descriptions sometimes may need explanation, or even interpretation. There are, indeed, some truths that the human mind can grasp only by way of comparison. For example, once in the presence of the Prophet (UWBP), a loud noise was heard. He said, “This is the noise of a rock that has been rolling down for seventy years and has now reached the lowest depths of Hell.”1 An hour later the news came that a famous dissembler who had recently turned seventy years old had died and gone to Hell, thus explaining the event Muhammad (Upon whom be blessings and peace) had described by means of an eloquent comparison.
If there is a consensus of opinion concerning any related tradition (Turk. tevatür; Ar. tawatur),2 it is indisputable. There are two kinds of this sort of report: one is those reports about which there is ‘a clear, unambiguous consensus (sarih tevatür),’ the other is ‘consensus in meaning (manevî tevatür).’ The latter is also of two kinds: the first includes those concerning which the consensus is implied by silence. For example, if a man in a community relates an incident in front of his people and those listening do not contradict him, that is, they respond to him by keeping silent, this implies their acceptance of the report. In particular, if that community is such as will not accept any error, will consider any lie reprehensible, is ready to criticize and, in addition, shows an interest in the reported incident, its silence testifies strongly to the incident having occurred.
The second kind of ‘consensus in meaning’ is that which occurs when different people relate a particular incident, for example, one okka3 of food fed two hundred people, in different versions: one person describes in one way, another in another way, and another in yet another way, but all are unanimously agreed on the occurrence of the incident. Thus, its certain occurrence is supported by ‘consensus in meaning’ and is definite; its actual occurrence is not harmed by differences in detail. Apart from this, there are times when a report supplied by a single person expresses the certainty of ‘consensus,’ under certain conditions. It also sometimes happens that single report expresses certainity when supported by other, outside evidences.
Most of the reports concerning the miracles and evidences of the Noble
Muslim, Janna, 31; Musnad, iii, 341, 346.
Tawatur is the kind of report that is transmitted by numerous authorities and about which there is no room for doubt, that is, a report concerning which there is a consensus of opinion. (Tr.)
One okka was the equivalent of 2.8 lbs. or 1,3000 gr. (Tr.)