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Islamic Salvation

Qarainsim In Rijal

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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.

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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بسم ألله الرحمان  الرحيم

 

سلام عليكم

 

 

Jazaak Allah for posting this.

 

I'm not all too familiar with many of sh. Sanads works and views, but I do believe that this approach is not solely his. The method of using different (numerous) qaraa'in when judging the trust-worthiness of a narrator (the rajul) is something which I believe has been adopted by other big rijjal scholars (if i'm not mistaken Sayyid Khadhim Ha'eri and maybe even Sayyid Shuberi Zanjani have the same or similar approaches). Is there evidence that he is the pioneer of this approach?

 

I can now see where brother Dar ul-Islam gets his influence from. 

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Bro Islamic Salvation,

Thank you for starting this thread. I will surely learn a lot from here.

Just 1 question about the assumption used in this metholodogy: It was said that if a big name trustworthy narrator narrated from X, this can be used as the indirect indicator of the trustworthiness of X since it was assumed that a big name trustworthy narrator would have not narrated from X if X had not deemed reliable.

I'd challenge such assumption by opening a possibility: there's a possibility that that big name narrator didn't narrate from X because X was trustworthy, but instead because the matn (content) of X's narration was in line of what the big name narrator believed or the big name narrator had another hadith with a different but reliable chain with the similar content. Thus, the trustworthiness of X can't be established under this methodology.

What do you think?

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Thank you for your presentation of Sanad's views. I've long wanted to look into Muhammad as-Sanad's views. I think the ultimate difference between traditional rijalism and qara'inism (as you've put it) is that the former treats rijal like a hard science, while the latter treats it like a soft science. What I mean by this is that traditional rijalism takes a somewhat mathematical approach to rijal and gives the power of tawtheeq and tad`eef to traditional authorities. The approach is simplified, logical, and with smaller room for disagreement or error - so long that the pool of information available to us is utilized correctly. This qara'inism however is something more academic, taking the tawatur of doctrines into account, the views adopted by the scholars, judging narrators through their narrations and not just through the rijal books, etc. The advantage to this is that we'd be able to give i`tibar a more expansive meaning than just what is technically sahih. It's also way to deal with the many majhools that we have, and perhaps reconsider the tawtheeq and tad`eef of people. The problem is that such a system would be more sophisticated and less mathematical; we'd need to define a qareena, identify specific qara'in, label narrators or narrations under certain qara'in, and apply our new rulings. In this I think there is more room for arbitrary differences. I also think this method would be more suitable in some areas than others, like `aqeeda as opposed to certain fiqh issues where we need to rely more on solitary reports. And so to me, there's an appeal to both schools of rijal, and I would still encourage more work to be done and read on modern rijal methodologies that may be better designed for our books than a system that is akin to the Sunni methods.

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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.

 

 

 

Thank you very much for providing an English translation for many of the readers who can't read the original source in Arabic. I've been following Sanad for a few months now and I was really happy to see someone approach rijal in a more academic, historical and philosophically sound manner (and avoiding this brain draining rijal dictionary cult). I have advocated some of these points before but I was never able to do so in an authoritative and scholarly manner. Sanad provides a systematic, organized, authoritative and scholarly way of approaching the issue.

 

With that being said, perhaps it might be helpful if beside "qarina stack-up" we include the term "informal inference" . Scholars (Robert Spitzer being one example) have used this in physics by taking various cosmological, fine-tuning, etc. arguments and "stacking them up" to give us itminaan in the existence of God. Perhaps this would be relevant here.

 

Second, I would see uqala in this context as "academic experts" ... would you agree? 

 

Thanks again!

Thank you for your presentation of Sanad's views. I've long wanted to look into Muhammad as-Sanad's views. I think the ultimate difference between traditional rijalism and qara'inism (as you've put it) is that the former treats rijal like a hard science, while the latter treats it like a soft science. What I mean by this is that traditional rijalism takes a somewhat mathematical approach to rijal and gives the power of tawtheeq and tad`eef to traditional authorities. The approach is simplified, logical, and with smaller room for disagreement or error - so long that the pool of information available to us is utilized correctly. This qara'inism however is something more academic, taking the tawatur of doctrines into account, the views adopted by the scholars, judging narrators through their narrations and not just through the rijal books, etc. The advantage to this is that we'd be able to give i`tibar a more expansive meaning than just what is technically sahih. It's also way to deal with the many majhools that we have, and perhaps reconsider the tawtheeq and tad`eef of people. The problem is that such a system would be more sophisticated and less mathematical; we'd need to define a qareena, identify specific qara'in, label narrators or narrations under certain qara'in, and apply our new rulings. In this I think there is more room for arbitrary differences. I also think this method would be more suitable in some areas than others, like `aqeeda as opposed to certain fiqh issues where we need to rely more on solitary reports. And so to me, there's an appeal to both schools of rijal, and I would still encourage more work to be done and read on modern rijal methodologies that may be better designed for our books than a system that is akin to the Sunni methods.

