IJAZA (a.) authorization, licence. When used in its technical meaning, this word means, in
the strict sense, the third of the eight methods of receiving the transmission of a hadith [q.v.] (the
various ways are set out precisely in W. Mar±ais, Taqrib, 115-26). It means in short the fact that
an authorized guarantor of a text or of a whole book (his own work or a work received through
a chain of transmitters going back to the first transmitter or to the author) gives a person the
authorization to transmit it in his turn so that the person authorized can avail himself of this
transmission. But beyond this narrow definition there is in fact involved the principle,
fundamental in Islam, of the pre-eminent value attached to oral testimony, a principle which
has been maintained through all the fictions to which idjaza and the other methods of
transmission have given rise from a very early date and which still today continue to influence
Muslim traditional thinking. It is this that gives its ideological and historical importance to the
very full documentation containedqin the isnads ('chaines de temoignages fondamentales', L.
Massignon), in the sama's ('certificates of hearing') and in the idjazas-often having indications
of dates and places and details of the names of the persons who formed links in the
transmission-which precede, frame or follow not only the texts of hadith, of fiqh or of tafsir, but
also theological, mystical, historical and philological works, and even literary collections, of
both prose and poetry. Separate from the texts there appear the systematic lists of authorities
(mu'djam, mashya¦ha, thabat, fahrasa [q.v.], barnamadj), which form in themselves a well developed
branch, still flourishing and so far insufficiently exploited, of the work of the traditional Muslim
scholars. In spite of the very serious reservations which had been made from the beginning,
notably by the imam al-Shafi'i (d. 204/820), with regard to transmissions not guaranteed by the
direct study of the text transmitted and the effective meeting between a transmitter and a
receiver capable of understanding the text, yet practice, supported when necessary by
appropriate statements of casuistic reasoning, has always tended towards the acceptance of
fictions and increasing indulgence: a general idjaza without the hearing of the texts, an idjaza
conferred on young children who have not yet reached the age of reason, even to those still
unborn, an idjaza obtained as the result of a short interview during journeys whose aim was not
exclusively study or the Pilgrimage, an idjaza requested and granted by letter without any
personal contact between the authority and the candidate. Among the fictional idjazat, which
were moreover of social and political significance, were those conferred at their request on
rulers or on high state dignitaries. Examples of idjaza in verse exist from the second half of the
3rd/9th century (al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Kifaya, 350), and these very soon became couched in
turgid rhetoric (see below).
Among the 'Twelver' Shi'is the idjaza obtains its authority from the infallible imams whose hadiths
are scrupulously transmitted by their faithful supporters (see H. Laoust, Les schismes dans l'Islam,
Paris 1965, 303).
In Persian and in Ottoman Turkish (in the latter as a composite word, idjazet-name, icazetname)
the term has come into modern use to mean 'certificate of fitness' (to teach).
Most idjazas are plain statements of fact, but sometimes rhymed prose (sadj' [q.v.]) is used and the
beneficiary is described in extravagant epithets (idjaza tannana, Suyuti, Bughya, 246, 4 from below).
In some later idjazas we find lengthy introductions and the whole document becomes an exercise
in rhetoric. qalqashandi regards this as normal, as appears from his brief discussion of the idjaza
in the Subhal-a'sha (Cairo 1331/1913, xiv, 322-35) and the examples of idjazas for various purposes
(futya, tadris, 'irada, riwaya) which he sets up as models (other examples of this pompous style in A. J.
Arberry, The Chester Beatty Library: A handlist of the Arabic manuscripts, Dublin 1955, i, plate 14, iv,
plate 124; of an idjaza as part of a sama', S. A. Bonebakker, Some early definitions of the tawriya, The
Hague 1966, 65). As early as the 3rd/9th century the poetic form was used (see al-Khatib
al-Baghdadi, al-Kifaya fi 'ilm al-riwaya, Haydarabad 1357/1938, 350-1; idem, Ta'ri¦h Baghdad, v,
164-5). The traveller Ibn "ubayr records that he obtained an idjaza in both prose and verse (nathr
wa-nazm, ed. Wright-de Goeje, 201, 18).qThat the poetic form was popular for the idjaza as well
as for the request for an idjaza (istid'a') is shown by examples quoted in Maqqari's Analectes (i. 628,
715, 743 ff.). Idjaza poems also occur in Safi al-Din al-Hilli's Diwan (Damascus 1297/1879, 481-3,
for his own poems) and a late example is found in Shirwani's Hadiqat al-afrah (Bulaq 1282/1866,
Idjaza as a technical term in prosody occurs as a synonym of various terms for faults in the rhyme
[see art. qafiya]. As a term in rhetoric it is used when a poet builds some lines or even a whole
poem on a single line or hemistich suggested by somebody else, often a ruler (but cf. Dozy, Suppl.
