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Islamic Salvation

The Manhaj Of Sayyid Al-Burujerdi

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I have previously alluded to the existence of different view points among the Fuqaha in regards the level of use of Ilm al-Rijal in the Istinbat (derivation of Ahkam from the Adilla) process, the view point that has found itself in the forefront in recent years - thanks to the efforts of Sayyid al-Khoei has been the so-called 'Isnad-first Analysis', whereby, any Hadith whose Isnad does not meet Dirayah standards is cast off.

Seeking to demonstrate alternative views, this is a short essay that attempts to describe Sayyid al-Burujerdi's Manhaj in Istinbat, and the role he gives to Ilm al-Rijal within it.

Any questions and analysis is welcome.

THE MANHAJ OF SAYYID AL-BURUJERDI IN ISTINBAT AND THE ROLE OF ILM AL-RIJAL WITHIN IT

Based on what the Sayyid has written in relation to the utility of the solitary report (Khabar al-Wahid) for deriving Ahkam in his discussions concerning the principles of jurisprudence (Usul al-Fiqh), we discover that he propagates resorting to Isnad criticism [i.e. using Ilm al-Rijal] exclusively for cases where a real contradiction among the Akhbar has been identified and not otherwise.

In other words, and if the point is to be reformulated, the use of Ilm al-Rijal is limited only to those cases where the harmonization of a seeming contradiction between the Akhbar by various legitimate means has failed [i.e. a real contradiction has been identified], even then, Ilm al-Rijal is just one tool to be used in a descending tiered process to overcome the quagmire and select the preferred set of Akhbar (i.e. to obtain the ruling from).

Beyond theoretical espousal, we find that this methodology has been rigorously followed by the Sayyid throughout his derivation processes in practical jurisprudence, and that it can be characterized as going through four main stages:

(i) The collection of relevant Akhbar on a problem, (ii) Identifying a seeming contradiction among them, (iii) Harmonization process,

(iv) A descending tiered resolution process [i.e. only if the harmonization is unsuccessful].

A breakdown of these stages is as provided below:

Initially, he collects all the Akhbar from the authoritative collections that relate in any way to the problem, thereafter, he identifies the presence of a seeming contradiction, after which, a harmonization process is carried out so as to resolve this seeming contradiction and unify the subject matter, if the harmonization process is unsuccessful - a real contradiction has been identified, as a consequence of which - resolution (Tarjih) [i.e. preferring one set of Akhbar, thereby, rejecting the other] due to the presence of a real contradiction becomes necessary.

The Sayyid concentrates more of his effort in the harmonization process of the seeming contradiction since he believes that if this process is successful - it will mean that no Khabar has to be rejected (which is an inescapable outcome of the consequent resolution stage), thus he always prefers harmonization over resolution.

Some concepts used in the harmonization process include: indicators of Taqiyyah usage, indicators from rules of Arabic itself, indicators from Urf (conventional usage), Khass specifying A’mm, Nasikh overruling Mansukh, Takhsis within a Mutlaq Hukm, presence of Qayd within an overall Hukm, etc.

Assuming that the harmonization process is unsuccessful in untying the seeming contradiction, there is no option but to acknowledge it as a real contradiction, and the rules of Tarjih are applied to select the preferred opinion. Below are the descending tiers in making Tarjih:

I. Shuhra (popularity) of the prior Fatawa

The set of Akhbar whose purport aligns with the Fatawa of the majority (especially of the Qudama) is preferred to the Akhbar that find no support or trace in their Fatawa. The assumption is that since the Qudama had access to more material than us, and that too in its primary form, their Fatawa in these cases have weight, and the Akhbar used by them to arrive at their Fatawa will definitely have more I’tibar than the conflicting set.

This is without considering the Asanid of both sets of Akhbar and without comparing the respective conditions of the narrators of the two conflicting set of Akhbar i.e. it may turn out that most Fatawa were based on Dhaif Isnad Akhbar, but according to the Sayyid they are preferred over the conflicting Mu’tabar Isnad Akhbar, which are treated as Shadh.

If there are enough Fatawa supporting both sets of Akhbar, and one cannot be held up as being Mashhur in terms of prior Fatawa, the next step is to compare the conflicting Akhbar in terms of their number and quality.

