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Posted By Topic: scholars, shaykhs, and ijazahs (ijaazahs)

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Moosaa
04-02-2010 @ 5:27 AM    Notify Admin about this post
Abul-'Abbaas Moosaa ibn John Richardson (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
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as-salaamu 'alaykum

this post discusses the following terms: 1) scholar, 2) shaykh, 3) ijaazah (ijazah).

1) a scholar ('aalim) is someone who has knowledge quite simply, allathee ya'lam.  since knowledge is only recognized by people who have it, then the people of knowledge are the ones who can identify who has it and who doesn't.  common people without more than basic knowledge are incapable of assessing people's levels of knowledge... all they can say is: he has more knowledge than me, which doesn't equate to anything, and thus is a useless tazkiyah. so it is a scholar who can identify scholarship.

2) the word "shaykh" is commonly used by people today as a synonym for scholar.  sometimes they intend those less than scholars from the students of knowledge.

this seems to be an acceptable "haqeeqah 'urfiyyah" (customary usage) for the West.  it is a little more specific than the customary use of the word shaykh in many Arab lands.

as for a haqeeqah shar'iyyah (legal usage of the term), then the meaning of that is: how is the word 'shaykh' used in the texts of the Book and the Sunnah.  the answer to this has preceded in the following post. (a man with grey hair, or a married man)

http://salafitalk.net/st/viewmessages.cfm?Forum=6&Topic=3070

and the haqeeqah lughawiyyah (basic meanings in arabic) has been expounded upon in the same post.

point for students: these are the three ways that we speak about terminology:

a) haqeeqah lughawiyyah
b) haqeeqah shar'iyyah
c) haqeeqah 'urfiyyah - khaassah (known as a mustalah in a specific science) and 'aammah (the one primarily being questioned about here, however there is some khusoos that plays into it)

3) the "ijaazah" that is typically referred to as some kind of academic qualification is actually just a chain of narration.  meaning someone with an ijaazah can mention a chain for books through the one who gave him the ijaazah.  it doesn't mean he has knowledge, fiqh, or the ability to teach.  it is absolutely not an academic qualification.  so to say that someone has an ijaazah from a qualified scholar is useless by itself as a qualification, unless it is coupled with something that clarifies his level of knowledge.

it was the custom of the scholars of the past to get ijaazahs at the beginning of their search for knowledge, as they used to say that someone who seeks knowledge without an ijaazah is like someone who goes to battle without weapons!  so they would get ijaazahs for their children at young ages, especially to get a "short chain" (sanad 'aalee, meaning to get the oldest shaykh's chain while the child is young).  one widespread book of ijaazahs called the "mashyakhah baghdaadiyyah" is a record of one scholars ijaazahs that he got when he was four years old!

so let us kill the idea promoted by the soofees and the ash'arees like nooh keller and hamza yusuf that ijaazahs are the real academic qualifications (!!) and university degrees are worthless or of little value compared to them.  this is a trick to convince ignorant people that they are really and truly authentically bonified people of traditional knowledge!!  

and Allaah knows best.

Moosaa ibn John Richardson

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IbnNathaniel
04-03-2010 @ 7:29 PM    Notify Admin about this post
Abu Ubaid Ali bin Nathaniel Grays (Cairo, Egypt)
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   On the other hand, many Muslims have went to the extreme believing that a degree equals scholarship. Very few, if any of these institutes, will produce the true scholars that are needed in this ummah. Many believe that an individual who possesses a degree (especially a doctoral degree) has reached the level of scholarship that is required to lead the believers, but this is not the case. Our ulema that have gone through these systems became scholars because they exhausted their efforts day and night seeking knowledge outside of these schools by clinging to the ulema and of course with the taufeeq from Allaah. This will explain why Dr. Bilal Phillips isn't a scholar and Shaikh Muqbil ibn Haadee al-Waadi-ee was an Allamah. There's no doubt that a doctoral degree is higher than a master's degree but it does not mean scholarship.
   Shaikh Muqbil (May Allah have mercy upon him) mentioned in the book "Ijaabatus- saael alaa ahumil-masaail" in the section of madaaris, that these schools have not produced ulema and will never produce ulema but the one that gained the desired result was the one who pointed himself in the direction of knowledge. He continued by stating that when he studied in the University of Medina there would be at times close to 180 students in a class and from them, two or three truly benefitted, but many graduated ignorant. He also mentioned that a brother who graduated from the University of Medina asked him is there an authentic hadeeth about praying in the shoes and this brother studied Umdatul-Ahkam and Subluus-Salaam in the university for four years. Finally, the Shaikh mentioned that the student needs to work hard for himself if he wants to come with the benefit for Al-Islam and the Muslims. And Allaah knows best.

