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Hatib Lail as Terms of Criticism
The term “hâtib lail” has been used by muhaddiths from the II. century AH onwards similarly to the application of linguists. It is a criticism term for a narrator (rawi) who receives every narration he found regardless of it is accurate or false. Additionally, the term was employed, though rarely, for hadith scholars who do not narrate from only reliable transmitters in the first half of the century. According to what we have ascertained the term “hâtib lail” was at first time used by al-Sha’bi (d. 104/722), who is a muhaddith. He used the term about Qatadah b. Diamah al-Basri (d. 118/736). In that century this term was employed by Sa’id b. Abd al-Aziz al-Dimashqi (d. 167 or 168/784 or 785) and Malik (d.179/795) and subsequently (namely in the IV. century AH) by Dar Qutni (d. 385/995) to criticise narrators. Furthermore muhaddith scholars such as Suleiman b. Musa al-Umawi al-Dimashqi (d. 115 or 119/733 or 737), Abd al-Karim b. Malik al-Jazari (d. 127/745), Malik, Shafii (d. 204/819) used the term “hatib lail” about students as a general epithet in the linguistic sense rather than as a term in hadith terminology. As from the III. century the expression “hammalat al-hatab” has been utilized by muhaddiths with a meaning akin to hatib lail about weak (daif) narrators.

Hatib Lail, Hammalat al-Hatab, Term of Criticism, The Second and Third Centuries AH, Narrator (Rawi)

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