II. Contextual superiority of one set of Akhbar over the other

There are two ways in which one set of Akhbar can have contextual superiority over the other contradicting sets.

First, in terms of a greater number of strands within that set, this numerical advantage points to a greater diffusion which could reflect a greater dependence. The set that is not supported by as many strands is considered a case of Tafarrud.

Second, the set of Akhbar whose narrations have a better Matn preservation and are more elaborative in preserving the kernel of the matter (reflect historicity) is preferred to the Akhbar that indicate Idhtirab within their Mutun.

If both sets have equivalent supporting strands and a relatively similar Matn quality, only then is last option for Tarjih [i.e. Ilm al-Rijal] used.

III. Evaluations of the authors of Rijal books.

It is only after the above two steps have not provided a resolution when Ilm al-Rijal is put into use, whereby, the Akhbar that have weaker Asanid in terms of the Rijal within them are rejected. The Sayyid maintains that there are degrees of weakness:

1. Tadhif by Ghulu of one or some of its narrators

2. Tadhif by Irsal [disconnection in the Sanad]

3. Tadhif by Jahalat al-Hal [narration of a Majhul – unknown]

4. Tadhif by Madhhab of the Ruwat.

SOURCES:

1. al-Manhaj al-Rijaliy – Sayyid Muhammad Ridha al-Husayni al-Jalali

2. Nihaya al-Taqrir – Sayyid al-Burujerdi

3. al-Badr al-Zahir – Sayyid al-Burujerdi

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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Salamun 'Alaykum

Thanks for the great post.

Could you demonstrate the process with an example or two, preferably one at least comparing matn preservation and how to spot idhtirab in the matn, hence weakening it. Could the idhtirab possibly occur because of the companions weakness in relating the meaning passed to him by the Imam (as) or is it always a sign of tampering/fabrication etc. What possibilities are there for idhtirab?

I'm about to reach this section in the book im reading regarding ahadith, but maybe you might mention something that's not in the book, since it is introductory.

Also, i'v seen an article published by Dar al-Hadith* about Rijjal and some of the contributions of Sayed Burujerdi, it is by Sheikh Ja'far Subhani. Inshallah if i can find it, i will translate the necessary parts and add them to the discussion.

*Institute run by Sheikh Muhammad Rayshahri

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Bismillah

Just read through the article i mentioned and a few more, it seems that those concentrate more to his contribution as a whole to 'ilm rijjal, not focusing directly on his manhaj per-say. They were very informative, and some kulliyat (general/univeral) points can be taken that would eventually help when looking at studies in rijjal or practicing yourself.

The main point which is stressed is that he (Burujerdi), took rijjal studies from their taqleedi stage (following the verdicts and gradings of najashi and shaykh) and brought it into a ijtehadi stage, allowing for people to become mujtahids in 'ilm rijjal. The articles go on to show how he did this.

There is also some interesting stuff on his work on the tabaqaat and how he made life a lot easier when recognizing people with the same names, who appear in the hadith but are from different eras (some times amongst these asami mushtarak, one is thiqa whilst the other is not) and cause confusion when trying to analyse isnaads.

So, as it is not directly related, and owing to my laziness (because of how much there is to translate) i will just copy the links here for those who understand farsi to benefit from, and save myself the trouble of translating.

http://gallery.muhammadi.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=302:----------3-&catid=74:1391-01-29-13-51-46&Itemid=6

http://www.hawzah.net/fa/magazine/magart/4518/4546/32781

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Salamun 'Alaykum

Thanks for the great post.

Could you demonstrate the process with an example or two, preferably one at least comparing matn preservation and how to spot idhtirab in the matn, hence weakening it. Could the idhtirab possibly occur because of the companions weakness in relating the meaning passed to him by the Imam (as) or is it always a sign of tampering/fabrication etc. What possibilities are there for idhtirab?

Thank you for your insightful input.

Idhtirab definitely occurs due to the weakness of the narrator in Dhabt, and not always due to tampering and/or fabrication.

And this is why Sayyid al-Burujerdi differentiates between the Mukathirun and Fuqaha of the Ashab from those who have a lesser number of narrations, because it is known that the former stayed for a longer period of time with the Aimmah and became highly specialized in the art of narrating their Ahadith, something that cannot be said for the latter.

