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Isnad (Chain of Transmission) and its Importance
Hereunder there are three sections:
Section One: Definition of Sanad and Matn (wording)
Section Two: The importance of Isnad and the attention paid to it by the scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah.
Section Three: The Rawafid and the Asanid (plural of Isnad).
The Definition of Sanad and Matn
The Sanad is:
The chain of transmission of the Matn (the wording).
The term is derived from:
- Sanad, which means anything that is high and elevated above the low ground of the mountain.
- Or from their statement, ‘so and so is a Sanad,’ e. reliable.
Hence, the chain of transmission is dubbed the Sanad due to the scholars relying upon it in determining the authenticity of the narration or its weakness.
As for Isnad, it is:
To report a narration back to the one who said it.
The scholars of hadith use Sanad and Isnad both interchangeably to refer to the same thing.
As for Matn, according to the scholars of hadith it refers to the content or wording which appears after the Sanad ends.
It is derived either from:
- Mumatanah, which refers to competing to reach the end, due to the Matn being the end-point of the Sanad.
- Or from: Matantu al Kabsh which means to remove the testicle of a sheep after splitting its covering, as though the narrator extracts the Matn with his chain of transmission.
- Or from: Matn which refers to hard and elevated land, because the narrator strengthens it with a chain and attributes it to the one who said it.
- Or from Tamtin al Qaws which means to make the bow strong by tying a rope to it and mending it.
NEXT⇒ Section Two – The Importance of the Isnad and the Attention Paid to it by the Scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah
 Al Manhal al Rawi, p. 29.