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Aabiss_Shakari

Sunni Rijal Versus The Shia Rijal

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(salam)

I am just a minor student of Islamic knowledge and It is my humble observation in this regard.

I think that in Shia fiqh the rijal is not that important as it is in Sunni fiqh. We have twelve holy Imams (Golden Chain) of narrations. The narrators who reported from these twelve holy Imams (a.s) in their respective times hold less importance. Our faith is based on direct sayings of Imams (a.s) in their respective times who were being heard by many people/followers and there were less chances of deception and lie. On the other hand the Sunni reporters are common people. Their were reliable as well as non reliable reporters and they are separated in times from Prophet's times to the next generations. It is also important to note here that there is so much diversion of opinion regarding a reporter in Sunni side. Most of the time personal bias is also involved in weakening a reporter in Sunni side. Most of time we see in Shia side the hadiths are narrated in the following manner...

SHIA REPORTS: Narrated A from Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s) who reported from his father Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s) who reported from his father Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s) who reported from his father Imam Hussain (a.s) who said that Prophet (pbuh) said .......

SUNNI REPORTS: Narrated Abu Huraira that prophet (pbuh) said

or

Narrated A from B who narrated from C who narrated that Hazrat Aysha (r.a) said that prophet (pbuh) said...

It appears in Sunni side the reliability of narrators is more random and diverse while in Shia side the weak narrators are easily picked up. Even otherwise, the authenticity of reports in Shia side depends more on "matan" and whether the report is in accordance with Quran and settled Sunnah.

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(bismillah)

(wasalam)

I believe rijaal and isnaad criticism is less important to our madhab, especially in fiqh, because of the tawattur of our narrations, the closeness of their recording to the Imams' عليهم السلام lifetimes, and the strong qaraa'in able to establish the sihat of practices - these are all things Sunni ahaadeeth do not have. Just open up a chapter in Wasaa'il on a Wajib/Fardh issue and you'll find several ahaadeeth from different narrators and companions of the Imams عليهم السلام - sometimes different Imams عليهم السلام. The narratives generally have the same meaning - barring taqiyyah. The correctness in matn of the narrations is much stronger given these ahaadeeth were written during the Imams' lives and the chains are much shorter. And because jurisprudence, rijaal, everything was be codified and organized while the Ma`sumeen عليهم السلام were around, we can use things such as ijma` of the Imams' companions رضوان الله عليهم to see what is authentic and what is not. Similarly to earliest of our Fuqahaa' رحمهم الله up to the beginning of the Greater Occultation. Qaraa'in has an important place in our madhhab.

Sunni narrations on the other hand rely heavily on rijaal due to the great singularity of their fiqh narrations - which is why most of their ahkaam is derived from ra'i and qiyas - and many times on tafseer of ayaat (which there is much ikhtilaaf on...all of it). They started compiling narrations about 100 years or more after the wafaat of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم. Their isnaads are much longer than ours cause they have to go farther back - so a larger gap to obscure meaning/error in transmission. They can't really rely on the practice of a community or anything cause there is no Ma`sum around (according to them) whose opinion they are trying to identify within the consensus. They have their own notion of ijma` that is logically and practically flawed as well - as well anachronistically applied. There is also that late determination of what exactly was and wasn't Sunnah in non-Shi'ism. Many times "Sunnah" was what the community, political leaders, etc did - not particular the ways of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم.

Let's not forget that without their blanket statement of flawless narration/`adalah of all the "Companions," they have no source of religion. Let's face it, if they had to historically try to reanalyze the actions and character of each companion individually, they would have nothing...lots and lots of majaheel.

There, that is my two scents worth.

في أمان الله

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Thank you brother. This is my point that too much reliance on rijal and Qiyas (analogy) among the Sunniites made their reports highly doubtful and it is heavy burden on them to check each and every reporter among the hundreds of them from whom they got their religious text. While on the other hand the "Hadiths have been passed from generation to generation from Imam of one time to Imam of another time and also through their companions" .

This is the biggest advantage of adherence to the family of Prophet (pbuh) (Ahlul Bayt a.s) which is overlooked by both Shia and Sunni scholars. May be some scholar would have worked on it. Any book referred in this regard will be highly appreciated by any of the brothers.

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Please, i wil like to knw about d different sect of islam, their differences nd their characteristics.

Salaam brother

You are most welcome for the good cause and that is to learn, to gain knowledge. This act of gaining knowledge is appreciated by all societies and above all, Allah loves it.

You should definitely know all of Islam first and not about different sects as there are many and you will be lost. Currently, there are two sects and one of them is in majority (sunnis) and one of them is minority (shia Muslims). You should explore only about the difference between these two and not care about the rest. All rest such as Qadiyanis, Ismailis, Bahai's etc etc are considered out of Islam by both these major sects.

Sunnis, the majority are in majority because they follow the path of those Muslim Kings who ruled the world with sword and resources. You must be familiar with the fact of how this world became populated. Armies conquered different countries and brought their rule and cultures under their kings and so the world's population spread around. These majority of sunnis follow those Bani Umayyan kings who rules muslim empire for 150 years and then Banu Abbas, ruled for 500 years and plus Ottomons up till first world war. Like this under favorable conditions offered to them by their Kings, Govt., Armies , scholars and their own made system, their population is more.

On the other hand, Shia muslims follow what Prophet of Islam s.a.w told them to follow. His Progeny and book of Allah. Again you must be familiar with the fact of how satan becomes active against truth. Therefore when shia muslims started following the Progeny of Prophet s.a.w, they were oppressed, killed, humiliated and lost hundreds and thousands and millions of lives so far and are less in number. They are killed since 1400 years but these sunni kings. First at the battle of Saffin and Jamal, but at that time the Shia Imam, the successor of Prophet s.a.w was alive and their commander so they won those battles after giving some lives. But later Imam Ali a.s was murdered by their king Muawiyah.

Later you can see the history of Karbala. That is also sunni armies (Omar Bin Saad) vs shia muslims (Imam Hussain a.s and his followers) story. Later you can imagine for 150+500+ Ottomon rule , how these majority sunnis must have treated their shia brothers.

There is more to know about differences but i am giving you the basic idea.

Help yourself by using Al-Islam.org, the biggest digital library for muslims.

WARNING : Stay away from Wahabi movement. They are not muslims but british backed saudi agents. They belong to Illuminati.

JazakAllah

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I believe rijaal and isnaad criticism is less important to our madhab, especially in fiqh, because of the tawattur of our narrations, the closeness of their recording to the Imams' Úáíåã ÇáÓáÇã lifetimes...

- You can't establish tawattur without looking at rijaal...

- The time of a recording isn't particularly relevant as far as determining authenticity. Paul was present during the advent of Christ, and his recordings have the greatest manuscript evidence amongst any books of the Bible. He wasn't with 'Isa though, and I doubt many Muslims give credence to the theology he promoted. Likewise, even assuming all Imams had equal knowledge, they weren't ever-present so as to respond to and correct or affirm everything being stated in their name.

And because jurisprudence, rijaal, everything was be codified and organized while the Ma`sumeen Úáíåã ÇáÓáÇã were around, we can use things such as ijma` of the Imams' companions ÑÖæÇä Çááå Úáíåã to see what is authentic and what is not. Similarly to earliest of our Fuqahaa' ÑÍãåã Çááå up to the beginning of the Greater Occultation.

How can you use ijma of the Imams' companions when the vast majority only received part of their message while the "true" message was saved for a select few? For example, the numerous long-term students of Jafar as-Sadiq, while only a handful of his purported students are relied upon for such "ijma"? Even assuming they were all exactly identical in their knowledge by some miracle, they weren't all around at all places to verify and authenticate everything being passed on in their name.

Sunni narrations on the other hand rely heavily on rijaal due to the great singularity of their fiqh narrations - which is why most of their ahkaam is derived from ra'i and qiyas - and many times on tafseer of ayaat (which there is much ikhtilaaf on...all of it).

That's not true. If you check the asanid of most basic issues, you'll find several authentic asanid and several asanid that aren't rigorously authenticated. If you check up on more detailed elements, than you're obviously going to run into singularity and the same applies to Shi'ite narrations once you move up from a basic concept to a detailed narration related to it.

Their isnaads are much longer than ours cause they have to go farther back - so a larger gap to obscure meaning/error in transmission.

There aren't many novel fiqh issues dealt with in later books. The books that were primarily relied upon have essentially equivelent length asanid, so this is trivial as far as fiqh is concerned.

They can't really rely on the practice of a community

That's not true.

