Messenger’s (Upon whom be blessings and peace) prophethood that have come down to us are either of the category of ‘clear consensus,’ or ‘consensus in meaning,’ or ‘consensus implied by silence.’ As for the others, although they are the report of a single person, they also have the certainty of ‘consensus’ since they have received the acceptance of the meticulous authorities on Hadith. Of such meticulous authorities were those geniuses who were called al-Hafiz, who had committed to memory at least 100,000 Hadiths, who offered for fifty years their morning prayer with the ablution of the night prayer, and who produced the six accurate books of Hadith headed by those of Bukhari and Muslim. Without doubt, any report scrutinized and accepted by them cannot fall short of the certainty of ‘consensus.’ For they acquired such intimacy with the Noble Messenger’s (Upon whom be blessings and peace) Hadiths and became so familiar with his exalted style and manner that they could spot at first sight a single false Hadith among a hundred reports, and would reject it, saying, “This cannot be a prophetic tradition; it does not have his wording.” Since they were able to recognize the precious quality of the Hadith, like an expert jeweller, there was no possibility of their confusing any other word with that of the Messenger (UWBP). Some researchers, however, such as Ibn al-Jawzi, went to such excesses in their criticism that they regarded many accurate traditions as false. Nevertheless, this does not mean that every false wording is wrong in meaning, but that the wording itself is not that of the Messenger (UWBP).
Q u e s t i o n : What is the use of citing the chain of transmission of a tradition so that even if it is not called for in the case of a well-known incident they say: “So-and-so informed so-and-so, etc.”?
A n s w e r : Its uses and benefits are many; one is that the citing of the chain shows the concurrence of the truthful, reliable and exacting scholars of Hadith and the unanimity of the discerning authorities whose names are included; each of the scholars and authorities endorses the accuracy of the tradition, and places his seal and signature on it.
Q u e s t i o n : Why were the miraculous events not transmitted through numerous chains concerning which there was a consensus of opinion and with as great emphasis as the basic injunctions of the Sacred Law, the Shari‘a?
A n s w e r : Because the majority of the injunctions of the Shari‘a are needed by most people at most times, for they all are applicable to each person, like an obligation incumbent on all. But not everyone needs to know of every miracle; even if he does, it suffices him to hear it only once. It is, in fact, like the kind of obligation the observance of which by some