Biographical evaluation (Arabic: عِلْمُ الرِّجال, romanized: `Ilm al-Rijāl), literally meaning 'Knowledge of Men' but more commonly understood as the Science of Narration, refers to a discipline of Islamic religious studies within hadith terminology in which the narrators of hadith are evaluated. Its goal is to distinguish authentic and reliable hadiths from unreliable hadiths in establishing the credibility of the narrators, using both historic and religious knowledge. `Ilm ar-rijal is synonymous with what is commonly referred to as al-jarḥ wa al-taʻdīl (discrediting and accrediting) – the criticism and declared acceptance of hadith narrators.
This is indeed an interesting question, especially in regards to the famous book Kitab Sulaym ibn Qays al-Hilali.
There is no doubt regarding the authenticity, nobility and reliability of Sulaym ibn Qays al-Hilali.
In regards to the narrator Aban ibn Abi 'Ayyash, there are rijali scholars who weaken him, and also classify him as a fabricator or a liar.
However, as far as the book is concerned, as some scholars like Ayatullah Milani say, its chain is not solely from Aban ibn Abi 'Ayyash.
Seyyid al-Milani says there are multiple chains to the book.
As you know, like other cases in our Shi'a heritage, there is no unanimous view regarding this. There are also a few editions of this book as well. One is a 3 volume edition, researched and edited by Ayatullah Muhammad Baqir al-Ansari al-Zanjani. In this edition, volume one has been dedicated to researching all the views regarding the book and the narrators of the as well. It is worth the read for those familiar with Arabic.
An interesting article that deals with this book and its narrators, written byAyatullah Badri in his website:
In brief, there are those who completely accept the book, those who completely reject it, and those who say it has a mixture of authentic and weak statements.
Whatever the case may be, it is an interesting book to read, and for those eager to expand on the rijali side of this book, you must engage in the detailed research in this field.
With prayers for your success.
Sanad is who related the hadith (chain of narrators) and matn is the text/content of the hadith.
Hope that helps!
This Hadeeth was narrated from the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) by two great companions; Salman and Abu Tharr and it was narrated from them by chain of authentic narrators mentioned in Sunni and Shia books. One of the Shia sources mentioned the chain of authentic narrators is Biharul Anwar, V. 5, .26.
It is narrated also by many leading Sunni scholars like:
1. Al- Haafidh Al-Kanji in Kifayat al-Taalib, P. 260 from Jabir Ibn Abdillah Al-Ansari.
2. Al-Khawarizmi al-Shaafi'ee in al-Manaaqib , P87.
3.Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi in Tathkirat al-Khawaas, P. 52.
4. Al-Thahabi in Meezan al-E'tidaal 2/235.
5. Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalaani in Lisaan al-Meezan
6. Al-Qondoozi al-Hanafi in Yanabee'§ al-Mawaddah , P.83 in the old edition.
7. Muhyiddin al-Tabari in Al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah 2/164.
and many others.
Hadeeth Al-Noor can be the famous Hadeeth narrated by Ibn Abbas from the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) stating: The first who was created by Allah was the Noor of the Prophet Muhammad. This Hadeeth is narrated in many Sunni and Shia books.
There is another Hadeeth from the Prophet (SAWA) stating: My self and Ali were created from one Noor أنا وعلي ٬تم نور واحد.
Please specify which Hadeeth is meant in your question.
Our Shia scholars are always very strict in assessing every narration by studying and assessing every narrator
of every Hadeeth. There is no scope in our books of Hadeeth to accept
any narration or consider any narration which is politically motivated
as our leading scholars in our history stood against every tyrant
ruler whether he was a Sunni or a Shia. So no narration is accepted if
there is s slightest doubt that it is fabricated for the sake of
pleasing the rulers or justifying their wrong deeds.
I wish to add some more names and details to complement the respected Sayyid al-Musawi's clear response to this question.
Overall, a good book one can refer to for names of the nawasib - enemies of the Ahl al-bayt (a) - who appear in Sunni hadith is Hashim Ma`ruf al-Hasani's Dirasat fi’l hadith wa’l muhaddithin published in Beirut.
Here are some more examples of such ignoble people appearing in Sunni hadith sources.
1. `Umar b. Sa`d
`Umar b. Sa`d needs no introduction for those aware of the details of the tragedy of Karbala. This son of Sa`d b. Abi Waqqas, the companion of the Prophet (s), led the troops on the ground against Imam al-Husayn (a).
