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  1. I am new to shiachat and wanted to start this topic. Unfortunately, the rijal books we have are not in english and many of us do cannot access to valuable information about rijal. The aim of this topic is to provide brothers/sisters with a place where if we have doubt about a hadith or a narrator, we can bring the chain and knowledgeable brother of sisters can inform us of the authenticity of the narration or narrator. It would be better if brothers or sisters would also provide the sources in which they got the information. this site has many narrators and their authenticity - http://corpus.purifiedhousehold.com/muʿjam-al-aḥadith-al-muʿtabara/ ok here is my first chains. Ali ibn Muhammad and others have narrated from Sahl ibn Ziyad from Ayyub ibn Nuh from Safwan ibn Yahya from ibn Muskan from Badr ibn al-Walid from abu al-Rabi‘ al-Shami from abu ‘Abdallah Abu Ali al-Ash‘ari has narrated from Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Jabbar from Safwan from ibn Muskan from Badr ibn al-Walid from Abu al-Rabi‘ from abu ‘Abdallah Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from ‘Umrah ibn Musa from Musa ibn Ja‘far from ‘Amr ibn Sa‘id al-Mada’ini from abu ‘Ubayda al-Mada’ini from abu ‘Abdallah
  2. (bismillah) Abu Jafar Muhammad b. Sinan al-Zuhri is one of the most disputed narrators in Shi’i Rijal where many people say “he’s clearly weak” or “he’s clearly reliabile” or they just give up and take no opinion – treating him majhool. And I think it is rather silly to say that he, nor any companion or narrator, was just always 100% and we can see that there ups and downs for even some of our biggest companions like Yunus b. Abd al-Rahman and Zurara b. A`yun [ra], but they still come out on top. So I’m going put forward here most of the information regarding his weakening and authentication, then briefly discuss what I think about Muhammad b. Sinan. Indications of Weakening: Shaykh Mufid in Risalat al-Adadiyya said after he presented a narration with Muhammad b. Sinan in it: In this narration is Muhammad b. Sinan and he is accused, the sect has does differ in his being accused and weakness and that which is of his path is not acted upon in the religion. ومحمد بن سنان مطعون فيه ، لا تختلف العصابة في تهمته وضعفه ، وما كان هذا سبيله لايعمل عليه في الدين Najashi mentions in his entry: Ibn Uqda said : He narrates from al-Rida [as]…he has a well known Masa’il from him, and he is a very weak man, not relied upon, not turned to what he narrates singly. وقال أبوالعباس أحمد بن محمد بن سعيد ، إنه روى عن الرضا عليه السلام ، قال : وله مسائل عنه معروفة ، وهو رجل ضعيف جدا لا يعول عليه ، ولا يلتفت إلى ما تفرد به Najashi continues: …Safwan [b. Yahya] said: Verily this is Ibn Sinan he surely had in mind that he would fly* more than once so we cut him [down] until he was firmly with us. And this indicates his confusion that was and passed. ، وهذا يدل على اضطراب كان وزال فقال صفوان : إن هذا ابن سنان ، لقد هم أن يطير غير مرة ، فقصصناه حتى ثبت معنا *fly here is from يطير which was a metaphor for the Tayyara, a group of ghulaat. Najashi says in the entry of Miyaah al-Mada’ini: …and its path is the weakest from them and he is Muhammad b. Sinan وطريقها أضعف منها ، وهو محمد بن سنان Tusi in al-Fihirist: He was has been attacked/accused and weakened وقد طعن عليه وضعف Tusi in his Rijal mentioned him among the companions of al-Kazhim [as] and al-Rida [as] and weakened من أصحاب الرضا عليه السلام(7)، قائلا : " محمد بن سنان ، ضعيف " . Tusi in al-Istibsaar brining forward a narration with Muhammad b. Sinan in the chain, he said: In the path of this narration is Muhammad b. Sinan…and Muhammad b. Sinan is accused, very weak, and he is not proceeded independently by his narration and and not joined with him in it other than him not acting upon it. محمد بن سنان : مطعون عليه ، ضعيف جدا ، وما يستبد بروايته ولا يشركه فيه غيره لايعمل عليه Kashi: Hamduway: I wrote the sayings of Muhammad b. Sinan from Ayub b. Nuh and he said: I do not deem it permissible that I narrate the sayings of Muhammad b. Sinan. وقال الكشي(245): " قال حمدويه : كتبت أحاديث محمد بن سنان ، عن أيوب بن نوح ، وقال : لاأستحل أن أروي أحاديث محمد بن سنان " . Kashi: A notebook was presented to Ayub b. Nuh – in it the sayings of Muhammad b. Sinan – he said