Reporting the Hadith to us has two ways either by frequent transmission or by a single transmission and each of them has explanation and rulings which we should mention.

The first type is frequent transmission that is pertaining to narrations.

The definition of a narration is words that may be true or false or words that may be believed or denied. The definition of “words that may be believed of denied” is more accurate because the words of Allah cannot include false speech, moreover speaking about impossible matters cannot be true.

Frequent transmission indicates knowledge which is apparent except if the narration is weak in the first place, and that has four conditions:

1- To transmit true knowledge not suppositions, such as when the people of a large city speak about a bird which they thought to be a pigeon or about a person whom they thought to be Zayd. In this case, knowledge is not ascertained whether it was a bird or the person was Zayd.

2- The reported knowledge must be based on a tangible matter, so if they inform us about the beginning of the universe or the truthfulness of Prophets, we cannot ascertain that knowledge.

3- The narrators of the narration must be equal and has the same conditions. So, if the Successors reported from the Predecessors and times passed without the availability of conditions in each time, their truthfulness is not confirmed because the people of each time are independent. So, they must have the same conditions of the people from whom they reported, therefore we were not sure about the truthfulness of the Jews when they reported from Moses (peace be upon him) that he said: Nothing will abrogate my codes [Shari ah]. We did not also believe the Shia who reported the Hadith of assuming Ali to power after the Prophet's death, or even the people who reported the narration of assuming Abu Bakr to power.




We did not believe all those because those narrations were reported first by a single narrator who spread them then transmitters reported them from time to time, so the number is different and the conditions were not met. However that does not deny the facts of the existence of Moses (peace be upon him) who challenged the people with his prophethood, and the existence of Abu Bakr and Ali (may Allah be pleased with them) and their assuming to power because when the number of narrators was equal and conditions were met, we believed those facts which we cannot doubt or even belie the narrators who reported them to us.

4- The number of reporters is divided into short by which we cannot believe the narration, complete by which we believe the narration, and extra by which we believe part of the narration and the extra part will be superfluous.

The complete is the minimum number of narrators by which they can convey to us a complete truthful narration. However, we do not know the number of narrators by which we can ascertain the truthfulness of a narration, but when the complete truthful narration comes to us, we figure up the number of narrators who reported it.

The number of people who report the narration may report other incidents and deliver knowledge to everyone who hears the narration if the narration is free of linkage.

However, if the narration is correlated by a linkage, scholars differed about it whether the narration has an effect or not.

Some scholars said: The narration shall be effective because if five or six people informed us that so and so had died, their speech is not yet truthful, but if the father of the deceased came out uncombed, his clothes are torn apart, confused, and striking his cheeks and head with his hand while he is a respectful old man who does not usually do this, so it is possible that the action of the old man is a linkage that supports the speech of those men and may replace the missing number of people who report the narration.


This is a proof that the number of narrators may differ according to incidents and persons. Some people may have the nature of believing things quickly, so this nature may replace linkages. However, if linkages do not exist, the minimum number of narrators to judge a narration to be truthful or not is only known to Allah not to us because we do not know how many people told us about Makkah to believe in its existence and we do not know the number of people who told us about Imam Ash-Shafi y after we knew him and whether they were one hundred or two hundred men for instance. It is very difficult to define this even if we try to do it. We may try to observe ourselves when a person is killed in the market, for example, and a group of people leave the scene and enter to tell us the story of his killing. The speech of the first person may move suspicion and the speech of the second and the third confirm the narration, and the number of people increases until the narration becomes a fact that we cannot doubt.

Determining the moment in which knowledge is ascertained and the number of reporters are difficult because certainty happens gradually like the morning when it appears.

As for defining the number of narrators with 40 like the number of those who should establish the Friday Salah or with 70 like Allah's Saying: "And Musa (Moses) chose out of his people seventy (of the best) men for Our appointed time and place of meeting." [Surat Al A raf: 155], and with three hundred and several like the people who were killed in the battle of Badr, all these views are corrupted, do not suit the purpose, and do not indicate it.

The judge Abu Bakr Al Baqallany said: The number of four narrators is not complete because the testimony of four narrators can prove a religious ruling according to their probability, but certain knowledge cannot be ascertained by probability. He also added: The same goes for five narrators.

So, there is no way for us to define the number, but through ascertaining the information and then we realize the number of narrators [which is complete in the knowledge of Allah] who reported the information.

Some people conditioned some corrupt conditions to the number of Tawatur.

1- Their number should not be limited and they should not exist in one country.

2- Their lineage should be different, so they should not belong to one father, their countries should be different, so they should not be from one country, and their school of fiqh should be different, so they should not belong to one school of fiqh.

3- They should be allies to the believers.

4- They should not be forced to report the narration by sword.

5- The infallible Imam should be one of the reporters according to the Shia.

The second type is the single chain of transmission:

It is the narration which does not meet the condition of frequent transmission, so when a group of five or six narrators for instance report a narration, it is considered a single chain of transmission.

Imam Al Haramayn said: It does not mean that a single narrator reports the narration, but it is any narration that was reported by a single or a group of narrators and its truthfulness or untruthfulness is not decisive.

He also added: A single narrator can narrate and his narration is definitely true like the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he narrates about unseen matters, and it cannot be part of the single transmission.

 The single chain of transmission does not ascertain full knowledge, but we are obliged to act according to it.

As for the view of some narrators that a single chain of transmission can ascertain full knowledge of a certain narration, perhaps they meant that it entails acting according to that knowledge or they named supposition as knowledge. Therefore, some of them said: It may ascertain apparent knowledge, however knowledge does not have an apparent and hidden nature, but apparent knowledge is supposition.

Some scholars denied the obligation of acting according to the single chain of transmission but their view is wrong and the correct view according to the Pious Predecessors, the Companions, the Successors, the Jurists, and theologians is that it is permissible to act according to the single chain of transmission in the acts of worship. The proof is: The Companions accepted the narration of a single chain of transmission and acted according to it in a number of incidents. Moreover, the Prophet (peace be upon him) sent his messengers, judges, and emirs to remote areas while they were single narrators who carried the rulings and commands. It is unanimously agreed that the public are commanded to follow and believe the Mufti (one who issues a religious ruling) despite the fact that a Mufti may be judging according to his supposition in matters that do not have texts in the Shari ah, so the narrator who reports a narration he heard is more reliable to be believed.


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