Journal of Islamic Studies (May 2014)

Describing Hadith Narrators as "Devils" or "Jnn": Implications for Accrediting & Discrediting Narrators

  • Tariq Oudah Abdullah Al-Oudah

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 26, no. 2
pp. 243 – 268


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The research aims to study the Hadith narrators whom critics described as devils or jinn. It inVol.ves the investigation of their status and the impact of the description on evaluating their credibility. It also inVol.ves the surveying of evidences and implications for accrediting and discrediting operations. It takes into consideration the text context and statements made by other critics about the narrator in question, and it adopts a critical inductive approach. The research identifies eighteen Hadith narrators described as “devils” or “jinn”. It shows that the two descriptions were used mostly by Iraqi critics and scholars, and their use was typical of the then Iraqi school of criticism. Apparently, when a narrator was proven free from “bid’ah” (invented non-Islamic act introduced into Islam,, the description “devil” was basically considered a sign of credibility and meticulousness, while the description “jinn” was considered absolutely credible. The research recommends that special attention be given to the study and explanation of the terms used by critics, particularly terms with double meanings; some terms may suggest at the surface to be accrediting the narrator, but in fact it means the opposite.