Let's not forget that without their blanket statement of flawless narration/`adalah of all the "Companions," they have no source of religion. Let's face it, if they had to historically try to reanalyze the actions and character of each companion individually, they would have nothing...lots and lots of majaheel.

That "blanket statement" covers a handful of reports at best. Almost everything of significant importance was reported by multiple companions that were known by more than a name. The same can't be said about Shi'i narrators.

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Aabiss_Shakari, there are so many errors in your post, I do not know where to begin. Unfortunately I do not have the time to contribute more than this, except to make what I have said known. Inshaa'Allah, after Wednesday, I will be able to contribute something helpful to this discussion.

No offence intended. May Allah, azza wa jalla, increase us in knowledge. (wasalam)

Edited by Yasoob Al Deen

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(bismillah)

My replies will be short cause it's kind of hard to pinpoint what exactly your trying to argue/ask for. Anyway...

- You can't establish tawattur without looking at rijaal...

I didn't say rijaal or asaaneed are useless. I'm saying this rigid, man-made system is less emphasized. Also, no tawaatur without chains? Please provide me all the asaaneed for the Qur'an to prove that is it truly mutawaatir authentic.

- The time of a recording isn't particularly relevant as far as determining authenticity. Paul was present during the advent of Christ, and his recordings have the greatest manuscript evidence amongst any books of the Bible. He wasn't with 'Isa though, and I doubt many Muslims give credence to the theology he promoted. Likewise, even assuming all Imams had equal knowledge, they weren't ever-present so as to respond to and correct or affirm everything being stated in their name.

I think it has a lot to do with it. Because we don't have this giant gap between writing it down and the Ma`sum's life, there's higher accuracy with matn. The narrators to our Imams [as] lived at a time where it was the fad to memorize and transmit ahaadeeth. Unlike Paul...the people who were writing down the ahaadeeth of the Imams [as] actually knew them and were their close associates or companions. And actually, yes, people did go to Imams and ask them "is such and such narration attributing to your father Saheeh?" And they would inform them (usually confirming from what I've seen).

How can you use ijma of the Imams' companions when the vast majority only received part of their message while the "true" message was saved for a select few? For example, the numerous long-term students of Jafar as-Sadiq, while only a handful of his purported students are relied upon for such "ijma"? Even assuming they were all exactly identical in their knowledge by some miracle, they weren't all around at all places to verify and authenticate everything being passed on in their name.

Because we are doing just that. Taking the consensus or action of the Khassah of the Imams [as] to establish sihat for a ruling or belief.

That's not true. If you check the asanid of most basic issues, you'll find several authentic asanid and several asanid that aren't rigorously authenticated. If you check up on more detailed elements, than you're obviously going to run into singularity and the same applies to Shi'ite narrations once you move up from a basic concept to a detailed narration related to it.

Basic or not, there is a lot ikhtilaaf in the madhahib. There are only 2 narrations Sunni books contain about the kaffaarah for breaking one's fast intentionally in Ramadhaan. The ruling of those two narration differs based on madhhab due to ra'i and qiyas. That is not tawaatur.

There aren't many novel fiqh issues dealt with in later books. The books that were primarily relied upon have essentially equivelent length asanid, so this is trivial as far as fiqh is concerned.

If you look at some our remaining Usool works, you'll find the Chain is at most like 3 people to the Imam [as]. Some even less (like Kitaab al-Mu'min).

That's not true.

I'm not considering the Sunni conception of ijma` as legitimate here.

That "blanket statement" covers a handful of reports at best. Almost everything of significant importance was reported by multiple companions that were known by more than a name. The same can't be said about Shi'i narrators.

No, it's a necessary blanket for Sunni Islam because the companions are for them the only source to the Prophetic Sunnah. More details to know their character flaws and unjust character? Yes.

You should give brother Hannibal's posts in this old topic a read through: http://www.shiachat....ost__p__2060307

More of his replies on later pages.

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Also, no tawaatur without chains? Please provide me all the asaaneed for the Qur'an to prove that is it truly mutawaatir authentic.

