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Within isnads, the two phrases ﺣﺪﺛﻨﺎ & ﺃﺧﺒﺮﻧﺎ can be found. The latter obviously means that a narrator directly received knowledge of something from his teacher. Is the former considered of equal value?

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Actually I found a few fatwas on this topic and need to go through a couple of sources to be able to answer may own question: What is the difference between the different formulations used in describing how a hadith was transmitted?

But I found in the introduction of imam an-Nawawi on his commentary on Sahih Muslim (al-Minhaj fi Sharhi Sahihi Muslim ibn al-Hajaj المنهاج في شرح صحيح مسلم بن الحجاج) an interesting input which at least answers the actual question to some extent (see here and next page -in Arabic-)- I've added some comments in between the quotes:
In the following I'm translating from Arabic language, as these translations are of my own take them with the necessary care.

فمن تحري مسلم رحمه الله اعتناؤه بالتمييز بين حدثنا وأخبرنا وتقييده ذلك على مشايخه وفي روايته وكان من مذهبه رحمه الله الفرق بينهما وأن حدثنا لا يجوز اطلاقه الا لما سمعه من لفظ الشيخ خاصة
Among examples of precaution of Muslim, may Allah have mercy on him, is the way he toke care and distinguished between hadathana حدثنا (told us) and akhbarana أخبرنا (informed us), and restricting that to his sheikhs and his narration, and among his view (madhhab or doctrine), may Allah have mercy on him, the difference between them is that the usage of hadthana is not permissible except when a narrator heard from the Sheikh’s utterance in particular.

وأخبرنا لما قرئ على الشيخ
While akhbarana refers to what was read (recite) in front (presence) of the sheikh.

وهذا الفرق هو مذهب الشافعي وأصحابه وجمهور أهل العلم بالمشرق قال محمد بن الحسن الجوهري المصري وهو مذهب أكثر أصحاب الحديث الذين لا يحصيهم أحد وروى هذا المذهب أيضا عن بن جريج والاوزاعي وبن وهب والنسائي وصار هو الشائع الغالب على أهل الحديث
This distinction is the view of a-Shafi'i and his companions and the majority of the scholars from the middle east (al-Mashriq). Muhammad ibn al-Hassan al-Jawahary al-Masry and this is the view of the uncountable amount of hadith scholars, and this view was narrated from ibn Jurayj, al-'Awza'iy, ibn Wahb and an-Nassa-i and this is the prevalent leading among the people of hadith.

Just as a site note: In general scholars of hadith such as imam Malik asked some of their students to recite from their book, to the audience (of students), and stopped them for explanations or corrections.

وذهب جماعات إلى أنه يجوز أن تقول فيما قرئ على الشيخ حدثنا وأخبرنا وهو مذهب الزهري ومالك وسفيان بن عيينة ويحيى بن سعيد القطان وآخرين من المتقدمين وهو مذهب البخارى وجماعة من المحدثين وهو مذهب معظم الحجازيين والكوفيين
While a group of scholars held the opinion that it is permissible to say for what was read (recited) in front of the sheikh any of hadathana and akhbarana this is the view of az-Zuhri, Malik, Sufyan ibn 'Uyyaynah, Yahya ibn Sa'id al_Qatan and others from the earlier and contemporary scholars and it is also the position of al-Bukhari and groups of hadiths scholars and the view of the majority of the scholars from al-Hijaaz and the Kufi's among them.

وذهبت طائفة إلى أنه لا يجوز اطلاق حدثنا ولا أخبرنا فى القراءة وهو مذهب بن المبارك ويحيى بن يحيى وأحمد بن حنبل والمشهور عن النسائى والله أعلم
An other group said it is not permissible to use neither hadathana nor akhbarana in the case of a recitation and this is the view of ibn al-Mubarak and Yahya ibn Yaha and Ahmad and the most known view of an-Nassa-i and Allah knows best.

This is an important information to know what is meant when reading a hadith from different ancient authors.

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  • I can understand the difference now. But still are they of equal validity? Does an athar reported through أخبرنا, not once but a few times within isnads, considered authentic and acceptable? – Afiq Feb 12 at 17:00
  • @Afiq as said different hadith compilation authors held different views. And the view expressed by am Muslim is a majority view. Nevertheless it is not the view held by al-Bukhari nor Malik for example. – Medi1Saif Feb 12 at 18:43

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