It would not be necessary to quote a tareeq for (3). If the tawtheeq is passed down from generation to generation by its self-evident nature and by its prominence, then recording of the tareeq is unnecessary. For example, is it really necessary to give a tareeq for the tawtheeq of Ahmed bin Muhammed bin al-Ashari or Sad bin Abdullah, the leaders of Qumm? Their tawtheeq is self-evident, due to their prominence, position, their writings, and their status amongst the scholars/companions who succeeded them, etc.
Rather, the "beef" should be with tawtheeq for a low-key relatively unknown individual from an unknown source.
For example, Yahya bin Sa`eed is considered to have been a nasibi by some. He is reported to have levelled a form of criticism at Imam as-Sadiq, aleyhis salam. Yet, Najashi writes that he is thiqa.
According to al-Muhsini it would be necessary if Ilm Rijal wants to be self consistent, just as in Ahmad bin Muhammed bin Isa al-Ashari or Sa'ad bin Abdallah so to Yahya bin Said.
Of course, with those close to the time of ash-Shaykh and Najashi, we can rely on what al-Muhsini calls 'Qareeb anil Hiss' i.e. what is near to being Hiss, and this is a Hujjah for him, but what about the Narrators to the Sadiqayn who were hundreds of years away.
What al-Muhsini says is the following:
Consider we have a statement by Tusi or Najashi that says simply: "person A - Thiqah".
Now he questions the source of this statement, noting that it cannot be the author's Hiss [personal observation] as A was way beyond his time.
(I) Tusi or Najashi has based it on his Hadas [cognitive functioning] i.e. Ijtihad
(II) Tusi or Najashi got this Tawthiq from predecessor from predecessor until someone who could have done A's personal observation and given the Tawthiq, that was passed down and recorded by Tusi or Najashi.
There can be no other option.
Now if we go with (I), he says that it is Batil, and this is his view and that of his teacher al-Khui,
Because the signs of Adalah or Sidq are physically observable, Adalah or Sidq cannot be decided upon from far away (generations apart) using probabilities of assumption.
And that is why both al-Khui and al-Muhsini do not accept the Tawthiq of the latter day scholar, and this is the view of the majority of scholars currently, and that is why they both do not accept the independent Tawthiq given by Ibn Tawus, Allamah Hilli or Ibn Dawud, or any other future scholar after them up to today, for they do not believe that they are basing it upon anything other than Hadas, which as previously stated is Batil.
Having said that, al-Khui goes for (II) as the source of all the Tawthiqat of Tusi and Najashi,
With al-Muhsini deciding that the majority of them are (II), and some are possibly (I), and we have to differentiate between the two.
Now the question that al-Muhsini poses, which al-Khui does not answer is:
Who are the individuals who were narrating these Tawthiqat from earlier times?
They are unknown, so how do we depend on them narrating the Tawthiq,
And also how then do we justify using Tusi's and Najashi's Mursal Tawthiq, when we do not use their Mursal Riwayah?
And this is where he says, Ilm Rijal is found wanting.
Who is to say that when transmitting biographical information they felt bound by the same conditions of recording that they felt when transmitting reports attributed to the ma`soomeen? That is, when they had a hadeeth, they felt obliged to write the chain, and did so in the majority of cases. However, would they have felt that same obligation to record a tareeq when recording biographical information? Clearly not, judging by the books of rijaal. Having emphasised this, we then consider the nature of the recorded information. When recording information in the books of ahadeeth, were they only reporting the sihhaat? No, judging by the content of their books in which they weaken ahadeeth that they have quoted, or quote ahadeeth through narrators who they have weaken elsewhere (sometimes even in the same book). For example, shaykh as-Sadooq weakens Ahmed bin Hilaal in Kamal ad-Deen, yet in the same book later goes onto quote a hadeeth through Ibn Hilaal that has a strange, and possibly ghali, matn. The scholars were under no obligation to record only sihaat, and regardless of whatever their original intentions may have been, it is extremely unlikely that they considered every single thing that they quoted in any of their books to be authentic (saheeh as opposed to hujjah). However, when they quote biographical information in the books of rijaal, they are issuing this an ultimate judgement: "this man is a liar" or "this man is a trustworthy scholar, `ayn, jaleel". Al-Kashshi aside, they are not listening everything they know about a rawi, but issuing a judgement about who is a trustworthy source of Deen and who is not. If they are not careful, they risk seriously affecting the religion, not to mention defaming innocent men or making fasiq people greats. Najashi, a Shi`i scholar and rijal scholar, personally accepted the tariq/turuq of the grading that he recieved from predecessors.
al-Muhsini says that the predecessors did not use the same methods as us in authenticating Ahadith i.e. Rijal as it is today, rather they used Qarain Kharijiyyah [external indicators] which were available to them and not to us.
But it was the norm at that time to record any attributable words with its Sanad from the speaker to the recorder, and this was quite rampant.
The question is - why did Tusi and Najashi not do this.
Your general argument is close to one of the arguments put forward that al-Muhsini does not accept, al-Muhsini outlines it below before going on to refute it.
"Yes, there is another thing that they use to differentiate between the Mursal Tawthiq and the Mursal Riwayah, so that they cann accept the former but still reject the latter, and they say: (for Tusi and Najashi) narrating a Riwayah from a Dhaif individual is possible, but narrating the Tawthiq [of a narrator] from a Dhaif individual is impossible, and it is not acceptable that this occur from the meritious, let alone these great ones, for the only reason for a Tawthiq is to establish the trustworthiness of the narrator and confirm him as not being a liar in his words and narrations, so that his narrations can thereafter be considered by the Ulama and the Mujtahidin, who themselves did not know of his condition before that Tawthiq was given, therefore, narrating a Tawthiq [of a narrator] from a Dhaif individual would be inherently wrong/against the purpose, for every intelligent one knows that the Wathaqa of a Majhul narrator cannot be established by the Tawthiq given by a liar or another Majhul person.
And no one is allowed to attribute this act to these great ones like the Shaykh and his like, who are the poles of the sciences of the Shariah.
So when the Shaykh rules on the Wathaqa of a narrator, he had no option but to have already investigated the Wathaqa of all those who narrated the Tawthiq of that narrator to him. And upon that the Tawthiq remains a Hujjah."
This argument is what al-Muhsini calls Husn adh-Dhann to the Shaykh and Najashi, and goes on to refute.
I fail to see the problem if al-Fadhl had issued some of his tawtheeqaat and ta`deelaat without hiss. Hiss is not the only method for doing so. For example, comparing the narrations of a rawi or examining his works can expose lies, poor accuracy, etc. I also mentioned earlier in this post that fame, positions, writings etc. are also sufficient for recording mursal tawtheeq. And it is also sufficient for tawtheeq or tadh`eef in itself, such as it would be for shaykh as-Sadooq al-Awwal. For example, Ibn al-Ghadaa'iri examined writings and other evidences and gave the following judgements:
( 34 ) - 7 - الحَسَنُ بنُ العبّاس بن الحريش، الرازيّ، أبُو مُحَمَّد. ضَعِيْفٌ. رَوى عن أبي جَعْفَر الثاني (ع) «فضل إنّا أنزلناه في ليلة القدر» كتاباً مُصَنَّفاً، فاسِدَ الألْفاظ، (تَشْهَدُ مخايِلُهُ على أنّهُ مَوْضُوعٌ). وهذا الرَجُلُ لا يُلْتَفَتُ إليه، ولا يُكْتَبُ حديثُهُ.
7 – al-Hasan b. al-`Abbas b. al-Harish. Ar-Razi. Abu Muhammad. Weak. Narrated from Abu Ja`far ath-Thani عليه السلام “The Virtue of ‘Verily We have made it descend on the Night of Power’” a compiled book of corrupt expressions. (Its characteristic bear witness to its being forged.) This man is not to be regarded, and his hadith is not to be written.
( 38 ) - 11 - الحُسَيْنُ بنُ شاذَوَيْه، أبُو عَبْدِاللَّهِ، الصَفّارُ، القُمّيُّ. زَعَمَ القُمُّيون: أنّهُ كانَ غالِياً. ورأيتُ لَهُ كِتاباً في الصلاةِ سَدِيداً، واللَّهُ أعْلَمُ.
11 – al-Husayn b. Shadhawayh. Abu `Abdillah. As-Saffar. Al-Qummi. The Qummis alleged that he was a ghali. I saw a book from him about salat that was correct. Allah knows best.