 

In rhetoric, they are known as "arguments from authority" which in many instances are fallacious. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority) I would say this is especially the case in rijalism (esp Sunni rijalism) considering the plethora of disagreements in narrators and filtering them out because you don't like his opinion on some prayer ruling or some minor belief of his.

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I'm buying the book in hard copy form Inshallah, dar suggested the book to me it looked pretty good.

 

I'm also looking through 3ddat l usul from Shaykh Tusi (QS), I think I came across some chapters that fall exactly in line with this.

 

I will post them when I come across them.

Edited by Ibn-Ahmed Aliyy Herz

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Bro Islamic Salvation,

Thank you for starting this thread. I will surely learn a lot from here.

Just 1 question about the assumption used in this metholodogy: It was said that if a big name trustworthy narrator narrated from X, this can be used as the indirect indicator of the trustworthiness of X since it was assumed that a big name trustworthy narrator would have not narrated from X if X had not deemed reliable.

I'd challenge such assumption by opening a possibility: there's a possibility that that big name narrator didn't narrate from X because X was trustworthy, but instead because the matn (content) of X's narration was in line of what the big name narrator believed or the big name narrator had another hadith with a different but reliable chain with the similar content. Thus, the trustworthiness of X can't be established under this methodology.

What do you think?

 

That is one of the risky aspects of this particular method. When looking for indicators, no matter how weak (because you eventually want to group them with other qaraa'in to make one trustable indicator) we may fall in to the trap of assuming what we want the sanad and matn to say. If for example in this case, we saw that a certain thiqa narrator narrated from an unknown narrator (unknown in the sense of hukm, not majhool) only once, it would be a difficult case in trying to prove it was because he accepted the unknown narrator as trustworthy. It may just be the case you mentioned above (where the matn was given precedence). However if we saw this trustworthy narrator or other trustworthy narrators quote from this unknown guy in more than one occasion, I wouldn't be to iffy about taking this as a weak indication of tadleel.

 

There most definitely need to be some defined red-lines and proper definitions of terms and concepts before taking this method further.

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I'm not all too familiar with many of sh. Sanads works and views, but I do believe that this approach is not solely his. The method of using different (numerous) qaraa'in when judging the trust-worthiness of a narrator (the rajul) is something which I believe has been adopted by other big rijjal scholars (if i'm not mistaken Sayyid Khadhim Ha'eri and maybe even Sayyid Shuberi Zanjani have the same or similar approaches). Is there evidence that he is the pioneer of this approach?

I would not say that he is the pioneer of this approach, there are some scholars who have used traces of it, al-Wahid and al-Turayhi (who argues for it) come to mind, also it is similar to some of what Burujerdi holds, but what I would say is that he is the first academic systemizer and popularizer of this method.

 

Just 1 question about the assumption used in this metholodogy: It was said that if a big name trustworthy narrator narrated from X, this can be used as the indirect indicator of the trustworthiness of X since it was assumed that a big name trustworthy narrator would have not narrated from X if X had not deemed reliable.

Akhi, that was just an example that I came up with as a possible non-standalone Qarina that can be admitted in the stack-up, it is not integral to his Manhaj, obviously Sanad explains in detail the Qarain that he uses, their relative strengths, and how to combine them to obtain Wuthuq.

To go into detail about this particular point of yours, Sanad considers the Mashayikh al-Thalaath and Ashab al-Ijma'a and other Ma'arifs Kithra (numerous) narration as a Qarina that has significant enough strength in the stack-up, and he goes through a Bahth to discuss why this is so.

Also, Sanad maintains that one Qarina by itself probably only provides mere Dhann, but it is only its use in the process that can give rise to something more substantial. 

 

With that being said, perhaps it might be helpful if beside "qarina stack-up" we include the term "informal inference"

Second, I would see uqala in this context as "academic experts" ... would you agree?

I would concur to both points, I was looking for a suitable English equivalent, and you have suggested a good one.

 

I will post them when I come across them.

Ahsant.

 

There most definitely need to be some defined red-lines and proper definitions of terms and concepts before taking this method further.

I hope to be able to translate further critical passages that show how Sanad uses the Qarain and what criteria he sets for them, I would like to stress that he does not make arbitrary decisions without having an overall framework, having said that, he warns about the uniqueness of each case and its scenario.

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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What do you mean here, "qarina stack up?" This is a ghastly verbal creation here.

Qarina you say is an indicator?

What is the general idea the phrase is trying to convey? The notion that the cumulative effect of a number of independent indicators pointing in the same direction, though weak or inconclusive in themselves, can build up and reinforce each other to give a high / satisfactory level of confidence?

 

In that case I'd suggest "build up of indicators," or, even better, "accumulation of indicators."

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 Simple example of Qarinah is the word Mut'ah. Though usually this word will bring up to mind the temporary marriage but in some cases the word is far from being about marriage or pleasure even. In the case of Hajj Al-Tamatu' hadiths, when we read the word hajj or makkah or umrah or ihram or any of these terms that are linked to hajj coming in the same hadith with the word Mut'ah, we conclude that the hadith is about the hajj rather than being about the marriage.

Though hypothetically this seems as obvious, some hadiths are not of high quality, they lack proper description of the settings, the place and time, the occasion and sometimes the hadiths are very brief that they hardly can make sense by themselves.

