The Documentary Depth of Hadith Transmission


audition attendance list
awrāq al-samāʿ
controller of attendance
ḍābiṭ al-asmāʾ
hadith transmission
documentary studies


The transmission of hadith prompted substantial documentation and subsequent archiving. This article presents a recently rediscovered type of document belonging to this paper trail: audition attendance lists (awrāq al-samāʿ). Preceding the better-known audition certificate (samāʿ), an audition attendance list was sometimes used in the transmission of particularly long books in order to keep track of the attendance of sometimes hundreds of participants in audition sessions. Here we concentrate on one audition attendance list produced in the ninth/fifteenth century in Cairo for a transmission of the most famous hadith collection, the Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī. We introduce this kind of document, propose a reading of our particular sample, and discuss certain functions of audition attendance lists. We argue that these lists reveal a hitherto unknown depth in the documentary machinery of textual transmission.
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