Determining the early centers of Islamic disciplines and the relations among them would fill many gaps within the history of Islamic scholarly disciplines in general and of hadith in particular. However, there is no widely accepted methodology for identifying these centers, the nature of scholarly journeys (rihlas), or the relationship between political actors and the rise of cities. Nor is there a consensus on the questions of what kinds of sources can serve as the basis for such inquiries and of how they can best be used. This article argues that centers of Islamic learning and rihla destinations can be determined through nisbas (attributive adjectives—adjectives denoting origin, profession, intellectual affiliations, etc.), which are recorded as standard information in tarikh, tabaqat and rijal works and may give information about a person’s familial, tribal, professional, and madhab affiliations. Utilizing isnad data, this article makes observations concerning early Sunni and Shi‘i centers of knowledge and rihla directions and destinations.