Questionable content, possibly linked

Hadith chains of authority

As a follow-on to the discussion the obelus as a way to mark potentially incorrect passages included in Homeric texts…


“…refers to what most Muslims and the mainstream schools of Islamic thought, believe to be a record of the words, actions, and the silent approval of the Islamic prophet Muhammad as transmitted through chains of narrators. In other words, the ḥadīth are transmitted reports attributed to what Muhammad said and did.[5]”

And same source:

“Unlike the Quran, not all Muslims believe that hadith accounts (or at least not all hadith accounts) are divine revelation. Different collections of hadīth would come to differentiate the different branches of the Islamic faith.[15] Some Muslims believe that Islamic guidance should be based on the Quran only, thus rejecting the authority of hadith;…”


“Centuries ago, Arabia did not have schools for formal education. Students went to masters who taught them. Upon completion of their study, they received ijazah (permission) which acted as the certification of their education. A graduate then acted as a master having his own students or disciples. This chain of masters was known as silsila or lineage. Somewhat analogous to the modern situation where degrees are only accepted from recognized universities, the certification of a master having a verifiable chain of masters was the only criteria which accorded legitimacy…”

Same source:

“For Muslims, the Chain of Authenticity is an important way to ascertain the validity of a saying of Muhammad (also known as a Hadith). The Chain of Authenticity relates the chain of people who have heard and repeated the saying of Muhammad through the generations, until that particular Hadith was written down (Ali bin Abi Talib said that ‘Aisha said that the Prophet Muhammad said…). A similar idea appears in Sufism in regards to the lineage and teachings of Sufi masters and students. This string of master to student is called a silsila, literally meaning “chain”. The focus of the silsila like the Chain of Authenticity is to trace the lineage of a Sufi order to Muhammad through his Companions: Ali bin Abi Talib (the primary link between all Sufi orders and Muhammad) and Abu Bakr (only the Naaqshbandiyyah order). When a Sufi order can be traced back to Muhammad through one Ali or Abu Bakr, the lineage is called the Silsilat al-Dhahab (dhahab meaning gold) or the “Chain of Gold” (Golden Chain).”

The thing that strikes me here is that both this and the obelus in Homeric literature serve the function of attempting to retain accurate oral (and later written) traditions across generations. Also authenticity. Some concepts buried in here that might positively impact modern attempts at human versus AI attribution in texts.


Obelus / Obelism


What is AI attribution?


  1. Tim B.

    “It has been described by one hadith specialist, Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (d. 911 A.H/ 1505 C.E), as the science of the principles by which the conditions of both the sanad, the chain of narration, and the matn, the text of the hadith, are known. This science is concerned with the sanad and the matn with its objective being distinguishing the sahih, authentic, from other than it.”


    “The classification of Hadith into

    sahih, sound or authentic;
    hasan, good;
    da’if, weak,
    (another rating is mawḍūʿ, fabricated).”


    “An elaborate system was developed by scholars of hadith to determine the authenticity of traditions based on “two premises”:

    that the authenticity of a hadith report is “best measured by the reliability of the transmitters” (known as rāwī pl. ruwāt) of the report;
    consequently, “carefully scrutinizing” the “individual transmitters” of the hadith (ilm jarh wa ta’dil; ʿilm al-rijāl) and “the continuity of their chains of transmission” is the best way to measure hadith reliability.[22]

    A basic element of hadith studies consist of a careful examination of the chain of transmission (sanad سند, also isnād اسناد, or silsila سِلْسِلَة), relaying each hadith from the Prophet to the person who compiles the hadith. The isnād and the commentary are distinct from the matn (متن), which is the main body, or text, of the hadith,[23][24] These two terms are the primary components of every hadith.”

  2. Tim B.

    Same source above:

    “In most cases the truthfulness or lack of truthfulness of a tradition can only be known through the truthfulness or lack of truthfulness of the transmitter, except in a few special cases when he relates what cannot possibly be the case, or what is contradicted by better-authenticated information.”


    The first people who received hadith were Muhammad’s “Companions” (Sahaba), who are believed to have understood and preserved it. They conveyed it to those after them as they were commanded; then the generation following them, the “Followers” (Tabi’un), received it and then conveyed it to those after them, and so on. Thus, the Companion would say, “I heard the Prophet say such and such.” The Follower would say, “I heard a Companion say, ‘I heard the Prophet say'” The one after the Follower would say, “I heard a Follower say, ‘I heard a Companion say, ‘I heard the Prophet say'” and so on.


    “To be ‘ṣaḥīḥ (“sound”) hadith, an isolated hadith (Mutawatir hadith were exempt from these tests) “must pass five tests”:

    “continuity of transmission”;[28]
    ʿadāla of transmitters, i.e. transmitters must be of good character;[1]
    “accuracy (ḍabṭ) of the process of transmission, i.e. narrators must not be prone to carelessness or known to have poor memories”;[1]
    absence of “irregularities” (shadhūdh), i.e. hadith must not contradict a “more reliable source”;[1]
    “absence of corrupting defects(ʿilla qādiḥa), i.e. inaccuracies in reporting the actual chain of transmission.”[1]”

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