s.v. adjaza). It is also used when two poets compose alternately a hemistich or one or more lines
of the same poem, often in the form of a contest, in which case we also find the term tamlit (or
mumalata, imlat, TA, v, 227 below). Other terms occur either as synonyms or to indicate different
forms of tamlit. The interpretation of these terms given by Ibn Zafir in his Bada'i' al-Bada'ih (Bulaq
1278/1862 and on margin of 'Abbasi, Ma'ahid al-tansis, Cairo 1316/1898) does not seem to have
been generally accepted.
al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, K. al-Kifaya fi 'ilm al-riwaya, Haydarabad 1357/1938, especially 311-55
see also idem, Taqyid al-'ilm, ed. Youssef Eche (al-'Ishsh), Damascus 1949
an unpublished treatise by al-Silafi (d. 576/1180), K. al-Wadjiz fi dhikr al-mudjaz wa 'l-mudjiz
(MS Chester Beatty Arabic 4874, fols. 1-20), analysed by G. Vajda in Bull. de l'Inst. de Rech. et
d'Hist. des Textes, no. 14, 1966
Mirza 'Ali Taqi, al-Idjazat, containing Licenses to learned men, Lucknow 1286/1869. On the subject
of the superior value as proof of the spoken over the written word: L. Massignon, Etudes sur les
'Isnad' ou chaines de temoignages, fondamentales dans la tradition musulmane hallagienne, in Melanges
Felix Grat, i, Paris 1946, 385-420 (= Opera Minora, ii, Beirut 1963, 61-92)
R. Brunschvig, Le systeme de la preuve en droit musulman, in Recueils de la Societe Jean Bodin, xviii, La
Preuve, Brussels 1964, 169-86. On the idjaza and the related documents in general: I.
Goldziher, Muh. St., ii, 188-93 (this study is the basis of his article in EI1
reservations made by F. Sezgin, GAS, I, 1967, 53-84, must be taken into account)
qW. Ahlwardt, Verzeichnis, i, 54-95
W. Mar±ais, Le Taqrib de En-Nawawi, Paris 1902, 115-26
J. Pedersen, Den Arabiske Bog, Copenhagen 1946, 23-30, 144
excellent general outline on idjaza and sama' by S. al-Munadjdjid, Idjazat al-sama' fi 'l-ma¦htutat
al-qadima, in RIMA, i (1955), 232-51
'Abd al-'Aziz al-Ahwani, Kutub baramidj al-'ulama' bi 'l-Andalus, ibid., 91-120 (also idem, Nass
Barnamadj Ibn Abi 'l-Rabi', ibid., 252-71). Shi'i idjazat form the subject of a double volume (25-26)
of the great theological encyclopaedia Bihar al-anwar of Muhammad Baqir Madjlisi (d.
see also Abdullah Fayyad, al-Ijazat al'-ilmiyya 'ind al-Moslimeen, Baghdad 1967
Sa¦hawi (d. 902/1497) includes in his I'lam a list of mu'djams and mashya¦has, tr. in F.
Rosenthal, A history of Muslim historiography, 2 Leiden 1968, 451-3
a more complete list, to the 14th/20th century, is given in Muhammad 'Abd al-Hayy b. 'Abd
al-Kabir al-Kattani, Fihris al-Faharis wa 'l-athbat ..., Fez 1346/1927 (cf. Brockelmann, S II,
891), a most valuable source of information which is in need of systematic indexing. Among
the lists of transmissions may be mentioned (in addition to the Barnamadj of Ibn Abi
'l-Rabi' mentioned above) the printed works of Abu Bakr Ibn Khayr al-Ishbili (d. 575/1180),
Fahrasa, 'Index Librorum ...', edd. F. Codera and J. Ribera, BAH, vols. ix-x, Saragossa
1894-5, and the five works, collected in one volume at Haydarabad 1328/1910, of five
scholars of the 12th-13th/18th-19th centuries, al-Kurani, al-Na¦hli, al-Basri, al-Fullani,
al-Shawkani (full titles apud J. Robson in BSOAS, xiv (1952), 580, no. 6). Recently Orientalists
have begun to take an interest in the analysis of the lists of authorities and the certificates of
among others may be mentioned A. J. Arberry, Sakhawiana (Chester Beatty Monographs, no.
idem, A twelfth-century reading list (same series, no. 2), London 1951
G. Vajda, Les certificats de lecture et de transmission dans les manuscrits arabes de la Bibliotheque
Nationale de Paris, Paris 1957 (bibliographical details at p. VI, n. 2)
idem, Le dictionnaire des autorites de 'Abd al-Mu'min al-Dimyati, Paris 1962
J. Sublet, Les Maitres et les etudes de deux traditionnistes de l'epoque mamlouke (al-Mashya¦ha al-basima
of Ibn Hadjar al-'Askalani), in BEO, xx (1967).
Ibn Rashiq, al-'Umda, Cairo 1325/1907, i, 127-8, 135, ii, 72-5
G. W. Freytag, Darstellung, Bonn 1830, 527.
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Source: from the Encyclopedia of Islam --© 1999 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands