teachers of al Najjashi.
 Mahmud Duryab al Najafi: Mashyakhat al Najjashi Tawthiquhum wa Turuquhum ila al Usul, p. 98. He mentions seventeen teachers whom al Najjashi did not mention with the words “Haddathana (He narrated to us),” or “Akhbarana (He informed us),” p. 188.
 Mahmud Duryab al Najafi: Mashyakhat al Najjashi, p. 92. (The author says) Whatever Mahmud Duryab has mentioned is erroneous. He confused Abu al Hussain Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Imran—famously known as Ibn al Jundi (he is the one whose apparent tawthiq of al Najjashi and was rejected by al Hilli) and Abu al Hassan ‘Ali ibn Ahmed ibn Abi Jayyid al Qummi. His confusion between the two narrators appeared to me in his discussion.
 Ibid. Duryab suggested that the source of Nizam al Din is narrated from the book Riyad al ‘Ulama’, 3/351. (The author says) Riyad al ‘Ulama’ is authored by ‘Isa ibn Muhammad ibn Salih al Jirani al Tabrizi, the student of al Majlisi. In this work, he mentions the conditions of the scholars from the time of Ghaybah (Occultation) to his time (1119 AH). This is as mentioned by al Tihrani in al Dhari’ah, 11/331 (no. 1981).
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 70 (biography number 108).
 ‘Abdul Nabi al Jaza’iri: Hawi al Aqwal, 3:297 (biography number 1277).
 Kazim al Ha’iri: al Qada’ fi al Fiqh al Islami, p. 51.
 Cited by Muhammad Rida al Hussaini al Jalali: Manhaj al Rijali wa al ‘Amal al Ra’id fi al Mawsu’ah al Rijaliyyah of Sayed al Ta’ifah al Barujardi, p. 185.
 Al Mazandarani: Miqyas al Ruwat, p. 158.
 Al Tabarsi: Khatimat al Mustadrak, 3/158.
 Al Namazi al Shaharudi: Mustadrakat ‘Ilm al Rijal, 1/480.
 Al Hilli: Khulasat al Aqwal, p. 70 (biography number 108).
 ‘Abdul Nabi al Jaza’iri: Hawi al Aqwal, 3/297 (biography number 1277).
 Al Najjashi: Rijal al Najjashi, p. 193 (biography 515).
 Al Khu’i: Mujam Rijal al Hadith, 12/116 (biography 7585).
 Muhammad al Jawahiri: al Mufid min Mujam Rijal al Hadith, p. 368.
 Al Namazi al Shaharudi: Mustadrakat ‘Ilm al Rijal, 3/108 (biography number 4259).
 P. 316.
 Al Namazi al Shaharudi: Mustadrakat ‘Ilm al Rijal, 3/95
 Ibid., 1/208 (biography number 499).
 Al Jawahiri: al Mufid min Mujam Rijal al Hadith, p. 568.
 Bisam Murtada: Zubdat al Maqal min Mujam al Rijal, 2/409.
 Al Khu’i: Kitab al Taharah, 10/45 (under ma yasihhu al tayammum bihi).
 In other words, the original narrator in question would remain free of any criticism since the narration used to establish the criticism against him is itself questionable [translator’s note].
 Introduction to the book, p. 9.
 Introduction to al Muqni’, p. 3.
 Muslim al Dawari: Usul ‘Ilm al Rijal Bayna al Nazariyyah wa al Tatbiq, 1/330.
 Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al Tabari (d. 525 AH). He stated this in the introduction to the book, p. 18.
 P. 27.
 Bahr al ‘Ulum: Rijal Bahr al ‘Ulum, 2/100.