Qara'in help in putting the hadith in its proper context.

Edited by IbnSohan

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(bismillah)

 

An extremely important point about Sanad's manhaj (which is similar to that of Bihbahani, Mamaqani, al-Astarabadi - not the akhbari - and Tustari I) is that the grading of rijal in the rijal books is the ijtihad of that author-scholar and that the assumptions for saying everything is shahada hissiya bil-mu`asir (observational testimony of a contemporary) are weak and not attainable - this is especially in the case of weakening narrators. Also, that the sayings in the rijal books would be mursal in any case. So their statements are not defining of the 'reality' of the condition of a narrator it is just their opinion which they came to through certain methods - methods and ijtihad we are at liberty to reject and accept.

 

That said, the saying of the rijal is just 1 qareena from the qara'in of reliability.

 

في أمان الله

Edited by Dar'ul_Islam

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Jazakallah for these posts, very interesting.

 

I believe we have seen the method of Sheikh as-Sanad in action with some of brother Dar's posts, where he has strengthened certain 'weak' narrators using various Qara'in.

 

Looking forward to seeing more examples of this methodology in action.

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Thank you for your presentation of Sanad's views. I've long wanted to look into Muhammad as-Sanad's views. I think the ultimate difference between traditional rijalism and qara'inism (as you've put it) is that the former treats rijal like a hard science, while the latter treats it like a soft science. What I mean by this is that traditional rijalism takes a somewhat mathematical approach to rijal and gives the power of tawtheeq and tad`eef to traditional authorities. The approach is simplified, logical, and with smaller room for disagreement or error - so long that the pool of information available to us is utilized correctly. This qara'inism however is something more academic, taking the tawatur of doctrines into account, the views adopted by the scholars, judging narrators through their narrations and not just through the rijal books, etc. The advantage to this is that we'd be able to give i`tibar a more expansive meaning than just what is technically sahih. It's also way to deal with the many majhools that we have, and perhaps reconsider the tawtheeq and tad`eef of people. The problem is that such a system would be more sophisticated and less mathematical; we'd need to define a qareena, identify specific qara'in, label narrators or narrations under certain qara'in, and apply our new rulings. In this I think there is more room for arbitrary differences. I also think this method would be more suitable in some areas than others, like `aqeeda as opposed to certain fiqh issues where we need to rely more on solitary reports. And so to me, there's an appeal to both schools of rijal, and I would still encourage more work to be done and read on modern rijal methodologies that may be better designed for our books than a system that is akin to the Sunni methods.

 

 

More Academic? Don't think so, usually the problem with such a system, that it takes into consideration any form of evidence (e.g, reliance), and make an assumption that such 'evidence' is historically logical, adding more claims without an established factual foundation, thus to put it into simple words, the system or at least a large part of the system is completely hypothetical. In reality it does not satisfy certainty (yaqīn), therefore the seeker is highly vulnerable to delusive and inaccurate information. I don't have a problem when such a system or what's similar, being applied to history as long as it is not used as any form of evidence (given that the narration is weak [for example]) as a Hujjahor giving a particular weak narrator an approval of trustworthiness, when there is no factual basis or complete certainty.  

 

 

This is a mere opinion on the subject matter, the seeker if encouraged to investigate.

___________________________________________________________________

(wasalam)

(bismillah)

 

An extremely important point about Sanad's manhaj (which is similar to that of Bihbahani, Mamaqani, al-Astarabadi - not the akhbari - and Tustari I) is that the grading of rijal in the rijal books is the ijtihad of that author-scholar and that the assumptions for saying everything is shahada hissiya bil-mu`asir (observational testimony of a contemporary) are weak and not attainable - this is especially in the case of weakening narrators. Also, that the sayings in the rijal books would be mursal in any case. So their statements are not defining of the 'reality' of the condition of a narrator it is just their opinion which they came to through certain methods - methods and ijtihad we are at liberty to reject and accept.

 

That said, the saying of the rijal is just 1 qareena from the qara'in of reliability.

 

في أمان الله

 

Certainly their closer to reality then your average Qara'in, which is based upon hypothetical assumptions, and not to mention ijtihad. I generally don't agree with these three claimed assertions. 

Edited by Jaafar Al-Shibli

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More Academic? Don't think so, usually the problem with such a system, that it takes into consideration any form of evidence (e.g, reliance), and make an assumption that such 'evidence' is historically logical, adding more claims without an established factual foundation, thus to put it into simple words, the system or at least a large part of the system is completely hypothetical. In reality it does not satisfy certainty (yaqīn), therefore the seeker is highly vulnerable to delusive and inaccurate information. I don't have a problem when such a system or what's similar, being applied to history as long as it is not used as any form of evidence (given that the narration is weak [for example]) as a Hujjahor giving a particular weak narrator an approval of trustworthiness, when there is no factual basis or complete certainty.  

 

Bismillah

 

Can you name any one manhaj or method that provides certainty in the way of knowing the narration has come from the Imam?

 

I do not mean a strong possibility (Itminan qawi) or Dhan Mu`tabar.

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