to us: If you wish to write that, then do so. For verily I wrote from Muhammad b. Sinan. However, I do not narrate a thing from it for you for he said before his death: Everything I have said to you was not with me by hearing, nor reporting, it was only that I found it. ذكر حمدويه بن نصير ، أن أيوب بن نوح دفع إليه دفترا فيه أحاديث محمد بن سنان ، فقال لنا : إن شئتم أن تكتبوا ذلك فافعلوا ، فإني كتبت عن محمد بن سنان ، ولا أروي لكم أنا عنه شيئا ، فإنه قال له محمد قبل موته : كلما أحدثكم به لم يكن لي سماعة ولا رواية ، إنما وجدته " . Kashi: Muhammad b. Masud [from] Abdullah b. Hamduwayh said: I heard al-Fadhl b. Shathan saying: I do not permit that I narrate the sayings of Muhammad b. Sinan. al-Fadhl mentioned in some of his books: From the famous liars is Ibn Sinan, and he is not Abdullah. [Abdullah b. Hamduwayh is Majhool] قال محمد بن مسعود : قال عبدالله بن حمدويه : سمعت الفضل بن شاذان يقول : لا أستحل أن أروي أحاديث محمد بن سنان ، وذكر الفضل في بعض كتبه ، أن من الكاذبين المشهورين ، ابن سنان ، وليس بعبد الله " . Kashi: Abu al-Hasan Ali b. Muhammad b. Qutayba al-Nisaburi said: Abu Muhammad al-Fadhl b. Shathan said: Remove from the sayings of Muhammad b. Sinan. And he said: I do not love (OR “I do not permit”) that you narrate the sayings of Muhammad b. Sinan from me while I am still alive. He permitted his narrations after his death. أبوالحسن علي بن محمد بن قتيبة النيسابوري ، قال : قال أبومحمد الفضل بن شاذان : ارووا(ردوا)أحاديث محمد بن سنان عني ، وقال : لا أحب (أحل)لكم أن ترووا أحاديث محمد بن سنان عني مادمت حيا ، وأذن في الرواية بعد موته " . Kashi mentions in the entry of al-Mufadhal b. Umar after mentioning a group of the Ghulat, he said: Muhammad b. Sinan is like that. Kashi: al-Fadhl b. Shathan mentioned in some of his books from the famous liars is Abu al-Khattab, Yunus b. Zhabyan, Yazid al-Sa’igh, Muhammad b. Sinan, and Abu Sameena is the most famous of them. وذكر فضل في بعض كتبه من الكذابين المشهورين ، أبوالخطاب ، ويونس بن ظبيان ، ويزيد الصائغ ، ومحمد بن سنان ، وأبوسمينة أشهرهم Ibn al-Ghada’iri said: Weak, exaggerator, he fabricates, he is not turned to. ضعيف غال ، يضع ، لايلتفت إليه Ibn al-Ghada’iri said in the entry of Tharih: Verily his path is weak because the owner of the book said: Muhammad b. Sinan narrated from Abdullah b. Jabalah al-Kanani from Tharih. He weakened this path due to Muhammad b. Sinan. قال في ترجمة ذريح : إن طريقه ضعيف ، لان صاحب الكتاب ، قال : وروى محمد بن سنان Ibn al-Ghada’iri said in the entry of Ziyad b. al-Munthir [Abu al-Jarud]: Our companions hate what Muhammad b. Sinan narrated from him. وأصحابنا يكرهون ما رواه محمد بن سنان عنه Indication of Strengthening: al-Mufid included him in al-Irshad from those who report the appointment of Abu al-Hasan al-Rida [as] from his father and that he is from his special ones and reliable ones, the people of godliness, knowledge, and jurisprudence his Shi`ah. عده ممن روى النص على الرضا عليه السلام من أبيه من خاصته وثقاته وأهل الورع ، والعلم والفقه من شيعته . Tusi in al-Ghayba includes him amongst the Praised Representatives and he presents in his favor a narration from Abu Jafar the Second [al-Jawad] (as). He is from the narrators of Tafseer al-Qummi (both sections of Tafseer Jarudi and Qummi] The most esteemed narrators narrate from him, like Ayub b. Nuh, al-Fadhl b. Shathan, Muhammad b. Isa b. Ubayd, Yunus b. Abu al-Rahman, Muhammad b. al-Husayn b. Abi al-Khattab, al-Hasan b. Said, al-Husayn b. Said, Safwan b. Yahya, Ibn Abi Najran, Ibrahim b. Hashim, Ahmad b. Idris, Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa, al-Hasan b. Ali b. Yaqteen, al-Hasan b. Mahbub, Ibn Fadhal, Hamza b. Yalaa, Salih b. Abi Hamad, Abdullah b. Salt, Ali b. Asbat, Ali b. al-Hakam, Ali b. Numan, Amr b. Uthman, Muhammad b. Abi al-Sahban, Muhammad b. Abd al-Jabbar, Yaqub b. Yazid, al-Wasaha’, and many more. Kashi: Muhammad b. Quluwayh said: Sad b. Abdullah said to me saying: Abu Jafar Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa reported to me from a man from Ali b. al-Husayn b. Dawud al-Qummi, he said: I heard Abu Jafar the Second (as) mention Safwa b. Yahya and Muhammad b. Sinan by the best. He said: Allah be pleased pleased with them by my pleasure with them. They never opposed me ever. This was after what came from him in them two of what I heard of him from our companions. وقال في(360): 