Al-Tabari quotes Ibn Sa`d, after the Imam (a) had been mercilessly killed:
Then `Umar b. Sa’d called out among his followers, "Who will volunteer [to go] to al-Husayn and make his horse trample on al-Husayn’s body?" Ten volunteered. Among them was Ishaq b. Haywah al-Hadrami, who was the one who stole al-Husayn’s shirt and later got leprosy, and Ahbash b. Marthad b. ‘Alqamah b. Salamah al-Hadrami. They trampled on the body of al-Husayn with their horses until they had crushed his back and his chest. I learned that some time later an arrow from an unknown direction hit Ahbash b. Marthad as he was standing in a battle. It split his heart, and he died. (Al-Tabari, al-Ta’rikh, translated into English as ‘History of al-Tabari – The Caliphate of Yazid b. Mu’awiyah’, Howard, pp. 163)
Some example of the Prophet’s (s) hadith quoted by Sunni scholars on the authority of `Umar b. Sa`d!
- Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan, kitab sifat al-janna `an rasulillah, volume 4, page 678
- Al-Nasa’i, al-Sunan al-mujtaba, kitab tahrim al-dam, volume 7, page 121
- Al-Nasa’i, al-Sunan al-kubra’, volume 6, page 263
- Al-Bayhaqi, al-Sunan al-kubra, volume 3, page 375
- Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Tabarani, and others.
2. `Abd al-Rahman b. `Abza
`Abd al-Rahman b. `Abza (or `Abzi) al-Khuza`i was a companion of the Prophet (s). He was present with the troops of Ibn Ziyad who fought and killed Imam al-Husayn (a). (See al-Dinawari, al-Akhbar al-Tiwal, page 298).
See some of the narrations by him in:
- Al-Bukhari, Sahih, kitab al-tayammum, volume 1, page 129
- Muslim, Sahih, kitab al-hayd, volume 1, page 280
- Al-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Ibn Maja, and many others
3. al-Harith b. Yazid al-Kufi
Al-Harith b. Yazid al-`Akali al-Taymi al-Kufi seems to the al-Harith b. Yazid b. Ruwaym on whose services Ibn Ziyad called upon by sending him from his own base in Kufa to join `Umar b. Sa`d’s army (See al-Dinawari, al-Akhbar al-Tiwal, page 254). No other ‘al-Harith b. Yazid’s in rijal lexicons seem to hail from Kufa.
See his narrations in:
- Al-Bukhari, Sahih, kitab al-`itq, volume 2, page 898
- Muslim, Sahih, kitab fada’il al-sahaba, volume 4, page 1957
- Al-Nasa’i, Ibn Maja, and others.
4. Shabath b. Rib`i
Abu `Abd al-Quddus Shabath b. Rib`i al-Tamimi al-Yarbu`i was a man with a checkered background. A companion of the Prophet (s), he used to be once on the side of Imam ‘Ali (a), then joined the Khawarij and later was part of Ibn Ziyad’s troops in Karbala fighting Imam al-Husayn (a)!
- al-Dinawari, al-Akhbar al-Tiwal, page 254;
- al-`Asqalani, al-‘Isaba, volume 3, page 376
- al-`Asqalani, Tahdhib al-tahdhib, volume 4, page 266.
From al-Tabari, from the scene of the battle of Karbala:
He (i.e.`Umar b. Sa`d) put `Azrah b. Qays al-Ahmasi in command of the cavalry and Shabath b. Rib`i al-Yarbu`i in command of the footsoldiers. (Al-Tabari, al-Ta’rikh, translated into English as ‘History of al-Tabari – The Caliphate of Yazid b. Mu’awiyah’, Howard, pp. 121)
Some narrations from Shabath in:
- Abu Dawud, Sunan, kitab al-‘adab, volume 4, page 315.
- Al-Nasa’i, al-Sunan al-kubra’, volume 6, page 204.
5. Qadi Shurayh
Abu Umayyah Shurayh b. al-Harith b. Qays al-Kindi was a judge in Kufa. He connived with the Umayyad authorities in Kufa in suppressing the Shi’a and supporters of Imam al-Husayn (a) from rallying to the call of Muslim b. `Aqil and Hani’ b. `Urwa shortly before the onset of the battle of Karbala. He had a share in the responsibility for the murder of Hani’ by Ibn Ziyad (See al-Dinawari, al-Akhbar al-Tiwal, page 238).
Shurayh narrates traditions in:
- Al-Nasa’i, Sunan, kitab al-`umra, volume 6, page 277
- Ahmad b. Hanbal’s al-Musnad, and other books.
There are many other narrators who cursed and hated Imam ‘Ali (a), as confirmed by Sunni books of rijal, and are yet present in major Sunni books narrating Prophetic hadith.
Here is a list that has been gathered from several sources, particularly al-Hasani’s work mentioned above. The list is in no particular order and there are quite likely to be more such narrators that could not be identified and included.
- Hurayz (or Hariz) b. ‘Uthman
- Busr b. Artat
- `Urwah b. al-Zubayr
- Abu Bardah b. Abu Musa al-Ash`ari
- Ishaq b. Suwayd b. Hubayrah
- Husayn b. Numayr al-Wasiti
- Dawud b. al-Husayn al-Madani
- Muhammad b. Ziyad al-Alhani, Abu Sufyan al-Himsi
- al-Mughirah b. Muqsim, Abu Hisham
- `Abdullah b. Salim al-Ash`ari al-Himsi
- Qays b. Abi Hazim al-Bajali
- Thawr b. Zayd al-Daylami
- al-Walid b. Kathir bar Yahya al-Madani
- Walid b. `Uqba
- `Abdullah b. Abi Sarh
- Ash’ath b. Qays
- Marwan b. al-Hakam
- Abu Bakra Nafee` al-Thaqafi
- Ahmad b. Abdah Musa Janabi
- Ishaq b. Suwayd b. Hubayrah al-`Adwi al-Taymi
- Isma`il b. Samee` al-Hanafi
- Thawr b. Yazid Kala’i al-Himsi, Abu Khalid
- Jarir b. `Abdullah al-Bajali
- Habib b. Maslama
- Khalid b. Salamah al-Kufi
- Khalid b. Abdullah al-Qasri
- Rashid b. Sa`d Maqrahi
- Rafi` b. Khadeej
- Ziyad b. `Alaqah
- Sa`id b. al-`As al-Umawi
- Sa`id b. al-Musayyab
- Samurah b. Jundab
- Shaqeeq b. Salamah al-Asadi
- `Abd al-Rahman b. Habib (Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Aslami)
- `Abdullah b. al-Zubayr
- `Abdullah b. Zayd Abu Qalaba
- `Abdullah b. Salim
- `Abd al-`Aziz b. Marwan
- `Abd al-Malik b. Marwan al-‘Umawi
- `Uthman b. `Asim
- `Umar b. Thabit al-Ansari al-Khazraji
- `Imran b. Husayn
- `Amr b. `Abdullah, Abu Ishaq al-Sabi’I
- Masruq b. Ajdah
- Nafi` b. ‘Amr, Abu Sa`ud al-Ansari
- Hisham b. Isma`il
The books of Bukhari and Muslim narrated from many persons who were open enemies of Imam Ali (AS) like Imran Ibn Hattaan عمران بن حطان who was a Kharijite who praised Ibn Muljim the murderer of Imam Ali (AS). Huraiz Ibn Uthman Al-Himsi is also one of the narrators in Bukhari. He was also a well known enemy who was cursing Imam Ali (AS) from the pulpit. Tahtheb Al-Tahtheeb By Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani 1:159.
There are many of such narrators you can find them in the books of Ilm Al-Rijaal.
The scholars of Ilm Al-Rijaal go through the books of history and Hadeeth and Rijaal and determine such narrators to avoid their narrations.
Bukhari who lived during the time of many Imams from Alul Bayt (AS) did not narrate any Hadeeth from Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (AS) knowing hat he was the most prominent teacher of leading scholars of that time. On the other hand Bukhari narrated around one thousand Hadeeths from Ibn Shihab Al-Zohri who was a servant of Bani Umayyah.
Bukhari did not narrate from Fatimah , The daughter of the Prophet (SAWA) but just one Hadeeth, while he narrated from Abu Huraira more than six hundred Hadeeths.
'Ilm Al-Rijaal is the knowledge about the authenticity of narrators which leads us to evaluate their narrations to decide whether we can believe them or not.
In Quran Allah (SAWA) says: ( قل آلله أذن لكم أم على الله تفترون )Did Allah permit you or you falsely claim on Him?(Sura Younus;59)
Which is very clear that we can not claim any thing in religion of Allah with out authentic evidence. Narrations can be authentic and can be not. That is why we must study the narrators very carefully before taking their narrations as the matters of religion are a big responsibility on us.
We also read in Quran that before believing any narrator we must be sure about his authenticity. (Al-Hujoraat ; 6)
We also have plenty of Hadeeths from the Prophet (SAWA) and Infallible Imams in this important matter. In fact, we can not take any narration in any important matter in life before we trust the authenticity of the narrator, so what about matters of religion?
That is why, 'Ilm al-Rijaal is necessary to evaluate narrations through evaluating the narrators.