I have been looking at some examples, and this is what I have obtained so far [taken from Sayyid al-Jalaliy's work]

Sayyid al-Burujerdi says about some Riwayat that have real contradiction with other Riwayat.

[a]

إنّها صحيحة من حيث السند، ولكنْ في متنها نحوُ اضطرابٍ

It is Sahih as far as Sanad is concerned, but in its Matn there is a form of Idhtirab. [al-Badr al-Zahir Pg. 137]

NOTE: He mentions the fact that the Sanad is Sahih, but since the second phase in his resolution process is to look at the Matn, he ignores the Sihha of the Sanad.

هذه الروايةُ - وإن كانتْ اظهرَ من سابقتها في الدلالة ..- لكنّها مغشوشة

من حيث العبارة، وكانّ الراوي لم يكن بصيراً باُسلوب كلام العرب

This narration - and even though it is clearer than the first one in terms of its purport, but it is jumbled up in terms of its phrasing, and it is as though the narrator was not fully proficient in the speech of the arabs. [Zubdah al-Maqal Pg. 80]

NOTE: He finds a strangeness in the Arabic of the Riwayah.

[c]

إنّ الروايةَ في كمال الاضطراب من حيث المتن، بحيث ربّما يحصل الوُثوقُ

والاطمئنانُ بعدم كونها صادرةً عن المعصوم عليه السلام

The narration has total Idhtirab in it as far as its Matn is concerned, to the extent that it could be said that one can achieve faith in it NOT having originated from the Ma'sum [as]. [Nihaya al-Taqrir Pg. 237]

From this it is understood that comparison with the quality and the form of Arabic that was appropriate for that period, together with a consideration of the Aimmah's eloquence [and general speech pattern] plays a role to discover the Mutun that have Idhtirab in them - in the Sayyid's Manhaj.

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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Salaam brother. Can you give a summary in layman terms, or those who are not even close to beginners in terms of rijal please? I really wanna understand this article but I cant.

Wa salaam

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As an example about the different types of companion-narrators in the view of the Sayyid, and the possible causes of Idhtirab in Matn due to the weaker understanding and Dhabt of a less professional Hadith narrator, we can look at what the Sayyid says about Bashir al-Nabbal -

إنّه قليلُ الرواية جدّاً، فيُعلمُ من ذلك عدم كونه من فقهاء الأصحاب من قبيل ابن مسلم وابن جابر، فإنّ ضبط العاميّ - وإن كانَ وَرِعاً جدّاً لايُقاسُ بضبط الفقيه المطّلع، كيفَ واشتباهُ العوام، وخطؤُهم في فهم ما يسمعونه، وضبطه، اكثرُ من ان يُحصى وبَشير بن مَيْمُون، واخوه شَجَرَة، من اُسَراء العَجَم، ولم يكونا من اهل اللغة العربيّة العارفين باساليبها -

He has very few narrations, so it is understood from this that he was not from the Fuqaha of the companions such as Ibn Muslim and Ibn Jabir, and the Dhabt of the commoner, and even though he is very pious cannot be compared to the Dhabt of the aware Faqih, and how can they be compared! while the mistakes of the commoner and their errors in understanding what they hear, and preserving it, is more than can be counted, and this Bashir bin Maymun and his brother Shajara, are from the persian prisoners, and they were not from the people of the Arabic language, well cognizant with its different veins. [al-Badr al-Zahir Pg. 288]

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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Jazak Allah khair al-Jaza' for your efforts brother IslamicSalvation. Its members like you, and threads/posts like this that make it worth staying on shiachat, even after years.

I greatly benefited from the posts.

Salaam brother. Can you give a summary in layman terms, or those who are not even close to beginners in terms of rijal please? I really wanna understand this article but I cant.

Wa salaam

As i'm sure any of the experienced brothers would advice; you need to start by becoming familiar with rijjal terminology. There is not really anyway of explaining it in complete layman's terms, since some of the arabic words don't even have proper english equivalents.

http://www.shiachat.com/forum/index.php?/topic/235005232-technical-terminology-for-rijal-criticism/

Also, a nice and simple introductory book in english is "Introduction to Hadith"- 'Abdal-Hadi al-Fadhli - translated by Nazmina Virjee.

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