Yaqoob
04-15-2010 @ 1:11 AM    Notify Admin about this post
Abu 'Aisha Yaqoob bin Michael Amadei (Toronto, Canada)
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Posts: 15
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as-salaamu 'alaykum

I have a question for Moosa Richardson.

I read what you said about ijazaah not saying you can teach and likewise but in Egypt and a lot of muslims countries, getting 'ijazaah' in Qur'aan is a serious thing and usually means that you have:

1) A chain from you back to the prophet sallaahu alayhee was salaam

2) Been testing on your memorization, mukharij, and tajweed

3) Are at the level to be able to pass on and teach the Qur'aan.

Is my understanding of Qur'aan ijaazah wrong. I do know their is usually two types of Qur'aan ijazaah. One being for someone who has completed it and another being someone who just has ijazaah in reading 1 qiraat (has not memorized it). I hope you can clarify this as I am a bit confused.

Moosaa
04-15-2010 @ 8:16 AM    Notify Admin about this post
Abul-'Abbaas Moosaa ibn John Richardson (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
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Posts: 1280
Joined: Sep 2002
          
more on certificates and degrees (Sh. Fawzaan):
http://www.salafitalk.net/st/viewmessages.cfm?Forum=14&Topic=6585

more on ijaazahs (the Permanent Committee - last post):
http://www.salafitalk.net/st/viewmessages.cfm?Forum=9&Topic=7461



Moosaa ibn John Richardson

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ekbal.hussain
04-15-2010 @ 8:01 PM    Notify Admin about this post
Abu Abdullah Ekbal Hussain bin Siraj (London, UK)
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Posts: 347
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Wa 'Alaikumus Salam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu

Something that should be highlighted, from Brother Moosa's post:

quote:

a scholar ('aalim) is someone who has knowledge quite simply, allathee ya'lam.  since knowledge is only recognized by people who have it, then the people of knowledge are the ones who can identify who has it and who doesn't.  common people without more than basic knowledge are incapable of assessing people's levels of knowledge... all they can say is: he has more knowledge than me, which doesn't equate to anything, and thus is a useless tazkiyah. so it is a scholar who can identify scholarship.


Moosaa
04-30-2010 @ 4:13 PM    Notify Admin about this post
Abul-'Abbaas Moosaa ibn John Richardson (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
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Posts: 1280
Joined: Sep 2002
          
wa 'alaykumus-salaamu wa rahmatullaah.

Sorry akhee Yaqoob, I just now saw your question posted.

quote:
...in Egypt and a lot of muslims countries, getting 'ijazaah' in Qur'aan is a serious thing and usually means that you have:

1) A chain from you back to the prophet sallaahu alayhee was salaam

2) Been testing on your memorization, mukharij, and tajweed

3) Are at the level to be able to pass on and teach the Qur'aan.

Is my understanding of Qur'aan ijaazah wrong. I do know their is usually two types of Qur'aan ijazaah. One being for someone who has completed it and another being someone who just has ijazaah in reading 1 qiraat (has not memorized it). I hope you can clarify this as I am a bit confused.
An ijaazah known by the practice of the shaykh who gives it can include a tazkiyah (recommendation), like the ijaazah of shuyookh who only give them after testing their student in understanding, or in the case you mentioned a shaykh who only gives an ijaazah to someone who has memorized the Qur'aan.  This is a common understanding of an ijaazah in the Qur'aan - that it is at least memorization of one qiraa'ah with its tajweed.  

