Uloom al-Hadith is a section of the sciences which has been taught within the Hawza system for centuries.
It is a term which does not refer to merely one science, as ‘Uloom' literally means sciences; rather it refers to any science concerned with the traditions of the Holy Infallibles and their companions.
These sciences are numerous, however scholars generally concern themselves with three particular sciences from amongst the Uloom al-Hadith, these three sciences are known as:
1. Tarikh al-Hadith
2. ilm al-Rijaal
3. ilm al-Dirayah
The primary concern and interest of these subjects is the Hadith of the Infallibles and their companions, for example Tarikh al-Hadith refers to the History of the Hadith and how certain works were compiled as well as the circumstances surrounding their compilation.
ilm al-Rijaal is a science which concerns itself not with the Hadith’s content but rather it’s chain of narration through which a scholar attempts to investigate the individuals (Rijaal) who have transmitted the report and assess each on the basis of the reliability or unreliability of these narrators, in order to ascertain whether the Hadith is trustworthy.
ilm al-Dirayah is contrary to ilm al-Rijaal as it is not concerned with the chain of narrators of a Hadith, but the text of the Hadith.
The name would be translated into English as “The Science of Understanding” and focuses upon the understanding of the text of the Hadith, if it can be applied to a broader context or a specific context.