By Mln. Saad Hussain (Takmīl Graduate, 2019)
One researching in the ḥadīth sciences will come across the term “marfūʿ” regularly. This term has a subject-specific meaning. I shall expound on its meaning and define it here.
Abū Bakr al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī defined it as:
وَالْمَرْفُوعُ: مَا أَخْبَرَ فِيهِ الصَّحَابِيُّ عَنْ قَوْلِ الرَّسُولِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَوْ فِعْلِهِ
“The marfūʿ is what a Companion related directly from the Prophet, be it his statement or his action.”
Ibn al-Ṣalāḥ defined it as:
وَهُوَ: مَا أُضِيفَ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – خَاصَّةً، وَلَا يَقَعُ مُطْلَقُهُ عَلَى غَيْرِ ذَلِكَ
“It is that which is ascribed to Allāh’s Messenger specifically. The term is not used in any other way…”
Ibn al-Ṣalāḥ goes on to mention that the term marfūʿ may be applied to narrations with intact chains and to narrations with severed chains. Thus, it is synonymous to the term musnad, according to how some scholars defined the term musnad while according to others, the term marfūʿ and the term musnad are different. The quality of being intact or severed, according to this opinion, applies to the marfūʿ narration but not to the musnad. In considering that they defined the musnad as a narration that’s chain is intact, and is sourced to the Prophet (upon him be peace). I explained the term musnad in another article that can be found here.
Regarding this type, its ascription to the Prophet (upon him be peace) is explicit. In the narration, the Companion who is relating it will say something like: “I heard the Prophet say…” or the Companion will say: “I observed the Prophet do this…” or he will say: “I did this in the Prophet’s presence…”
Regarding this type, it is judged to take the ruling of that which is ascribed to the Prophet (upon him be peace), even when that is not explicitly mentioned. When a Companion, who did not take Israelite reports, relates something that could not be founded on his independent reasoning, it is not a point in which language is being clarified nor further explanation on an established point, then it takes the ruling of be sourced to the Prophet. The following are examples: if a Companion narrates a matter related to a historical occurrence, like the inception of creation; or he relates a matter related an eschatological point; or he relates details on specific rewards or specific punishments for the performance of certain actions. In cases such as these, the ḥadīth is sourced to the Prophet.
A Companion relating matters such as these requires that he received that information from the Prophet. These matters are not possible for one to arrive at through their own accord.
An example of the marfūʿ ḥukmī in an action would be, for example, ʿAlī’s performing each unit of the eclipse prayer with more than two rukūʿs. And an example of it for tacit approval, would be the Companions’ practice of coitus interruptus.
 al-Kifāyah, 21.
 Muqaddimah, 45.
 Mūqiẓah, 1:41.
 Nuzhat al-Naẓar, 1:114.