How Many Mass Transmited (Mutawatir) Hadiths Are There?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: How many mutawwatir hadiths are there? Is there any collection available in English? In Arabic?


Answer: wa `alaykum assalam

I pray you are well.

It is difficult to mention the exact number of mass-transmitted narrations (mutawatir). This is because: (a) an accurate estimation would require knowledge of the entire hadith corpus, and (b) the scholars differed amongst themselves regarding specifics relating to the definition of a mass-transmitted narration.

Types of Mass-Transmitted Narrations

Generally, what can be said is that mass-transmission can be of two types:

1. Mass transmitted in meaning, namely that the exact wording of a particular narration is not mass-transmitted but its general meaning is.

2. Mass transmitted in wording, namely that the very wording of a particular narration is mass-transmitted through numerous chains.

The estimates of how many such mass-transmitted narrations exist, taking into account both mass-transmission in meaning and wording, ranges between 100 to over 300. Thus, the work al-Fawa’id al-Mutakathir of Imam Suyuti has around 100 or so narrations deemed as being mass-transmitted. More than that, al-Nazm al-Mutanathir contains approximately 310 narrations, though most are mass-transmitted in meaning only.

Though difficult to mention one specific number, what can be said is that the number of narrations that are mass-transmitted are a considerable amount, especially those mass-transmitted in meaning. Though narrations mass-transmitted in wording also exist, they are fewer in comparison to those mass-transmitted in meaning, with some like Imam Nawawi and Ibn Salah stating that they are rare. [Kattani, Nazm al-Mutanathir]

Works Dedicated to Gathering Mass-Transmitted Narrations

There are a number of works that sought to gather mass-transmitted narrations, whether in wording or meaning. These include:

a. al-Fawa’id al-Mutakathira of Imam Jalal al-Din Suyuti
b. al-Azhar al-Mutanathira of Imam Jalal al-Din Suyuti, an abridgment of the previously mentioned work of his.
c. al-Aali al-Mutanathira of Sham al-Din Muhammad ibn Tulun.
d. Luqat al-Aali al-Mutanathira of Murtadha al-Zabidi.
e. al-Nazm al-Mutanathir of Sayyid Ja`far al-Kattani.

And Allah knows best


Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani