The word tabi'i (pl. tabi'un) is derived from its verb, tabi'a or taba'a, meaning he followed. Thus, the tabi'i refers to follower, disciple or adherent. The word is of special significance in tradition, where the name tabi is given to those who came after the Companion (sahaba) of the Prophet. The tabi'un are those of the next generation or contemporaries of the Prophet, who did not know him personally but who knew one of his Companions. The followers of the second generation (tabi'ul-tabi'un) are those who knew one of the first tabi'un and so on.