Al-Mudabbaj and al-Aqrān:
Narrations of Peers
Definition of al-Aqrān
Al-Aqrān is the plural of ((qarīn)) which means “companion”.
The narrators who are close in age and chain of narration.
Definition of the Narration of Colleagues
It is when one of the two colleagues narrates from the other.
The narration of Sulaymān al-Taymī from Misʿar b. Kidām both of whom are colleagues, however we do not know of Misʿar ever narrating from al-Taymī.
Definition of al-Mudabbaj
It is the passive participle from al-tadbīj which means “to beautify.”
Al-Tadbīj is derived from “dībājatay-l-wajh” i.e. the two cheeks. It is as if the mudabbaj is so called due to the equality of the narrator and the one from whom he narrates just as the two cheeks are equal.
It is when two colleagues to narrate from each other.
Examples of al-Mudabbaj
Amongst the Companions:
ʿĀʾishah narrating from Abū Hurayrah and Abū Hurayrah narrating from ʿĀʾishah.
Amongst the Successors:
Al-Zuhrī narrating from ʿUmar b. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz and vice versa.
Amongst the Succeeding Successors:
Mālik narrating from al-Awzāʾī and vice versa.
It prevents one from thinking that there is an addition in the chain of narration. This is because the norm is for the student to narrate from the Shaykh, so when the student narrates from his colleague, the one who has not studied this type of classification may think that the colleague from which the original student has narrated is an addition from the scribe.
It also prevents one from altering the reporting method of ((ʿan)) with ((wa)) mistakenly. This is because ((ʿan)) indicates that the report is coming through the original student and then from his peer. However, ((wa)) indicates that both the original student and his peer are reporting the narration together from the teacher and not from one another. Thus, the one who is not familiar with the topic of mudabbaj would think that the scribe had mistakenly changed ((wa)) to ((ʿan)).
Al-Mudabbaj of al-Dāraquṭnī and Riwāyat al-Aqrān by Abū al-Shaykh al-Aṣbahānī.
 Adapted from: al-Ṭaḥḥān, Maḥmūd (1425/2004) Taysīr Muṣṭalaḥ al-Ḥadīth, 10th Edition. Al-Riyāḍ: Maktabah al-Maʿārif li al-Nashr wa al-Tawzīʿ, pp. 238-9.