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(principles of ḥadīt̲h̲) refers in a general way to the disparate disciplines the mastery of which distinguished a true scholar of ḥadīt̲h̲ [q.v.] from a mere transmitter. The term was never satisfactorily defined nor was it differentiated from similar ones like ʿulūm (or ʿilm ) al-ḥadīt̲h̲ , iṣṭilāh al-ḥadīt̲h̲ , muṣṭalaḥāt al-ḥadīt̲h̲ , etc. It should be noted that the popular division of the study of ḥadīt̲h̲ into riwāya (transmission) and dirāya (intellectual appreciation), with the latter corresponding to the uṣūl al-ḥadīt̲h̲ , is problematic in the light of actual usage. The exact boundary between the supposedly complementary terms riwāya and dirāya was never agreed upon and there are instances of the term ʿilm al-riwāya being used as a synonym of uṣūl al-ḥadīt̲h̲.

in Encyclopaedia of Islam New Edition Online (EI-2 English)