1 " حدثني محمد بن قولويه ، قال : حدثني سعد بن عبدالله ، قال : حدثني أبوجعفر أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى ، عن رجل ، عن علي بن الحسين بن داود القمي ، قال : سمعت أبا جعفر الثاني عليه السلام يذكر صفوان بن يحيى ، ومحمد ابن سنان بخير ، وقال : رضي الله عنهما برضائي عنهما ، لا(فما)خالفاني قط ، هذا بعد ما جاء عنه فيهما ما قد سمعته من أصحابنا " Kashi narrates a hadith from Abi Talib Abdullah b. al-Salt al-Qummi, he said: I entered upon Abi Jafar the Second [al-Jawad] (as) during the last of his life then I heard him saying: May Allah reward Safwan b. Yahya, Muhammad b. Sinan, and Zakariyya b. Adam from me the best, for they surely were faithful to me. He didn’t mention Sad b. Sad. He said: So I exited then I met a gathering, so I said to them: Verily our Master mentioned Safwan, Muhammad b. Sinan, and Zakariyya b. Adam and they be rewarded the best, but he didn’t mentioned Sad b. Sad. He said: So I returned to him then he [al-Jawad (as)] said: May Allah reward Safwan b. Yahya, Muhammad b. Sinan, Zakariyya b. Adam, and Sad b. Sad for they surely were faithful to me. 2 " عن أبي طالب عبدالله بن الصلت القمي ، قال : دخلت على أبي جعفر الثاني عليه السلام في آخر عمره ، فسمعته يقول : جزى الله صفوان بن يحيى ، ومحمد بن سنان ، وزكريا بن آدم عني خيرا ، فقد وفوا لي ، ولم يذكر سعد بن سعد ، قال : فخرجت فلقيت موفقا ، فقلت له : إن مولاي ذكر صفوان ، ومحمد بن سنان وزكريا بن آدم ، وجزاهم خيرا ولم يذكر سعد بن سعد ، قال : فعدت إليه ، فقال : جزى الله صفوان بن يحيى ، ومحمد بن سنان ، وزكريا بن آدم ، وسعد بن سعد عني خيرا ، فقد وفوا لي " *It is apparent that al-Kashi is not narrating this by Wijada (he indicates when he does that) and that this narration is connected to the chain before and it is from the previous chain up to Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa [ra]. Saduq [ra] notes that Abdullah b. al-Salt al-Qummis came and met Ibn Isa narrating to him prolifically, and his narrations for him are known. It is on this basis ulemaa, such as al-Khui and others, have authenticated it. Muhammad b. Sinan was not removed from Nawadir al-Hikma, and he narrates in it repeatedly. He is from the Ma`arif – his narrations top a thousand times. This is indicative of his reliability, especially amongst the Qummis. Many narrations come from Muhammad b. Sinan himself that indicate his praise. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The objective of my post is not to sit here and nullify all of Muhammad b. Sinan’s indications of weakening or authentication and then say that the other remains so he’s therefore X. That is false way to understand this narrator and is highly simplistic – including playing the “weak sanad” game for these narrations. One will notice that there are very strong criticisms against Muhammad b. Sinan, but there is also very strong praises in his favor. What is most apparent from al-Najashi is that he is weakening him for his confusion in his beliefs and doctrine, as is evidenced from what is quoted above from Safwan. He also pulls forward what Ibn Uqda says about his weakness but he specifies his tafarrud (what comes from him alone). This point of tafarrud from the Qudama is common in their methodology regarding people of incorrect doctrine. Ibn al-Ghada’iri is also of similar case. Similarly with that al-Mufid brings forward about the sect not differing about him [except that they did] with him being “muttaham.” Muhammad b. Sinan is from among the close companions of giants of the Mathhab like Safwan b. Yahya and Ibn Abi Umayr, and his students are among them like Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa al-Ashari, his brother, and others from the giant list above. Yes, it is interesting to note that Ayub b. Nuh and al-Fadhl b. Shathan criticize him, even call him a liar, but then go on their merry way narrating his ahadeeth. Why is this happening? It is known that our Ancient scholars had many more books and resources of information than we do, even having the Source (Usool) books in their original forms and even their authors’ own handwriting to identify it. What has happened is that Muhammad b. Sinan was an Imami who became associated with the ghulaat, and was even drawn to them at some point in his life. Kashi and others mention that his narrations are found in the books of the ghulaat and that they