From Mustalah al Hadith to Mustalah al Ta’rikh: Transmission and Contents Criticism in Afrabic Historiography
Drawing from this same concept, Afrabic is employed considering the fact that most of the ideas therein fall within the purview of the relationship between Africa and Arabic. The task of screening and documenting authentic prophetic traditions and discarding fabricated information attributed to the Prophet of Islam resulted in the evolution of the critical study of Ḥadīth literature, technically referred to as Muṣṭalaḥ al Ḥadīth. Scholars of Ḥadīth employed a method of validating matn (text) by subjecting the isnād (chain of transmitters) to tests of reliability. Considering the similarity of the process of Ḥadīth verification and the methodology of establishing facts in historiography, which involves Heuristik (identification of sources), Kritik (testing sources for reliability), and Hermeneutik (interpretation of reliable sources for constructing a connected and significant narrative), there is a high potential for a symbiotic relationship between Ḥadīth studies and historiography. This paper makes a case for the specific application of the method of validation of information in Ḥadīth for obtaining authentic historical facts. For illustrative purposes and ascertainig the efficacy of this method and approach, two Arabic works on Medieval African Historiography, viz; Infāq al Maysūr of Muḥammad Bello and Tārikh Mai Idrīs Alūma waghazawātuh of Ibn Fartuwa were subjected to the mechanism of information validation hereby technically referred to as Muṣṭalaḥ al Tārīkh. The outcome revealed significant strengths and weaknesses of the two works. While they both subsist as useful sources of history, various dimensions of inaccurate information were detected in the accounts of the authors.