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Understanding Foreign Appraisals: The People of Ḥadīth in Your Land Know Your Reality Best

al-ʿAllāmah ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Yaḥyá al-Muʿalimī

Reflections on how the Salaf understood how to balance the general praise of those far away with the specific criticism of those close to home.

He is not worth (camel) dung

ʿAlī ibn Maymūn al-Raqī (d. 246 AH)

Al-ʿAllāmah ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Yaḥyá al-Muʿalimī (d. 1386 AH) mentions in his book, al-Tankīl[1] which he authored in criticism of Muḥammad Zāhid al-Kawtharī, specifically, regarding the narrator of ḥadīth: al-Mughīrah ibn Siglāb al-Jazarī (d. 202 AH):

Al-Mughīrah (ibn Siglāb al-Jazarī), was declared weak by Ibn ʿAdī (d. 365 AH). Ibn Abī Ḥātim recalls from his father that he mentioned about him, “He was upright”, and that Abū Zurʿah (al-Rāzī) says about him, “A Jazarī[2] who was fine”.

I say: The praise of foreigners [i.e. those unaware of his condition] does not increase a narrator who has been sharply criticized by the people of ḥadīth in his land except in frailty; this is because he deliberately causes confusion (regarding his affair). So he may have beautified himself to some foreigners, meeting them with correct narrations, and they believe that this is his reality, thus praising him, but the people of his land know the reality of his affair.

Such was the case with this al-Mughīrah. He was a Jazarī who was debased by the People of Ḥadīth in al-Jazīrah. Abū Jaʿfar al-Nufaylī (d. 234 AH) said about him, “He was not trustworthy”, and ʿAlī ibn Maymūn al-Raqī (d. 246 AH) mentioned, “He is not worth (camel) dung”.

It is likely that Abū Ḥātim and Abū Zurʿah al-Rāziyān may have met him on a journey and heard (ḥadīth) from him, and he beautified himself to them—as mentioned previously—so they held good thoughts about him.


[1] Al-Tankīl, Publisher: al-Maktab al-Islāmī, 2nd Edition, page: 763.
[2] Jazarī is a reference to someone who is from al-Jazīrah, the Arabian Peninsula.

Translated by: Munīb al-Ṣumālī

والمغيرة هذا ضعَّفه ابن عدي، وذكر ابن أبي حاتم عن أبيه أنه صالح. وعن أبي زرعة: “جَزَري لا بأس به”. أقول: الراوي الذي يطعن فيه محدثو بلده طعنًا شديدًا لا يزيده ثناءُ بعض الغرباء عليه إلا وهنًا، لأن ذلك يُشعِر بأنه كان يتعمد التخليط، فتزيَّن لبعض الغرباء، واستقبله بأحاديث مستقيمة، فظن أن ذلك شأنه مطلقًا، فأثنى عليه. وعرف أهل بلده حقيقة حاله. وهذه حال المغيرة هذا، فإنه جزري أسقطه محدثو الجزيرة. فقال أبو جعفر النفيلى: لم يكن مؤتمنًا. وقال علي بن ميمون الرقي: كان لا يَسْوَى بَعْرةً. وأبو حاتم وأبو زرعة الرازيان كأنهما لقياه في رحلتهما، فسمعا منه، فتزيَّن لهما ــ كما تقدَّم ــ فأحسنا به الظنَّ.

Published: May 29, 2023
Edited: May 30, 2023


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