ascribed many narrations with his name. Safwan [ra] recounts, as quoted Najashi above from Kashi’s Rijal, that Ibn Sinan had come near the ghulaat a few times, but he prevented this and that he was solidly with them upon correct doctrine and narrator status. Even then al-Najashi says that this phase of his passed and was no more. So when people like al-Najashi and Ibn al-Ghada’iri inspected all that was attributed to him, they had found things that were, according them, very incorrect and lies upon the Imams [as] from his association with the ghulaat, and they just went off on him due to this. If you’ll notice, all the criticism comes from Baghdadis and those famous for grading via narration inspection. The Qummis have never made a peep about him and they were extremists in dropping anyone who even had a whiff of Ghuluw in them. Saduq, Ibn al-Walid, AND Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa al-Ashari who was also the student of Safwan, Ibn Abi Umayr, and al-Bazanti [ra], took his narrations and continued to take from him and al-Ashari is even the one who is narrating the ahadeeth from the Imam [a] in his praise. But if these praises are coming from the Imam, why are people weakening him so much? Because the Qudama prioritized correct hadith over all else – so when they see someone with what they deem ghuluw and manakeer [denied things], that person is a weak liar. But for Muhammad b. Sinan, this was not the case across the board. We can see in Nawadir al-Hikma that they trusted Muhammad b. Sinan and his narrations due to repeated occurrence there (meaning this was not some sort of one-time he’s narrating a Sahih hadith – in terms of meaning – nor that he was some accident they forgot to remove). Keep in mind that Ibn al-Walid [ra] removed ghulaat from there even if he was narrating a sahih narration such as al-Hasan b. Ali b. Abi Uthman. Ibn Sinan is all over their books – in al-Kafi and al-Faqih which were given authentication by their authors. Someone narrating that much in all sorts of sections and places shows his being trusted by them. So Muhammad b. Sinan was criticized heavily due to his closeness to ghuluw at a time in his life and even being students of people who also were accused with ghuluw (like Mufadhl b. Umar and Dawud b. Kathir al-Riqqi) but they, too, have been trusted been praised by the Imam [as] directly and, again, the Qummis trusted and praised. These different camps of scholars all had varying methodologies in Ilm al-Rijal. For example, Ibn al-Ghada’iri mentions the hatred of Ibn Sinan’s narrations from Abu al-Jarud, but that chain is all over the 4 books and occurs many times in Nawadir al-Hikma. So Muhammad b. Sinan [ra] is thiqa and from those who are very close to the Imams [as], but he had entertained ideas of the ghulaat at some point and they had began to attribute things to him even after Safwan and the rest of the core companions of the Ta’ifa [ra] prevented him from deviating and going astray. And the icing on the cake to all this is what Allamah Muhammad Taqi al-Tustari [rh] says in Ibn Sinan’s entry in his Qamus al-Rijal: And [even] if you refuse his goodness in his self then his reports are established/reliable where verily al-Shaykh [al-Tusi] narrates his reports except that which is in it of exaggeration and confusion and similarly a congregation of the just and reliable from the people of knowledge…as has been mentioned from al-Kashi so there is no doubt that they narrated from him the sound without the wicked for they surely were extremely critical of reports. و إن أبيت عن حسنه في نفسه فأخباره معتبرة، حيث إن الشيخ في الفهرست روى أخباره إلّا ما كان فيها غلوّ أو تخليط و كذا روى عنه جمع من العدول و الثقات من أهل العلم، كيونس بن عبد الرحمن، و الحسين بن سعيد الأهوازي و أخيه، و الفضل بن شاذان و أبيه، و أيّوب بن نوح، و محمّد بن الحسين بن أبي الخطّاب و غيرهم كما مرّ عن الكشّي فلابدّ أنّهم رووا عنه السليم دون السقيم، فإنّهم كانوا نقّاد الآثار . al-Kulayni, al-Saduq, al-Tusi who compiled books of Mu`tabar ahadeeth, gave them their authentication, are full of his narrations that are correct, even if one wants to deny Muhammad b. Sinan’s reliability. All of what we have has come through al-Shaykh al-Tusi [ra], also. Allah knows best. في امان الله
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