( 41 ) - 14 - الحَسَنُ بنُ مُحَمَّد بن يَحْيى بن الحَسَن، أبُو مُحَمَّد، العَلَويّ، الحُسَيْنيُّ، المَعْرُوفُ بابنِ أبي طاهِر. كانَ كذّاباً، يَضَعُ الحديثَ مُجاهَرَةً. ويَدَّعي رِجالاً غُرَباءَ لا يُعْرَفُون، ويَعْتَمِدُ مَجاهِيلَ لا يُذْكَرُون. وما تَطِيْبُ الأنْفُسُ من رِوايَتِهِ إلّا في ما رواهُ من كُتُب جدّهِ التي رواها عنهُ غَيْرُهُ، وعن عليّ بن أَحْمَد بن عليّ العَقِيْقيّ، من كُتُبِهِ المُصَنَّفةِ المَشْهُورةِ.
14 – al-Husayn b. Muhammad b. Yahya b. al-Hasan. Abu Muhammad. Al-`Alawi. Al-Husayni. Known as Ibn Abi Tahir. He was a liar. He openly fabricated hadiths. He claimed strange rijal who are not recognized. He depended on unknown narrators who are not mentioned. None of his riwaya are good except for what he narrated from the books of his grandfather, which others apart than him have narrated, and from `Ali b. Ahmad b. `Ali al-`Aqiqi, from his famous written books.
They only depend on Hiss, so even Fadhl statements should be based on Hiss.
al-Muhsini does not accept Ibn Ghadhairi's Tawthiq and Tadhif at all, just like al-Khui, for they believe that his book did not reach us with a Mu'tabar chain.
But if you look at Ibn Ghadhairi's methods, most are based on Hadas i.e. his Ijtihad, this would be Batil for them, and in his second discussion, al-Muhsini negates most of the things that the scholars depend on in doing Ijtihad to give Tawthiq or Tadhif, these include considerations of position, fame and writings, for these are subjective, I shall append this post with 34 reasons for giving Tawthiq (based on Ijtihad) that al-Muhsini thinks are wrong (without explaining his reasoning - which he gives - for brevity, though can expand on a point if asked to do so).
There was no marked distinction universally-applied between fiqh and aqeeda when it came to ahadeeth. Many compilers simply compiled a variety of subjects into a collection. The subject of the content of a matn (which in itself can be subjective) does not dictate the use of `ilm ar-rijaal.
Fiqh is important, but so is aqeeda or tareekh or other subjects. There is the possibility of voiding your `ibaadaat. But the wrong aqeeda can void your emaan or even your islaam. It would not make sense to use information concerning the accuracy of transmittors, and the strange beliefs of narrators in fiqh, and then to ignore it when it comes to aqeeda! Indeed, we see that the beliefs of an individual were carefully noted in the rijaal books and scholars, such as the Shaykh, set criteria for accepting ahadeeth from those who are not 12ers. (Rather the argument that should be argued (though not necessarily because it is correct) is that we apply `ilm ar-rijaal more strictly for aqeeda and become lenient when it comes to fiqh).
Inconsistency is another problem. If you trust a good chain, such as Kulayni->Qummi->his father->Ibn Abi Umayr->Jameel bin Darraaj->Imam, for fiqh, then why not trust it for aqeeda? And vice versa. A path of personalities is acceptable for one narration and not acceptable for another? How can this be logical when it is the same path/source giving both narrations? (Especially when many reports would have been collected and compiled together regardless of their content).
Do translate more of what al-Muhsini says, dear brother.
al-Muhsini agrees fully with you here, and he uses his Rijali principles throughout, not differentiating between Ahadith of Fiqh, Aqeedah, or Tarikh, and is famous for this, when you refer back to his Mashra'ah.
My statement should be understood as follows:
He himself says it is the best way we have, and that what pleases his soul is to use the [b]Sahih, Hasan and Muwathaq only;[b] in Fiqh, as current principles dictate.
He confined it to Fiqh here - as this is what the majority approve of, but it does not mean that he personally does not refer to it in all other subjects as his practise shows.
Insha Allah I will translate from the start, from discussion one onwards so as the picture becomes clear.
Edited by Islamic Salvation, 12 July 2012 - 12:30 AM.