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Last Updated: 2014/10/01
Summary of question
What is the meaning of mutawatir and ma'roof traditions?
What is the meaning of mutawatir and marfu' traditions? Please explain.
Concise answer
For information about the meaning of mutawatir traditions and its various types, see index "the criterion for verbal, spiritual and ambiguous mutawatir traditions", question 2412.
Ma'ruf Hadith
Different definitions have been presented for Ma'ruf tradition:
1. A ma'ruf tradition is one whose text and it is content are well-known among narrators.
2. A ma'ruf tradition is an accepted (maqbul tradition whose narrator is weak and opposed to a tradition weaker than his own tradition.  As is seen, in the first definition, ma'ruf has been defined as something whose purport and content are well-known. In the second tradition, ma'ruf means something is acceptable even if its narrator is considered to be weak.[1]
There is a kind of partial or overlapping relationship between the two definitions in the sense that we have some traditions who text and content are well-known but their narrators are poor (weak) and we might have a tradition which is well-known among narrators in terms of its purport but its narrators are strong and reliable. As well, we can assume a narration which is acceptable but its narrator is weak and its content may also not be well-known.
As for Hadith Marfu', it is a hadith attributed to the Prophet (S, but not proven to have a continuous chain of transmitters up to him. The word marfu means elevated. Thus, a hadith which is traced back to the Prophet (S) or Infallible Imam (A.S) without any chain of narrators is considered to be marfu.

[1] Hariri, Muhammad Yusuf, Glossary of Terms, hadith p.129, Qom, Hijrat, 1381 (solar calendar)
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