As far as later generations, if numerous people in the earliest times claimed it's tawattur conflated with the fact that nobody in those generations disputed these claims, than they had seen the different rijaal through whom Qur'an was being taught. But if you want to reanalyze it's tawattur you can even start by looking at the chain of a single qira'a where in each tabaqa you have a multitude of men. I don't have all of the asanid but a brief analysis is available in English:

http://www.islamic-a...aat/hafs.html#4

So yes, you can't prove tawattur without 'ilm al-rijaal - the very meaning implies that at each tabaqa in the asanid, there were multiple rijaal (so a single person with a few pseudonyms couldn't just have created a bunch of asanid). I believe I've answered your question as best I can in a short response - can you tell me how you than establish tawattur for riwayat of Aima without 'ilm al rijal?

And actually, yes, people did go to Imams and ask them "is such and such narration attributing to your father Saheeh?" And they would inform them (usually confirming from what I've seen).

Of the thousands of traditions reported by Shi'ites, only a handful are of this nature (confirming with the Imam). And few, if any of these, is confirming entire texts. And even those which do confirm entire texts (like Kitaab Sulaym) didn't manage to be particularly useful considering that current versions come through a single sanad with known problems. Even those traditions which are of this nature, and which do suggest that Aima gave tawtheeq or jarh for certain narrators can't really be proven to them without checking those traditions. How do we know, for example, that tawtheeq of Zurara is true to the Imam without checking those who reported this statement of the Imam when the Imams themselves didn't leave us anything?

Because we are doing just that. Taking the consensus or action of the Khassah of the Imams [as] to establish sihat for a ruling or belief.

I guess I didn't understand ijma from a Twelver perspective than. But you know that these are his close students how? Are you taking their tawtheeq for themselves? And this is more logical than accepting the reports of the vast majority of their acquaintances for establishing ijma? Let's say you are a public lecturer, and you are saying "XYZ" to a hundred people. The hundred people generally report "XYZ" - but a select group of people claim they are particularly close to you and tell the world you really say "ABC" while "XYZ" is just to fool everyone else - and this select group is presenting a more reliable testimony to what you spoke about than everyone else?

Basic or not, there is a lot ikhtilaaf in the madhahib. There are only 2 narrations Sunni books contain about the kaffaarah for breaking one's fast intentionally in Ramadhaan. The ruling of those two narration differs based on madhhab due to ra'i and qiyas. That is not tawaatur.

And that's a detail. The actual issue of fasting is agreed upon whereas Shi'ite scholars are in disagreement over fundamentals (legitimacy/necessity of zakat, certain salaat, khums etc.). Somebody might disagree as to how precisely a part of the prayer is said, and you're finding fault with Sunnis for that, when at the very core, every Sunni agrees to the essentials of prayer as well as it's necessity - and Shi'ites aren't even agreed on the validity for example of Juma'a. With Sunnis, there is a backdoor for ikhtilaf in the traditions of the Prophet (saaw) as well as Qur'an to confirm acceptance for valid ikhtilaf.

If you look at some our remaining Usool works, you'll find the Chain is at most like 3 people to the Imam [as]. Some even less (like Kitaab al-Mu'min).

Kitaab al-Mu'min is a very short work and I doubt it's scope in determining ahkaam was particularly fundamental to Twelver scholars. Would you kindly cite a couple of these major usool works with short chains that have been primarily relied upon for fiqh? From my own reading of Shi'ite texts, I don't see how al-Sanani's musanaf or al-Daraimi's Sunan have generally longer asanid. Even the two Musnad's have typically 3-4 narrators within 2-3 generations in traditions.

Regarding Kitaab al Mu'min though, is this known by a manuscript with it's own colophon or is the present edition extracted from the more voluminous works via many different chains?

I'm not considering the Sunni conception of ijma` as legitimate here.

You referred to the amal of the community as a proof - there are detailed texts on this topic from the Sunni side. A very short and undetailed work is even translated and widely available. Amal of the first generations was a particularly fundamental basis for fiqh.

No, it's a necessary blanket for Sunni Islam because the companions are for them the only source to the Prophetic Sunnah

Naturally, the Sahaba would be the generation that's directly with the Prophet. You can't skip a generation and suggest that their report is good unless it connects to someone who actually heard the Prophet (saaw). Even statements of Jafar, etc. are said to be transmitted via a route to Muhammad (saaw).

As far as it's being necessary when there is extensive biographical literature on most Sahaba that narrated ahadith, such that even if you knocked a handful that are possibly only known by name, you wouldn't leave a dent in Sunni fiqh/aqeeda. I'll take a look at that thread.

