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In the Name of God بسم الله
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Studying Shaykh Muhammad Sanad's views on Ilm al-Rijal in his Vol. 1 of the series - Mabani Fi Ilm al-Rijal - is interesting, the Shaykh leads a new and novel camp in Rijal studies that is opposed to the traditionalist camp of Sayyid al-Khoei by raising the flag of so-called 'Qarainism'. The main difference is that Shaykh Sanad allows for Ijtihad in Rijal in modern times, although there are many other differences that stem from this cardinal divergence. This thread is there to translate some of his views due to the importance that they have been attracting in the current times from different quarters, and also to garner discussion. I have started translating from the second Fasl which is titled: How is Wathaqa or Husn proved? (The methods of making Tawthiq). Note that the translation is not word to word, rather I have used liberty in reconstruction, but all the ideas are faithfuly reproduced. Also, Qarain for the purpose of this thread will mean indicators, Ex. having a big-name narrator who is definitely Thiqah narrate from X, can be used as a Qarina for the Tawthiq of X, due to the constructed under-lying argument that this big-name narrator would not have narrated from someone who is weak. Pgs. 123-124 Introduction 1: My ingenious method in giving Tawthiqat and Tadhifat to the Rijal is to use the ‘Qarain stack-up’ method. This method allows for the transformation of a mere possibility (Ihtimal) that a Rajul is Thiqah or Dhaif to a level where we can have trust (Wathaqa) or satisfactory conventional knowledge (Ilm al-A’diy al-Itmi’naniy) that he is Thiqah or Dhaif, and the latter two are all we need to form the basis for a valid ruling, since they have Hujiyyah (probative force) according to all modern scholars. The Qarain that I speak of and that are to be used in the aforementioned stack-up are not limited to those Qarain that are standalone in their Dalalah (i.e. self-sufficient in their implications of a Rajul being Thiqah or Dhaif), rather, I consider as a Qarina anything that may provide the slightest of a hint (point in a direction) or a clue (revealing new info.) regarding a Rajul, and I collect and admit both types of Qarain into the body of the stack-up. The procces applied on the ‘Qarain stack-up’ is one of analysis through a weighted scoring model based on the respective importance of each Qarina, we have realized that many a times these Qarain do strengthen and support one another (though they can also contradict in other cases), as a result, and when viewed collectively, what one non-standalone Qarina could not accomplish on its own (since it only provided mere possibility or Ihtimal), the stack of Qarain does i.e. the stack considered together provides Wathaqa or Ilm al-A’diy al-Itmi’naniy - both of which have Hujiyyah and form a valid basis for ruling one way or the other. Having read this, you have probably understood what is in my view one of the greatest flaws that is being perpetuated in modern Rijalism (i.e. there are others), I mean by this the practice of criticizing an individual Qarina of Tawthiq for not being self-sufficient in its implications of a Rajul being Thiqah or Dhaif and then consequently going on to reject it, all of this is fair enough, but the part that I am firmly against is when they then go on to ignore that Qarina thereon and do not make an attempt to use it in any way whatsoever after their brief and conclusive rejection of it. This is what I call a ‘discrete look at the Qarain’, in other words, they do not acknowledge any utility for the non-standalone Qarina even when used in the framework of a stack-up. This is not a call for Tasamuh (loosening standards) in Tawthiq, nor is it applying the principle of charity for our Rijal, rather, it is a call to use the incremental principle of evidence building relative to each case on the basis of its contextual merits, individually non self-sufficient Qarain (when looked at singularly) provide mere possibility (Ihtimal) but when they help each other in terms of corraboration they provide so much more. Obviously, the quality and the quantity of the Qarain have to be studied. This is similar to the conceptions of Tawatur in Hadith, every single Khabar in the Tawatur bundle does not lead to Ilm and consequently Hujiyyah, but when we look at it as a uniform, self-consistent and integral bundle, we mark its report as definitely historical. My views are unique because they do not see Rijal as a mathematical point-to-point function theory, nor as a dictionary based science, It is not enough that when you have an Isnad, you pop out your Mu’jam, and look up all the Rijal in the Isnad and have your ruling in a matter of seconds, with a self confidence of a master, such a shallow view does not require effort, Rijal is not black and white, it is a study that owes much to sociology and other social sciences, it has a grey area. I dare say that this is similar to the practice of the Uqala (intelligent ones) who deal with historical investigation, these researchers collect all possible evidence related to a historical incident, and sift through them all with an aim of building a unified picture, the analysis process goes on until they can claim that they are confident about the details of an occurrence in the past. In conclusion, any and every Qarina that provides the slightest level of mere possibility about the condition of a narrator even though its implications are classified as Dhann (supposition) at this microcosmic stage (when viewed in solitary fashion) is an important source that can be used in the process (or creative exercise) of the method of ‘Qarain stack-up’, they can, when viewed collectively, transform Ihtimal to provide Wuthuq or Ilm al-A’diy al-Itmi’naniy.
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