That is a beautiful accomplishment, and it is a great sign for a student of knowledge that he starts out that way.  Yet, in reality, is it a tazkiyyah to teach other than tajweed?  Does it mean that the student knows anything about the meanings and is able to teach from what he has memorized?  This is a very common misconception - that someone who memorized the Qur'aan in a qiraa'ah, and then got an ijaazah for his memorization and tajweed, that it is a heavy qualification!  Does it include knowledge of the 'aam (general), khaas (specific verses), mansookh (abrogated verses), muhkam (the opposite of mansookh, meaning: verses that have rulings that still stand), the hadeeths giving tafseer of the verses (the authentic vs. the unauthentic)?  If not, then it remains as a nice beginning for a student of knowledge, but not a qualification to teach Islaam (other than tajweed - if that was included in the ijaazah in the first place).

And yes, Qur'aan ijaazahs include chains back to the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam), but anyone who learns the Qur'aan properly has a chain back to the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam), otherwise how did it reach him!?  But most people think it is special that it has been written down on a piece of paper for them.

There are ijaazahs in the Qur'aan with no recitation whatsoever, simply a passing on of the chain.  This is absolutely no kind of academic qualification in any way.

There are ijaazahs for reading a juz' or more, or the whole Qur'aan, but without memorization (from the mus-haf directly).  If the shaykh corrected the recitation and asked him about tajweed, then this would have some value as an academic qualification for teaching tajweed.  However, if the shaykh did not correct the tajweed mistakes and simply gave the ijaazah for completing the Qur'aan or the selection of it, then it doesn't hold much weight, especially when one goes to teach.

When we hear of someone who has an ijaazah, and this is being used to qualify him to teach the Religion, it is really important to know - Does that ijaazah include something that qualifies him?  As the ijaazah (without some kind of recommendation) is not a qualification.

Also - we still ask the question: WHO is the SHAYKH who gave the ijaazah?, especially when there is a recommendation with it.  A lot of people miss this and think that so long as someone wrote a chain on a piece of paper that his recommendation means something.

And Allaah knows best.

Moosaa ibn John Richardson

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Yaqoob
05-01-2010 @ 12:35 AM    Notify Admin about this post
Abu 'Aisha Yaqoob bin Michael Amadei (Toronto, Canada)
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Posts: 15
Joined: Dec 2008
          
as-salaamu 'alaykum

You answered my question beautifully and increased my knowledge in this issue.

As for what you said:

quote:
That is a beautiful accomplishment, and it is a great sign for a student of knowledge that he starts out that way.  Yet, in reality, is it a tazkiyyah to teach other than tajweed?


then that was what I was asking. I was asking about the ijaazah when someone has finished the Quran (memorization with tajweed) and about them being able to teach Quran and tajweed and not other then that since that is what they got the ijaazaah in..

Jezakum Allaahu Khayr.

Moosaa
05-04-2010 @ 7:33 PM    Notify Admin about this post
Abul-'Abbaas Moosaa ibn John Richardson (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
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Posts: 1280
Joined: Sep 2002
          
Regarding the statement of some people "I finished Saheeh al-Bukhaaree with Shaykh Fulaan," this could be very deceptive.  Many times, it refers to people who read the a few hadeeth, or attended a few sittings, and then read the last hadeeth of the book, thus: finishing the book.

It has been a common practice to gain ijaazahs to read the first hadeeth and/or the last hadeeth of a book to the shaykh, or to listen to its reading.  It does have some worth - it lets the shaykh who gives the ijaazah know that the student has the book, a reliable printing of it, and has at least opened it to read a little of it.

However, people should take note of those who write their own biographies, mentioning that they "finished" such and such book with a shaykh, if they mean they read the last hadeeth of the book!  This gives the false impression of patience and struggle in attaining knowledge, when the reality of the "finishing of the book" took place in less than 10 minutes!

Furthermore, if someone did truly read a whole book to a shaykh, then he can narrate that whole book from the shaykh by way of samaa' (by directly hearing from him).  Narrating that book by ijaazah is not necessary in this case, since he has something higher than ijaazah - samaa'!  The ijazah would be used when he narrates those hadeeth that were read on a day he was absent.  So if he read the whole book to the shaykh, or attended its reading, there is no need for an ijaazah to narrate it!

And Allaah knows best.

Moosaa ibn John Richardson

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