I just looked closer at Kitab al Mumin. The reason the asanid are so short is because they are broken, not because of the closeness of the author to those whom he claimed to narrate from and asanid like "عن أحدهما". That's like pointing to Nahjul Balagha and saying that a proof of it's superiority to Sunni texts is that the author completely omitted asanid.

Edited by twoblade

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(bismillah)

So yes, you can't prove tawattur without 'ilm al-rijaal - the very meaning implies that at each tabaqa in the asanid, there were multiple rijaal (so a single person with a few pseudonyms couldn't just have created a bunch of asanid). I believe I've answered your question as best I can in a short response - can you tell me how you than establish tawattur for riwayat of Aima without 'ilm al rijal?

I didn't say it was useless. I'm talking about the mechanical system of grading each rawi and such. Asaneed are necessary to see the many different turuq that ruling/belief can be traced through.

Of the thousands of traditions reported by Shi'ites, only a handful are of this nature (confirming with the Imam). And few, if any of these, is confirming entire texts. And even those which do confirm entire texts (like Kitaab Sulaym) didn't manage to be particularly useful considering that current versions come through a single sanad with known problems. Even those traditions which are of this nature, and which do suggest that Aima gave tawtheeq or jarh for certain narrators can't really be proven to them without checking those traditions. How do we know, for example, that tawtheeq of Zurara is true to the Imam without checking those who reported this statement of the Imam when the Imams themselves didn't leave us anything?

You should get more familiar with Qaraa'in and how the `ulemaa would establish the sihat of mutun by it. Along with tawaatur. The thread link I gave to you explains it pretty nicely (by Bro Hannibal).

I guess I didn't understand ijma from a Twelver perspective than. But you know that these are his close students how? Are you taking their tawtheeq for themselves? And this is more logical than accepting the reports of the vast majority of their acquaintances for establishing ijma? Let's say you are a public lecturer, and you are saying "XYZ" to a hundred people. The hundred people generally report "XYZ" - but a select group of people claim they are particularly close to you and tell the world you really say "ABC" while "XYZ" is just to fool everyone else - and this select group is presenting a more reliable testimony to what you spoke about than everyone else?

Qaraa'in. We stuck to the private and close students of the Imams [as]. Again, this is not entirely reliant on their rijaal entries but the collective information that has come down regarding these close companions. Honestly, with fiqh opinions. Not that much extreme taqiyya by the Imams (as) was employed because non-Shi'as were drowning in ikhtilaaf as it was. You can find Shi'i rulings traced through the Imams (as) in early sunni fiqh works. Yes, they told some of their followers to do X and Y for taqiyyah, but that doesn't mean they themselves did so with that particular thing.

And that's a detail. The actual issue of fasting is agreed upon whereas Shi'ite scholars are in disagreement over fundamentals (legitimacy/necessity of zakat, certain salaat, khums etc.). Somebody might disagree as to how precisely a part of the prayer is said, and you're finding fault with Sunnis for that, when at the very core, every Sunni agrees to the essentials of prayer as well as it's necessity - and Shi'ites aren't even agreed on the validity for example of Juma'a. With Sunnis, there is a backdoor for ikhtilaf in the traditions of the Prophet (saaw) as well as Qur'an to confirm acceptance for valid ikhtilaf.

Read that link and perhaps give the few things Hannibal suggests a read to understand the great amount of ikhtilaaf. We don't disagree over basic issues, actually. We do pray zakaah and believe in its wujoob. We don't pay it on the same things Sunnis do (like currency; paper money) which is why many people (like Pakistanis) think we don't pay zakaah. All the ikhtilaaf you're bringing up is about as big as it gets when Sunnis can't agree on what's the first verse of the Qur'an.... and there's much much more ikhtilaaf than that; especially on deeper issues.

You referred to the amal of the community as a proof - there are detailed texts on this topic from the Sunni side. A very short and undetailed work is even translated and widely available. Amal of the first generations was a particularly fundamental basis for fiqh.

Again, this kind of communal proof doesn't hold as much weight in comparison because within the Shi'i conception of communal practice (and other Qaraa'in) because there is the Ma`sum Imam [as] present. The Sunni version is just trying to say this is early and therefore more likely to be correct.

