Some hadith narrators are known by different names and this can give rise to error and confusion; hence a branch of hadith sciences is devoted exclusively to the knowledge of those who are known by different names (ma ‘ rifat man dhukira bi—asma’ mukhtalifa) .This is not just a function of the fact that Arabic names often consist of long series of attributions to father, son, mother, etc., but also that pen-names, nicknames and appellations were sometimes used by those who might have known the individual narrator by any of his other attributes or names.
Another branch of hadith sciences, known as ma’rifat al-mu ‘talif wa’l-mukhtalif min al-asma (knowledge of the look-alike but different names and genealogies) discusses names which are written similarly but pronounced differently. There are numerous names of this type, so much so that some have written individual works on the subject. Names such as Salam Sallam , ‘Umara and Imara, Kurayz and Kariz, Safr and Safar, etc., are written similarly in the Arabic script and text which may not provide the vowelling and declensions of words; and most often they are not given, hence the possibility of confusion of one name or narrator for another. Resembling this last branch of hadith sciences , there is yet another branch of hadith which addresses hadith narrators that had identical names and could easily be confused with one another. There were, for example, no less than six hadith narrators by the name Khalil ibn Ahmad , and four Ahmad b.Ja’far b Hamdan, all of whom lived in the same generation, and many other cases of this kind. These have been isolated and identified by reference to other indicators such as the father’s name, locality, teachers and disciples of the narrator in question, etc.
hadith studies by H Kamali page 7-8