By Mln. Saad Hussain (Takmīl Graduate, 2019)
One term that is imperative for a student of ḥadīth to know is the term “mawqūf.” In this writing we shall elucidate its meaning and how the ḥadīth scholars use it.
Abū Bakr al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī defined it as:
وَالْمَوْقُوفُ مَا أَسْنَدَهُ الرَّاوِي إِلَى الصَّحَابِيِّ وَلَمْ يُتَجَاوَزْهُ
“The mawqūf is what a narrator sources to a Companion; the report stops at the Companion.”
Dhahabī defined it:
الَمَوْقُوفُ هُوَ مَا أُسنِدَ إِلَى صَحَابِيٍّ مِنْ قَوْلِهِ أَوْ فِعْلِهِ
“The mawqūf is what is sourced to a Companion, from his statement or his action.”
Ibn al-Ṣalāḥ defined it as:
وَهُوَ مَا يُرْوَى عَنِ الصَّحَابَةِ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ مِنْ أَقْوَالِهِمْ أَوْ أَفْعَالِهِمْ وَنَحْوِهَا، فَيُوقَفُ عَلَيْهِمْ، وَلَا يُتَجَاوَزُ بِهِ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم
“It is what is narrated from the Companions, from their statements, actions, etc., and it stops with them. It does not go back to Allāh’s Messenger (upon him be peace).”
Ibn al-Ṣalāḥ also mentioned that it is possible for a ḥadīth mawqūf to have a chain that is fully intact, or it may have a chain that is interrupted. Like a narration that is marfūʿ, describing a ḥadīth as being mawqūf is a judgement regarding to whom it is sourced.
Ibn al-Ṣalāḥ also pointed out that some scholars, specifically he mentions Khurāsān’s jurists, use the term “athar” in a way that is synonymous to the mawqūf.
In his marginalia on Ibn al-Ṣalāḥ, Ibn Ḥajar pointed out that it being mawqūf applies to the Companions’ statement when there is no contextual indication that it is a case of marfūʿ ḥukmī. Furthermore, he points out that Ibn al-Ṣalāḥ did not address the case of something done or said in the presence of the Companions that they did not reject and the ruling regarding that. If it would be transmitted that it happened in the presence of those who are considered as authorities for scholarly consensus, then it would be counted as a point of consensus so long as there is nothing in that context that would prevent them from addressing it. Then, the ruling is that it is mawqūf.
Regarding their actions, the question arises as to whether they are, according to those who admit the Companion’s statement as evidence, able to substantiate a ruling.
Ibn Ḥajar defined it:
يَنْتَهِي غَايَةُ الإِسْنَادِ إِلَى الصَّحَابِيِّ كَذَلِكَ، أَيْ: مِثْلُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ فِي كَوْنِ اللَّفْظِ يَقْتَضِي التَّصْرِيحَ بِأَنَّ الْمَنْقُولَ هُوَ مِنْ قَوْلِ الصَّحَابيِّ أَوْ مِن فِعْلِهِ، أَوْ مِنْ تَقْرِيْرِهِ، وَلَا يَجِيءُ فِيهِ جَمِيعُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ، بَلْ مُعْظَمُهُ، وَالتَّشْبِيهُ لَا تُشْتَرَطُ فِيهِ الْمُسَاوَاةُ مِنْ كُلِّ جِهَةٍ
“[when] a chain goes only back to a Companion, likewise. Meaning, it is like what was aforementioned regarding a wording that implies an explicit indication such that what is transmitted is sourced to a Companion’s statement, his action, or his tacit approval. This does not mean that all that was previously mentioned applies here, rather most of it does. Likening one thing to another does not necessitate that it is the same in all ways.”
On paper, the mawqūf ḥumkī narrations can be considered analogous to the marfūʿ; however, that is not the case. Accordingly, Ibn Ḥajar sufficed with mentioning this type without additional details. Still, he noted that the similarity does not necessarily extend between them in all ways. It is enough for there to be consistent similarities between them regarding most of their details.
 al-Kifāyah fī ʿIlm al-Riwāyah, 21.
 Mūqiẓah, 41.
 Muqaddimah, 46.
 Nukat, 1:512.
 Nuzhat al-Naẓar, 139.