Naturally, the Sahaba would be the generation that's directly with the Prophet. You can't skip a generation and suggest that their report is good unless it connects to someone who actually heard the Prophet (saaw). Even statements of Jafar, etc. are said to be transmitted via a route to Muhammad (saaw).

I'm fairly sure you understand what it means to us when an Imam [as] says something and compared how we try to substantiate something going back to the Prophets through an Imam [as] to a Sunni. Again, there's nothing about being a Sahaba that makes you an innately infallible narrator. Historically speaking, it is something that evolved later because otherwise there would be no source and once you started to question some companions, you need to suspect and investigate them all. That is difficult to do when the time period where ahaadeeth and its sciences were collected and developing was long after most of them had died.

As far as it's being necessary when there is extensive biographical literature on most Sahaba that narrated ahadith, such that even if you knocked a handful that are possibly only known by name, you wouldn't leave a dent in Sunni fiqh/aqeeda. I'll take a look at that thread.

Perhaps if you knocked the really unknown ones, maybe. But the thing is, evidences for the bad conduct and such is for the larger narrators in your works (`Aisha, Talha, Zubayr, Abu Hurayra etc).

Edited by Dar'ul_Islam

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I didn't say it was useless. I'm talking about the mechanical system of grading each rawi and such. Asaneed are necessary to see the many different turuq that ruling/belief can be traced through.

You can't use asanid to elevate something to tawattur without grading a rawi. One or two people with a couple of pseudonyms can fabricate asanid and ignoring their biography you'll be led to believe you have 40 asanid when there may be only four.

You should get more familiar with Qaraa'in and how the `ulemaa would establish the sihat of mutun by it. Along with tawaatur. The thread link I gave to you explains it pretty nicely (by Bro Hannibal).

I'm familiar enough to not downplay grading of a rawi and assume I can find tawattur of riwayat without it...

Honestly, with fiqh opinions. Not that much extreme taqiyya by the Imams (as) was employed because non-Shi'as were drowning in ikhtilaaf as it was.

I've only taken a cursory look but almost all of these traditions are on ahkam, so your story is a little hard to buy:

http://www.dd-sunnah.net/forum/showthread.php?t=97941

Even with "Imams", Twelvers are "drowning" in far more significant ikhtilaf so it's strange you would word it that way.

You can find Shi'i rulings traced through the Imams (as) in early sunni fiqh works.

If this is a little better researched than the usual out-of-context Bukhari translations thrown around here, I'd be greatful to see some legitimate examples.

Read that link and perhaps give the few things Hannibal suggests a read to understand the great amount of ikhtilaaf.

Gladly, after Ramadan. I'm assuming the content is more significant than anything around here these days if you're referring back to it.

Again, this kind of communal proof doesn't hold as much weight in comparison because within the Shi'i conception of communal practice (and other Qaraa'in) because there is the Ma`sum Imam [as] present. The Sunni version is just trying to say this is early and therefore more likely to be correct.

That's clearly from a shallow understanding of the concept from a Sunni side - it's not just the time that matters, but the individuals that were present as witness. Except that there is no conception of "'isma" - it's a direct equivilent with a greater number of authorities/Imams.

Again, there's nothing about being a Sahaba that makes you an innately infallible narrator. Historically speaking, it is something that evolved later because otherwise there would be no source and once you started to question some companions, you need to suspect and investigate them all. That is difficult to do when the time period where ahaadeeth and its sciences were collected and developing was long after most of them had died.

...

Perhaps if you knocked the really unknown ones, maybe. But the thing is, evidences for the bad conduct and such is for the larger narrators in your works (`Aisha, Talha, Zubayr, Abu Hurayra etc).

Clearly, I don't know where you're coming from here without reading the thread you keep refering to so I can't say much. From my own reading, the rule of giving them high-standing as a generallity is realy only a technicallity that covers special cases (i.e. the very rare Sahabi that isn't named or a Sahabi with no info about them). Other than that, there are pretty clear bios and information about them was available in a positive light pretty early on. And of the criticisms I've read of any of them from Shi'i apologists, the vast majority seem to lack any real substance and only demonstrate the disingenuity of modern Shi'i Twelvers in ripping select traditions out of context, or misinterpreting 'Arabic phrases, etc. And the handful that are commonly criticised here (like Abu Hurairah, 'Umar, etc.) were not as significant to the corpus of ahadith (as Twelvers like to believe) that Sunnis rely on except in rare traditions or as alternate routes to traditions that can be established via others. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the vast majority of traditions Abu Hurairah narrated couldn't be confirmed by other routes.

As far as the "bad conduct" of the first three, naturally I'd have to see. Even assuming they erred in this and that - unless they were known for fisq or lying, it really isn't consequential.

Any evidence of the shortness of chains of Shi'ites compared to the books I mentioned, or anything about KItaab al mu'min which is actually preserved in much longer disparate chains (from my brief look).

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twoblade, I'm only responding to the portions of your post that are I feel are relevant. In other words, I'm only going to try and explain how `ilm ur-rijal works within the system of Twelver Shi`ism as opposed to trying to show concrete inconsistencies in the Sunni system. I couldn't care less that they exist.

You can't use asanid to elevate something to tawattur without grading a rawi. One or two people with a couple of pseudonyms can fabricate asanid and ignoring their biography you'll be led to believe you have 40 asanid when there may be only four.

If a narration is graded as "saHeeH" by the principles of `ilm ur-rijal, what does that mean to you? To the Shi`i, it merely means there is a higher probability that the source, Prophet or Imam [a] or Companion, actually said it. It is imperative that you read the thread that Dar'ul_Islam recommended to you to understand the criticisms Shi`is have of `ilm ur-rijal. Here is a simple question for you to ponder on: if narrator X is graded by scholar Y as being thiqah, then does this mean that narrator X does not have any capacity to lie? Furthermore, who is grading scholar Y and confirming that he is `adl? What you consider to be, more or less, the end-all, be-all we consider to be just one little piece of the puzzle in the validity of an idea or narration.

I'm familiar enough to not downplay grading of a rawi and assume I can find tawattur of riwayat without it...

See the section above.

I've only taken a cursory look but almost all of these traditions are on ahkam, so your story is a little hard to buy:

http://www.dd-sunnah...ead.php?t=97941

Even with "Imams", Twelvers are "drowning" in far more significant ikhtilaf so it's strange you would word it that way.

What do you want me to get out of that link? That link shows Sheikh at-Tusi [r] interpolating seemingly contradictory narrations. There can be surface level "discrepancies" in secondary sources, but the outcome is what matters. Shi`i scholars have rarely disagreed on the outcomes. The totality of the sources on an issue have to be examined before a verdict can be reached on that issue.

That's clearly from a shallow understanding of the concept from a Sunni side - it's not just the time that matters, but the individuals that were present as witness. Except that there is no conception of "'isma" - it's a direct equivilent with a greater number of authorities/Imams.

Who is grading the trustworthiness of all those individuals? Who grades the trustworthiness of the individuals who did the grading?

Clearly, I don't know where you're coming from here without reading the thread you keep refering to so I can't say much. From my own reading, the rule of giving them high-standing as a generallity is realy only a technicallity that covers special cases (i.e. the very rare Sahabi that isn't named or a Sahabi with no info about them). Other than that, there are pretty clear bios and information about them was available in a positive light pretty early on. And of the criticisms I've read of any of them from Shi'i apologists, the vast majority seem to lack any real substance and only demonstrate the disingenuity of modern Shi'i Twelvers in ripping select traditions out of context, or misinterpreting 'Arabic phrases, etc. And the handful that are commonly criticised here (like Abu Hurairah, 'Umar, etc.) were not as significant to the corpus of ahadith (as Twelvers like to believe) that Sunnis rely on except in rare traditions or as alternate routes to traditions that can be established via others. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the vast majority of traditions Abu Hurairah narrated couldn't be confirmed by other routes.

The ad hominem attack. "I wouldn't be surprised..." Where is your proof, and why don't you provide it? I wouldn't mind having a discussion with you about this, but that you make bold claims without providing any proof for your claims. By the way, if we take away the narrations of Abu Hurairah, Anas bin Malik, Aisha and Abdullah ibn `Umar, how many are Sunnis left with? If those narrations are taken away, can you provide a completely different chain for each of them with the only commonality between them being that the source is the same?

Any evidence of the shortness of chains of Shi'ites compared to the books I mentioned, or anything about KItaab al mu'min which is actually preserved in much longer disparate chains (from my brief look).

Please provide concrete examples.

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