Funn-i-Asma-i-Rijaal (Science of names of men of Hadith)

Chapter No.: 

This is a unique science which has been developed by Muslims and was applied to examine and evaluate about five lakh people who were some way related with the transmission of Hadith.

Allah Ta’ala says in Qur’an:

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ

We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption) (15:09)

There is consensus amongst the Ulema that under this divine protection Hadith is also included along with the Qur'an because Hadith is also a kind of Divine Revelation called Wahy-Gair Matloo. We have seen in earlier pages how Ahaadith were written by some distinguished Sahaabah and how Sahaabah-Al-Kiram dedicated their lives for the protection and propagation of Ahaadith in pristine purity. We have also seen that during the last period of Hadhrat Uthman (RA) and then during the period of Hadhrat Ali (RA), how enemies of Islam tried to extinguish the flame of Hadith. The earlier attempts to erode the base of Islam had failed, so the enemies of Islam thought that they could succeed in their ulterior motive by making the Ahaadith and its transmitters i.e. Sahaabah-Al-Kiram doubtful. They tried to do it very cleverly. On one hand under the leadership of Abdullah bin Sahah, they tried to show sympathies to Hadhrat Ali (RA) by fabricating such Ahaadith which proved that he was God (Naoozo-billah) and on the other hand, they tried to create misunderstanding among the Muslims. To convincing the simple minded Muslims, they fabricated Ahaadith and presented it to them. But least could they realise that there is always an Unseen Divine Hand for the protection of Qur'an and Hadith. For this purpose a unique science of Funn-i-Asmaa-i-Rijal was developed by the Muslim scholars which separated chalk from cheese completely, thus preserving the pristine purity of Hadith for all times to come.

What worked as a guiding principle

Anas bin Maalik (RA) says that what stops me from narrating Hadith is because of a Hadith in which Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said,

من كذب علي متعمدا فليتبوأ مقعده في النار

" One who attributes a lie towards me deliberately, should find his abode in Hell." (Bukhari)

Hadhrat Hafs bin Aasim narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

"It is enough for a person to be considered a liar, if he narrates to others what he listens ( that is without verifying)" (Muslim)

Hadhrat Abu Huriarah (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said that:

"In the last part of my Ummah such people will be born who will narrate such Ahaadith which neither you nor your ancestors would have listened, you should remain away from them".

Aamir bin Asadi (RA) narrates that Abdullah bin Masood (RA) said that:

" Shaitaan comes to people in the guise of a human and tells them false Hadith, then one of these people narrates that Hadith to others saying that he heard it from a person whom he does not know." (Muslim)

This Hadith teaches that one should not learn Hadith from one whom he does not know.

Mujahid (RA) narrates that:

" Bashir bin Ka'b Adwi (RA) came to Hadhrat Ibne Abbas (RA) and started narrating Hadith to him, Ibne Abbas (RA) did not pay any attention to Bashir bin Ka'b Adwi (RA). Bashir bin Ka'b Adwi (RA) asked Ibne Abbas (RA) as to what had happened to him that he was not listening? Ibne Abbas (RA) replied that there was a time when some body would narrate a Hadith, we would look towards him and give ear to him, now when people have ridden every high and low (that is they narrate true and false Hadith), we have left listening Hadith, we listen to the same Hadith which we know." (Muslim)

This laid the basis for Funn-i-Asmaa-i-Rijal i.e., people first ascertained as to who was narrating the Hadith and then only listened to him. People used to first certify the authenticity, piousness and truthfulness of the narrator. They would also test his memory power thinking that it might be possible that the person is reliable but has a weak memory. If that was proved, they would not accept his Hadith. After getting assured of his reliability, they would see from whom he had learned that Hadith and whether that person also was also reliable or not. They would also scrutininze whether this person had met that person from whom he was narrating Hadith. If it was proved otherwise, then, again his Hadith was rejected.

Abu Is-haq (RA) says that :

"When people talked such things (false Hadith) after Hadhrat Ali (RA), one of his friends said that may God destroy them, what a wonderful knowledge (of Hadhrat Ali (RA)) they destroyed". (Muslim)

Abu Bakr bin Ayyash narrates that:

"He heard Mugairrah (RA) saying that the people who quoted Hadhrat Ali (RA) were not believed unless certified by the colleagues of Hadhrat Abne Masood (RA)”. (Muslim)

As already mentioned that Sabayee group who fabricated false Ahaadith, had mingled with Hadhrat Ali's (RA) army, so people would not accept Hadith from Hadhrat Ali (RA) men until they reconfirmed it from the colleagues of Hazdhat Abdullah bin Masood (RA). This is why in the above mentioned narration of Abu Ishaq (RA), one of the Hadhrat Ali's (RA) friend cursed these people (i.e., Sabayee) who made Hadhrat Ali's (RA) group doubtful.